Introducing CKEditor 4 Spreadsheets

Chris Spilka News / September 23, 2019

Introducing CKEditor 4 Spreadsheets

CKSource is a Handsontable tech partner and is also responsible for CKEditor, one of the most popular WYSIWYG rich text editors in use today. Their flagship product – CKEditor 4 – has been downloaded more than 25-million times, and is used by many millions more on a daily basis. One reason for its popularity is the use of plugins that extend the core features of the product. This allows for a very lean core product that users can customize according to their specific needs: adding features they need, without being burdened by features they don’t need.

Recently CKSource began working with us to create a plugin that would make it possible to add spreadsheets to documents. Although it is already possible to add tables to documents, these are only good for displaying static data at a time when there is a greater need for formulas and dynamically updating content. And this plugin – CKEditor 4 Spreadsheets – is now ready to take your documents to a new level by blending dynamic data and text, and begins rolling out in October 2019!

When tables are not enough

For more than two decades tables have been the default method for displaying data neatly within a document, a function they have performed admirably well. But tables only work well for static data that doesn’t change often. And the way in which many of CKEditor’s users now use the software requires something more. So, while the Spreadsheets plugin is not meant to replace tables, it is meant for use when tables are not enough; for when you need to:

  • Paste data from and to Excel
  • Sort columns and filter rows
  • Use formulas and conditional formatting 
  • Set data types for cells and columns
  • Resize and move columns or rows much as you would in Excel
  • Create dynamic cell references in your rich content
  • Customize the user experience using APIs
  • Instantly switch between the spreadsheet function and CKEditor’s native tables.

Working with us has allowed CKSource to create a plugin where all of the above is possible, but still retains a natural spreadsheet experience that most users are already familiar with. This allows for faster integration into existing workflows, without the need for training.

Our team and the team at CKSource are aware that these features are available through many cloud-based office suites and similar platforms. But we are also aware that many organizations are not willing to entrust the privacy, safety, or integrity of their data to third-parties. CKEditor 4 Spreadsheets, however, can be securely deployed behind a firewall, leaving you in control of the data security and integrity.

Creating living documents

What started out as a WYSIWYG rich text editor is now moving towards becoming a WYSIWYG interactive content editor, with the Spreadsheets plugin laying the foundation for what we and the CKSource team see as living documents. Through the use of smart blocks – such as the Spreadsheets plugin – CKEditor 4 is allowing users to transform static components into something resembling a powerful and dynamic app.

At first glance, the Spreadsheets plugin appears to offer features perfect for anyone operating in financial, auditing, engineering, technical, and science industries. And it does. But there are other areas and industries that will also benefit from the Spreadsheets plugin, such as:

  • Credit Scoring
  • Claims Management
  • Risk Scoring Apps
  • Professional Auditing
  • Team Collaboration
  • Project Management
  • Procurement Management
  • Research Management
  • Contract Management
  • Customer Communication Management
  • Education Management Software

How it works

A preview of the plugin in action

Our development roadmap

We believe that living documents and smart blocks are the future and that the combined power of a text editor and a spreadsheet – changing a rich text editor to an interactive content editor – is going to change the way you look at documents. And what is possible with the first release of the Spreadsheets plugin isn’t all that we see it is capable of, with our development roadmap including the following:

  • An enhanced UI, with better support for formulas being used inside the text editor 
  • Support for multiple worksheets
  • Data connected from many different sources through APIs
  • Drag & drop data files, with support for XLS, XLSX, CSV, ODS and more
  • Additional integrations with cloud service providers.

And as with any project we work on, we also intend listening to what you – our users – have to say: what features and integrations you would benefit from.

Be the first to use CKEditor Spreadsheets

CKEditor 4 Spreadsheets will be rolled out in October 2019, and we’ve been inviting early users to try it out as soon as it’s available! If you would like to join them, register here today.