The Differences between Excel for Mac and Excel for Window


As I have mentioned in other blog posts, recently I have been asked by several people detailed questions about the differences between Office for Mac and Office for Windows. I am not sure what has caused this surge in interest in Office differences, but I was happy to do a little research to make sure I had a complete answer.

So, given this surge of interest, in a series of blog posts I will examine the differences between the Mac and the Windows versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. My post last week was about PowerPoint, and today’s post is about Excel.

Are there differences between Excel for Mac and Excel for Windows? Sure there are. Is Excel for Mac the spreadsheet application that is the closest in both functionality and document compatibility with Excel for Windows? Absolutely! In fact, due to a significant effort by the MacExcel team, Excel 2011 is closer to Excel for Windows than any previous version of MacExcel. Are these assertions contradictory? Not at all. Let me explain by getting into the details of each statement.

Due to the size of its user base, its market share, and its ubiquity, Excel for Windows is the gold standard in spreadsheets. Every other spreadsheet or spreadsheet-like application is measured against this standard – both in terms of document compatibility (bidirectional) and overall features and functionality. Without a doubt, of all other spreadsheet applications, Excel for Mac 2011 is the closest to this standard. And yet, there are features in Excel for Windows that are not in Excel for Mac, and there are features in Excel for Mac that are not in Excel for Windows. The following table lists most of these differences.

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Excel for Windows provides full support for creation of and ineraction with charts based on PivotTables.  Excel for Mac will display Pivotcharts created in Excel for Windows, but the mac users will not be able to use the interactivity of a PivotChart.

Excel for Windows provides full support for creation of and ineraction with charts based on PivotTables.  Excel for Mac will display Pivotcharts created in Excel for Windows, but the mac users will not be able to use the interactivity of a PivotChart.

Privacy Features in Excel for Windows enable the author of a spreadsheet to control what information is uploaded or saved when using Excel for Windows.

Privacy Features in Excel for Windows enable the author of a spreadsheet to control what information is uploaded or saved when using Excel for Windows.

Excel for Windows provides full support for the creation of typographically correct equations.

Excel for Windows provides full support for the creation of typographically correct equations.

Excel for Windows provides for the saving of Excel spreadsheets in a wide variety of formats including XPS and ODS.

Excel for Windows provides for the saving of Excel spreadsheets in a wide variety of formats including XPS and ODS.

The Accessibility checkers known on the Backstage, in Excel for Windows enables the author to see possible accessibility issues in Excel spreadsheets so that someone with a disability an read and get to your content.

The Accessibility checkers known on the Backstage, in Excel for Windows enables the author to see possible accessibility issues in Excel spreadsheets so that someone with a disability an read and get to your content.

In a later blog post, I will cover the last remaining app in the Office suite: Outlook.

About the Author

Kurt is a Senior Product Manager at Parallels focusing on Parallels Desktop for Mac and Parallels Access. Prior to this, he was in the Office for Mac team at Microsoft. He is also the author of the “Kurt’s Power Tips” series of blog posts on the Office for Mac blog (Tip 1, Tip 2, Tip 3, Tip 4, and Tip 5).

Google Glasses for the Masses!

Google Glass

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that today, for the first time, Google is opening sales of Google Glass to any adult in the United States. The sale will last for one day only, supplies are limited, and in true sale fashion Google is throwing in a pair of frames or sunglasses for anyone willing to fork over the $1,500 asking price.

Glass has not been without its share of controversy since it began adorning the faces of those privileged enough to be selected as Glass “Explorers” (the name given to its beta testers). It came under fire for promoting unsafe driving habits, was banned in certain bars and restaurants, and sparked the ire of many who feel it violates their privacy—it even caused an all-out brawl. But it’s impossible to ignore the potential cultural impacts of Glass (great overview here by MIT Technology Review).

Google Glass is attempting to fundamentally change the way we experience and interact with the world around us. Though the technology itself still has some kinks, the concept is fairly straightforward – to seamlessly fit into our daily routines and provide immediate access to information that will arguably enhance our experience of the world, both at work and play. Glass takes the smartphone concept to its next logical step – no longer do we have to go to all the trouble of pulling something out of our pocket to get connected. You would now have directions, information about your next meeting or the ability to snap a quick picture right in front of you. It even has massive potential impacts on the workplace; doctors, firefighters, police officers and engineers have all been experimenting. The development possibilities are endless.

The key determining factor in whether Glass will be widely adopted is down to how good the user experience is – more so than the functionality, or even the app ecosystem that builds around it. If users need to continually swipe the arm to jog through options or are barraged by unwanted messages clouding their vision, then Glass will inevitably be tossed aside in favor of tools that actually do just fit in with their daily lives. As with all technology, people don’t want to spend time dwelling on it – they just want it to work.

