A user guide to 5 Mac Numbers’ handiest functions
Numbers is a spreadsheet app developed by Apple. It lets you create customized spreadsheets using powerful built-in templates, formulas, and functions.
Numbers is Apple's spreadsheet software that's easy on the eye but also surprisingly powerful. For those that need a slick and easier to use spreadsheet tool than Excel, then Numbers may fit the bill.
However, don't expect Microsoft Excel levels of number crunching power. Although Numbers will be easier to use for many people, it doesn't possess the macro processing power and features of its Microsoft rival. The advantage however is that its fully integrated with OS X, iCloud and other Apple apps and of course, it looks a hell of a lot better.
The interface has been is well organized and easy to use to anyone familiar with Microsoft Office will recognize the ribbon interface and has been given a fresh new look for the latest release. There isn't much interface customization possible though compared to Excel. However, the new simplified toolbar gives you quicker access to shapes, media, tables, charts, and sharing options.
Numbers helps speed-up things with formula suggestions as soon as you start typing and you can add your favorite functions to Quick Calculations for instant results. It's easier to manage multiple spreadsheets too with the tabbed spreadsheet layout, making cycling through them easier. There are also lots of impressive templates for home budgeting, mortgage calculations, checklists and more.
Apple has put a lot of focus on sharing in this release, enabling you to share work via Mail, Messages, Twitter and Facebook. Also, anyone with the link to a spreadsheet will always have access to it and be able to edit it in iCloud with Numbers for iCloud. Apple has also unified working with Numbers between OS X and iOS, with a new unified file format that works seamlessly on both.
The way you can present your data in general has also been enhanced with new tools to brighten up data with a new interactive column, bar, scatter, and bubble charts.
Numbers isn't as intimidating for first time users as Excel and has lots of tables and formula suggestions to help do the hard work for you. There are also sliders related to formulas as well that allow you to speculate what would happen if certain values were changed either way.
Moving charts and tables simply by dragging and dropping them is easy and you can even add photos to spreadsheets. Charts can be displayed in 2D and 3D although if you import and export to Excel, the formatting may not come out exactly as you intended.
Numbers is a glossy and elegant number crunching application that doesn't rival Excel for most business needs but certainly looks better and is easier to use for the average user.
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