Macworld says that iWork '08's Numbers changes the spreadsheet paradigm. Mac guy Merlin Mann says Numbers is like the Excel librarian who ditches her hornrims, opens a button and shakes out her hair. We decided to give Numbers a test drive ourselves to see if it really deserves all the praise. In fact, while Numbers isn't a revelation, it does for spreadsheets what the iPod did for MP3 players. Numbers adds polish, ease-of-use and some beautiful "duh, of COURSE it should work that way!" features to spreadsheets. Here's our short list of the most impressive Numbers features that set it well apart from Excel, with screenshots:
- Tables. Now your spreadsheet isn't just a workbook made up of sheets. Numbers breaks it down further and embeds self-contained tables in each sheet, with their own style, header, rows and columns and intuitive human-friendly data entry and formula references.
- Smart Print View. Easily see whether or not your sheet will print on 1 page or 50, and use an easy slider to shrink and expand your work onto the right amount of sheets. Fun!
- Drag and drop OFX and Address book cards into Numbers. You don't like Quicken? Download transactions from your bank and drop 'em right into Numbers for a pretty auto-generated table.
The highly-touted Excel compatibility is the only thing that disappointed; we got a formatting incompatibility warning when importing a sheet. To be fair, it wasn't anything that broke calculations, but it might scare off those corporate Excel-loyal types.
Check out these plus more features in the screenshots below.
An iWork '08 license will set you back about 99 buckeroos, but a fully-functional 30-day trial is available for download.
Thoughts, questions or ruminations on Numbers? Let us know in the comments.