What has your experience with Glass been? Help or hindrance?

UPDATE - SOLD OUT!!!

If you weren’t one of those lucky few to get your hands on a pair of Google Glasses yesterday then you’ll have to wait until the next go round. Google announced earlier today that as of this morning their entire stock is gone.

Check out PCMag.com’s review for really good in-depth overview of the product pros and cons.

 Also, just a note that if you are not willing to shell out the $1,500 for this version, there will be a less expensive consumer version appearing at some point later this year.

So did you snag your pair of Google Glasses?   Please tell us what style you ordered and what prompted you to order a pair?

Customer Quote of the Week

Not sure if you want to upgrade to Parallels Desktop 9? This week’s featured Customer Quote comes from ANNA B who thinks you should! She can always rely on Parallels seamless upgrades and consistent performance.

Thanks for sharing your experience and feedback!

Are you using Parallels Desktop 9 to run Windows on your Mac? Tell us how you rate our software by clicking below.

Top 6 Benefits of Using Apple Boot Camp for Desktop Virtualization – Part 1

At Parallels, we're about saving developers time. This means helping individuals get through monotonous and time-consuming tasks as soon as possible. That way, they can spend their time doing worthwhile tasks to better whatever they may be working on.

This is the first part of our series of posts about the benefits of using Apple Boot Camp.

I'm a Mac zealot down to the very marrow of my bones. But even a Mac zealot has to run Windows sometimes — maybe to use an app for which there is no Mac equivalent, or maybe to use an Office feature that isn't available in Office for Mac. But, of course, I want to do so on my Mac. There are two reasonable ways to run Windows on a Mac: use a virtualization solution like Parallels Desktop for Mac, or use Apple's Boot Camp. (Some people mistakenly use a phrase like "Boot Camp desktop virtualization" which erroneously merges these two disparate solutions.)

So, which one do I use? I use them both. There are benefits of Apple's Boot Camp, and there are (a lot more) benefits of Parallels Desktop for Mac. Since the numerous benefits of Parallels Desktop for Mac are well documented on this blog and elsewhere on the Parallels' site, this blog post will focus on the first three benefits and costs of Apple's Boot Camp (Yes, there are "costs" to Boot Camp. As Einstein is rumored to have said: "Time is money.").

Part two will cover the last four benefits.

Boot Camp fact #1: Plan ahead, far ahead 

Primarily a "cost"

The first step in setting up Boot Camp is to use the Boot Camp Assistant to create a partition on your disk or SSD. The Boot Camp team at Apple have done a great job in making this as easy as possible, but it does require a large amount of contiguous space.

The key word here is contiguous. If the Mac is brand new (or if the Mac OS has just been reinstalled), there is no problem doing this. But, if you have using your Mac for a month or so, installing apps, creating and trashing files, etc., there is a good chance that the Boot Camp Assistant will not be able to find a big enough amount of contiguous space.

If this happens, the only thing you can do is erase your Mac, and re-install the Mac OS. It can be a real time-consuming hassle to back up all your data, format your drive, re-install the Mac OS, and then create the Boot Camp partition, and only then re-install your apps and copy your data back to the Mac.

So, you really have to plan ahead, and create this partition as one of the first things you do with a new Mac.

Boot Camp fact #2: Guess your disk space needs

Primarily a "cost"

When you create the Boot Camp partition (fact #1 above), you are effectively chopping up your Mac's hard drive or SSD into two pieces: one piece for the Mac OS, and another piece for Boot Camp. These spaces are fixed in size once they are created. Any space you give to Boot Camp is space you have taken away from the Mac OS — so, you don't want to make it too big.

You also don't want to make it too small, since you will need this space to install Windows, the Windows apps you will be installing, and all the space you will need for the files you will be using in Windows. If you make this partition too small, and you will probably have to go back to fact #1 and start all over again. So, guess correctly the first time. Good luck.


Summer’s Hottest Smartphones – Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8) vs iPhone 6

t’s been nearly six months since the launch of the iPhone 5s, and – like you – we’re eagerly awaiting the official iPhone 6 unveil. Fingers around the world are crossed in anticipation hopes of a 5-inch iPhone 6 later this year, but with large, enticing Android options already on the market like the Samsung Galaxy S5 (launching this Friday) and the HTC One (M8) (available now), we wouldn’t blame you if making the switch has crossed your mind more than once. Our eyes have wandered a bit as well – landing on what we hear are this year’s two best Android options:

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