Excel "power" user...business application???

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Tom R, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Tom R macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2009
    Hi All...Just when the Apple store reps convinced me that MS Office Mac 2008 will take any MS Office Excel files from PC with no problems (other than Macros not working)...I did a search and found discussion here that may not be true????

    I use Excel extensively in business financial modeling and my Excel files get pretty large...say 30-40 tabs deep sometimes with intricate formula and formatting that I have developed over many years of doing this work. My Excel use is fairly basic...other than the depth of the spreadsheets and formulas, linking, etc.

    It seems to me that those that say it "works great"...may be somewhat limited Excel users???

    I want to move to a Mac but not sure I would bother if I need to use Windows 2007 and MS Office PC to be certain my exisiting spreadsheets are Excel "generic"...and can be transported back and forth between Mac and PC w/o issue. Example would be sending a spreadsheet in e-mail to a client who would open in a PC.

    As I followed this question of file "compatibilty" over the years I was excited by Office Mac 2008 when I was told that the files were now generic...other than macros???

    I would really appreciate real info from some Excel "power" users on what, if any, "issues" you have had when porting Excel files back and forth between PC Excel and now Office Mac Excel????? Are there other problems with file compatibility (excluding Macros)????
    I have always assumed that I would shift to a Mac when Excel files could be confidently and accurately transported back and forth with no "error"...formatting, formulas etc. I have been waiting since the days of the single piece Mac with no hard drive (ya I guess that tells you I am not a teenager!)...that still was one of my favorites even with the very small black and white screen.

    Do I still need to wait for next update of Excel Mac 2008...maybe 2-3 year away?????

    I appreciate comments from experienced complex Excel users...Thanks Tom R
  2. skripp macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2009
    Yes. Office still sucks for anything more advanced than SUM(xx:xx).
  3. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    Not sure if Excel 2008 for mac does macros. If you use macros, stick with PC I would say... TBC
  4. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    Excel 2008 does not support VBA (hence no macros). I had used 2004 at home and had exchanged some files with 2003 and for the most part went well (VBA in 2004 is based on VB5 which is the equivalent of XL 97). Formulas and data were no problem. I do not use 2008 (nor 2007) due to job changes in the last 2 years.

    As for file format, the files should be exchanged with no problems. Likewise functions, although there are some gotchas. The Data Analysis Toolpak is gone, but many of those have been incorporated into the functions, others not because they rely on VBA. Also, if you have any circular references in formulas that work fine in 2007, you may find trouble exchanging them with 2008.

    I think you can get a 30 day trial of 2008. Take a random sampling of your spreadsheets and see what happens.
  5. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Macros are a big issue to some, like me, and those are simply not on the Mac version. Hell, I can't even take my files to most Win computers and use them since mine is set up with more "stuff". And since the latest versions (2007, 2008) have all sorts of inter-operability with other Office programs, it is pretty easy to have something embedded in a Win.xlsx that a OSX.xlsx can't handle. I actually still use 2003/2004, so I don't have any anecdotes about 2007/2008.

    I think one of the next versions is due next year, maybe both Win and Mac.
  6. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Office for Mac 2010 is on the horizon, but I've not seen an official anticipated release date. It is supposed to restore VBA.
  7. Tom R thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2009
    I am OK w/o macros but need complete accuracy when moving Excel file from Excel Mac version to Excel PC version back and forth. I exchange e-mail files with clients reasonably often and need all formulas and formatting to be "fool proof". NO errors or corrections between platforms???

    I keep thinking we are getting close...but my reading in a search of these threads leaves me with the impression that you still have "issues" (even after Excel 2008 Mac) and cannot be certain what you transfer is going to be what you get when you open on the other platform...???

  8. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    I think you may be refering to Numbers, sadly.
  9. Tom R thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2009
    Only problem is I will not make to move to Mac unless/until I know the Excel files are FULLY interchangeable (w/o macros involved) between Mac and PC versions of Excel.

    That is why I am hoping to get significant feedback from those with similar requirements. Have to be some other business modelers out there...ie; with wide and deep (interlinked 30+ "tabs) spreadsheet use.

