When it comes to analyzing numbers, most people are familiar with Microsoft Excel or, if they’re in the open source camp, either Open office or LibreOffice Calc. Most don’t realize, however, that Apple has a lot to offer on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or even the web. Let’s take a trip to one of Apple’s unsung heroes and learn how to use Numbers on iCloud.
Your first steps to using numbers in iCloud
As with the other apps that Apple makes available through iCloud, you just need to click on the right icon in iCloud – in this case, Numbers. When you start creating a new spreadsheet, you get a long list of templates to choose from. You can create a blank spreadsheet, which gives you the familiar array of rows and columns, if that’s your preferred starting point.
Or, you can choose one of the many models available. Numbers gives you some basic choices, like a chart and chart template, checklist, or chart sheet. The real power, however, lies in the more advanced selections.
Apple has included budget spreadsheets, templates to help you plan your savings, a retirement planning spreadsheet, stock tracker, a loan comparison spreadsheet, and even a mortgage calculator. There are also spreadsheets for everything from creating a calendar or calendar to planning your business investments and tools for teachers.
Formatting cells and entering your data
As you enter your data into the spreadsheet, Numbers provides the standard options to create a beautiful, functional spreadsheet. From the Brush icon, you’ll see collections of options to format your table as a whole, the cells themselves, your table data, and even the layout of your text boxes, shapes, charts, etc.
If your cursor is in the formula input bar (at the top of the worksheet) and you click on the brush, you’ll get a large list of functions to use in your worksheet. There are functions for commonly needed calculations, such as sums, averages, and trigonometric values. You will also find functions to help you calculate time and duration, perform engineering tasks, make logical determinations and much more.
How to use numbers in iCloud to create charts
Once your numbers are calculated, you’ll want to present them in an easy-to-understand way. Numbers has a great chart and chart feature, allowing you to turn these raw numbers into a pie chart, bar chart, or even an interactive chart to calculate and visualize various possible outcomes.
You can then change various options of your chart, such as font and size, set rounded corners, or include a shadow or colored background behind your chart. Numbers also allow you to embed pointers with percentages, numeric values, or other legends.
Other features in Numbers on iCloud
In addition to traditional number calculations, charts and graphs, Numbers also allows you to add other items to your spreadsheet. You can add text boxes, shapes and lines or images to your document. Numbers are great for tracking your own budget or for presenting financial projections to a client or your board. Numbers has the tools to make your document truly visible.
Like other apps in the older iWork suite, collaboration is quick and easy in Numbers. You can invite others to work on the spreadsheet with you. Then you can see the changes as they happen and review or reject them on the fly. You can also insert comments. This makes it easier to communicate with your team about what you do or expect from them.
Once your spreadsheet is complete …
Once you are done creating your spreadsheet, what can you do with it? From iCloud, you can download a copy, in Numbers, Excel, or various other formats. You can also print it quickly and easily, browse other versions of the spreadsheet, or password protect it.
Numbers is simple and easy to use. This does not prevent it from being a powerful and functional replacement for Microsoft Excel. It has almost all the characteristics of its most popular cousin. Once you know how to use Numbers in iCloud, you can work on your spreadsheets anywhere you have internet access.