Microsoft Excel, along with Word and PowerPoint, have just been made available on iPad. This is a terrific boon for those of us who extensively use iPads, as well as desktops and laptops. I immediately downloaded it when it was released last Friday, and I have been putting it through its paces this week.
First of all, I want to cut to the chase and say that I really, really like the way Microsoft has created this touch-centric Excel app for iPad. I find it to be intuitive, powerful, and remarkably compatible with the PC versions of Excel.
Ever since iPads were first introduced four years ago, I have used Apple’s Numbers app for any spreadsheet work I did on my tablet. Although I like Numbers, and I have always thought it does an admirable job, it simply does not compete favorably when it comes to compatibility and ease-of-use.
Excel for iPad makes better use of the screen real estate than Numbers, and it is a breeze to enter text or formulas. It is also easy to access the various Excel features and functions with which we are all accustomed. The toolbar includes the familiar HOME, INSERT, FORMULAS, REVIEW, and VIEW. Clicking any one of them brings up a small, but efficient, Ribbon.
Tapping the Insert Function (“fx”) button automatically inserts an “=” sign into your formula bar, and displays the available functions. Included in the functions are not only those that are commonly used, (as you might expect in a scaled-down version of Excel), but the sophisticated and even somewhat esoteric Database, Financial, Logical, and Text functions.
A QWERTY keyboard and a Special Keyboard for data entry are effortlessly switched at a click of a button located on the right side of the screen. Navigation is enhanced with an Arrow Pad and a Tab button on the data entry keyboard. It truly is Cool!
If you are an iPad user, I think you will Excel for iPad to be a pleasurable and productive experience without much of a learning curve. And that, dear friend, ROCKS!