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Showing posts from August, 2007

Another Numbers feature


Frequent spreadsheeters are used to constructing formulae by pointing with the arrow keys. It's part of the spreadsheet conditioned reflex set to whack equals, arrow left, hit star, point left left, whack enter, to construct a typical "cost times quantity" cell formula. This has been braided into the finger muscles and the spinal cord of spreadsheet workers since VisiCalc, through Lotus, SuperCalc, Multiplan and Excel. Numbers retains the equals operator to introduce a formula (much more intuitive than Lotus's plus sign and less confusing than SuperCalc's complete lack of formula signifier) but forces you to mouse around the relevant cells to assemble your formula. It's a bit of a drag, honestly. I hope this becomes something the end user can change.
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Excel ↔ Numbers roundtripping

I’ve just checked a couple of things about round-tripping spreadsheet documents between Excel and Numbers. Firstly, Numbers adds a ‘cover sheet’ showing the Numbers table name and which exported Excel worksheet it relates to (see figure). This isn’t a showstopper but it could confuse people with whom you’re exchanging documents. Update: Another blogger user has discovered the preference to turn this behavior off.
Secondly, Excel VBA macros are not preserved by a round trip from Excel into Numbers and back to Excel again. The entire VBA OLE stream within the file is just removed in any Excel file exported from Numbers. This is something to be aware of when collaborating with Office users who make any use of Excel macros.That prompts the question “how can you have a serious spreadsheet that doesn’t have a macro language?” but honestly, I’m very far from convinced we really need one. I’ve seen countless examples of Excel sheets with macros that could be very easily replaced by a couple o…