Drawing borders efficiently

Kazuo Iwama, Eiji Miyano, Hirotaka Ono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A spreadsheet, especially MS Excel, is probably one of the most popular software applications for personal-computer users and gives us convenient and user-friendly tools for drawing tables. Using spreadsheets, we often wish to draw several vertical and horizontal black lines on selective gridlines to enhance the readability of our spreadsheet. Such situations we frequently encounter are formulated as the Border Drawing Problem (BDP). Given a layout of black line segments, we study how to draw it efficiently from an algorithmic view point, by using a set of border styles and investigate its complexity. (i) We first define a formal model based on MS Excel, under which the drawability and the efficiency of border styles are discussed, and then (ii) show that unfortunately the problem is \mathcal{NP} -hard for the set of the Excel border styles and for any reasonable subset of the styles. Moreover, in order to provide potentially more efficient drawing, (iii) we propose a new compact set of border styles and show a necessary and sufficient condition of its drawability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-244
Number of pages15
JournalTheory of Computing Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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