First Look at Excel for iPad


This is my first look at Excel for iPad.  While a few features are lacking and others that are difficult to find (turning on word wrap in a cell, for example) this is a fully functional version of the popular Microsoft spreadsheet.  I’ve given an overview of payment options and Office 365 in a previous post.  Here I’ll walk through creating a typical worksheet on the iPad.

Meet Excel for the iPad

Once you have connected Excel to your Office 365 account, tap the screen icon to launch it.  This should look familiar:

Opening Screen

Opening Screen

But you can do something interesting once you’ve tapped a cell.  Drag the handle to the right or down and you’ll see these choices.  Yes, this is where you find “word wrap” as well as cut, copy, paste, clear, and fill.

Cell Options

Cell Options

See that little arrow in the upper left corner?  Click the icon just to the right that and you’ll see your options for saving :

File Saving Options

File Saving Options

The alignment options are superior to those in versions of Excel up to 2011 (for the Mac).  All six options are presented in a single pull-down menu.

Alignment Options

Alignment Options

If you tap a row number or column letter, you are given a number of options (consistent with the iPad standard).  The options are cut, copy, paste, insert above, delete, clear, hide, and auto fit.

Row and Column Options

Row and Column Options

Creating a Present Value Spreadsheet

Let’s walk through the process of creating a present value spreadsheet.  This will be the present value of a bond. The bond will have a yield to maturity (“Rate”) of 10%, 15 years to maturity, an annual coupon payment of $350 and a $10,000 maturation value. I use the first one or two rows to identify variables with the data in the row(s) immediately below.  So tap row 1, then tap the boldfaced button and the center horizontal button.  Fill in the cells like this:

Set Up Column Headers

Set Up Column Headers

 

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Present Value Data

Present Value Data

Tap cell E2, then type =pv into the formula bar.  Excel will recognize that PV is a built-in function and show you this:

Recognizing the PV Function

Recognizing the PV Function

If you tap the little information icon to the right of the letters PV, Excel will show you the function’s parameters:

PV Function Parameters

PV Function Parameters

This is the first flaw in iPad Excel.  You can’t keep the function parameters visible while you’re selecting the data. (Contrast the screen above with the one below from Excel 2011 for the Mac.) My advice: press Home-Power to take a screen capture, then switch back and forth between the camera roll and Excel.  (Side note: what’s a camera “roll” anyway?)

Desktop PV Function

Desktop PV Function

But Excel for the iPad makes your equation pretty.  As you tap each cell, the color changes to match the color in the function.

Completed Function

Completed Function

Tap Return and the results will look familiar:

Present Value

Present Value

Conclusion

Excel for the iPad is a winner.  In the coming months I’ll give a more complete review of Excel.  I’ll also review Word and PowerPoint.  Highly recommended (at this point, subject to change after further evaluation).


About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos Politico.com

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