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4 Best Excel Equivalent for Mac in 2024

January 8, 2024 3.5K views


Excel, a staple in many professional environments, is a powerful tool that aids in organizing, sorting, and managing data. Its robust capabilities extend to creating professional dashboards and reports adorned with visually appealing charts and graphs. The spreadsheet formulas simplify complex calculations, enabling users to perform basic mathematical operations such as multiplication, summation, and averaging.

1.WPS Office for Mac

WPS Office for Mac is a comprehensive office suite that offers a powerful alternative to Microsoft Excel. Developed by Kingsoft, a Chinese software company, WPS Office is known for its high compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats, including Excel, and its user-friendly interface.

The suite includes three primary components: Writer (a word processor), Presentation (a presentation creator), and Spreadsheets (an Excel equivalent). The Spreadsheets component is particularly noteworthy for its extensive range of features that closely mirror those of Excel. It supports a wide array of formulas, pivot tables, and advanced charting, making it a robust tool for data analysis and management.

Pros of WPS Office

WPS Office for Mac comes packed with a variety of benefits that make it a strong contender as an Excel alternative. Here are some of its key features:

  • High Compatibility: WPS Office supports all Microsoft Office file formats, ensuring seamless transition between the two platforms. You can open, edit, and save documents in formats such as .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .doc, and .docx.

  • Comprehensive Suite: The suite includes WPS Writer, WPS Presentation, and WPS Spreadsheets, providing a full range of productivity tools for various tasks.

  • Advanced Spreadsheet Features: WPS Spreadsheets offer a wide array of features including pivot tables, advanced charting, and hundreds of formulas, making it a robust tool for data analysis and management.

  • Collaboration Tools: WPS Office allows for real-time collaboration, with multiple users able to work on the same document simultaneously. This feature is particularly useful for teams working remotely.

2. Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a web-based application that allows users to create, edit, and store spreadsheets online. It's part of Google's suite of office tools, which also includes Google Docs (word processing), Google Slides (presentation software), and more.

Pros of Google Sheets

Here are some of its key features:

  • Cloud-Based: Google Sheets is cloud-based, which means you can access your spreadsheets from any device with an internet connection and a web browser. Changes are saved automatically to Google Drive.

  • Real-time Collaboration: Multiple users can work on a Google Sheet simultaneously. Changes made by one user are instantly visible to others, and each user's cursor is color-coded.

  • Charts and Graphs: Users can create a variety of charts, including bar, line, pie, and scatter plots, among others.

  • Live Data from the Web: A unique feature of Google Sheets is the ability to pull live data from the web using the IMPORTHTML, IMPORTXML, IMPORTDATA, and GOOGLE FINANCE functions.

  • Google Workspace Integration: Google Sheets is part of the Google Workspace, which means it integrates seamlessly with other Google apps like Google Docs and Google Slides.

  • Offline Editing: While Google Sheets is a web-based application, it supports offline editing. This means you can still view and edit your spreadsheets even without an internet connection.

  • Scripting and Automation: Google Sheets supports scripting through Google Apps Script, allowing you to automate tasks and create custom functions.

3. Numbers

Numbers is Apple's own spreadsheet software, designed specifically for Mac, and is part of the iWork productivity suite which also includes Pages (a word processor) and Keynote (a presentation software). It's available for free on all Macs, iPads, and iPhones, and can also be accessed via a web browser through iCloud.

Numbers files can be exported in Excel format or as a PDF, ensuring compatibility with other software. For Mac users looking for a straightforward, visually appealing, and free spreadsheet tool, Numbers is a great option.

Pros of Numbers

Numbers offers a unique approach to spreadsheets with its focus on visual design and user-friendly interface. Here are some of its key features:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Numbers offers a clean, intuitive interface that is easy to navigate. This makes it a great choice for those who are new to spreadsheet software.

  • Flexible Workspace: Unlike traditional grid-based spreadsheets, Numbers allows you to create multiple tables on a single canvas.

  • Visual Design Tools: Numbers excels in its visual design capabilities. You can create stunning charts, graphs, and tables with ease.

  • Collaboration Features: Numbers supports real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on a document simultaneously.

  • iWork Integration: As part of the iWork suite, Numbers integrates seamlessly with Pages and Keynote.

