Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

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abuss368
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Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by abuss368 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:41 pm

As a new MacPro Laptop user, I am learning about the spreadsheet program "Numbers". I am very familiar with Microsoft Excel and use it all day long in my profession. What are Bogleheads thoughts on "Numbers" compared to Excel both positive and negative?

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by Mel Lindauer » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:17 pm

abuss368 wrote:As a new MacPro Laptop user, I am learning about the spreadsheet program "Numbers". I am very familiar with Microsoft Excel and use it all day long in my profession. What are Bogleheads thoughts on "Numbers" compared to Excel both positive and negative?

Best.
I tested a beta version and hated it. I use Excel and wouldn't change. You can run Excel on your Mac, so why would you consider changing when you already know Excel?
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jstat
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by jstat » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:26 pm

I switched to Numbers a while ago, didn't have any problem. I like that I can have it on both my phone and my laptop. I still use Excel on Windows, and occasionally on the Mac.

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Different

Post by davebarnes » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:33 pm

They are very different.

Excel:
long history
legacy support
macros and formulae
used by spreadsheet wizards everywhere

Numbers:
simpler
target audience = casual user
a pro will hate it because it does not do "xxx" which Excel does

If you are creating a simple spreadsheet for your personal use: Use Numbers
If your spreadsheet is work related and everyone who will receive it (after you export from Numbers to Excel) uses Excel, then use Excel.
If you are an Apple employee, then we have tracked you and you can expect a "visit" soon.
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by nisiprius » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:34 pm

I'm a certified Apple fanboy. I bought my first Mac in February, 1984. I have personally owned nothing but Macs ever since.

I use Microsoft Excel 2011 for the Mac. I used Microsoft Multiplan in 1985, upgraded to Excel when they did a Mac version, and have stuck with Excel, perhaps buying every other version. I have Numbers. In my opinion it's a cheesy offbrand spreadsheet--and not even as good as the spreadsheet in LibreOffice.

I believe it's, what is it now, $139.99 for the Home and Student edition of Microsoft Office. Bite the bullet, just get it.

I dislike Microsoft but I've always thought Excel was and is darn good--and it is so much of a defacto standard you are going to encounter nothing but irritation if you exchange spreadsheets with other people and are using anything else.

In short: Excel.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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nisiprius
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by nisiprius » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:49 pm

P.S. Quick test, just a reality check to see what is going to happen. The latest version of Numbers I have is Numbers '08. I am going to try to open the Simba Backtest spreadsheet we have here on the forum.

It took three minutes to open.

When it opened, it says "Some warnings occurred."

Image

And the graphs are more or less hash.

Image

when it should look like this:

Image

In short, compatibility of Numbers with Excel is not good enough--not if you want to look at other peoples' Excel spreadsheets.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by Mel Lindauer » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:54 pm

jstat wrote:I switched to Numbers a while ago, didn't have any problem. I like that I can have it on both my phone and my laptop. I still use Excel on Windows, and occasionally on the Mac.
You can run Excel on both. In fact, Microsoft is now giving away an Android and iPhone version for both phones and tablets. It's called Office Mobile. I just got an email notification about that from Microsoft yesterday.
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by gkaplan » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:58 pm

I learned spreadsheets on Lotus 123. I still think it is, or it least it was, better than Excel, even though I now use Excel, well Apache Open Office, actually.
Gordon

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Seriously ???

Post by davebarnes » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:01 pm

nisiprius wrote:P.S. Quick test, just a reality check to see what is going to happen. The latest version of Numbers I have is Numbers '08.
It is not 2008.
It is now 2015.
Try again with the latest version of Numbers (3.52) instead of a 7-year old version.
Seriously.
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by pondering » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:07 am

Excel is by far the leader in spreadsheet software, much more so than word or powerpoint are.

That being said, numbers is cheap, and much what Excel does.
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by BigFoot48 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:58 am

nisiprius wrote:P.S. Quick test, just a reality check to see what is going to happen. The latest version of Numbers I have is Numbers '08. I am going to try to open the Simba Backtest spreadsheet we have here on the forum.
I found the results of that test hilarious. Apple needs a warning label on it: "Caution: Attempting to open Excel spreadsheets may result in failure and embarrassment to Apple. Do not attempt." Okay, I do see an early version was used but I'm still laughing.
Retired | Two-time in top-10 in Bogleheads S&P500 contest; 12-time loser

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by terran » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:33 am

I've been quite happy with LibreOffice which is free and open source. It's very similar to excel -- the same formulas and tutorials usually work. It can also open/save excel files just fine.

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Re: Seriously ???

Post by nisiprius » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:53 am

davebarnes wrote:
nisiprius wrote:P.S. Quick test, just a reality check to see what is going to happen. The latest version of Numbers I have is Numbers '08.
It is not 2008.
It is now 2015.
Try again with the latest version of Numbers (3.52) instead of a 7-year old version.
Seriously.
You try it. I assume you have that version or you wouldn't be talking about it. You can download the spreadsheet here.. Please report the results. I think this is a good real-world test of whether Numbers is good enough if you need interoperability with Excel.

