What I like, what I miss

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I was a (lightweight) user of Lotus Improv 2.0, and now I’m a Quantrix beta tester. Hooray! A *sensible* spreadsheet program at last, and for a modern environment. I’m testing on Windows XP, and Quantrix adapts nicely to the XP look and feel, at least in most respects.

The fact that clicking on a non-input cell scrolls the formula pane to the relevant formula is *very* nice. It serves as an “Explain” feature that tells you why a number is what it is. If Improv did this, I don’t remember it.

I am very glad to see that Quantrix models are stored as gzipped XML. This will make it easy to construct them and extract things from them using XSLT and similar tools. Although it’s fairly easy to figure out the model, it would be nice to have a RELAX NG or W3C XML Schema definition of it as well.

What I miss most is Improv’s ability to infer patterns of item names. When I set up an item named 2003, doing Insert Item gives it a useless name like Year2 instead of correctly defaulting to 2004. I hope this will be fixed ASAP, as it makes creating sequences of items significantly harder.

Similarly, there seems to be no way to bulk-create items. If you pasted a string containing line breaks into an item name, Improv automatically split it up into multiple items and gave them each a single-line name. Q just throws away the line breaks. This means that given a list of items in some other document, each Q item must be created laboriously by hand.

Another irritant is that you can’t rearrange items by dragging and dropping. In particular, getting an item to be first in its category is *very* annoying: the only way I’ve found so far is to Cut it, Paste it on the current first item (which makes it the second item), then Cut the first item and Paste it onto the new first item (the one you just moved). This sucks big wind.


I was a heavy weight user of IMPROV, I ran a school accounts system using IMPROV for 5 years. I still have it loaded on my current computer. It was while looking nostagically at the latest IMPROV posts on the web that someone suggested QUANTRIX.

It looks like IMPROV and so I will try it.

I would have thought IBM would have murdered you for making this product.




Great Thread! If any other past users of Improv would like to contribute to this discussion.. please chime in! We monitor the forums closely and will use the discussion in this arena to prioritize future enhancements for Quantrix.

Regarding rearranging items, one other way to do this is by using the Edit Menu, there is a ‘move up’ and ‘move down’ menu choices when a item is selected.

You can also select a range of items and then sort them in ascending or descending order… again using the edit menu. This sort may be useful for sorting names in certain situations.



QA Manager


I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been using the Beta product for a couple of weeks now, and I know of no other software that compares to Quantrix at this point.

On what you miss, there’s another way to move items around. Put your mouse on the item you want to move, and then use the CTRL Arrow keys to move the item up and down the list. In some ways, it’s actually easier than dragging things around (and certainly much easier than cutting and pasting).

I agree with you on the category heading issue. It would be nice if it could increment years automatically instead of using the category tile name.