IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

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.

Disappointingly, neither Slicers, a more interactive form of filter, nor PivotCharts, which let you switch around data in charts, have made it from Excel 2010 for Windows into the Mac version.

Conditional Formatting, another useful way to represent data visually, is now much more flexible: you can have any number of criteria instead of just the three possible under previous Excel versions. Presets include mini bar charts generated from the cell data. A similar idea is Sparklines, tiny line graphs think of the pollsters' "worms" displayed during TV coverage of the election that can be automatically displayed in, for example, the last cell of a column, summarising the data above. This is a genuinely new and clever way to make numbers more meaningful at a glance.

There are more Themes to choose from thanks to the Workbook Gallery (previously the Project Gallery) which gives direct access to Microsoft's online library of templates, including ones developed by third parties. We found few, though, that showed off Excel 2011's new features; there may be more by the time you read this. Within the app, the number of ready-made SmartArt objects has almost doubled, making it more feasible to create complete illustrated reports within Excel.

Excel users wanting to work with extremely large sheets should note that Microsoft has put off the conversion of Office to 64-bit, a switch already made in the Windows version that removes limits on the amount of RAM that can be used by an app. In reality, only a small minority will be affected, but it feels mildly frustrating to have a 64-bit operating system (Mac OS X has been 64-bit since 10.5 Leopard) and not be able to take full advantage, especially if you have more than 4GB of RAM installed.

Featured Resources

Big data for finance

How to leverage big data analytics and AI in the finance sector

Free Download

Ten critical factors for cloud analytics success

Cloud-native, intelligent, and automated data management strategies to accelerate time to value and ROI

Free Download

Remove barriers and reconnect with your customers

The $260 billion dollar friction problem businesses don't know they have

Free Download

The future of work is already here. Now’s the time to secure it.

Robust security to protect and enable your business

Free Download

Recommended

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: A giant leap for Apple silicon
tablets

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: A giant leap for Apple silicon

30 Sep 2022
Apple patches yet another zero-day flaw in substantial security update
zero-day exploit

Apple patches yet another zero-day flaw in substantial security update

13 Sep 2022
Apple breaks update policy to secure older iPhones and iPads against zero-day
zero-day exploit

Apple breaks update policy to secure older iPhones and iPads against zero-day

1 Sep 2022
Apple expands Xcode Cloud platform with launch of paid subscriptions
software development

Apple expands Xcode Cloud platform with launch of paid subscriptions

31 Aug 2022

Most Popular

How to secure your hybrid workforce
Advertisement Feature

How to secure your hybrid workforce

23 Sep 2022
What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops
Advertisement Feature

What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops

21 Sep 2022
Why collaboration is key to digital transformation
Sponsored

Why collaboration is key to digital transformation

13 Sep 2022