(Oracles) Drag and Drop Pictures into Spreadsheets



In Microsoft Excel, a user can drag a picture from an Internet browser and drop it into a cell inside a spreadsheet. However, in OpenOffice.org Calc, when a user drags a picture into a cell, only a link to that picture is placed inside the spreadsheet.

Application Description

OpenOffice.org is a free office suite that includes a word processor, a spreadsheet creator, and a presentation creator. Calc is the spreadsheet component of OpenOffice.org and is used to calculate statistics, create graphs, merge data, and perform other math-data functions.

Microsoft Office 2003 is the most widely used office suite. Excel is the spreadsheet component of Office 2003 and can be used to perform the same tasks as Calc.

OpenOffice.org Calc v1.1.1 Microsoft Excel v2003


Test Design

In Oracle-based testing, we compare the behavior of the program under test to the behavior of a source that we consider accurate (the oracle).

One of the common early tasks when testing a program is a survey of the program's capabilities. You walk through then entire product, trying out each feature to see what the product can do, what it does well, what seems awkward, and what seems obviously unstable.

The tester doing the survey has to constantly evaluate the program. Is this behavior reasonable? Correct? In line with user expectations? A tester who is expert with this type of product will have no problem making these evaluations, but a newcomer needs a reference for guidance. An oracle is one such reference.

Open Office (OO) was designed to compete with Microsoft Office, so it makes sense to use MS Office as the reference point when surveying Open Office.

Performing the Test

  1. Open Mozilla FireFox or Microsoft Internet Explorer to first locate an Internet picture to drag into the office suites.
  2. Navigate to a page to find images, such as Yahoo!'s Image Search:

  3. In the Search text box, type in "Software Testing" and press 'Enter' on your keyboard to search:

  4. Let's click on the middle picture, the red Software Testing Techniques book picture:

  5. Now let's open both of our spreadsheet applications, OpenOffice.org Calc and Microsoft Excel:


    OpenOffice.org Calc v1.1.1 Microsoft Excel v2003


  6. Drag and drop the picture of the book from the site into the first cell of each of the spreadsheets:


    OpenOffice.org Calc v1.1.1 Microsoft Excel v2003

    The picture that we dragged into the spreadsheets was a linked picture (meaning that the picture was an Internet link to another site). As you can see, Calc actually gave us the link inside the cell rather than displaying the picture like Excel did. Let's try adding a picture that is not a link.

  7. Start new presentations by using File->New->Spreadsheet in Calc and File->New in Excel.
  8. On the Yahoo! page that we dragged the picture from, click on the picture to go to the page with that picture on it:

  9. Drag and drop this unlinked picture of the book from the site into the first cell of each of the spreadsheets:


    OpenOffice.org Calc v1.1.1 Microsoft Excel v2003



In both cases, dragging in a picture that was linked and dragging in one that was not, Excel showed us the picture in the spreadsheet and Calc did not. Instead, Calc gave us a link to the page.

We can't say that Calc is wrong. Some users will prefer to store the link instead of the actual picture. And the user who wants to embed the picture can save the image locally, and insert the local copy of the graphic into the spreadsheet.

The issue that an Open Office tester would raise is that OO's behavior differs from MS Office. If a person switches back and forth between OO and MS Office (a likely scenario in a company that has not yet adopted one of the Office applications as its exclusive standard), small differences like this will lead to user errors and violated expectations.

Oracle-based testing allowed us to evaluate one application by comparing it to an industry standard. By doing this, we can see what basic features the application should have, what it can expect that changeover users will want to see, and ways in which to improve the application.

Similar Tests/Additional Notes

More information on the bug in this presentation can be found on the OpenOffice issue tracker.

Configuration Notes

Testing OpenOffice.org's Calc v1.1.1 on:



Created 29 June 2004 for the CSTER. Updated December 2004.

All images and written material ©Copyright Sam Oswald 2004

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