Several apps allow you to use spreadsheets on an iPad. You can use apps that let you read, create and edit well-known spreadsheet types such as Microsoft's Excel or Apple's Numbers, or you can choose apps that offer their own spreadsheet functions that may or may not be compatible with common spreadsheets. The best option depends on which functions you need from your spreadsheets and how you use and share them.
Numbers is the only spreadsheet program designed by Apple specifically for the iPad. If you use Numbers on your Mac and want similar functions on your iPad, Apple's Numbers app was specifically designed to make the transition to iPad easy. The app operates similarly to the computer-based software, but does not have all of the features. The iPad version of Numbers can work with Numbers and Excel files, and features several templates for creating quick spreadsheets. The app also features an easy-to-follow user guide built within Numbers itself so you can see how the program functions as you learn to use it.
Microsoft Excel users who find Numbers too limited or who want to share spreadsheets with their PCs without any file conversion issues will do best with Documents To Go or Quickoffice Connect. Both of these apps work directly in the .xls or .xlsx file formats, so no conversion is needed. Both allow you to open and edit existing spreadsheets or create new sheets directly on the iPad, and both sync with popular cloud storage services for getting spreadsheets to and from your iPad. Features include data formatting and sorting, adding formulas, adding and deleting columns and working with multiple-sheet workbooks. Documents To Go makes switching worksheets a bit more complex than the simple tabs of Quickoffice Connect, but DTG offers multi-level spreadsheet sorts and some additional features for word processing that Quickoffice Connect lacks, such as word count. Both lack the ability to create charts from your spreadsheets, and if you want to work with a template, you must download it to your computer first, then share the sheet with your iPad.
New apps appear in the App Store every day, so if you are looking for a free app or one that costs less than the full-featured apps, read the specifications carefully. Look for apps that allow multi-level sorts, text formatting, multiple-cell selection, and any other features that are important to you. Key features are listed on the app's page in the App Store, and you can also tap the "Developer website" button for each app in the App Store to find out more information about that particular spreadsheet app. Apps whose developers issue periodic updates and answer user questions in a prompt, clear manner are more likely to offer upgrades to their features and the user support you may need to make the most of your mobile spreadsheets. Apps that export to common file types such as CSV will allow you to make the most of the data you create on your iPad.
Aside from viewing your work-related spreadsheets on the go, a spreadsheet app on your iPad can allow you to track travel expenses, manage your finances and even keep a mobile check register so you don't have to worry about carrying a paper register with you wherever you go.
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