Apple’s Numbers 5 for Mac: Inching closer to being a more full-featured spreadsheet app

“Numbers for Mac has always occupied an awkward position,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “It’s not powerful enough to replace Excel or Google Sheets for many business purposes, and it’s designed partly to be an interaction, quantitative-information presentation tool.”

“However, Apple keeps pushing forward, and Numbers 5 for Mac has only a single significant change that Apple mostly underplayed,” Fleishman writes. “The big macOS change is relatively boring but very practical: the ability to import field-based data exports from databases, apps, and web services.”

Fleishman writes, “Numbers 5 for Mac advances the app, making it more useful for more purposes with less effort, but it’s still a shadow of full-feature business spreadsheet programs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For relatively simple spreadsheets (which is all we do with spreadsheets; mainly budgets and making pretty charts and graphs), Numbers has long been our go-to app.

Apple’s iWork update brings drawing, book creation and more to Pages, Numbers and Keynote – March 27, 2018


    1. really dumb geek article, I run circles around the vast majority of excel users because excel is so clumsy, and most only want flat spreadsheets for contacts and routine tasks anyway

    2. I take a look at Numbers every few years, but can’t justify dropping Excel, although I’d like to. After 33 years of development (I’ve been using it since 1999 after dumping MSWorks), it still has stability/reliability problems.

    1. Same here. I don’t need to use spreadsheets often enough to put in the effort to really learn how to use them well. Numbers has served me very well and is easy to understand. I get good results without much effort, which is exactly what I expect from Apple.

      In many cases, there is a substantial overlap between databases ( such as FileMaker Pro ) and spreadsheets. I tend to do many things with FMP which others would use spreadsheets for. I look forward to exploring ways of importing FMP data into Numbers. The ways I’ve tried it before now have been rather unsatisfactory.

  1. Apple iWork just doesn’t have the features I need – wish it did.

    Pages just doesn’t do mail merge very well at all. Pages could really benefit from a mail merge function that worked both with printers and email.

    For example, say I need to send an announcement to students who have passed econ 525 and have had managerial economics. Mail merge is ideal for this – Microsoft Works 98 could filter the list and create mailing labels. Why can’t Pages twenty years later?

    Another irritant – Pages never remembers my window settings. I have to resize and drag the window every time I use the App. Apple could really improve how windows are handled on the Mac.

    I wish I could option click on the Pages icon and click a check box – Remember window size and position.

    1. I think iWork has at least as good collaboration, if not better. I would argue that collaboration goes to MS Office from the perspective of document compatibility in business.

      1. Google beats iWork on collaboration in terms of both how easy it’s going to be to work with others outside of, or adverse to, the Apple ecosystem and in terms compatibility with data sets and I/O.

        MS Office may be more compatible in terms of what file formats most businesses use, but in terms of real-time collaboration if you want to publish a document that can be shared and edited by anyone using any platform with just about any data set, Google Apps works best.

        Again, these are variables with different priorities. If you need to collaborate, but simple/pretty is of top concern, then iWork may be better. If you’re looking for collaboration, but absolute robustness and business environment compatibility is of higher concern, MS Office may be better. But there’s a reason why so many people are using Google Apps for real-time collaboration, and the mere fact that it’s so broadly popular is part of the reason why in of itself.

  2. Pages is still just Words and will be until it allows for page layout. To call it Pages is highly deceptive. The assumption is that it’s page layout; the truth is it isn’t. Perhaps they should call it Page.

  3. If you can’t stand MS and Excel then use Open Office. Apple has proven time and again it will not reliably support its own software products, and I stopped using them.

  4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. With all of Apple’s resources, inching closer to the gold standard is pathetic. They should OWN IT.

    Many others have said it before and count a few here. Without “pivot tables” you will always be relegated to also ran status and pro lite. Like a free version of an unpaid app.

    For how many years now? Sheesh …

      1. Most wonderful post and I do remember Trapeze. I also used Delta Graph, WordPerect and a host of hot applications at the time. Thanks for the legacy memories.

        Now get your Irish arse off your horse and in gear and learn about “pivot table” dominance … 😉

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