Is Excel on a Mac intentionally hobbled?

2013-11-09 2 min read

    The longer I’ve been involved in tech the fewer Windows laptops I’ve been seeing. It seems that to even be considered a startup you need to be giving your employees MacBooks. My conversion came years ago when I made the move from Linux in order to be able to run Excel since neither OpenOffice nor Google Spreadsheet were cutting it. Unfortunately, even after years of effort, I still can’t get to the same level of productivity as I had when using Windows during my consulting days. It’s entirely due to the shortcuts. Some of the shortcuts just changed while others simply disappeared.

    The difference is most likely due to a different keyboard layout on a Mac but the cynic in me can’t help but think that it’s also a way to keep the Excel power users on Windows. No one in the finance or consulting industry will switch to Macs until the actual workflow of using applications is the same between Mac and Windows. The more power user focused an app is the more difficult it is to convince its users to switch from one OS to another. People already get annoyed when a minor change is introduced by a new version; I can’t imagine the reaction a new workflow would produce.

    This is why the web apps are so intriguing, they’re able to maintain their look, feel, and functionality no matter where they’re accessed giving users the ability to choose the hardware that fits them. I’m already replacing Word with Google Docs but it’s going to take quite a bit of effort to get spreadsheet apps to the same level. In the mean time, I’m trying to replace Excel with R. I’m not there yet but improving every day.