Is Macbook Air right for me and my Excel-based small business?

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Hi all,

Longtime Windows user here. I love the hardware of the Macbook Air, and have familiarized myself enough with OSX to determine that I can make the transition (like many others).

My one concern:
I am in the process of starting a small consulting firm. I/we will be providing Excel-based financial modeling services. All collaboration will be done online. I know that Excel for Mac has improved in the 2011 version - is it could enough for this type of work? I really don't want to pay extra to get a Windows license to run virtually. Anyone do this type of work with Mac?

Thanks!
 

pigoo3

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I know that Excel for Mac has improved in the 2011 version - is it could enough for this type of work?

I think you are asking two questions:

1. According to the thread title...Is a MacBook Air right for your small business?
2. According to the thread posting…Is Excel (part of Office 2011 for the Mac) good enough?

Seems to me both could be valid questions…but the Excel question mentioned in the posting seems more important.

In any case…I'm pretty sure that both a MacBook Air and Office 2011 for the Mac will be fine (assuming that the MacBook Air is mostly used for internet, email, and Office). But…you should probably tell us if you have any special needs for Excel (or the computer)…that gives you a reason to doubt that Excel 2011 for the Mac or a MacBook Air may not be "good enough".

- Nick
 
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That combination ( MBA & Excel ) is perfect if you consider the following.
1) Get a maxed out MBA ( cpu, ram, ssd )
2) Verify ( test ) your excel modelling sheets, because the Excel functionality provided by the Mac version is a lot more limited than the windows version.

Microsoft announced an Office for Mac 2015 version with the specific message that Excel will now have the same functionality as the windows version.
So test your windows Excel models and see if they provide the same functionality on the Mac.

Cheers ... McBie
 
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I think you are asking two questions:

1. According to the thread title...Is a MacBook Air right for your small business?
2. According to the thread posting…Is Excel (part of Office 2011 for the Mac) good enough?

Seems to me both could be valid questions…but the Excel question mentioned in the posting seems more important.

In any case…I'm pretty sure that both a MacBook Air and Office 2011 for the Mac will be fine (assuming that the MacBook Air is mostly used for internet, email, and Office). But…you should probably tell us if you have any special needs for Excel (or the computer)…that gives you a reason to doubt that Excel 2011 for the Mac or a MacBook Air may not be "good enough".

- Nick

Thanks, Nick. To me, the questions are inseparable, since the business is Excel-based. As far as running other operations (email, web conferencing, website administration/development), I'm confident that I can perform them on a Mac or any high quality Windows PC.

By the way, any drawbacks for docking a Macbook Air for use with dual monitors? I've done enough research to make sure this is possible, but don't really know all of the process.


Back to Excel:

It's not so much that any of the functions I use are missing from Mac Excel 2011 (that version was updated to include macros, pivot tables, etc.), although there are some things like Power Pivot which I don't use now but may need to in the future working with large data sets. The issue is the learning curve associated with the differences in systems. I've played around with Mac Excel, and the 'Delete' key not deleting multiple cells was confusing, for example. Also, there are a lot of reviews out there which ding this version of Excel for overall performance which are concerning.
 
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That combination ( MBA & Excel ) is perfect if you consider the following.
1) Get a maxed out MBA ( cpu, ram, ssd )
2) Verify ( test ) your excel modelling sheets, because the Excel functionality provided by the Mac version is a lot more limited than the windows version.

Microsoft announced an Office for Mac 2015 version with the specific message that Excel will now have the same functionality as the windows version.
So test your windows Excel models and see if they provide the same functionality on the Mac.

Cheers ... McBie

Wow, the 2015 MS Office for Mac is news to me! I'll have to hold on and find out more specifics - if it really matches the Windows version than I'll definitely be fine buying a Mac.

That "limited" functionality you mention is really what's giving me reservations. If half of my time with the laptop will be messing with spreadsheets, I don't want to have to worry about compatibility issues.

Thanks!
 

pigoo3

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Thanks, Nick. To me, the questions are inseparable, since the business is Excel-based.

To be technical…not exactly.;)

You never really said you absolutely had to have a laptop/notebook computer…a desktop Apple computer can certainly run Excel just fine.:) Secondly…if you really did need a portable Apple computer…you could always get a MacBook Pro instead of a MacBook Air.:)

By the way, any drawbacks for docking a Macbook Air for use with dual monitors? I've done enough research to make sure this is possible, but don't really know all of the process.

When you say "dual monitors"…do you mean a single external monitor + the laptop monitor? If so…nope…no real issues.:)

Also, there are a lot of reviews out there which ding this version of Excel for overall performance which are concerning.

As mentioned above…it sounds like Microsoft is coming out with a new version of Office for the Mac in 2015.:)

- Nick
 
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To be technical…not exactly.;)

You never really said you absolutely had to have a laptop/notebook computer…a desktop Apple computer can certainly run Excel just fine.:) Secondly…if you really did need a portable Apple computer…you could always get a MacBook Pro instead of a MacBook Air.:)

Well, there were certainly some subtleties that needed to be inferred from the title ;)

My starting point with this thread is that I would like to get the MBA, and was hoping to get feedback from people who use the device in a similar capacity.

When you say "dual monitors"…do you mean a single external monitor + the laptop monitor? If so…nope…no real issues.:)

I mean dual external monitors, showing different things.
 

pigoo3

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Well, there were certainly some subtleties that needed to be inferred from the title ;)

Firstly…it's not a very good practice to put a question in the title of a thread (all questions should be in the thread posting). And secondly…the original thread post mentioned nothing about the MacBook Air…it only mentioned details regarding Excel (nothing about a computer purchase).

After being involved with internet forums or a long time…it's almost never a good idea to infer anything.:) The written word is all we have to go on…and there have been lots of times when an author of a thread has changed their mind after getting some feedback.:)

Basically on Mac-Forums…we like to discuss things in "cold hard facts"…only using the info a member has posted (or info we get via Q&A). Inferring is not a good idea to do…especially with a technical topic like computers/electronics…where things really need to be exact (not much if any wiggle room).:)

With longtime members sometimes "inferring" can sometimes be done (since we get to know each other). But with a brand new member such as yourself…it's not a good idea to infer.:)

And like I said…even if a portable Apple computer is a must. You could also get a MacBook Pro instead of a MacBook Air.;)

I mean dual external monitors, showing different things.

I think that this means that you would then have 3 monitors total. Two external monitors + the MBA's monitor. Is this correct?

If so…yes a MacBook Air can have two external monitors "daisy chained" via the Thunderbolt port. You would just need the appropriate video adapters for the monitors you have.

- Nick
 
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chas_m

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As a MacBook Air is easily capable of running any version of Excel ever created for either Mac or Windows, the main question asked in this thread is a simple "yes."
 

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