If you wanted to use MS products, you can get a live connection to a shapefile DBF using Excel, but be warned: it can be quite laggy.
IMPORTANT: Your shapefile filename can only be 18 characters long using this method.
I've only tested this in Office 365.
- Go to Data > Get Data > From other sources > From ODBC
- Select dBASE Files as the DSN (Data source name) - it should be there by default
- Under Advanced Options > Connection string, paste the directory path of your dbf after
dbq=, like so - make sure you include the terminal backslash in Windows:
- Select Default or Custom for authentication, leave the credentials blank and click Connect
- Expand the folder and you will see your dbfs as a table that you can then load and manipulate using Power Query. If you get some weird error message chances are your dbf file name is too long, probably.
The power of this is you can rename the column names in this display, replace values, change column order, sort, etc. without touching any of the original data, much like a SQL VIEW would let you do.
If your original data has changed, you can refresh the table by selecting any cell and pressing Alt-F5. Or set it to do a background refresh by clicking on the table, going to Design > External Table Data > arrow button under Refresh > Connection Properties and setting a refresh interval:
Really, though, spatialite or better yet (if possible) Postgres would be the better way to store your data for faster retrieval and reporting.. Like DPSSpatial suggested in the comment: Visualizing PostGIS data in LibreOffice