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Tech Tip: Converting Spreadsheets in Apple’s Numbers to Excel

Q. My wife and I have used Apple’s Numbers program to open and edit Microsoft Excel files. But how can Excel subsequently be used to open and edit the same file after it’s been opened in Numbers?

A. When a spreadsheet created in Microsoft Excel is opened in Apple’s Numbers app for OS X, iOS and iCloud, the file is imported and converted to the Numbers format. To open that same file again later in Excel, you need to export the spreadsheet back onto Excel’s own format. Keep in mind that the conversion between programs may not be seamless, as some Excel features like pivot tables, surface charts and certain graphic elements are not supported by Numbers.

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To save a Numbers spreadsheet in a way that Microsoft Excel can open it later, go to the File menu and export the file in the Excel format.

On the OS X version of Numbers, open the file you want to use later in Excel. Go to the File menu, choose Export To and select Excel from the submenu. In the Export Your Spreadsheet box, click the arrow next to Advanced Options and use the drop-down menu to select the newer Excel format (.xlsx) or the older file format (.xls) used by the program from 1997 to 2004. Click the Next button to give the file a name and then click the Export button.

In Numbers on an iOS device, open the file you want to convert and tap the Share icon on the upper-right side of the toolbar. Select the “Send a Copy” option from the menu and tap Excel in the next box. Once the file converts to the .xlsx format, choose how you want to share it — by email, saved to an online server and so forth.

If you have the file open in the Numbers app on the web at iCloud.com, click the wrench icon in the toolbar and choose either “Download a Copy” or “Send a Copy” (to share by mail and other methods) from the menu. On the next box, choose Excel and follow the steps onscreen.

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