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I'm still working with Office:mac:2004 on my MacBook 13" (2,16 GHz, 3 GB RAM, MacOS X 10.6.8) and it is quite slow in Loading the applications, so I avoid working with it if I can.

What are alternatives to MS Excel which have at least the following features:

  • filtering of tables
  • creating complex formulae
    (if possible also a programming language like VBA to create custom commands and formulae)
  • cell format change automatically dependent on cell value

(Free applications would be welcome)

Would the most recent version of MS Office perform better on my (quite old) MacBook?

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I would recommend you use Numbers from Apple. It is a very powerful tool, yet very easy to get started with.

You find more information about it on the Apple product page:

Here are some hints for your requested features:

If you are interested in scripting Numbers, I highly recommend you to check out the AppleScript language guide.

Numbers, as many other popular OSX applications, is fully scriptable using AppleScript.

My own experience with Numbers is great. I stopped using Excel a long time ago. I use it as my main spreadsheet application, and I found the learning curve is quite shallow. Although if you plan to become an expert user, it may take a while to adapt to the different environment. But as long as you go the "Apple way" by learning and using the built in tools, you will soon find yourself in a very comfortable spot. A good example is the Address Book. Since I have started using the Address Book, mass mailing became very easy.

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Before Apple came out with Numbers I used a nice application called Tables which isn't as powerful as Numbers but did the trick nicely in that it played well with my old Excel and AppleWorks files and was/is a clean and simple spreadsheet application. The latest version runs fine in Lion and the developer is quick to update it when bugs are reported.

I still have it and use it on older files that I've not converted to Numbers but Numbers is a more powerful tool and is probably the way to go.

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