ZDNet: Apple’s Numbers spreadsheet application is "much more usable than Microsoft’s Excel"

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By: switchtoamac at: 12:23 AM on August 13, 2007 | Comments (0)
In an August 9th, 2007 blog post at ZDNet, Phil Windley states that he'll be using Apple's new Numbers application because it's "much more usable than Microsoft’s Excel".

Key quotes from Windley's blog post
"So, now, hot on the heels of that conversation comes Apple’s release of iWork ‘08, including updates to Keynote and Pages as well as a brand new addition: Numbers, Apple’s spreadsheet. I was kind of anxious to try it out, so I picked up a copy and walked through it. Bottom line: I’m pretty impressed."

"Numbers isn’t a world changing paradigm shift. Rather it’s Apple doing what Apple does best: improving, refining, and concentrating on user experience."

"The most obvious change is evident when you start Numbers up: there’s no ever expanding grid of cells. Instead you have a workspace (called a “sheet”) in which you can create tables. Each table is it’s own spreadsheet, expandable, formatable, and movable. You can put as many tables (and associated charts) on a sheet as you like. Each file can have multiple sheets."

"Another change seems kind of obvious once you think about it: tables, rows and columns can all have names. You can refer to them in formulas by name. This makes formulas much easier to read and understand–no more going back to the table and hunting down cells by Cartesian coordinate to see if it’s really the one you want in that formula."

"With all the innovation in the user-interface, this is still a spreadsheet and will feel familiar. Formulas work like you expect them to. The equals sign is how you indicate a formula and a dollar sign can be used to indicate an absolute value for a cell reference (although using a name is a better way to do this now). Mostly you’ll find yourself at home and if you’re familiar with Keynote or Pages, the interface will be quite familiar."

"I was discussing Numbers with a few of my students yesterday and commented that Apple had the luxury of starting with a blank slate and picking the things they liked from Excel while innovating where they saw the opportunity. I think the result is much more usable than Excel. I still haven’t decided whether to use Pages instead of Word, but I will be using Numbers."

You can read the post in full here.

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