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Import and edit Excel files in Numbers

Work with Microsoft Excel documents in Numbers on iOS and create cross-platform compatible documents

If you’re using a Mac or iOS device, you’re probably aware that Apple’s own software is usually much more refined than its competitors. The built-in apps on your Apple devices work perfectly with the hardware and are optimised to take full advantage of the operating system. And while alternative apps like Microsoft’s Office suite are still worth a look, Apple’s own iWork apps offer similar functionality, complete compatibility and a much nicer interface. Also, since the iWork apps are designed to work the same on Mac and iOS, you won’t be frustrated by missing features.

But for all our talk of the outstanding iWork apps, not everyone uses them. Apple knows that many people still use Microsoft Office, and it has therefore made it quick and easy to import and edit Microsoft files using iWork apps. You can continue to enjoy the improved interface of iWork on your iPad without having to transfer to a Mac or PC to work on a full version of Office. And better still, when you’re finished with editing your work, you can export it as an XLS file so that your friends and colleagues can pick it up where you left off and keep editing it, no matter what app they’re using. Let’s get started and find out how to import and edit Excel files in the Numbers app.

Step 1

1 Open in Numbers

When you receive an Excel document, it will appear like this in the email or message. Tap and hold on it, then choose Open in Numbers to bring up your iWork app.

Step 2

2 Edit formulae

Double-tap in any cell and you can edit its contents. Tap the ‘=’ icon to open the formula menu – or if there is already a formula in a cell, you can edit its elements here.

Step 3

3 Add functions

Numbers has all the same functions as Excel; tap the Functions button on the right to add a new function from a category. Tap to add it, then enter values for each element.

Step 4

4 Create a graph

Select the data you want to use for a graph and tap the + icon in the top-right. Select the kind of graph you want and it will be added to your worksheet instantly.

Step 5

5 Sharing to Excel

When you’re finished with your sheet, tap the Share button in the top-right and pick Send a Copy. Choose Excel when this menu appears, to export in an XLS format.

Step 6

6 Sending options

You can share your document in a number of ways – sending it to another app, transferring it to a computer via iTunes, or sending it via email or an iMessage.