Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac - Excel 2011 review

VBA scripting finally returns to Mac spreadsheets with Excel 2011, but is that all there is to the latest version of Microsoft's venerable number cruncher? Adam Banks takes a closer look.

Price
£162

Not that the 2008 edition was completely unscriptable: the old XLM macro language was still supported, as was AppleScript. Neither, however, had the power of VBA to bend Excel fully to the user's will, and porting macros between the three was a major task. With the Visual Basic Editor back under the Tools > Macros menu, Excel for Mac matches the Window version's macro handling again. Microsoft warns, however, that some VBA-dependent add-ons may still not work; and we did find macros ran slightly slower than in Excel 2004.

A more immediately obvious change is to the user interface. Excel for Mac previously felt rather bitty, with a stack of toolbars and a slew of floating palettes required to reach all its features. The Ribbon does away with almost all of this; the Home tab, for example, shows most of the options previously found in the Formatting palette, without the hassle of finding somewhere on screen to keep it. Although it will take some getting used to, it's clearly more efficient. The Ribbon's similarity to the Windows version is only skin deep though: it resembles Excel 2007 more than 2010, and many commands are still in different places and work in different ways.

Excel for Mac previously had limited facilities for handling data tables. These have been much improved, with new filter and PivotTable options helping to make sense of your figures. To create a PivotTable, you select PivotTable from the Data menu, much the same as in Excel 2008. Excel 2010's more intuitive interface of having a PivotTable command under the Insert tab isn't supported, since Office 2011's Ribbon has no Insert tab and the equivalent commands aren't in the Insert menu. In place of the PivotTable toolbar, a new Ribbon tab now appears only when you create a PivotTable.

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now

Most Popular

Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/business-strategy/mergers-and-acquisitions/354602/xerox-to-nominate-directors-to-hps-board-reports
mergers and acquisitions

Xerox to nominate directors to HP's board – reports

22 Jan 2020
Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020