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iWork 08 Numbers: Add a slider control to a cell

Numbers, the spreadsheet addition to Apple’s iWork suite, has the ability to add a slider control easily to a cell. With this control, a user can quickly change the numeric value of the cell within preset limits just by moving the slider. When the slider position is changed, not only does the cell value change, anything dependent on that cell will change as well, like equations and charts.

To add a slider control to a cell in Numbers, click on the cell to select it. If the Inspector is not visible, click the Inspector icon (near the top right of the Numbers window). The image below shows the inspector window with the proper slider settings:

In the inspector window, click on the Cells tab (shown highlighted in the image above, the fourth from the left with the number 42 in it. Apple, don’t think we didn’t catch the answer to life, the universe, and everything reference). If you are not familiar with the Inspector, spend a few minutes clicking around in it. It’s an extremely well thought out way to configure everything in a spreadsheet.

In the Cell Format area of the Inspector, select Slider in the pulldown menu and the Inspector window should appear similar to that pictured above.

Using the Inspector, you can set the range of the slider, its position relative to the cell, and other number related settings. The range of the slider is set with a minimum, a maximum, and an increment. To show some possibilities of this, set the minimum to zero, the maximum to 1 and the increment to 0.125. If you also set Display as to Fraction then as you move the slider, the cell value will change in 1/8th increments.

If the slider is in the way of other important stuff in your spreadsheet, you can reposition it either to the right of the affected cell or below it (the Bottom option). Not to worry, though, the slider disappears when the cell is not active.

Quinn McHenry
Quinn McHenry
Quinn was one of the original co-founders of Tech-Recipes. He is currently crafting iOS applications as a senior developer at Small Planet Digital in Brooklyn, New York.


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