Feature: Insert field names in formulas easily

August 11, 2023 update: Parenthesis matching and multi-line formulas have now been added to Calcapp.

Original text: With our upcoming release of Calcapp Creator, editing formulas will become more convenient. In particular, you will be able to insert the names of your fields simply by clicking on them while editing formulas. When you’ve reached a spot in your formula where it makes sense to enter the name of a field (such as after you’ve typed “+” or the name of a function plus an opening parenthesis), your fields will turn purple to indicate that you can click them to insert their names at the caret position. If you’re used to spreadsheets, this should be familiar.

Inserting field names easily in formulas

Future improvements

This feature notwithstanding, we have our work cut out for us to improve formula editing. This is a short list of things we would like to improve:

  • Parenthesis matching. When entering parentheses, it can be difficult to match a closing parenthesis with its opening parenthesis. By highlighting the matching parenthesis visually, this process becomes much easier.

  • Multi-line formulas. Formulas can become long and unwieldy and displaying them on multiple lines can be helpful.

  • Nested IF functions. Formulas using multiple nested IF functions are particularly hard to read. We would like to experiment with using indentation to convey nesting depth, meaning that every new nested IF function would be displayed on its own indented line.

  • Colored field references. To make it easier to visualize which fields are being referenced, field names in formulas could be displayed with a special color specific to that field, with the field itself being displayed with that very color. That would make it easy to match the field reference with the field itself.

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