Touch-screen spread sheets

Numbers for iOS 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.

Numbers for iOS 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. On the iPhone the app works admirably, but the smaller screen size makes it a bit less easy to use than the iPad version.

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. After several version upgrades, the app now comes with 16 Apple-designed templates; a freeform canvas for tables, charts, text, and images; a dedicated media browser; more than 250 spreadsheet functions; and much more. iPhone and iPod Touch users will appreciate a new feature called Smart Zoom, which automatically zooms in on the part of the spreadsheet you're working with.

The touch interface makes interacting with spreadsheets easy. Add rows or columns by grabbing onto the handle at the end of a row and drag it to the desired number of rows. Selecting multiple fields requires you tap and hold, 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, like the Mac version, Numbers for iOS 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 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 iOS version makes it easy to make 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 iOS device. 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, then 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 iOS device than working on your desktop, but more-complex spreadsheets that draw from many different sources might still be relegated to your main desktop computer.

In the latest version released alongside the the new iPad, you now have the ability to add 3D graphs and charts that can be rotated once they're placed in your spreadsheet.

When you're finished with your work, you can share it on iWork.com (public beta) and invite friends or colleagues to view your content. You also can send your spreadsheet via e-mail or export in Numbers format, PDF, and to Microsoft Excel. More file management options include the ability to copy to and from iTunes, MobileMe iDisk, and WebDAV. You also can print to nearby printers using AirPrint.

Though it's not as feature rich as its Mac desktop counterpart, Numbers is a great way to create and work with spreadsheet data on the go. With a touch-screen interface that's stunningly intuitive, and compatibility with the most-used office suites, business users will appreciate Numbers on their iOS device of choice.

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