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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:18 PM   #1
davenz
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Heavy Excel Users?

I currently in the market for a new notebook. I would really like a mac, and would buy one in a second if it were not for one thing. Excel. I do use it a lot for my job, and would often need to do some work from home.

I don't think it is really worth buying a windows machine all because of one piece of software. I work in insurance so tend to use a lot of macros/VBA, pivots tables, statistical formulas ect. I know excel 2011 on mac is not too bad but how much am I really giving up? Would it be fully compatible? and will I be able to change the shortcuts so they are the same as windows (if I use a windows keyboard). I will be working on a windows machine at work so it needs to be full compatible.

Would I be better to just use bootcamp/VmWare when using excel?

I much prefer OSX compared to windows as I am used to it for everything else.

Any thoughts from other heavy spreadsheet users?
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:21 PM   #2
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I know excel 2011 on mac is not too bad but how much am I really giving up? Would it be fully compatible? and will I be able to change the shortcuts so they are the same as windows (if I use a windows keyboard).
The keyboard shortcuts will be a bit different on Excel 2011, but you should have full compatibility with Excel for Windows.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 12:43 AM   #3
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When I switched to the Mac over a year ago, I started using Office for Mac 2011. I have a number of comp,ex spreadsheets with extensive formulas, pivot tables, and graphs. Have not found a single problem yet. I don't have any VBA code.

I use the Mac shortcuts since I rarely use Windows anymore.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 05:17 AM   #4
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I think Excel for Mac is not as polished, performance wise. See e.g. recent threads http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1510979 and http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1071615. However, if you are a heavy user I don't think you will have any problems avoiding those performance pitfalls.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 06:28 AM   #5
JoelBC
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I too work in the insurance industry and am a heavy user of Excel...I too have made the move from Windows to OS X as have a number of my colleagues who have a similar move...in speaking with them the consensus was to use a VM and to use Excel for Windows which I am doing without any issues or problems...in the end, this was likely the right decision [at least for me] given that I also use other financial modelling software for which there is no OS X equivalent.

I hope this helps.


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Old Jan 3, 2013, 07:34 AM   #6
James Craner
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I agree with Joel, while Microsoft have done an excellent job with cross compatibility in Microsoft Excel 2011 for Mac - with Excel for Windows 2010, unfortunately the calculation engine in the mac version leaves a lot to be desired. Complex finance models that work fine in the Windows Version of Excel can be seen recalculating in the Mac version. Running Excel for Windows in a VM (Virtual Machine) like Parallels may be the best approach.

Parallels has a useful Coherence Mode, which hides the Windows desktop while displaying Windows applications. Windows still runs in the background, but is hidden from view. Windows applications appear in the Mac Dock, letting you switch between them without using the Windows interface.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 07:45 AM   #7
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In supporting Macs in a corporate environment, the largest complaint is the performance in larger spreadsheets. VBA may also be an issue. The BEST suggestion for macro and scripting compatibility is to do as the others suggested, run a VM with Office 2010 installed in it. With the right hardware configuration it will be smooth as can be.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelBC View Post
in speaking with them the consensus was to use a VM and to use Excel for Windows
I can concur with that. I work in banking and have too much reliance on other enterprise software to get away with a complete break from Windows but then again the little annoyances of working via remote desktop were not reason enough not to own a Mac at home
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:45 AM   #9
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I'm a heavy Excel (and Access) user and I've found compatibility with Excel for Mac to be fine, almost transparent. However, as noted by an earlier poster, there is a performance difference. Excel for Mac is much slower and missing a few of the key keyboard shortcuts I use every day -like F2 to edit a cell, ALT + to total a column of numbers, etc. When I really need to crank, I honestly use the actual windows version via Parallels as I also have this loaded on my Mac. I like the menu bar on the Mac version (it also has the newer "ribbon"), but for productivity purposes I need the windows version of Excel. Also, macros and VBA are hosted by the windows version for automation techniques.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:39 AM   #10
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I would....

suggest you to go with the route VM-Windows or Bootcamp-Windows. I am also a heavy user of Excel in engineering calculations.


