Switching from Excel to Numbers - who's done it?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by josh2007, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. josh2007, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015

    josh2007 macrumors member

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    #1
    I've been through them all: Lotus, Quattro, Symphony, Excel and now moving on to Pages. The only bug I've encountered in Pages so far is occasional strangeness when linking data between sheets.

    More problematic, however is migrating XL sheets into Pages. It just trashes the formulas. Turns formulas into absolute values. Is it me or Pages that is screwing up?
     
  2. maflynn, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    I'm confused how are you switching from a spreadsheet to a word processor? I'm missing something here :confused:
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #3
    You mean switching to Numbers for Mac from Excel?

    I use Numbers for the occasional light spreadsheet work and it is fine for that, but if you are a heavy Excel user and want to use Numbers to import/export any kind of complex Excel work at all, don't even bother trying because it will be a mess. Just stick with Excel.
     
  4. josh2007 thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    my bad. Numbers. Will edit thread title

    ----------

    Roger that. Microsoft still rules this roost.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    Ok, I thought I was missing some sort of integration or conversion.

    I tried switching from Excel to Numbers but found Numbers to be too lacking in functions, ease of use and general UI interactions.

    I'm back on Excel now.
     
  6. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    #6
    Same here. Numbers is far from Excel in functions.
     
  7. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    #7
    I use Numbers, Google Apps and LibreOffice at home. I use Excel at work. I prefer Numbers for usability but there are times I'm glad I still have access to a copy of Excel from time to time on my work-issued PC. I honestly believe I could get along without Excel but I've never really faced that reality. Lastly I have a couple of Windows instances sitting in virtualboxes should I ever need something Windowsy for home use. That hasn't happened in many many months now.

    I do agree that Microsoft rules the spreadsheet roost but I prefer Numbers with its limitations and quirks for my personal use.
     
  8. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000

    MyopicPaideia

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    #8
    I've actually done this, only using Excel on rare occasions for legacy and historical spreadsheets from before 2014.

    And yes, I am using the newest version of Numbers, I actually decided to make the switch when the new major version was released.

    It takes some getting used to, as Numbers looks at spreadsheeting in a different way. Numbers is object oriented, while Excel is not and is just a matrix of cells. In Numbers every table is a separate entity, and you can use this to your advantage when designing larger more complex spreadsheets. Each tab is just canvas where you can have several spreadsheets (tables) and other objects, like graphs, text boxes, graphics, etc. and not like Excel where the bottom layer is just one massive sheet.

    I've found alternatives to virtually every function I required from Excel, even pivot tables, and found that once I got used to how to think about a Numbers spreadsheet as opposed to a an Excel spreadsheet, Numbers has been a joy to use, a night and day experience from Excel.

    It feels like going back to the 90's or 80's when I have to open up an Excel file now, that is how far ahead Numbers is in fit and finish. This could be down to only seeing the Mac version...I admit to not even having used Windows in well over 12 months at this point.
     
  9. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

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    #9
    Sorry, but unless you just want a pretty graph for a small set of data, Numbers is hopeless.

    Mac Excel isn't even a patch on the Windows version, but it's light years ahead of Numbers in just about every way for manipulating lots of numbers. I could send you some spreadsheets that Numbers won't open, that Mac Excel almost grinds to halt with but Excel 2007 will spin cartwheels with!

    it should be called (Graph a few) Numbers :D
     
  10. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #10
    I think that you summed up the fundamental differences quite nicely.

    Back when I first started using iWork (09), I had heard that Numbers lacked the intermediate and advanced functions of Excel (like pivot tables). So I didn't invest the time to really learn how to exploit it. I later learned that it DOES offer pivot table-like functionality (but uses a different name to describe the capabilities).

    In general, iWork offers a different approach/mindset to document creation. I've invested the time to learn Keynote and Pages and understand the paradigm. That effort has paid great dividends as I am far more productive using Pages and Keynote than I was with Word and PowerPoint.

