Category Archives: Excel

Q&A: does Excel:Mac 2011 have pivot tables?

Via email, I got this kinda perplexing question:

i heard that the new excel doesn’t have pivot tables – why are you keeping macs out of business???

I’m trying to figure out where this came from, and I’m not quite sure.  Excel 2008 already had pivot table support (to get started with pivot tables in Excel 2008, check out Create a pivot table report in the Excel help, and there’s a tutorial for it too).  My only guess about this confusion is that someone might have misunderstood Walt Mossberg’s review, in which he noted that Office:Mac 2011 doesn’t have all of the features of Office 2010 for Windows, such as pivot charts in Excel.

In Excel:Mac 2011, we made a big investment in improving matters for our power users, which includes some great improvements to pivot tables.  If you’re an Excel guru, check it out and tell us what you think.  I think that Excel gurus will especially appreciate the performance improvements.

Office:Mac 2011 getting started videos now available

In anticipation of the upcoming October 26 launch of Office:Mac 2011, we’re updating our website with new content.  The latest update is a series of quick videos to introduce you to each of the applications.  These are all produced in-house, even down to the voiceovers: those are all MacBU employees that you hear on the videos.

Here’s links to the videos for each app:

Q&A: Does Excel:Mac 2011 still have the Calculator?

Chris asked:

Did they take the GUI formula builder called “Calculator” out of Excel? It was in Excel 98, X, 2004, 2008 and I don’t see it in 2011? In 2008 you would go to “customize toolbars & menus” click on the commands tab and then drag the calculator to your toolbar or menu of choice. The description Excel gave it was “Helps you create basic arithmetic calculations in Excel by offering a layout that is based on a ‘real’ hand-held calculator.”

I wasn’t sure of the history of that calculator, so I asked my colleague Schwieb.  I got lucky: as it turns out, he’s the guy who wrote it originally.  Schwieb said it was added to Excel:Mac in 2001 with the intent of gradually introducing people to formulas.

Now, ten years later, things have changed.  For basic calculator functions, there’s the OS X built-in calculator.  In Excel 2011, there is instead the Formula Builder (which you can see by going to the Formulas tab in Excel and then selecting the Formula Builder icon).  The Formula Builder is much more powerful than the old calculator, and is a great way to learn more about all of the formulas that are in Excel.  I’m pretty good in Excel, but I have to admit that I use the Formula Builder when I can’t recall a formula’s name or its arguments.

The Excel 2011 help has a lot of great information about formulas.  Play around with the Formula Builder and see how it can help you learn more about how to use formulas, too!