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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:49 AM   #11
ToomeyND
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I haven't had a compatibility issue. However, all of the shortcuts that make excel a breeze on windows are not as apparent on the Mac. This really slows me down to the point that I'll just go back to my work (windows) laptop if I need to be on excel extensively. I've never put in the time to learn the Mac shortcuts, I guess....
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:05 PM   #12
davenz
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VM/Parallels it is. Do you think 2012 MBA i5 8GB ram will suffice to run a virtual machine smoothly?
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:08 PM   #13
poobear
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VM/Parallels it is. Do you think 2012 MBA i5 8GB ram will suffice to run a virtual machine smoothly?
That's more than enough.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:10 PM   #14
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VM/Parallels it is. Do you think 2012 MBA i5 8GB ram will suffice to run a virtual machine smoothly?
Good decision.

Also, Office for Mac doesn't have Access...that was a deal breaker for me and why I run Office 2010 inside a Win7 VM.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:18 PM   #15
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heavy excel user here, too

Quote:
Originally Posted by davenz View Post
VM/Parallels it is. Do you think 2012 MBA i5 8GB ram will suffice to run a virtual machine smoothly?
I work in banking/private equity and am a heavy user of windows excel despite being a mac user since 2001. Office for Mac never satisfied my needs since I would need to relearn all of my shortcuts and for a while macros didn't work.

Fast forward to today and I have the maxed out 2012 MBA and run excel via VMWare Fusion 5 (in its own space). Performance is as good as my official work laptop which pretty much never get used. There will be a few small tweaks you need to make (e.g. disabling ctrl-arrows for changing spaces in mission control in order to move around in cells more effectively, or remapping page-up/page down commands to make navigating worksheets more manageable).

Overall it is a great setup and I am sure you will be find running it in either VMWare or Parallels. I've avoided using bootcamp for the simple reason that I don't need the highest levels of performance and prefer using windows in a VM in its own space so that I can do my browsing, etc on the mac side and MS Office work on the PC side.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:23 PM   #16
James Craner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davenz View Post
VM/Parallels it is. Do you think 2012 MBA i5 8GB ram will suffice to run a virtual machine smoothly?
Yep, I used to run it with just 4GB Ram and it worked fine, 8GB should be no problem.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:25 PM   #17
JoelBC
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VM/Parallels it is. Do you think 2012 MBA i5 8GB ram will suffice to run a virtual machine smoothly?
Yes, this will not be a problem as I am running it on a 2012 MBA with 8GB and an i7 and I can tell you that I notice no difference between its performance on my MBA compared to my Windows laptop.


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Old Jan 10, 2013, 10:52 PM   #18
davenz
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For those of you using parallels...

Can you have excel in the dock, and then you launch it it will open it in windows in another space?

basically using windows without really realising.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 11:09 PM   #19
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VM/Parallels it is. Do you think 2012 MBA i5 8GB ram will suffice to run a virtual machine smoothly?
Absolutely... will run like a dream.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by davenz View Post
For those of you using parallels...

Can you have excel in the dock, and then you launch it it will open it in windows in another space?

basically using windows without really realising.
Yes, as long as you launch Excel, when you minimize it it remains in the dock. There will be an Excel icon in the dock with two parallel lines over it letting you know its a virtualized app. Can copy and paste into Mac apps without an issue.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 02:40 AM   #20
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I am in engineering and a heavy Excel user, light/moderate with VBA. I find Excel for Mac to slow me down considerably versus the Windows equivalent. This is not from a features perspective, but rather a work flow perspective. Mac Excel does not have the auto-fill option like in Windows (well it does but it gives you a dropdown of item which requires mousing or down-arrowing to your choice), furthermore loading of spreadsheets is a little slower and in some cases the VBA code does not translate.

I do not recommend doing heavy Excel workflow on Mac Excel. Some people tend to disagree with me as I have been vocal about this over the years here on MR Forums but I still have not budged on my opinion.

Mac Excel is definitely worse than Win Excel.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 09:46 AM   #21
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That's more than enough.
This is the set up I use and the MS Office Suite works well. Coherence mode is very cool.

Office for Mac is a poor version of its Windows' counterpart.
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Old Jul 25, 2013, 01:29 AM   #22
prchohan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfearth View Post
I work in banking/private equity and am a heavy user of windows excel despite being a mac user since 2001. Office for Mac never satisfied my needs since I would need to relearn all of my shortcuts and for a while macros didn't work.

