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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Looking For A Good, Free OS X Spreadsheet? Welcome Mesa!
June 18th, 2001

Mesa 3.0, Release Candidate 2 (Public Beta)
P & L Systems

Need a spreadsheet under OS X? Sure, you buy and use Office 2001 under Classic mode. Or, you can wait for the release of Office for OS X, some time this Fall, but if you want an advance peek at a Cocoa spreadsheet, with a long history on the Mac and other operating systems, check out Mesa.

Mesa seems to have been available in various forms, including OS/2, NeXTSTEP, and Rhapsody, since 1993. We checked The Mac Observer Archives and found a reference, dated July, 1997. So you can expect that this product has a good set of features. But not so much that you'll be overwhelmed, like some folks feel when they are using Excel. Mesa has a simple interface and a solid, accessible set of features.

Mesa is a Spreadsheet with Formulas, Reports, Charts and More
(click for a larger image)

The spreadsheet appears with the usual numerical row and alpha column designations. You can enter text and numbers as one would expect. If you'd like to get a bit more advanced, you can select the Formulas tool, which offers math, financial, string, date and other useful formulas.

There is also a Report feature, where you can design a custom reports where cells, headings and other information are placed where you want. To display your information, there is a graph feature, which can create bar, line and area graphs, and place them within your spreadsheet. Finally, there is a comprehensive Help facility, for those that need to brush up on the finer points of spreadsheet use.

Take a peek at what may be a serious contender for OS X spreadsheet crown, and check out Mesa today.

Have any other Mac Gadgets that OS X users should know about? Let John know via e-mail, so he can kick the tires.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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