How to Organize Your Life With Numbers for Mac

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.

Numbers is a spreadsheet program that’s perfect for helping you get organized. As part of the iWork suite, it’s a better choice than Google Docs or Excel because it’s native to macOS and available free from the App Store.

There are plenty of apps to organize particular aspects of your life, but creating a spreadsheet in Numbers gives you much more control. What’s more, you can use Numbers to plan meals, schedule work projects, or plan your budget using templates.

So let’s get started!

Install Numbers on Your Mac From the App Store

Numbers app on the Mac App StoreNumbers is free to use on any Apple product: iMac, MacBook, iPhone, you name it. If you sync data using iCloud Drive, you can even open the same Numbers files on any of your Apple devices without compatibility issues.

That said, Numbers doesn’t come pre-installed on your device. You need to download it from the App Store first.

On your Mac, open the App Store from the Dock and search for Numbers. Click the Get button next to the app and enter your Apple ID details to start downloading and installing it. Numbers appears in the Launchpad as soon as the installation is complete.

With Numbers installed, get started on organizing different parts of your life.

1. Use the Meal Planner Template in Numbers

Meal Planner Numbers Template SpreadsheetWeight loss often involves replacing impulse choices with planned meals and snacks. Numbers has a built-in Meal Planner template that’s great for reclaiming control over your eating habits. There’s even a dedicated sheet for your shopping list.

  1. Open Numbers on your Mac.
  2. Choose to create a New Document from the popup window or go to File > New.
  3. Select the Meal Planner template under the Personal section and click Choose.

How to Use the Meal Planner Template in the Numbers App

At the top of the window, you can see two Numbers spreadsheets: the Meal Planner and the Shopping List.

From the Meal Planner sheet, start off by double-clicking the date to edit it. Then go through adding the food you want to eat for each meal every day.

For every entry, you can also link to the recipe. Highlight the text in a particular cell, then control-click and select Add Link > Web Page. Paste the link to your recipe in the box that appears.Add Link popup window from Numbers

If you want to add the same Breakfast, Lunch, or Snacks for each day, select the first cell and drag the yellow circle down to autofill the cells beneath it.

Once your meal plan is complete, go to the Shopping List sheet and add the ingredients you need for those meals. You can even edit the quantity of each item and add the particular shop you need to get it from.

Don’t forget to save your Meal Plan when you’re finished. Go to File > Save to do so.

2. Create Your Own Project Tracker

Project Overview Numbers SpreadsheetOne of the hardest parts of organizing your life is keeping track of all your different projects. Luckily, it’s easy to create a project tracker in Numbers, so you can manage all your tasks from the same place.

Let’s create a new Numbers spreadsheet to track projects and to-do lists. You can edit it as much as you like to match whatever’s on your agenda.

  1. Open Numbers on your Mac.
  2. Choose to create a New Document from the popup window or go to File > New.
  3. This time, select the Blank template at the top of the list and click Choose.

Much like the Meal Planner, it’s simpler to have separate sheets for different information. Double-click where it says Sheet 1 and rename it to Project Overview. Then click the + button to create a new sheet and call it To-Do Lists.

How to Create the Project Overview Sheet in Numbers

Open the Project Overview sheet. Think about how to group all your different projects into three or four categories, for instance: Work, Home, and Personal. Then decide how many projects you want to track for each of your categories at once.

  1. In column A, from row 2 down, write Project 1, Project 2, Project 3, and so on for the number of projects you want to track.
  2. Starting from column B, add your “Project Categories” to the top of each column.
  3. Now fill out the name of each project for each category in the spreadsheet.

This gives you a clear overview of all the different projects you’re working on at any one time. For the individual tasks related to each project, let’s create some to-do lists.

How to Create the To-Do Lists Sheet in Numbers

To-Do Lists sheet from Project Tracker Spreadsheet in NumbersOpen the To-Do Lists sheet you created at the top of Numbers, then follow the steps below to create checkbox to-do lists for each of your different projects.

  1. Click the A button to select the entire first column.
  2. From the Format sidebar, go to the Cell tab and change the Data Format to Checkbox.
  3. Click and drag to select columns C to E, then control-click and choose to Delete Selected Columns.
  4. Hover the cursor over the right edge of the B column to reveal a resize tool and resize that column to 300 pt.
  5. Double-click Table 1 and rename it to match a particular project.
  6. Go to Edit > Duplicate Selection to create new to-do lists for each of your projects. Rearrange them by dragging the Circle in the top-left of each table.
  7. Then fill out each line with a different task you need to complete for that project.

3. Use the Personal Budget Template in Numbers

Numbers Personal Budget Template showing monthly budget graphsA crucial step in getting organized is getting your finances in order. You get a few finance templates with Numbers and they each serve different purposes. The best one for most people to use is the Personal Budget template.

Here’s how to make the most of it.

How to Use the Personal Budget Template in Numbers

After opening a new Personal Budget template in Numbers, you should see two sheets at the top of the window: Budget and Transactions.

The Budget sheet shows a pie chart with your spending habits next to a bar chart pitting them against your budget. These visuals make it clear to see where your money is going and if you’re overspending or not.

Beneath the charts, a table lays out the different spending categories alongside your Budget and Actual amounts. Numbers works out your Actual spending from the Transactions sheet, but you need to adjust the Budget for each category yourself.

Summary of Budget and Actual Spending from Personal Budget Numbers TemplateWhen you’re happy with the budgets, go to the Transactions sheet. Numbers uses information from this sheet to fill in the charts and table on the Budgets sheet.

Add every purchase you make into the Transactions sheet. You also need to include the amount you spent and the category it belongs to. Numbers puts it all together to tell you if you’re on track to meet your monthly budget or not.

Transactions sheet from the Personal Budget Numbers Template

How to Change Categories in the Numbers Personal Budget Template

The default spending categories are pretty good, but not perfect for everyone. You might want to change them to match your own spending habits. To do this, you need to change the spending categories for both the Budget and the Transaction sheets.

Changing spending categories in the Budgets sheet is as simple as renaming them from the table at the bottom of the page. You should see the names change in the graphs.Changing the Category name in Summary Table from Numbers Personal Budget Tempalte

Don’t worry about the Actual numbers going to zero when you do this.

In the Transactions sheet, you need to change the dropdown menu options for every line in the table. Click and drag to select the entire Category column, starting from row 2.

In the Format sidebar, click Cell and you should see the Pop-Up Menu options for each of the categories. Use the + and buttons to add or remove categories, or double-click existing options to rename them.Format sidebar showing Pop-Up Menu options in Numbers

When you’re done, make sure your transactions link to the right categories. Otherwise, your budget graphs won’t be accurate.

Find More Spreadsheets to Use

Numbers isn’t as powerful as Microsoft Excel, but its design makes it easy to create simple and functional spreadsheets. Each of these projects should teach you more about how to use Numbers on your iMac, MacBook, or MacBook Pro.

But there’s even more you can do with spreadsheets that we haven’t touched on yet. Take a look at these useful Excel templates 10 Amazingly Useful Spreadsheet Templates to Organize Your Life 10 Amazingly Useful Spreadsheet Templates to Organize Your Life Is your life a mess of missed deadlines, forgotten shopping, and broken commitments? Sounds like you need to get organized. Read More for more spreadsheet ideas you can create in Numbers.

Explore more about: Budget, iWork, Organization Software, Productivity Tricks, Spreadsheet.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Phil
    January 11, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    A good concept, but the screenshots are unreadable. Also there are several inconsistencies in the instructions.