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Shortcut differences between MS Excel and Mac Numbers

A previous article on Mac keyboard has already made the users aware about how different it is from a normal desktop windows keyboard. In this article we go one step further and see how much the shortcuts of Numbers (the spreadsheet application of Mac) differ from that of Excel. 

For the sake of simplicity in understanding, we can divide the shortcuts of Numbers in 2 groups

1. The shortcuts which are same as their windows counterpart, with only difference being the equivalent modifier key. 

2. The shortcuts in which the key combination is different from that of Excel

In the first set of shortcuts the user needs to remember only the equivalent modifier key if he/she is well-versed with the Excel shortcuts. So a shortcut like ‘Ctrl + A’ in Excel becomes ‘Cmd + A’ in Numbers as the command key is the equivalent key of control in Mac. 
Few more examples are – 

Command + F = Ctrl + F
Command + Page Down = Ctrl + Page Down

We are interested in the second set of shortcuts as here lies a greater difference. A person moving to Numbers from Excel need to learn them as there are more differences than just substitution of an equivalent key. There are a lot of such shortcuts but we will be keeping our focus solely on the shortcuts (in fact, the actions performed by them) that we have already discussed in Excel. 

One important thing to note here is that Mac doesn’t have shortcuts for a no. of actions that we do frequently on Excel. So here we will be discussing only 5 such shortcuts in Mac which are very much different from Excel. 

Action Excel Shortcut Numbers Shortcut
Switching between applications ALT + Tab Cmd + Tab
Closing Excel application ALT + F4 Cmd + W
Addition of row/column CTRL+ Shift + ‘Plus’ Option + arrow
Switching between spreadsheets CTRL + Tab Function + cmd + up/down arrow

Addition of row/column

This action needs a bit of description. Unlike Excel, where you can only insert a row/column just above the row or to the left of the column you are on, Numbers allows you to insert a row/ column in any direction. For example, pressing Option + down arrow will lead to insertion of a new row just below the selected row. That gives you a lot more flexibility in Numbers as compared to Excel. 

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