Standalone Spreadsheet

Any recommendations for a standalone spreadsheet program?

I use Bean, Nisus Writer Express and Scrivener–so something that has the same philosophy for small, fast and simple.

Thank you

There are a number of alternatives here.

Thank you for the info. :slight_smile:

This will get me flamed but… as a very high-end user of spreadsheets and graphs (NASA scientist) the best is Excel.


I have Numbers (beautiful) and OpenOffice Calc (free, yet powerful), but my spreadsheet for everyday’s use is Tables. It’s TextEdit for numbers.

I like Excel and have used it since Noah was a shipbuilder (having switched from Lotus 1-2-3). IMO it has no peer for large linked spreadsheets and extensive number-crunching and charting. But in the OP’s terms it’s not small or simple.

So I suggest Numbers, although Tables, which I’ve never used, looks attractive, and Andreas’ description, the “TextEdit” of spreadsheets, holds a lot of appeal.


Excel is great if you need NASA level stuff. For the more normal users I think Numbers or OO are sufficient but they are not standalone (part of productivity suites). Tables will get 70% of what I use Excel for based on a very limited review. It would be fine for my home use.

I guess it depends on what is meant in the OP point of “small, fast, and simple”.

Tables for me.

I’ve used Tables since it first came out. It’s great, loads virtually instantly … only thing still missing to my mind is LinkBack (both ways). Development seems to have slowed, but the developer – another lone developer – has always been very quick to respond and helpful. Much, much prefer it to Numbers … a spreadsheet on page-make-up principles. Tables is clean, lean, stable and capable.

I’m nothing to do with the developer, just a long-term, very happy user.


Thank you all for your insights.

I have used Excel in the past but it isn’t an option now (I am quirky and weird and refuse to load any MS Office programs on my Mac). I am currently using Numbers and for the most part it does what I need it too. My main beef with it is that I can’t seem to find a way to protect individual cells on a sheet. There are also other little quirks in it that rub my fur the wrong way.

Tables is starting to sound like just what I need. When I say small, fast and simple–think Bean. Click–bang–it is open and ready to do something. My main use for a spreadsheet is for grading students’ assignments. Nothing fancy like rocket nozzle calculations or anything like that. Just a few sheets that have the various assignments and a sheet for totals with some multiplying and dividing to calculate the overall grade.

Thank you.

I mostly hate Office as well, but Office 2011 is supposedly due by the end of October, and I read some good reviews. So you might consider giving the new and improved Excel a try when it’s out. :wink: … ober-26th/

Tables is just that, small, fast and as simple as you want to make it, though it is also very capable except perhaps for rocket science or built-in pivot-tables. Apart from LinkBack, the only thing that I have missed on one occasion is the ability to create links between separate tables files. Between sheets within one file, it works like a dream.
I use it primarily for computing students’ marks, in just the way you say you need. I was also able to set up the results sheet in such a way that it absolutely matched the printed form given out by the university that we were supposed to fill in by hand. Now, we have to enter the final results into the university system ourselves – you have no idea how much trouble that has been for me, since the network navigation to the appropriate pages is set up in such a way that you have to be using Internet Explorer! – so that is no longer so essential. The only thing that seems to be easier in Numbers is creating a breakdown of the results, as it comes with a pre-existing template for doing grades which includes that.
Tables has a very Mac-standard UI, though looks more standard spreadsheet, a.k.a. Excel, in the sheet itself than Numbers. I find the much more graphical appearance of Numbers, it’s sort of trying to emulate the page-make-up approach gets in the way and puts me off. <.tables> files are a package.
Give it a whirl.

No flames from me. I stated using Lotus 1-2-3, then Excel and a bit later Quattro Pro, and then just Excel. I’ve tried others and always return to Excel, even for simple stuff. It is one of the first Mac applications, btw.

Unfortunately Quantrix does not run on PPC Macs, but that one looks quite interesting.

For graphs I don’t like Excel that much, since files can get big quickly. I preferred Chartsmith and still use it, but it has not been updated in over 4 years.
I’ve wanted to try Aabel, but it’s too expensive for me.

Never used it but there is Mariner Calc ( I have got their MacJournal software and I rather like it, (although I don’t use it much).

There is also a list of spreadsheets on Wikipedia - … t_software in case there is anything helpful there.

Edit: D’oh, I see Mariner Calc listed in the list posted way up above. Meh. Brain hasn’t rebooted fully from a late night outlining session last night yet :slight_smile:


As someone who builds very complex financial models for a living, my wife is a freakishly accomplished Excel user – I tell her it’s like watching a blackhearted maestro play an evil little piano. Here at home, she uses a Mac, and says that while the Mac version of Excel is “fine”, it lacks some of the Widnows version’s refinement and complexity.

Is she right about this, or is she missing something?

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Consider that this is your wife. Slowly reread what you asked a half dozen times. The answer is obvious.

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I used to be a seriously heavy user of Excel on work PCs. When I switched to a Mac at home (eight or nine years ago, maybe, but I’ve lost count), I got Microsoft Office, and I also found the Mac version clunky and limited. However, I then ceased to have any need for seriously heavy Excel usage, so I never invested the time to find out if I could get the Mac version to do what I wanted. At the time, the major problem seemed to be linked to the comparative limitations of inbuilt keyboard shortcuts; my habitual shortcuts didn’t do what I expected, and the whole thing seemed to have a greater need for menu use, which is awkward and slow if you’re used to greased-lightning spreadsheet manipulation. Although I haven’t upgraded for years, and have never tried to create a macro in the Mac version, I believe that a recent Mac version of Excel dropped VBA support entirely, which would be a serious blow to someone who is used to using macros in their work. However, I have also read that VBA support is to be reintroduced to the next version of Office for Mac, so perhaps that was a temporary blip.

Anyhow, in brief… yes, there are differences between the Mac and PC versions, but the extent to which you notice them depends on the functionality that you tend to use. As far as I found, the core functionality is the same (VBA absence excepted), but actually getting at it can be awkward on one system if you are used to working in the other.

If the context is calculating student grades, talk of Excel + VBA is reminiscent of sledge-hammers and nuts.
I used MarinerCalc for a long time. It is still essentially OS-9, it’s Rosetta dependent, it hasn’t had an upgrade in about 5 years, and if you need to exchange data with anything like Excel, it truly sucks. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my licence number as I still have some student result sheets in .calc format from 2004/5 that I’d like to get out – principally to be able to recover the students’ names – so I guess I’m going to have to dig out my old 400 Mhz TiBook and boot it up to export a CSV and hope I can get that into Tables without too much loss …


That’s my experience too.

Incidentally, whilst I like Excel, I also contend that it can be an instrument of evil. There’s a certain type of Excel practitioner, usually male, young and employed in finance or M&A*, who delights in creating hugely complicated, largely undocumented, multi-page spreadsheet machines, where all you can tell is that if put in “A” in the assumptions on sheet 1, you get out “Z” on sheet 35, but never know why. How many of the causes of our current economic travails can be laid at the door of Excel, plus a youthful interest in building Meccano models? :wink:


*N.B. Male and testosterone-fuelled, and therefore not including Mrs Coffee or Siren.

sucking up to KB are you?

Yeah, it was one of those things where I’m like “Really? You just asked THAT question on an internet forum?” But I was honestly too lazy to change it. :slight_smile: