Apps, Mac, Reviews

Reviewing Apple Numbers

Apple Numbers

Apple Numbers

Aren’t you glad that you don’t have to use a calculator and graph paper to crunch data? That is thanks to spreadsheet applications like Microsoft’s Excel and Apple Numbers. So which of the two is better for you?

I am an environmental scientist by trade, making spreadsheet apps vital to fulfilling my tasks. I am also a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) specialist and website designer, so I do value presenting and communicating in a smart and visually pleasing way. Microsoft Excel has been a necessity for my career. Recently, I have had the chance to use Apple’s Numbers. Both Excel and Numbers have impressed me. Below is some of my observations.

Functions And Formulas

Formulas are calculations that are made in Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers to process data.  Both Excel and Numbers are user-friendly enough for you to create and use formulas easily. Excel is more algebra-like in compiling formulas, and Numbers is more interactive when creating formulas.

Functions are preconfigured formulas stored in Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers to make our lives easier. Apple Numbers has over 250 functions, whereas, Microsoft Excel has 400 functions. This makes Excel more powerful, especially when working with large datasets and complex analyses.


Exporting and importing between Excel and Numbers has been made less frustrating. Both applications have similar common functions and formulas, making exporting from Numbers to Excel easier. Numbers has a built-in tool that facilitates exporting in Excel format, this converts each table in a Numbers file into a separate sheet in an Excel file.

However, importing Excel files into Numbers involves a bit more digital gymnastics. To lessen the headache, make sure that you save your Excel spreadsheet in a suitable format for Numbers. Compatibility issues make it worth your while to invest in Excel if you are in an environment that relies on statistics and has many Excel users already.

Representing Data

This is where I wish that Microsoft’s Excel was more like Apple’s Numbers. Excel is a powerful spreadsheet application, in fact, it is the industry standard. Sorry, fellow Apple-ites, this is a fact. Furthermore, Excel works very well and smartly supports MS Word and PowerPoint (e.g. updating your tables and graphs in Excel automatically updates them in MS Word). However, when it comes to presenting and representing your data and analyses, Excel comes second best to Numbers.

Numbers has beautifully designed graphs and charts to truly represent your work. You can design your chart in Numbers for your Keynote presentation. Additionally, the iWork Suite and ‘Toolbox for Keynote’ apps allows for the representation of information in stunning and applicable ways by using already designed visualizations and templates.


Honestly, Excel is the only app I would truly keep on using from Microsoft Office. However, this does not mean that I will remove Numbers from my Apple devices. The choice between Microsoft Excel and Apple’s Numbers really rests on what you need from a spreadsheet application. If you are crunching large datasets and your colleagues use Excel. Then get Excel – you won’t be cheated out of your money. On the other hand, if you want to represent your work in a visually attractive way, or you want to keep track of your personal and freelance business finances. Then invest in  Numbers. Excel and Numbers are both useful applications, and I look forward to their further development.

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