4. LibreOffice Calc

LibreOffice Calc is the spreadsheet component of the LibreOffice software suite, which is a free and open-source alternative to Microsoft Office. Calc offers a wide range of features and functionalities similar to those found in Microsoft Excel, but it's available for free and can be used on various platforms including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Pros of LibreOffice Calc

Here are some key features and aspects of LibreOffice Calc:

  • File Formats: Calc can open and save documents in a variety of formats, including the native OpenDocument Format (ODF), Microsoft Excel's formats (both older .xls and newer .xlsx), and others like CSV.

  • Formulas and Functions: Calc provides a wide range of built-in functions for numerical, statistical, date, time, and financial calculations, among others.

  • Charts and Graphs: Users can create a variety of charts, including bar, line, pie, and scatter plots.

  • Pivot Tables: Known as "DataPilot" in earlier versions, Calc's pivot table feature allows users to summarize and analyze data easily.

  • Data Validation: This feature helps ensure that the data entered into a spreadsheet meets specific criteria.

  • Macros and Scripting: Calc supports macros using LibreOffice Basic, and you can also use Python, JavaScript, and other languages for scripting.

  • Conditional Formatting: This allows users to change the appearance of cells based on their values.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Excel Equivalent

Choosing the right Excel equivalent for your needs involves considering several factors. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

  • Compatibility with Excel Files and Formulas: If you're transitioning from Excel or working with others who use Excel, compatibility is a crucial factor.

  • User Interface and Ease of Use: The software's interface should be intuitive and user-friendly, allowing you to easily navigate and use its features.

  • Collaboration and Sharing Capabilities: If you frequently work on spreadsheets with others, look for software that supports real-time collaboration and easy sharing of files.

  • Advanced Features and Customization Options: Depending on your needs, you might require advanced features such as pivot tables, complex formulas, scripting, and automation.

  • Cost and Licensing Considerations: Finally, consider the cost of the software and its licensing model. Some Excel alternatives are free, while others require a one-time purchase or a subscription.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Is Excel for Mac the same as Excel for PC?

While Excel for Mac and Excel for PC are similar and offer many of the same features, there are some differences between the two due to the different operating systems.

  • User Interface: The user interface of Excel for Mac is designed to be more in line with the look and feel of other Mac applications. This means that the layout and design might be slightly different from Excel for PC.

  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Many keyboard shortcuts are different between the two versions due to differences in the Mac and Windows keyboards.

  • Some Features: There are some features that are available on Excel for PC that are not available, or are differently implemented, on Excel for Mac. For example, Power Query and Power Pivot are features that, as of my last update, are not available on Excel for Mac.

  • Visual Basic for Applications (VBA): While both versions support VBA for macro creation, there can be differences in the way certain code is handled between the two versions.

  • Add-ins: Some Excel add-ins that are available for PC may not work on Mac, or may work differently.

Q2: Is Apple Numbers the same as Excel?

Apple Numbers and Microsoft Excel are both spreadsheet applications, but they are not the same and have several differences in terms of functionality, interface, and capabilities.

  • User Interface: Numbers has a more graphical and intuitive interface compared to Excel. It allows users to create multiple tables on a single canvas and is known for its focus on visual design.

  • Functionality: Excel is generally considered more powerful in terms of advanced data analysis, with a larger library of formulas and functions, pivot tables, and more sophisticated data visualization tools. Numbers, while it does support a wide range of functions and formulas, doesn't offer the same level of complexity.

  • Collaboration: Both Numbers and Excel offer collaboration features, but they work differently. Numbers allows real-time collaboration across all Apple devices and via iCloud on the web. Excel, particularly in its Office 365 version, also allows real-time collaboration, but through the Microsoft ecosystem.

Summary

WPS Office stands out for several reasons. It's not just a spreadsheet tool but a comprehensive office suite. Its high compatibility with Microsoft Office files ensures that transitioning from Excel is smooth and hassle-free. The interface is intuitive, especially for those who have previously used Microsoft Office. Furthermore, WPS Office offers a free version that is feature-rich, making it a cost-effective solution for many users. For those who need more advanced features, there's an option to upgrade to the premium version. Downloading WPS Office is straightforward from their official website, and the installation process is user-friendly. Given its blend of features and ease of use, WPS Office is a top recommendation for Mac users seeking an Excel alternative.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.