Seriously, I have never ever ever ever had satisfactory real-world experiences with different software products that claim to be cross-compatible. It's a sort of marketing joke. Apologists will say "well, it's 98% compatible if you don't use any fancy features." In the real world, it always seems that the people you are interchanging documents with actually use "fancy features"--often with no idea that they are "fancy." I am sure that the creators and maintainers of the Simba spreadsheet did not intentionally do anything to be incompatible with Numbers.
Last edited by nisiprius on Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by crg11 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:01 am

I've been playing a lot with spreadsheets lately (Google Sheets, Excel, and Numbers).

What I like about Numbers it is a lot easier to make a pretty, easy to read spreadsheet. The handy ability of having multiple tables on a single sheet is very neat. And for most of what I do, it's perfect.

What I haven't figured out yet to make Numbers work for me is some special formula to reference cell values in an entirely different file. I probably could do it with AppleScript, but haven't dug into that yet and I'm pretty sure that won't work when I view the file on an iPad or iPhone. Google Sheets makes this very easy using =IMPORTRANGE function and it works across any device I open the file on, even my iPhone. I like the organizing of having separate files for various things (one for investments, one for banking, etc) and then pulling it all together in summary files (net worth, tax calculations, etc). Numbers seems a bit clumsy to navigate when you have more than a few sheets in a spreadsheet.

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by SpringMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:22 am

I have been using OpenOffice by Appache which is similar to LibreOffice. It works on both platforms. I have tried Apple's numbers by saving the OpenOfice ods file to an xls file, then using numbers to open the xls file and saving back to numbers. In Apple numbers something as simple as File SaveAs is convoluted. There is Duplicate option under File. After using Duplicate a new file is created with "copy" embedded in the file name. Then the file can be renamed using File Rename. I have just scratched the surface with numbers, there is a learning curve. I worry a little about using OpenOffice or LibreOffice, they seem bloated, load slow and sometimes buggy but the price is certainly right.
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by abuss368 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:01 pm

Excellent thread thus far. I found many of the posts very helpful.

Thanks!
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by Toons » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:32 pm

terran wrote:I've been quite happy with LibreOffice which is free and open source. It's very similar to excel -- the same formulas and tutorials usually work. It can also open/save excel files just fine.
+1 Same here :happy
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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by aquifer » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:43 pm

Microsoft is a whole different company under the new CEO. They have recently released Office apps designed for iOS that are excellent. They have finally embraced the fact that they are a software company and they want their software on every device.

That being said, I went with Numbers some time back because I have a few simple spreadsheets I wanted to use almost daily, and it was clear that MS had no serious intention to release Excel for iOS at that time. Now that I've used Numbers for a long time, I like it a lot. Being able to put multiple tables on the same tab is very useful. On the other hand, I fully admit that I'd have gone with Excel if I could have. If you need to share your spreadsheets with Excel users, you will run into some compatibility issues with Numbers. Numbers works great for me, so I'll continue to use it because my needs are relatively simple.

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by DVMResident » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:57 pm

I've used both.

Numbers is easy and simple. If you're needs are simple, Numbers will be okay. It's functionally isn't much better than Google Docs spread sheets.

Excel is a full-featured product. If you have any advanced features, like random number generation or statistical plugins, you want Excel. The 2010 and 2013 versions are very well done. The only knocks against it in my book is it's expensive and graphing features are 'meh.

Haven't tired Open Office.

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by jkrm » Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:23 pm

I agree with many of the posts above. I have used Numbers for a long time. It is very simple and ideal for a quick spreadsheet. It makes the use of relative/absolute cell addressing very easy - there is a dropdown that appears in the formula as you type it. If you freeze the top row or column it will automatically apply names to cells. Overall formatting of spreadsheets can be a snap. I have a sheet with thousands of rows (checking account transactions going back over ten years) and it has no performance issues. I also have not had significant issues with importing Excel spreadsheets most of the time - it lacks a SUBTOTAL function so when there IS a problem, that's usually where it shows up. I have not tried importing the backtesting spreadsheet. Someday I may try importing it, or perhaps the Retiree Portfolio Model, just to see what happens.

All that said, if you intend to do really serious spreadsheet work, you probably will eventually need Excel. As far as I can tell, Numbers does not have many of the data manipulation capabilities of Excel - it's sorting is rather rudimentary, I don't think you can filter rows/columns, no grouping, no pivot tables. (Some of those may actually be there, and I haven't found them yet.) It has most Excel functions but some are missing, such as SUBTOTAL (that's one that I think really should be there). It seems to be improving in functionality over the years, but I don't care a lot for the interface changes Apple made in the latest version, which looks like an iPad application (intentionally, I believe).

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Re: Microsoft Excel vs. Apple Numbers

Post by Finn » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:09 pm

I think Excel is superior to Numbers, but, following up on Nisi's suggestion, I downloaded the spreadsheet using a MacAir, OS 10.10.2, Yosemite, and opened it with Numbers v. 3.5.2.

The download was complete in a matter of seconds.

The "warnings" were as follows:

Unsupported formulas were replaced by the last calculated value.
The font Calibri is unsupported in OS X. It was replaced by Trebuchet MS.
Unsupported conditional highlighting rules were removed.

The spreadsheet looked ok to me, and the graphs did as well. I'm not sure I know how to post an image, but here's a try:

Image

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