How to Set Excel as The Default Program For Spreadsheets on A Mac (With Photos)

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How to Set Excel as The Default Program For Spreadsheets on A Mac (With Photos)

When you first get a new Mac computer, Apple has all of its apps set as the default program. In most cases, these apps are well suited for what they are made for. However, for spreadsheets, Apple’s default app is called Numbers. And if you have used Numbers, it leaves little to be desired, especially compared to Microsoft Excel.

Luckily it is easy to switch the default Numbers over to Excel. In this article, learn how to set Excel as the default program for spreadsheets on a Mac. Before we get started with the tutorial, let’s compare the pros and cons of both Numbers and Excel.

Should I use Excel or Numbers?

When choosing a spreadsheet program, there are only three main options Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, and Google Sheets. The first two are full-blown programs, and Google Sheets is a web-based program, so we will not include it in this article.

Apple Numbers and Microsoft Excel are both excellent spreadsheet programs, but each has a more focused niche that makes them stand out from the others. Excel is perfect for complex statistical analysis and data manipulation. It also has more powerful features for managing large amounts of data. On the other hand, Numbers is better suited for designing beautiful spreadsheets meant for presentations, more than data analysis.

So you may be asking yourself, which program is right for me? If you are looking to use spreadsheets for data analysis and formatting large amounts of information, Excel is the way to go. But if you are looking for a program that has less of a learning curve and creates well-designed spreadsheets, Numbers is the spreadsheet program for you.

How To Set Excel as Default

Before getting started, make sure you have Excel or Microsoft Office installed on your computer. Otherwise, you will not be able to complete this tutorial. You can download a trial or purchase Excel by clicking this link.

1. Open Finder

On your computer, click on the Finder icon on the dock. It is the one app you cannot remove from the dock, so it should be there to the far right or top, depending on how your dock is orientated.

How to Set Excel as Default on Mac
Open Finder.


2. Find A Spreadsheet File

Now that you have Finder open locate a spreadsheet file you have saved on your computer. Right-click on this file, then select Get Info from the drop-down menu.

How to Set Excel as Default on Mac
Find A Spreadsheet File.


3. Open With

In the Get Info window, you will see the metadata of the file. Next to where it says Open With, click on the arrow to drop down a menu with more information.

Open With.


4. Choose Microsoft Excel

From here, you will see a list of options that can open spreadsheet files on your computer. If you have already installed Excel, you should see this option in the list. Click on it.

How to Set Excel as Default on Mac
Choose Microsoft Excel


5. Change All

Right now, just that file you have chosen will open in Excel, but to set Exel as the default app, click Change All.

How to Set Excel as Default on Mac
Change All


Congratulations, you have set Microsoft Excel as your default spreadsheet program. Now, whenever you open any spreadsheet file on your Mac, it will open in Excel instead of Numbers.

Check out the video below to learn more about changing default programmes.

Up Next

How to Set Excel as The Default Program For Spreadsheets on A Mac (With Photos) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are benefits of Excel?

Microsoft Excel enables users to identify trends and organize and sort data into meaningful categories. Excel also performs Human Resources functions, such as sorting worked hours and organizing employee profiles and expenses, which help businesses better understand the structure and activities of their workforce.

Who created Excel?

Early Microsoft employee Charles Simonyi is the man behind some of the company’s most successful software, including Word and Excel. The developer has a Ph. D. in computer science from Stanford and worked on one of the first personal computers at Xerox.

How many cells in Excel?

Excel versions 2007 and newer have exactly 10,48,576 rows and 16,384 columns, which is an absolutely crazy amount that we can never imagine all of those rows and columns on one page.

Can I download Microsoft Excel for free?

Unfortunately, you are not able to download the full program versions of Excel for free. The good news is if you don’t need the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools, you can access a number of its apps online for free — including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar, and Skype.

How much does Excel cost?

There are a couple of different price points for Excel and Microsoft Office 365. You can also access the web-based version of Microsoft Excel for free if you do not need to have the program installed on your computer.

  • Office 365 Personal: $6.99/month or $69.99/year
  • Office 365 Home: $9.99/month or $99.99/year
  • Office Home & Student 2019: $149.99 one-time
  • Office 365 Business: $8.25/user/month (annual commitment required)
  • Office 365 Business Premium: $12.50/user/month (annual commitment required)
  • Office 365 Business Essentials: $5/month (annual commitment required)


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