Sunday, October 25, 2009

A FENG member writes...

Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG) member writes:

I saw your comments today regarding MACs.  I am have a few questions  regarding the PC vs MAC.
I do corporate income taxes and I want to be able to work at home.  We presently have a PC and are in the need in the near future of a new computer.  I have a son that loves his MAC and he has been telling me to get one. I was then talking to a tech person that said,  that you can use MS Excel on a MAC.  Is that true?  I was always under the impression that you could not use MS software on MACs.  If it is true can you go back and forth between the PC & MAC without any problems.
Thank you very much for your time on this question.
PC in Southern California

Paul, thanks for your note.

I'm going to include a lot of links in this reply, because they
include helpful information.  If you look at only one link, I
recommend this one

The tech person was correct.  You have at least four practical
options for Microsoft Excel on a Mac.

1.  Purchase the Mac version of Microsoft Office from Microsoft, install it, and run Microsoft Excel. from Amazon.  This is the real Microsoft Office program with Word, Excel, etc. designed for the Mac by Microsoft.  It has some of the improved look and feel of other Mac applications, but is 100% file compatible with your PC Excel files.

2.  Purchase Apple's iWork '09 Suite for the Mac, install it, and use
the Apple Numbers software to work with Excel spreadsheets. from Amazon.  This is a suite of  presentation, spreadsheet, word processing and document layout
programs designed by Apple.  They have a much improved interface over Excel, and work with all Excel files, but do have different commands, etc. which can be a challenge if you are going to go back and forth between Microsoft Excel and Apple iWork.

3.  Use the free, open source office suite Open Office to work with Excel spreadsheets. downloadable.  OpenOffice is an initiative of Sun Microsystems, and is gaining market share rapidly.  Here's a graph of market share
.  The spreadsheet program in Open Office works with all Excel files and is EXTREMELY similar to Excel, but not identical.  Learning curve to transition is swift.

4.  Run Windows on your Mac.  I don't recommend this although it works fine, because you are missing out on a lot of why you purchased a Mac in the first place.  But plenty of folks do run Windows on their Mac, just to have a superior piece of hardware and occasional access to Windows.   At the first link above, look for "Boot Camp".

So to summarize, you need to see this to believe it.  The Apple Store at Brea Mall near you offers free personal shopping appointments.  Reserve one here

You could take a CD or thumbdrive with Excel documents in with you and the Mac Expert will show you how your documents will look on a Mac.  There are also Apple stores in Rancho Cucamonga and Pasadena, you can find them at and reserve there.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions. 

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