A neat little spreadsheet
A spreadsheet on your Palm Computer. Hmm... many questions come to mind: Do I really need a spreadsheet on my Palm? Can this type of computer handle such an application? Can I get move spreadsheets from my PC to the Palm with ease? The answer to 'Do I really need one?' for many of us is Yes. The Palm is rapidly becoming an extension of not just our PC's personal information manager program, but our PC itself. More and more, we look for ways to avoid carrying even a laptop PC when we travel.
Enter Quicksheet from Cutting Edge Software (CES). I checked out the 15 day trial version, available directly from the software publisher's web site. You need to provide your name and real email address, because they send you a message with instructions on how to download. the 4.5 Mb self extracting executable file. The trial is fully functional and includes a User Manual in .PDF and .DOC formats. The publisher suggests you print out the manual before installing the program, but at 60 pages, that's a bit of a chore. Still, you will probably find it easier to work off of paper than constantly paging through Acrobat Reader.
The program loads easily, both on the desktop and the Palm. When you tap the Quicksheet icon from the Palm Applications menu, you're greeted with an almost blank screen, save some icons at the bottom. If you're a first time user, you need to "open a new workbook" by tapping a spreadsheet icon and giving it a name. I might have preferred an empty workbook to start with, and the ability to give it a name later, but I don't consider this a negative. Once I had my first workbook open, I was presented with a normal spreadsheet interface (the familiar columns and rows). Experienced users will need to get used to the limitations of a spreadsheet on the small Palm screen.
Make no mistake, this really is a spreadsheet. CES has packed a lot of punch into this little program. You get 45 functions (18 new functions since the 3.0 release), covering a wide variety of users needs. The program supports multiple sheets, linking of sheets, and even beaming between Palm devices. I'm no spreadsheet expert, but I was impressed with how much one can do. I was able to create several spreadsheets within just a few minutes of installing the program. Data entry was straightforward. The program even includes a popup menu that allows you to set the format of a cell (text, bold text, number, date, etc.).
Most important is the ability to move spreadsheets to and from Microsoft Excel on the desktop. CES has included a program that makes this very easy. Quicksheet automatically adds a pull down menu to Excel, allowing you to save a spreadsheet in the required .qrc format. You then transfer the file to the Palm during a normal HotSync session. Then you open the spreadsheet with a simple "open" command.
Quicksheet is a great program. No you can't load a huge spreadsheet, but that is not what the program is designed for. The manual covers the basics, but could use more depth in describing some of the functions. Quicksheet shines in the area of user interface, features and ease of Excel file transfer. I'd need a lot more room to cover the many functions the program offers. If you are a regular spreadsheet user, you need to check out the 15 day free trial. If you decide to purchase it after the trial is over, you can do so directly from CES, or from software resellers like PalmGear.com. US$49.95.