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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Mac switch feasible? Using the Mac version of Excel for Financial Modeling…

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Hi all,

I want to start off by saying that I love Apple’s approach to the computer. There OS and hardware are light years ahead of the Windows and PC solution… in most cases.

However, I use a PC and Excel for financial modeling and spent an afternoon at BestBuy with an Apple rep and came to the conclusion that I could not use the Mac for hardcore financial modeling.

Here was the issue; those of us that do a lot of financial modeling have all the drop down menus memorized. I am not talking about the short-cut key strokes (ctrl+key), but the following: Alt > E > D > R > Enter to get the Edit drop down menu, Delete option, Row Delete. Basically in the PC version you can access the entire drop down menu in this way. As was explain to me be the Apple rep, only the short-cut strokes are available (more can be programmed) and one could not access the drop down menus in the way the PC does.

This may sound like a minor sticking point but when it comes to Financial Modeling you don’t have time to use the mouse a much as the casual user. It seems that MS screwed Mac users when it comes to Excel.

So here is my question, was the Apple rep incorrect or is a Mac not a feasible option for my needs?
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Yes, Macs are still very much in the mindset of "one hand on the keyboard, one on the mouse". A few solutions:
1) If there are shortcuts for the menu functions you use most often, use those. That's a given, but you sounded like you had other functions besides those.
2) For other commands you can get a program called iKey, which you can assign your own hotkey - even application-specific hotkeys - to any menu function. (When I used Mozilla Thunderbird, I assigned Cmd-` to delete mail marked as junk in the folder, for example.)

I'm sure there are other methods and tricks for pulling similar things off... I'll play with it at some point and let you know if I figure anything out.
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Thanks for the reply.

There are two major problems with trying to assign shortcuts for everything: 1. I need full access to all the drop down menus (yes, I use some commands more than others but with Excel you need your full range of commands), and 2. I would have to rememorize everything anew to my custom configuration. The second is a killer. Portability of my skills from one computer to the next is necessary as we are always loading up a model to fiddle with it on other people computers. If I relearn Excel in the Apple fashion, this would be very counter productive.

Is there anyway to get the alt or Apple key to let you access the drop down menus? This one function on PCs really makes Excel. In the case of the Mac I feel this one application has been a large sticking point for switchers as it is not exactly the same as the PC and needs to be.
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I'll look into it.... I know once you click on a menu you can navigate the menus via arrow keys... not sure. I'll try turning on Full Keyboard Access and see if that helps.
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uControl is another program you may look at.

For me, I am only using the Mac for work 1 day a week so I went with Virtual PC to get me through those days.

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