LibreOffice stalls while opening medium sized but complex XLSX. What can be done?

Dear openSUSE’ers

At work I have to deal sometimes with a particular Excel XLSX file that is produced beyond my control. This Excel file is large but not extremely so, but a bit complex (635 kb, 12 tables, 1 of them pivot, many columns that can be sorted and filtered according to its contents, links, etc). This file opens fine in Windows but stalls in LibreOffice Calc (see below for version info) in openSUSE Tumbleweed. I have to manually kill LibreOffice to get out.

I am not claiming it is a bug. Rather, I suspect that this particular way of building files is using MS Office custom settings and instructions that may be cumbersome for LibreOffice to sort out. My question here to you is where should I begin to look for things that can be done at the source that would allow me to open this kind of files in LibreOffice. This is having in mind that I could possibly communicate with the usual producer and ask for a certain feature to be changed or done in another way.

Thanks in advance

Version: 7.2.2.2 / LibreOffice Community
Build ID: 20(Build:2)
CPU threads: 16; OS: Linux 5.14; UI render: default; VCL: gtk3
Locale: sv-SE (en_US.utf8); UI: sv-SE
Calc: threaded

Over the years I’ve seen many reports of libreoffice failing to handle MS created xls/xlsx files correctly…

It would probably be better to raise a bug report upstream with libreoffice: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/

However, they would likely want a sample file that exhibits the problem.

Thank you for your answer, Paul. I would have a look at that site.

Try it with Leap and default LO.

Thank you. Good advice. But I will have to find Leap installation somewhere first :slight_smile:

Just to report progress on this issue, since this may be of interest for others. I was able to track down the problem to a column in the original file that uses some complicated construction inside a call to “hyperlink”, using customs formulae. I now know that this is where things can be changed at the origin. I only need to find how. As I supposed, this is not bug, but a conflict between LibreOffice and MS Excel specific things in a terribly complicated xlsx file.

Good to hear you’ve found the cause. :slight_smile:

Although you’re not regarding the issue as a bug per se, it would probably be beneficial to report the issue to libreoffice using their bugzilla ( https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/ ), especially if you are able to include a sample file that will enable them to reproduce the issue. The libreoffice developers are always interested in unexpected behavior, and may, at some point in the future, address the issue.

Thank you for your comment, Paul. Yes, you are right. I will explore more and see if I can build an example xlsx with the problem, as I cannot share the original file.

One more, and possibly last, update on this. I have now determined that the cause of the problem is some VisualBasic functions in the original file. As I said, the original file is complex. It has like three dozen built in custom VBA functions. Of these, two are used to build a link, and from these, at least one is now proved to be the cause of troubles at the start. I have replaced the functions by simpler links to cells and the problem disappears.

It seems that the problem is known and reported here: Bug 77722](https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=77722) - Excel file with VBA goes into an infinite error loop upon load

Which is known but unfortunately long lived.
Knowing the cause is a good thing. I am now in a position to communicate with the producer and ask for a change in how this is managed. Having that changed is another kind of discussion though :slight_smile:

Cheers!