It's all in the Numbers

Numbers for iPad is an excellent spreadsheet app with only a few weaknesses on the iPad device.

Numbers for iPad works well for creating spreadsheets and organizing data while away from your desktop, with a multitude of useful tools and a smart interface design to make your spreadsheet work easier. The app comes with a Getting Started file that walks you through everything from basic spreadsheet use to more complicated features using an intuitive tabbed interface. As you learn the various features, the Getting Started file directs you to try them on your own as you go--an excellent way to learn the ins and outs of Numbers.

The touch interface makes interacting with spreadsheets easy. Add rows or columns by grabbing onto the handle at the end of a row and dragging it to the desired amount of rows. Selecting multiple fields requires you to tap and hold and then drag to select as many fields as you want. Once selected, you can tap and hold, then drag to move the selected fields to another area. When entering data, as with the Mac version, Numbers for iPad detects the type of content you need and gives you an interface that's most suitable for that type of content (fields with calculations get a calculator and a formula selector, for example). So, with a touch of your finger you can organize, move, and smartly edit or change your content, all without the use of a keyboard.

Like Numbers for the Mac, the iPad version makes it easy to build a chart for just about any type of data. If you have a finished spreadsheet, or even if you just want to make a graph using data from a portion of your spreadsheet, Numbers requires only a few touches on your iPad. Simply use the insert button, select the type of chart you want to display, then drop the chart into your document. From there, a simple double tap on the chart and a selection from your spreadsheet will dynamically change the chart to display your content. Intuitive features like these almost make any spreadsheet work easier on your iPad than working on your desktop, but more complex spreadsheets that draw from many different sources might still be relegated to your main desktop computer.

When you're finished with your work, you can share it on iWork.com and invite friends or colleagues to view your content. You also can send your spreadsheet via e-mail or export in Numbers format or PDF. Unfortunately, you cannot export to Microsoft Excel, and--like other iWork for iPad apps--you will not be able to print your work directly from the iPad. Even without these features, Numbers is a great way to create and work with spreadsheet data, with a touch-screen interface that's stunningly intuitive.

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