    You've inspired me to invest the time into Numbers with the hope of similar results. It might be easier now that I've got my thinking aligned with the iWork mindset. :)
     
  11. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #11
    OP, consider reading the Help documentation regarding which functions, formatting, and features do not translate when converting from Excel to Numbers - dozens of functions do not translate or even exist in Numbers. Also, in Numbers some functions have different names and how they're implemented/formatted also can differ. The Help documentation can guide you if you choose to port your workflow to Numbers.

    I have been using Excel since the late 80s, along with Lotus (for DOS and Windows), and can add DeltaGraph Pro and AppleWorks to that mix. I really, REALLY miss CricketGraph too...

    I'm sticking with Excel. I use both the Mac version and Windows 2013 version.

    I also completely disagree with the position offered by MyopicPaideia regarding Excel and its relation to Numbers. For my work, Access is the data container and, by design, Excel is a data processor - too many of the people I work with make that mistake, thinking that Excel is simply a repository for "numbers". I started calculating light rail runtimes and layouts in the early 90s, and performed advanced wastewater effluent analysis during the 90s, and mapped hundreds of millions of dollars of project budgets and expenditures, and cranked out thousands of statistical analyses for clients - all in Excel. Excel's very underutilized reporting features are unsurpassed by any other application like it, and that doesn't even address its extensibility in VB. Pivot tables in Excel are nice, but they're IMO only skimming the purpose and power of Excel. No way is Excel is going to be replaced by Numbers...

    What I haven't seen or read elsewhere regarding how Numbers offers in relation to Excel is that I see each "table" in Numbers as a "named range" on an Excel spreadsheet in a workbook. Apple took the complex, often unused "NAME" command and created a GUI-based object to define a group of data. There's more power to Numbers than most realize IMO - but, it will never replace Excel, and it's not meant to be a replacement for Excel. If Apple really got their act together, they'd get a perfect data translator for Excel and make Numbers a better data summary application for Excel to put Excel's reporting functions to shame...

    IMHO, you may find it's easier and more time-effective to start from scratch if you're considering Numbers.
     
  12. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000

    MyopicPaideia

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    #12
    This is a hugely misrepresentative post. While you are right that importing a large, complex Excel file into Numbers becomes a big mess, the exact same is true in the other direction.

    I have, for example, a file that is a native Numbers file, meaning it was originally created in Numbers, and did not begin life as an Excel file. It tracks balance sheet, income statement, and activity level data for every week of every month of every year beginning in 2009 for 6 different business units and over 100 past and present employees, and calculates a meriad of management KPI's on both a macro and micro level down to very small minutiae like activity levels and conversion rates per account manager per week, month, quarter, and year.

    This is a massive and complex file utilizing many advanced features, pivot table functionality, look up functionality, almost 1,000 individual tables, and nearly 50 separate graphical data representations in the form of different graphs in various formats.

    Try to import that Numbers file into any version of Excel and see where that gets you. Oh wait, Excel doesn't even have a function to import from Numbers...you have to export from Numbers to Excel...and it is UGLY!! Totally destroys the functionality and format of the file.

    What I'm saying is, your argument is fundamentally flawed because you're arguing that Numbers sucks because it can't import large complex Excel files properly.

    My point is Excel sucks even worse because it can't even import a simple one cell Numbers file. Numbers is far superior in that it can actually import and export Excel at all.

    I am at an advantage because in my professional position, I can dictate the platform from the top down. My company uses Numbers, Keynote, and Pages exclusively. Office is only on a few computers that need it for old files, like mine. Windows and Windows based PC's are bad memories here, and the amount of money we save on OS and software licenses is a very compelling added bonus.

    ----------

    Good post. If you are dependent upon any part of Office in your workflow, like Access as your database, then of course you are going to have problems and are probably better off using the integrated solution.

    Like you say, Numbers isn't meant to replace Excel as an alternative in an otherwise Office workflow, that would be a ridiculous assertion.

    Again, Like you say, if you are willing to start from scratch, and have your Excel files as a reference and back-up, Numbers can be a very fulfilling alternative, and in many ways superior exprierence.
     
  13. maflynn, Jan 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #13
    Excel doesn't have too import a product that is niche at best.

    I agree with the others, importing large/complex spreadsheets into Numbers is so problematic, its not worth it.

