Using Excel on a Macbook

Fletcher Riehl's Profile

Using Excel On A MacBook

Does anyone use Excel on a Macbook Pro? I'm an old pro on PCs, but I'm tired of carrying around two computers or running Windows on my Mac. Has anyone had success building financial models on a Mac OS running Excel? Are there any great macros/custom shortcut setup that has worked well?


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I think you could partition a portion of your Mac to run programs like Excel in a Windows environment.

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Fletcher, Here's a treasure trove of free excel spreadsheets, free accounting spreadsheets, plus all kinds of other excel resources, such as tests, tutorials and more:

Plus, this free "Excel Shortcuts Cheat Sheet"


Best... Sarah

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Although I haven't used Excel on a Mac for years, I think you should be fine with Mac Excel. Here's why...

First, I sell some fairly advanced Excel dashboard templates, and also an ebook about how to create Excel dashboards. I've sold a lot of them, in nearly every country in the world. But I've *never* had a request for a refund from a Mac user because my products didn't work on a Mac.

Because of this experience, I feel safe in saying that virtually anything I can do in Excel worksheets on a PC others can do in Excel worksheets on a Mac. (However, there *might* be some minor inconsistencies with VBA between PCs and the Mac because of differences in the two operating systems. Dunno.)

Second, I have a friend who's a very opinionated Excel MVP. He purchased a Mac about six months ago so he could better support a client. If he had found inconsistencies between PC and Mac Excel, he would have whined about them in our private Excel MVP forum. But he's not written a word along those lines.

Hope that helps.

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I made the switch from PC to Mac about a year ago and although there are some nuances to running Excel on the Mac verse a PC, you will get used to it once you learn the shortcuts as you probably use on the PC. Keep in mind if you are using any current features in the latest version of Excel for Windows that they might not be available on the Mac since they seem to be a version or two behind but I haven't hit a snag yet.

The overall reason why I like the Mac now is that it's just a more intuitive system and things seem to just work!

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I've been using Excel on Mac for years. The main lack I find is the absence of the statistical analysis tools (analysis toolpack, as I recall). These can be had through third-party add-ins or separate tools. They were good, usable, and quick but not great in regular Excel. Otherwise, I have not found anything lacking that made me feel like I had a lesser version of Excel. I made the switch to Mac purely for productivity reasons. I needed to spend less time working on computer problems and more time using the tools for actual work. The productivity gain was SO much more than I expected.

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I just recently switched to using a Mac myself and would agree with John's comments about the lack of statistical analysis tools. In addition, I've found that my Excel will crash whenever I am using large amounts of data or have multiple files open and references cells in those files.

All in all thought, I am happy with the switch and have figured out my work arounds to make it all work.

Proformative Advisor
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If you are using Mac Excel 2011 then it supports VBA/macros just the same as Windows. If you like the familiarity and shortcuts from Windows, you can run Windows on your Mac by using Bootcamp (built into a Mac) or by running VM software like Parallels. You can Google these options to learn more...

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One thing that is different when running an Excel spreadsheet on Mac and PC is the case of getting a file name.
PC uses: Application.GetOpenFilename
Mac uses: Select_File_Or_Files_Mac()

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I've been using Excel on a Mac for several years (actually since 1984 when it was called MS Chart) and find it very capable as a replacement for Excel on a Windows computer. That said, another way to go would be to run Windows via Boot Camp (or Fusion or Parallels) and use MS Office there if you have other apps that require Windows. I have been using Boot Camp with Windows 7 Pro on a MacBookPro 2008 variety and, up onto the Intel Sandy Bridge/Haswell processors, it has been my fastest PC using Office.

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I was faced with this challenge over the summer. I am a MS Excel user, whilst my client's executives & personnel were all on Excel for Mac. Given the nature of the financial model mandate for the client, I was forced to customize the spreadsheet via VBA macros, in order to patch up certain MS Excel features that currently don't exist on Excel for Mac.

I documented my experiences via a blog "Financial modelling techniques between Microsoft Excel and Excel for Mac" on my website. The features to watch out for were namely:

● ActiveX macros won’t work on a Mac
● Data Analysis Toolpak is not officially supported currently
● Inserting Adobe Objects in Excel for Mac does not exist currently, and
● Referencing the User Name property in VBA script won't work either.

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I was originally a Mac user (Mac IIfx with a blazingly fast 33 mhz processor). Switched to Windows in the early 1990's because the Mac and Windows command structures weren't the same which meant that, for instance, print macros created in Mac Excel wouldn't work when I sent the tile to a Windows based client. However, I was spending far too much time in compeer hell working on Windows IT issues, so when the Intel based Mac's came out, I switched to a Macbook Pro and ran Windows through Parallels.

It works perfectly. When I need to use Excel or Quicken, I switch to Windows. Everything I do that is internet related I do on the Mac side (reducing if not eliminating the virus issues that were such a time suck--even with the best anti-virus software installed).