Thursday, December 9, 2010

Good news and bad about Excel for the Mac

It was back in August that I told people not to buy a Mac if they were looking for a new computer. I said this as someone who bought a Mac in 1984 when it was obviously the best personal computer in the world.

The biggest complaint I had (and still have) is the lack of functionality in a lot of software. I have since found that one of my complaints about Excel for Mac is untrue.

Sort of.

The chart above was made on a Mac. Making a scatterplot on the Mac is easy (as it should be), but I did not see how to add the line of regression, also known as the predictor line or the trendline, and to get the correlation coefficient R², which are very easy to get on the PC version of the software. I want to thank my student from Mills, Lara Barhoum, for finding out how to do this.

The thing is, it's ridiculously hard to do, and of course software designers and account managers at Microsoft are to blame for the difficulty. On the PC, once you've chosen scatterplot, there are several choices for the output and one of them gives you the picture above immediately. On the Mac, you have to control-click on a single dot in the picture and then select the Add Trendline... option and choose the two formulas.

Notice: Control-click one of the dots inside the picture, not control-click anywhere inside the picture.

It's been nearly fifteen years since I wrote software for money, so I readily admit I'm a dinosaur. Regardless of my antique status, I can still smell bad software design a mile off and this flat out sucks and there are grown-ups at Microsoft acting like spoiled children who made this suck.

I hate being a consumer and getting a sub-optimal products specifically because some huge corporations are having a pissing contest. If you are paying attention, you know this happens a lot.

1 comment:

Fran said...

I am not a big excel user but I have had to use it a lot lately and have thought of your post very often. And here today, I find this.

In the end I sent my stuff to my work PC and finished what I had to do there. It feels a bit like a kid with divorced parents who are not cooperating. It is annoying and unnecessary and everyone gets impacted negatively in some way.

Especially the kid.