When working with Apache OpenOffice Calc, you can limit the amount of characters in certain cells by setting the validity criteria. Used in conjunction with a custom error alert message, you can specify a character limit and display a message if this limit is exceeded. Use the validation feature to ensure that other people stick to the guidelines that you have specified for entering information or to remind yourself of character limits you imposed on certain cells.

Step 1

Open Apache OpenOffice, and then select "Spreadsheet" from the splash screen to create a new document or "Open" to select a previously created spreadsheet file.

Step 2

Click the cell for which you want to limit the amount of characters, click "Data" from the menu bar, and then select "Validity" to open the Validity window.

Step 3

Click the "Criteria" tab, and then select "Text length" from the "Allow" drop-down list.

Step 4

Select "less than or equal to" from the "Data" drop-down list, and then type the character limit you want to impose in the Maximum input box.

Step 5

Click the "Input Help" tab, and then click the "Show input help when cell is selected" check box.

Step 6

Type "Attention" or "Warning" in the title field, and then type a reminder, such as "This cell has a 20 character limit," in the Input Help field. The input help message is displayed when the cell is clicked to inform the user of the character limit.

Step 7

Click the "Error Alert" tab, and then click the check box next to "Show error message when invalid values are entered."

Step 8

Select "Stop" from the "Action" drop down list, and then type an error message, such as "You have exceeded the character limit for this cell," in the Error Message input box. The error message is displayed if the user disregards the reminder message and exceeds the character limit you imposed.

Step 9

Click "OK" to save the changes that you have made.