I have a list of 105 files. I need to analyze each file and for each file make a list of certain commands found in the file.

Thus to each file they correspond several commands.

What software do you recommend to analyze this data?

In classic spreadsheets such as LibreOffice Calc (and maybe Google Sheets), it is possible to make a cell (for the filename) which spans several rows (as to each file they correspond several commands), but it is probably not the way they are used to be used.

I ask for software which allows WYSIWYG edition of command data grouped by files, to each file corresponding a few commands (like HTML rowspan but WYSIWYG).

I use Debian Linux.

  • Kind of unclear what you want. Do you want a spreadsheet like LibreOffice Calc (or Google Sheets) with rowspan? Do you want an HTML editor which supports table with rowspan in a WYSIWYG environment? If not an HTML editor, what do you want as output?
    – holroy
    Aug 12, 2015 at 17:50
  • I just need to write notes for my personal use and use of my direct boss. It is not essential which fileformat the notes are saved (HTML, .xsl, etc.) Currently the best solution I found are Google Sheets. But there may be a better solution
    – porton
    Aug 12, 2015 at 18:06
  • What is that you don't like with google sheets, since you want something better? Please describe, so that we can give better advice.
    – holroy
    Aug 12, 2015 at 18:07
  • Does the file share commands, or is this to locate which file each command resides in? Are we talking about source code files, or some other specific kind of files?
    – holroy
    Aug 12, 2015 at 18:15
  • I don't know what is "share commands". Every command belongs to a file. In fact, I search in Perl files certain SELECT SQL statements
    – porton
    Aug 12, 2015 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


If I understand you correctly you want to manually gather information from a lot of files. The files are primarily Perl files, and you are looking for SELECT statements, and possibly other stuff.

The way I see it you have three options to organise the gathered information:

  • Using a spreadsheet – Today you have a rowspan for each file, and then separate lines for each item of interest. I would consider repeating the filename on each line, as that allows for using autofilter (see filter your datawhen you are searching for something specific.

    You could also hide the name if it bugs you using conditional formatting like described in Google Spreadsheets conditional formatting based on another cell's content, i.e. hide current cell if cell above is equal to this one (read: the same file name)

  • Using a mindmap – Another option could be to use a mindmap (Freemind, MindMap for Chrome, XMind, Sketchboard.io, ...), where the first level nodes are the filenames, and then you list each command/item belong to that filename beneath the filename node. This allows for collapsing/expanding files which are interesting quite easily, and it is relatively easy to extend/update information. Given the right mindmapper you could then easily search, tag, and change color, and other fancy stuff.

  • Search when needed – Instead of writing documentation which gets outdated before you finish, a common saying is to use the source. Possibly you are better of getting a visual grep tool, so you search for whatever information you need, when you need it.

Out of these three options, I believe I would (based on current information) either stay with the spreadsheet, or go for a mindmap solution. Which mindmap kind of depends on preferences and pricing.


Why not use a python script to generate the whole thing into a html table.

Hint, use collections.defaultdict to count occurrences.

  • The whole issue is to input data with minimum efforts. A Python script would not help to input the data
    – porton
    Aug 12, 2015 at 18:34
  • @porton You cannot get much more minimal effort than run a python script that opens a web browser with the results - you did say you were analyzing 250 files not generating them! Aug 12, 2015 at 18:38
  • It seems that you misunderstand. I need just to write a long list of files with notes which I add about each file. No automated analyzing at this stage
    – porton
    Aug 12, 2015 at 19:01
  • @porton - Possibly some clarification of the question is in order - it reads as if you are generating a list of which commands from a given set are used in each file. Aug 12, 2015 at 19:18

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