  10. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    You might want to contact Jim McGimpsey, who is a Microsoft MVP for Mac Office.
  11. PoetCSW macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2009
    Complex Excel

    I do statistical analyses for my research and have not had any issues with Excel 2008 sharing files. True, no macros, but the data are fine and so are the formulas. I use "database" (lousy term) functions to locate data in dozens of tabs for a top sheet that summarizes data.

    Not one issue.

    I move the data to SPSS for serious crunching, without a glitch. The results are the same, PC or Mac.

    Yes, I miss VBA. No, it hasn't ruined my life. I actually use some AppleScripts for tasks and it works fine. I grab data from some static Excel files, so VBA would make life better.

    I get data from MySQL queries, dump to Excel, then analyze in SPSS. The workbooks are up to two dozen tabs, various links between them.

    As I said, not a single difference in the numeric results. In the past, I also had issues with Excel on the Mac having a "smaller" (fewer columns or rows) sheet. No problems this year.
  12. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Well, as I mentioned, I don't use the latest versions, yet. But I've not had any problems related to functions. And I have some complex things going on. Both the 2007/2008 versions are more capable than mine, I doubt you'd see a decrease in capability of 2008 vs the 2004 version I have for Mac.

    3 dozen sheets, interlinked for financial models sounds pretty simple (in terms of Excel processing), actually. I'm assuming simple math functions and rate calculations? Some graphs? Should be fine. Going between sheets isn't an issue. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Make sure you switch the Mac version to the 1900 date system.

    There are comments around the web about color palettes not matching perfectly. But that could be true from one monitor to another, let alone different OSes.

    External links to other workbooks can be tricky. But that isn't a Win vs OSX issue, not entirely. Easiest just to avoid that on shared files, or ones that get sent outside of your office.
  13. Tom R thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2009
    Yes, you are correct. My spreadsheets are extremely formula intense with nearly all inter-linked...ie; you change one assumption and nearly all numbers change. But I agree...it is not technically complex...paticuarily since I never learned to use macros :( I do significant formatting on certain sheets for presentation purposes and use some graphs and Function formulas. It may be more accurate to say I have very large, integrated spreadsheets...but may not truly qualify as a "power user".

    I do, however, rely on my business modeling as a key part of my business practice for the last 10 years...and I do exchange files with client's regularily.

    From your comments, Excel 2008 Mac may exchange files nicely with Excel MS 2003 or 2007 (currently have 2003 but will go to 2007 when I get a new laptop).

    Thanks for the input...I see you are in Mpls...I have a home in Eden Prairie...Tom
  14. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Do not bother with Excel for Mac if you use anything even mildly intensive in it. It is slow like the old 386 and any old Windows machine, even loaded with spyware and viruses, will run circles around any super-duper Mac Pro running Excel 08.

    There are many reasons to get a Mac. Excel is NOT one of them.
  15. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    Tom, I do a lot of financial modelling with Excel on Office 2008 ( I am an Accountant) and exchange files with everyone else in the office that uses windows without problems, I always avoid external links on spreadsheets as they are easy to screw up, if you move the source file (so I can't comment if this as a real issue between OS's). I don't use Macro's and I tend to keep the file in excel 2003 format for maximum compatibility (most of the office is not using the latest version).

    Microsoft have released a service pack that has improved the speed of Excel 2008, but it is still noticeably slower than windows Excel if you have a lot of lookups and recalculating formula.
  16. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Even if a spreadsheet has many cells interlinked it will be fine between OS X/Windows. Besides VBA, the only things that really don't work between the two are charts and graphs.
  17. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816


    Nov 18, 2007
    I have some pretty complex spreadsheets that we exchange from Windows to Mac as well without issues. The date issue is real but, I think, only for new spreadsheets created on the Mac (solution). Ultimately you should update your template if you are creating new spreadsheets to share with Windows users. Spreadsheets created by Windows users for you should be ok (this option will be set already). Once you set this flag and save it as a template the problem goes away for good.

    Other than that the only issue is that Excel 2008 is more similar to a ~3 year old Windows version in appearance. The features (except those mentioned above) are there though).

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