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Learning Excel on a Mac Air computer

Sample File Use

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#1 Kandee



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Posted 19 February 2016 - 03:30 AM

Can excelcentral 2013 sample files be used on a Mac Air computer? When I try to open the downloaded files, I get an error message the Mac Air does not support an "OS X" files. What else can I do?

#2 Mike


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Posted 20 February 2016 - 11:11 AM

Dear Kandee


Excel 2013 is a Windows only product that is not available (and never will be available) for the Mac OSX operating system (the operating system used by the Mac Air) so it clearly isn't possible to open many of the Excel 2013 sample files on your Mac.


You can learn more about operating systems here: Essential Skills, Lesson 8-3: Understand operating systems.


Having said this, the Mac operating system does natively support zip files so you could download our zipped file set if you wanted to (click the Zip File Option button on the sample files download page) ... but they might not be very useful to you as computers running the Mac OSX operating system do not have the capability of opening many of them.


You can, of course, watch any of the video lessons on a Mac Air as you can do this on any computer (or even telephone) that has a modern web browser, you just won't be able to learn Excel 2013 on a Mac as the Mac cannot install or run Excel 2013.


But there is some good news!


In late September 2015 Microsoft released Office 2016 for Mac (that runs on the Mac OSX operating system). From the name, you might guess that it was identical to Office 2016 for Windows but, unfortunately, they are radically different products and a huge number of Excel 2016 for Windows features simply don’t exist in Excel 2016 for Mac. 


For this reason, we’ve been working on a course for Apple Mac owners for the last few months and both should publish (in printed paper book form), and be in stock at Amazon early next month (March 2016).  Both Essential Skills and Expert Skills books will be available for Excel 2016 for Mac providing the first ever comprehensive Excel course for Mac users.


While writing the new Mac books we took the time to carefully document all of the features that are available in Excel 2016 for Windows that are missing in Excel 2016 for Mac (included as an appendix in each book).


If you need to learn Excel 2016 there are two ways you could progress:


1/ Wait until our Excel Mac books are published in March and then buy, rent (or install the free 30 day demo) of Office 2016 for Mac. 


2/ Get access to a Windows computer and install either Office 2013 (if you want to learn right now with the Excel 2013 video course/books) or Office 2016 (Essential Skills 2016 for Windows is available in book form right now and Expert will publish in the next 2-3 weeks).  For instruction on how to install Excel 2013 instead of Excel 2016 see this thread:


How Can I Install Excel 2013 (Is There a Free Trial Version)?


The advantage of approach 2/ above is that you will learn all of Excel’s more advanced features as well as those that are supported by the Mac version.  You’ll also have no difficulty using the Mac version as well (as the Mac version contains a subset of the Windows features). 


If your aim is to develop excellent Excel skills that will further your employment opportunities, you should develop Windows (not Mac) skills as this is the platform used by almost all businesses.


If youonly need basic Excel skills and will primarily use Excel at home on your Apple Mac then you may find that the Excel 2016 for Mac version is more suited to your needs.



Best Regards




Mike Smart

Mike Smart is the author of ten world best-selling Excel books. The books are available in printed form for for Excel 2007, Excel 2010, Excel 2013, Excel 2016 for Windows and Excel 2016 for Apple Mac. Mike has also recorded over 850 video lessons (that you can watch online) for Excel 2007, Excel 2010 and Excel 2013.
Mike Smart is also part of the team that answers questions posted on the ExcelCentral.com forums.

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