    I'd say any issues of getting a numbers spreadsheet into Excel is not excel's fault but Apple's in so far they made the export to excel poorly.

    Office is the industry standard, like it or not. If a product cannot handle those file formats, its not Microsoft's fault.

    The onus is on Apple for producing a product that is inferior to excel in many ways. If you want to call Numbers superior because it can actually import an excel spreadsheet more power, but it can't even do that well. When I import a spreadsheet into numbers I get a raft of errors and warnings.
     
  14. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #14
    Numbers is just a watered down Excel, nowhere near as good. I don't think I could do it.
     
  15. v3rlon macrumors 6502

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    #15
    "Numbers has pivot tables, they're just called something else" Really? and you couldn't mention what they are called? :)

    Excel is VERY powerful. Odds are it is more powerful than what you need. VBA makes it even more so. Then there are plugins, like for statistical functions, as an example.

    First of all, do you NEED something that you know Excel does and Numbers does not? If so, no need to worry about it because that decision is already made for you. At work, I have to use Excel. At home, I use Numbers, but my needs are generally pretty lightweight. One of the things I use a work a fair bit is "text to columns" because I have to import unformatted data from an ANCIENT application I am not aware of that function in Numbers.

    If you think Numbers will do the job, it is pretty easy to get started, and lord knows its cheaper than Excel. It makes some really pretty graphs, and sometimes you have to PRESENT those numbers to some people.
     
  16. skippymac macrumors 6502a

    skippymac

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    #16
    Excel is much more powerful than Numbers, but Numbers is in my opinion nicer to use. I use Numbers for simple personal stuff and Excel for everything else.

    It should be noted that whilst I have Office on my mac, I will not use it unless absolutely necessary. I'll use my PC where possible, Office for mac is just abysmal.
     
  17. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #17
    I think it will depend on how much heavy lifting you do with Excel. If you are doing simple spreadsheets that do not have complex formulas or any custom code (VBA), I think you will be ok.

    I use both but it depends on what I am doing. Quick down and dirty stuff, Numbers.
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    One frustrating aspect I have with Numbers is entering data or formulas. If you only have a few things to enter its ok, but entering a lot of data, it seems more cumbersome then excel, the same with formulas.
     
  19. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #19
    Ha! I was just about to post on this. I was working to recreate (not import) a fairly straight-forward Excel spreadsheet in Numbers and found it a bit cumbersome to enter formulas. It also seems like there was a bit of inconsistence in how it handled using the mouse for "intelligent" range selection.

    ... and then it was announced yesterday that LibreOffice 4.4 was released... with an icon set for OSX that isn't hideous. :)
     
  20. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    #20
    Absolutely agree with all the statements in the post.
     
  21. josh2007 thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    OP here. Had to go drop some $ for USB DVD drive on my rmbp. Installed MS Office and ain't looking back. I've been a CPA/CFO for 30 years. Even old Lotus kicks butt on Numbers.
     
  22. southernpaws macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Old thread, I know. Can you offer any help for someone looking for this pivot table functionality on Numbers?

    Thanks for any help you can offer
     
  23. Precision Gem macrumors 6502

    Precision Gem

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    #23
    I find that many people use Excel when they should be using either a proper database or writing a program in a language such as VB.net

    For my personal use, I totally use Numbers and find it makes a more attractive spreadsheet, one that I can use on my iPad and iPhone and meets all my needs.

    In my day job, we are using Windows 7 machines and Excel is the tool. There is nothing I do with Excel that I couldn't have done in Numbers instead, but I must work with Excel as Windows is the directions at work.
     
  24. niceandeasy macrumors member

    niceandeasy

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    #24
    I've never considered anything other than Excel but as I use it more on mobile and the OneDrive continues to let me down serving me old versions of documents I'm going to look into an alternative. Why do you keep switching?
     
  25. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000

    MyopicPaideia

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    #25
    I've basically used the approach explained in this post on Apple Support Communities.

    Another alternative is to export your numbers file as an XLS file and open it with Google Sheets, get the pivot table set up and the copy the results back into the numbers file...

    However, the SUMIF and SUMIFS functions combined with VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP have been more than sufficient for my financial profession needs.
     

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