For a while now I’ve been looking for a simple way to have a spreadsheet look up a lie currency exchange rate. The various solutions offered included writing scripts to go and get the live values… but try as I might I couldn’t get Apple Numbers to work with this. As a result, I’ve been manually looking up the current rate and typing it manually into a cell that all other cells reference. It works, but it’s a bit manual and clunky.
It turns out I had the solution all along – it’s built in to Numbers, but isn’t obvious (at least not to me!)
All you do is click into a cell and enter a formula, so just choose your cell and type the ‘=’ sign to bring up the formula entry. Now type CURRENCY
(yes, it’s really that obvious)
There are three components to enter – the currency you want to convert from, the currency you wnat to convert to, and the price of that currency. The last part is what you will get dynamically.
Firstly, you need to know the currency codes for your conversion. For example, if you want to know how many US dollars there are to one GB Pound, you’d need to know the currency code for Sterling is GBP and for the dollar is USD. These are the first two things to type, and you have to add quote marks around both:
The third thing is the zero at the end. This forces Apple Numbers to look up the current price. In the formula editor you can see a drop down list of possible values to use instead of zero, such as the name, or the current change in rate.. or the highs, lows and so on.
What you should get back, after a very slight pause when you enter the formula, is the cell showing you the current exchange rate (At the time of writing, this returned $1.31)
This is a really useful feature if you are trading in different currencies and need to do some basic calculations. Keep in mind that whilst this looks up the live rate, it is not the rate a bank will offer you! Use it as a guide… if you want to check it, go to https://xe.com and see what they say there. It’ll be pretty close!