Despite fewer features and a newer codebase, Numbers has always seemed slower to me than Microsoft Excel. With iWork ’13 backported from iOS to Mac, I expected to see some performance improvements. After all, iOS devices have less RAM and slower processors. In theory, iWork’s new binary file format should also be smaller and faster than XML.
Here are some measurements that I made on a 2012 MacBook Pro using a 10.5 MB CSV file, an export of my FogBugz cases:
|Numbers ’09||Numbers ’13||Excel 2011||OpenOffice 4.0.1|
|Open CSV File||2m10s||3m25s||2s||10s|
|Save Native File||6s||2s||1s||3s|
|Open Native File||7s||10s||2s||6s|
|Open Numbers ’09 File||7s||16s||N/A||N/A|
|Native File Size||2.6 MB||15.5 MB||3.7 MB||2.2 MB|
|Unzipped Size||62 MB||16.4 MB||22.4 MB||57.4 MB|
For opening my file, Numbers was always way slower than Excel. The new version of Numbers is even slower.
The new Numbers file format is much faster than the old one at saving, but it’s slower at opening. Excel is much faster than either.
Numbers ’13 takes more than twice as long as Numbers ’09 to read files in the old format.
The old Numbers file format was actually more compact than Excel’s. The new format is nearly 6 times the size of the old format.
On the other hand, the uncompressed Numbers ’13 format is more compact than Excel’s format and much smaller than the old format. Presumably, this allows it to use much less RAM.
Update (2013-10-29): I’ve added results from OpenOffice, a C++/Java app that uses a compressed XML document format.
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