Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ has not been updated to reflect version 5.0
How do I open multiple sheets at once with Xess?
Xess 4.1 supports multiple spreadsheets stored together in workbooks. You
can access multiple sheets at once by using multiple view windows and selecting
different sheets in each view. (Versions of Xess prior to 4.0 only support single
Xess runs on platforms with multi-tasking capability. Opening multiple
separate workbook files at the same time means invoking multiple instances
of the Xess process. You can then open a different sheet in each
instance of Xess and copy/paste values and formulas between sheets.
How do I copy/paste between sheets?
Simple...use mouse button 1 to select the cells to to be copied in the source
sheet. Then move the mouse to the target cell in the target sheet and click
mouse button 2 (paste). If you paste to a different relative cell location,
formulas will be automatically adjusted.
How do I link cells between sheets in different spreadsheet files?
Use the @XVALUE function to retrieve values. In Xess 4.0, you can also use
the @XHLOOKUP and @XVLOOKUP functions to do table lookups in other spreadsheet
files. Xess 4.0 can directly reference cells in other sheets within the
same workbook (file).
What about 3-d workbook support like Excel and others?
Xess 4.0 (and later) has support for workbooks and cell references between sheets
in a workbook. In addition to its own formats, Xess can access
multi-sheet workbooks produced by Excel and Lotus 1-2-3.
I'm trying to print my Xess spreadsheet, but all I get is output that begin
with PS-Adobe-2.0 EPSF 1.2. What's wrong?
Xess uses PostScript as its standard page definition language. You need a
PostScript printer. Alternatively you can pipe the Xess spreadsheet print file
through a conversion utility such as GhostScript. This can be set up as a printer
definition within Xess so that the conversion process is completely transparent.
How do I add site-specific printer definitions?
Printers are defined in the Xess resource file (Xess4 or Xess3) by the resource
*printers. You can have up to 20 definitions. Note that you can use a
printer definition to pipe a spreadsheet output to another application.
How do I compute things like Fourier Transforms and Eigenvalues in Xess?
Xess contains a class of functions called Embedded Tools to accomplish these
tasks. More information is available in
Are there limits to the number of cells you can plot?
Xess does not impose any artifical limits. Environmental issues including the
amount of available memory are the pacing items.
When I am importing a text file or even selecting and pasting a text string
from another window into a cell, each word goes into a separate cell. I
wanted the entire string of words in a single cell. What do I do?
You can control parsing of text strings with either import method using the
Import Options dialog from the Options menu. To get your desired result,
Select Options->Import Options and set White Threshold to 0.
Does Xess support floating licenses from a centralized license server?
Yes...for all Unix and Windows NT platforms, Xess uses FLEXlm from
GLOBEtrotters as its license manager. For OpenVMS platforms, Xess uses
Digital's License Management Facility.
Can .xs3 and .xs4 files created on one platform be loaded into Xess on a different
Yes...Xess spreadsheet files are encoded text files and therefore completely
portable across platforms and email systems.
How can I exchange data between Xess and similar PC products?
Xess supports exchanging data as comma-separated values (CSV), tab-separated
values (TSV), and Text file formats via its File Import and Export menus.
Xess can directly access other spreadsheet formats using the File Open and
Xess can load and save Lotus 1-2-3 files as WKS, WK1, WK3, and WK4 formats
directly from the File Open and Save menus.
Xess 4.1 and later can open/read Excel spreadsheet files including
those produced by Excel 97 and Excel 2000 and can save entire workbooks
in formats compatible with these versions.
Xess 4.0 and Xess 3.1.3 can open/read Excel files in
XLS levels 3, 4, 5, and 7 (Excel 95)
and can save/write XLS 4 files. Earlier versions of Xess supported only
writing XLS 4.
How do I add extensions to the spreadsheet?
For the C programmer, Xess contains a powerful Application Programming
Interface (Xess Connections API Toolkit) which allows you to customize the menu
structure, add your own underlying functionality, add your own @-functions --
with total programmatic control of the sheet. In fact, the Xess spreadsheet
component can be totally encapsulated into other host application.
In addition, AIS has developed an optional internal scripting language, xsBasic,
which is similar to Visual Basic. With
xsBasic, you can write
@-functions, repetitive Xess command procedures, menu-driven functionality,
and memory resident procedures.
For tcl/tk enthusiasts, there is a tcl-enabled interface to Xess. You can
write tcl scripts to access Xess functionality. This option requires the
How can I integrate Xess with the Internet?
You can define Xess as a helper application to your browser. Plus you can
export blocks of spreadsheet data as HTML tables which can be read directly
by a browser.
Is Xess a "real-time" spreadsheet?
Yes...via Xess Connection programs you can incorporate real-time data sources
such as process control data servers and financial data feeds such that you
can have live, up-to-date information on which analytic models and graphs
can be based.
How is Xess network-enabled?
With Xess systems, the spreadsheet user interface, functional components built
with the Xess Connections API, and integrated access to external data sources
can be on different computers, even on different continents - yet appearing
as a unified system to the end-user.
For example, you could have the Xess spreadsheet component running on HP
seamlessly connected to a Process Control data server on Alpha Unix via
an Xess Connection program which is running on Alpha Unix. This Connection
program can be serving the HP spreadsheet with real-time process control data.
The same Connection program on Solaris could also provide specialized
@-functions to the HP spreadsheet which are unique for the application that
are not in the base spreadsheet.
Xess is also network-enabled in its acccessability. You can have a single
copy of the Xess spreadsheet installed on a server machine which can be
accessed by any number of end-user workstation on the network.
What are the differences between XessLite and full Xess?
XessLite is a rich subset of the Xess spreadsheet designed specifically to
meet the needs of Linux personal computing. While XessLite worksheet files
are upwardly compatible with the full Xess spreadsheet, XessLite features
differ from Xess as follows:
- XessLite is distributed for Linux only via download. It is a bounded
product which does not support the options available with full Xess.
- XessLite4 supports a maximum of 16,383 rows and
1,024 columns and 3 sheets. Xess 4.0 supports up to 10 million rows,
4096 columns, and 4095 sheets.
(Xess3 supports 32,767 rows and 4,096 columns.) Spreadsheet
files created with XessLite are upwardly compatible with Xess; however
files created by Xess and subsequently loaded into XessLite can result
in loss of data if data in stored in cells which exceeds the limits of
- XessLite does not support the Connections API extensions available with
- XessLite does not support the xsBasic macro add-in.
- XEssLite does not support Excel 97 and Excel 2000 spreadsheet files.
- XessLite does not support the following financial functions
available with Xess: @accrint, @accrintm, @coupdaybs, @coupdays, @coupdaysnc,
@coupncd, @coupnum, @couppcd, @cumipmt, @cumprinc, @db, @disc, @dollarde,
@dollarfr, @duration, @effect, @fvschedule, @intrate, @ipmt, @mduration,
@mirr, @nominal, @oddfprice, @oddfyield, @oddlprice, @oddlyield, @ppmt,
@price, @pricedisc, @pricemat, @received, @tbilleq, @tbillprice,
@tbillyield, @vdb, @xirr, @xnpv, @yield, @yielddisc, @yieldmat.
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121 Estes Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 USA