It’s all in the Numbers

I’ve been reading some of the ongoing discussion about iWork ’08’s Numbers spreadsheet on Macintouch, and really, if you’re someone who works with 65,535+ rows in your spreadsheet on a regular basis (and you’re complaining that Numbers can’t hack it), then you’re probably using the wrong tool (ie, Excel). I’m still quite happy with Appleworks for most everything I do (I throw MySQL, Python and PHP at harder/bigger problems), but AppleWorks is not intel native and I’m trying to transition to NeoOffice, as AppleWorks’ only other transition strategy is probably to iWork’s Pages/Numbers/Keynote, which still leaves your AppleWorks databases unaccounted for, unless you throw a copy of FileMaker into the mix.

2 thoughts on “It’s all in the Numbers”

  1. New versions of Excel support more than 65535 rows and however many it is columns.

    An engineering firm I works for runs into the problem (running out of columns) because some of our third-party analysis software is built on top of Excel, and we tend to do some big projects. Arguably should be written in Access, anyway.

  2. I know Excel will handle more than that many, but as your Access comment also indicates I think at that point people should really re-evaluate whether Excel is the tool they need.

    It’s also hard to audit spreadsheets, it’s not too long ago that a leading University had to change some final student marks because it was discovered that an academic had made a spreadsheet error. I also know of people who’ve been on training focussing on how to reduce such errors (in spreadsheets responsible for decisions on the scale of millions of dollars.

    Interestingly I notice one of the Wikipedia comments about “Spreadsheet 2000” was that despite its increased visibility it made formulae hard to view in a single place.

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