Hands On with Numbers for the Apple iPad

Hands On with Numbers for the Apple iPad

Joelle Alcaidinho
Apr 21, 2010

As part of our hands on review with iWork on iPad we looked at Keynote last week and Pages on Monday. Today, it's Numbers turn. Since its introduction, Numbers has been one of our favorite parts of iWork on our Mac. With its easy to use formulas and convenient templates Numbers quickly became the application we turned to for all things spreadsheets, and we hoped that everything we loved about using the application on our Mac would translate to the new iPad app.

We are happy to report that Numbers for iPad is really where Apple gets iWork on iPad (almost) right.

Just like with the other two iWork apps for iPad, Numbers opens to the document manager or the last document you were working on before you closed the app. Numbers comes with 16 templates.

Multi-Touch technology in Numbers feels natural, with a few taps, it's easy to create tables and charts, add photos and graphics, as well as enter and edit data. We love using Numbers as a canvas and on the iPad it's even easier to add multiple tables and charts anywhere on a sheet and move them wherever you like.

It's so great just being able to tap and enter data. No need to tab over to the desired fields, just tap and edit. The full screen view makes it easy to see your data by the sum, min, max, and count for your selection. One of the cool things about this app is how it uses forms. Forms are a quick and easy way to gather or edit data. When you link a table to a form, Numbers automatically updates each row as you enter information.

Just like with the desktop app, it's easy to create charts from your table data. Just tap the chart, tap the Info button, then tap again to choose a style. You can even add data to a chart from multiple sheets in your spreadsheet with a few taps. Since Numbers is built on a flexible canvas, drag to move the chart wherever you want. Also like the desktop app, you can easily copy and paste your charts into Keynote or Pages.

Probably one of the standout features of this app is the intelligent keyboard. The keyboard in Numbers actually helps you enter data and create formulas. You'll see the keyboard you need for the data you're entering, whether it's digits, date and time, duration, text, or formulas. Numbers has a full calculation engine, more than 250 functions, and clear and concise help for each of them built in. As someone who has struggled with formulas in other spreadsheet applications, the intelligent keyboard makes them even easier to use than they were in the already user friendly Numbers desktop app.

Export Options
Numbers on iPad lets you open spreadsheets created using iWork or Microsoft Office. Like the other iWork apps for the iPad you can acquire files through email attachments or through iTunes. Numbers exports your spreadsheet as a Numbers file for Mac or a PDF document. We wish it would also have the option like the application for the Mac to export as an Excel document.

Manipulating data with Multi-Touch is actually kind of fun. We enjoyed moving around our spreadsheets on the flexible canvas and adding charts to create one very polished document. This app is practically perfect save for one glaring issue, the export options. To make Numbers for iPad a great and highly useful app, Apple cannot add the ability to export as an Excel file fast enough. Without this export option, we do think that those who need to share files with Excel users are going to be more than a little bit disappointed with this app. Of course you can also upload your spreadsheet to iWork.com public beta so anyone on a Mac or PC can view it, but this is cold comfort when what you really need to do is email it quickly as an Excel file.

The iWork apps for iPad are sold separately and cost $9.99 each.

[Images: Joelle Alcaidinho & Apple]

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.

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