ITProPortal reviews Apple’s Numbers for OS X: Notably faster and snappier than Excel

“Serious number-crunchers will prefer Excel, but Numbers is more than enough for home and small business users, and the new interactive charting is a major plus,” Edward Mendelson reports for ITProPortal. “Another major plus is Numbers’ cross-platform support that lets you use the same worksheet in OS X, iOS, and the web. And under OS X, Numbers feels notably faster and snappier than Excel.”

“However, not everything in Numbers is effortless or intuitive, and I had to spend some time exploring the screen before I found where some basic features had moved to,” Edward Mendelson reports for ITProPortal. “Nonetheless, this is the easiest and certainly the best-looking spreadsheet app on the Mac. You’ll need a very good reason to spend money on Excel when Apple is giving Numbers away free with every new Mac.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. What’s worse is people maintaining complex lists in Word, using variable spacing to make elements line up! I have to dump the contents into BBEdit and grep them into shape for Excel.

  1. I prefer Numbers over Excel. It seems easier to use. However, when you are crunching a large set of numbers (e.g. tens of thousands), Numbers is a dog. It is excruciatingly slow (almost unusable) even for simple items such as editing a label on a graph.

  2. I want to believe!

    Apple, please keep upgrading Numbers so I can eventually dump Excel altogether. Unfortunately, I still have to rely on Excel for a few specialized tasks.

    1. … tasks” that are keeping Excel around. The most-used tasks – even of the most eccentric users – can be handled by Numbers. Then there are the unusual tasks, those that could be simplified or those unique to a maker’s style or need, that require a feature not found in Numbers. Quite often, this is a job-security choice on the part of the form designer … “I can make this overly-fancy sheet but nobody else (here) can.”. Getting rid of this seldom-used “features” trimmed the size of the code needed for Numbers considerably without limiting the number of potential users significantly.

  3. I think Numbers is pretty good. I’m suspicious that many of the complaints that it’s not Excel come from people trying to use a spreadsheet as a programming language.

      1. “Most Excel users never enter a formula. They use Excel when they need a table.”, in Joel on Software item on “How Trello is different”. Full quote:

        The great horizontal killer applications are actually just fancy data structures.

        Spreadsheets are not just tools for doing “what-if” analysis. They provide a specific data structure: a table. Most Excel users never enter a formula. They use Excel when they need a table. The gridlines are the most important feature of Excel, not recalc.

        Word processors are not just tools for writing books, reports, and letters. They provide a specific data structure: lines of text which automatically wrap and split into pages.

        PowerPoint is not just a tool for making boring meetings. It provides a specific data structure: an array of full-screen images.

    1. A “PivotTable” is just a table data consolidation reordering & display function. Microsoft has trademarked the term to make sure no one can ever claim to have it.
      However there are ways to do the same kinds of consolidation & reordering in numbers ( some find the numbers method to be better, others claim it isn’t exactly like the pivot table, which is correct.

      As for “full compatibility” you would need to emulate all of the security flaws in excel (that make it one of the favorite targets for malware) and I don’t think anyone really wants that, n’est-ce-pas?

  4. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that you may need in Excel that Numbers cannot do, I have several spreadsheets that I use every day. One of them takes 29 seconds to open on a Mac Pro with Excel already open. It drives me up the wall. Ever so often I a take a look at converting it to Numbers and have not been able to get around the limitations.

  5. And there are a lot of things in Numbers that excel can’t do
    That is always the case with complex applications.

    More importantly excel is severely flawed in many areas owing to it’s backward compatibility (exact ally what you are talking about) I would want numbers to be just a clone of excel (you can have almost that (for free) in OpenOffice (an open source clone of excel) we certainly don’t need another.)

    1. Oops that was supposed to be a reply to Connell Allen
      I typo’d
      “I would want numbers to be just a clone of excel”
      Should be
      “I wouldn’t want numbers to be just a clone of excel”

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