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James, Sr. Mac Support Expert
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Experience:  Mac Expert
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I have had a spreadsheet application developed for financial

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I have had a spreadsheet application developed for financial forecasting. (Windows, Excel 2010). The vba code runs its own tab in the ribbon with buttons for a bunch of fairly simple time-saving macros (mostly more instant access to standard excel stuff like hiding columns, formatting cells etc. The most complex thing it does is combine a whole heap of custom views and produce a multi-page pdf doc. However my developer is despairing of ever getting it to work in Excel for Mac, which just seems to spit the whole thing back whenever we try to open it. My question is this: Should it work? Are we missing something? or is this just a fundamental short-coming. Much as I'd love it to work on macs as well I need to know whether to spend any resources on trying to solve this... Are they liely to big issues, or little ones that just need a bit of re-coding? I'd be grateful for a thumbs up or a thumbs down... Thanks, Simon
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I appreciate the oppurtunity to assist you today.
I will do my best to answer your question!

I am not sure which version of Excel you are using, so I'll try to address this broadly.
The old versions of Excel (pre-2008) use Apple Scripting, which is very different than the Microsoft VBA. Then in Excel 2008, Microsoft removed scripting support altogether.

In the latest version, Excel 2011, Microsoft re-introduced VBA, which is essentially the same as the VBA used on PC's, however since the operating systems are very different, there are still a lot of adaptations needed to make PC code work on a Mac. Depending on the version of Excel you have on the Mac, you will need to get someone who can convert the code for you. It would probably be easier to do it on Excel 2011, but will still require some work, preferably by someone who has done this before.

I hope this answers your question.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi James,


Thanks for your answer.


I'm aware of most of the issues you have raised, but what I'm trying to quantify is whether relatively straightforward code written for pc can be converted or not, or whether there are - or may be - absolute obstacles in the way. I know this is tough without seeing the code and knowing what it does, but my starting point has to be whether it's likely to succeed or not.


It's not a question of which version of Excel for Mac I'm running, it's about my clients. I'm aware that 2008 was a no-no, so am I likely to be able to adapt my application for people running later versions.


You haven't said "forget it", so do you think it's worth pursuing? At present I can't look after clients who use Macs at all. I guess what I'm hoping to hear is "there's no reason in theory why you couldn't re-code anything written in vba for Excel on a pc (assuming you';re not trying to put a man on the moon) and make it work on a Mac". Or failing that I could live with: "this whole area is fraught with difficulties and you could spend a lot of time and money without getting a result". At least I'd know. Are you familiar enough with the issues to come down on either side?


Thanks for your time. Beddy-byes time this side of the pond so maybe speak again tomorrow.






Thank you for the additional info.

Can you please tell me which version of Excel your clients are using? Is it all the same version, or multiple versions?

Can you tell me approximaely how many lines of code in the script?

I will then be able to estimate how long it will take to convert it.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi James,


It would be a help if I could first get an answer to the question I'm actually asking. Undecided What I need at this stage is reassurance - from someone qualified to have an opinion - on whether this is something I should pursue. (We're a bit away yet from quantifying the job...)


I infer from what you ask me that you don't see a problem but you don't say so clearly. You also haven't said to me " I'm familiar with the issues you;re discussing and I understand them", which would be kind of nice to hear in this environment.


So again, the question is: Given vba code written to conduct some fairly basic Excel tasks in Windows, how likely is it that it can be re-written for Mac, or are there any fundamental issues that might prevent it being successful?


Perhaps some percentage estimate of likely success would be an easy way for you quantify it? I appreciate you're a bit light on facts, but I won't hold you to it!


Obviously I have no control over what versions of Excel my clients are running on their Macs - I would like to offer and support as far back as I can, which clearly precludes 2008. If I have to stipulate the most recent version only, so be it, at least it's progress.


Am I right to also infer that this is the kind of work you do? Can I contract you outside the 'just answer' platform?. Or does the platform accommodate this kind of work anyway?


I guess if it looks like we may have the basis to proceed I'd need to send you a copy of the spreadsheet, with the code, for you to assess it properly...?


Thanks again for your time.








Hi Simon,

I do understand the issues involved very well, I just want to make sure I give you good, accurate information.
You do realise that without adhering to a single, known version of Excel, the amount of work is multiplied by the versions your clients may use, and each version will need it's own code base (to be converted AND maintained).

I'll do my best to answer, if I still miss something, please let me know...

If you can't say for certain your clients will be using Excel 2011 - I would say this is a big task. You will need to convert the code to ALL versions of Excel, including VBA and Apple Scripting. This is a big task, since Apple Scripting is quite different from VBA. That said, it is doable - will simply take more time (several weeks).

If you can say for sure all clients will be using Excel 2011, the task is fairly easy, no issues that I can think of, and should be doable in a few days by any VBA programmer.

I do coding for Excel, but I'm not certified by JustAnswer as a programmer and certainly cannot undertake any work outside the site. It would be best to post this request in the programming category, though for this kind of project I would seriously consider outsourcing to a software house.

I hope this answers the questions - if not, please ask and I will do my best to revise my answer!


James and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi James, Thanks.


That's all much clearer now thank you. XXXXX will restrict it to 2011, which I'm guessing is the latest Excel for Mac (any idea when they're planning a new release?) which would mean I would no longer have to flat turn away Mac users.


I guess in software development terms we have an advantage - that the usual development iterations, feature creep etc - don't affect us; we just have to convert exactly what's there. I will now look for a vba for Mac developer, more likely in the UK, or maybe far-east if I can find something that looks reliable and well-managed.


Sorry that you're not in a position to profit further from this, but thanks for your help.


Over and out.