Fast forward to today and I have the maxed out 2012 MBA and run excel via VMWare Fusion 5 (in its own space). Performance is as good as my official work laptop which pretty much never get used. There will be a few small tweaks you need to make (e.g. disabling ctrl-arrows for changing spaces in mission control in order to move around in cells more effectively, or remapping page-up/page down commands to make navigating worksheets more manageable).

Overall it is a great setup and I am sure you will be find running it in either VMWare or Parallels. I've avoided using bootcamp for the simple reason that I don't need the highest levels of performance and prefer using windows in a VM in its own space so that I can do my browsing, etc on the mac side and MS Office work on the PC side.
Surfearth, I found your post really helpful. Can you please elaborate on this part? "(e.g. disabling ctrl-arrows for changing spaces in mission control in order to move around in cells more effectively, or remapping page-up/page down commands to make navigating worksheets more manageable)." Where do you disable ctrl-arrows and how do you remap page-up / page-down commands? Home/End/PgUp/PgDn are pretty much the only commands holding me off since I am a heavy Excel user as well. Appreciate your help. Thanks.
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Old Jul 25, 2013, 01:18 PM   #23
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I've used Excel (O4M 2004) for years on OSX Leopard. It works fine for me, but I only weigh in at about 170 pounds.
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 12:37 AM   #24
wiz329
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Originally Posted by GimmeSlack12 View Post
I am in engineering and a heavy Excel user, light/moderate with VBA. I find Excel for Mac to slow me down considerably versus the Windows equivalent. This is not from a features perspective, but rather a work flow perspective. Mac Excel does not have the auto-fill option like in Windows (well it does but it gives you a dropdown of item which requires mousing or down-arrowing to your choice), furthermore loading of spreadsheets is a little slower and in some cases the VBA code does not translate.

I do not recommend doing heavy Excel workflow on Mac Excel. Some people tend to disagree with me as I have been vocal about this over the years here on MR Forums but I still have not budged on my opinion.

Mac Excel is definitely worse than Win Excel.
I second this. I found this thread as I was searching on experiences with virtualizing the windows version of Excel in Parallels.

My experiences do not seem to match up with the majority of those here, and I'm not sure why.

I use Excel very heavily (lots of formulas, lots of vlookups, and lots of VBA), and I find the Mac 2011 version of excel to be utterly unusable for any serious excel work. The current file I'm working on is pretty much useless on my desktop (hardware isn't an issue here -- running with 16GB of RAM, i5 4670k, and SSD). Inserting any columns practically crashes the program, and scrolling through VBA modules is nigh impossible. It is not smooth in the least. It freezes up and I can't tell where I'm at since there is such a lag.

Yesterday, I was trying to grab some code to share with someone. Rather than booting up in windows to grab the code, I just opened up the file in OS X. Not only did it take much longer to open, but it probably took 5 minutes to successfully navigate to the proper module and procedure and copy the right code into text edit. The scrolling was beyond laggy. I when I would move the mouse, it would take 5+ seconds to register on the screen.

Thus, while I certainly hope the experience for others is not similar, Excel for Mac 2011 is unusable as a day-to-day power user.

I thought that virtualizing might be an option, but I'm not even satisfied with that (using it on a late 2013 rMBP). That little bit of lag bothers me too much.

Thus -- the only solution that has worked for me has been dual booting into Windows for doing serious excel work. For me, this is not a problem or a serious inconvenience. When I'm trying to get work done, I don't need to be switching back and forth frequently.
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 05:24 AM   #25
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Like most people here I've resorted to using Excel in a Windows VM because the performance of Excel 2011 is dreadful. Get a few 1000 rows in there and try scrolling through them, that will kill Excel 2011 every time. There's got to be something considerably wrong for Excel to run faster in a VM than it does as a native OX X app. And that's without doing any heavy formulas.

I've looked at the alternatives, Libre Office, Numbers and they just don't cut it. The only hope of not having to run Excel inside a VM is that the next release will be better now Microsoft are concentrating on applications and services as part of their corporate strategy.
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