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Review: Spreadsheet vs. iSpreadsheet

November 12, 2008
Spreadsheet v1.0.1 | Published by Softalk Ltd | Via App Store | $7.99 | Released: 9-13-08 iSpreadsheet v2.3 | Published by Xin Zhao | Via App Store | $3.99 | Released: 9-24-08


I live and breathe spreadsheets. In fact, I have a bumper sticker on my wall that reads, "I heart Excel." And it's true. So I was excited to see more than one spreadsheet app for the iPhone, and to do a showdown between iSpreadsheet and Spreadsheet. So which is the better app?


I tested out the two apps from both a personal and business model. I use spreadsheets to create my own weekly calendar because I'm an organzational nut, and spreadsheets allow me to color code, add notes and keep details all in one place. From a business standpoint, I use spreadsheets all the time to create reports for my clients, which relies more on formulas, pivot tables and complex formatting.

I went into this showdown wanting to accomplish two things: 1. Figure out which app would be better from a personal and easy to use point of view. 2. See which would be the best when working with more complex documents.


iSpreadsheet has all the basics needed for one to create a spreadsheet. When opening the application, a toolbar will appear at the bottom of the screen loaded with basic function cells for copy and paste, color coding and changing font color. An easy to find Formula Wizard is also available to help input arithmetic formulas. While the spreadsheet is mostly intuitive to use, novices to spreadsheets might not be familiar with the definitions as described within the Formula Wizard. While SUM and SQR (square root) are easy to figure out, the other formulas are not as easy to determine, despite their descriptions.

If you have a Google Docs account, you can login and access any saved spreadsheets that are in XLS or CSV format. It will pull in the values and formulas, but won't download formatting, so any color coding or alignment will be lost once it's used within the app. There do appear to be some known problems with a few of the formulas, which the developers are aware of and have notified users that a patch will be available shortly. Like iSpreadsheet, Spreadsheet has all the basics, however, it does have a few features that iSpreadsheet doesn't have. Some of the differences include: Being able to view spreadsheets in both portrait and landscape mode, the ability to insert rows and colums, and cell formatting beyond the basic bold/italics such as alignment.

Spreadsheet can also import and export documents using wireless file sharing, which is simple to use. Upon exporting, you can email the spreadsheet as an attachment by formating it as an XML document. Located in the toolbar is an Info button, which points you to a help page where answers to all the basic questions on how to set up a spreadsheet can be found.


Both apps are fairly intutitive although I'd say that Spreadsheet is much easier to navigate. Its toolbar is much easier to figure out and has a lot of easy to use options. Those who are familiar with properties of Excel will most likely prefer the simple basics of Spreadsheet, such as the ability to insert rows and columns. I think the biggest downfall for iSpreadsheet is its Formula Wizard. While it has all the necessary functions, it doesn't provide an adequate description for each one. For a non-Excel geek, understanding the definition of ASIN to be "returns mathmetical asin of a number" is not going to make much sense. Spreadsheet is also more robust in terms of manipulating the cells and allowing for insertion of rows. While the wireless import took me longer to download a document than logging into Google Docs, I didn't strip out all the formatting and was more consistent to the actual document I imported.


Depending on your needs, both iSpreadsheet and Spreadsheet get the job done. If you want to keep it basic then iSpreadsheet will be perfect. If you are looking for more features that mimic real-life Excel, Spreadsheet is probably the better choice. For both the organizational and word nerd I am, I'll most likely be using Spreadsheet since it has those extras that really do make a difference.


Usability: 4 / 5 Value: 3 / 5 Utility: 4 / 5 Aesthetics: 4 / 5

Overall Rating: 3.75 / 5


Usability: 4 / 5 Value: 3 / 5 Utility: 4 / 5 Aesthetics: 4 / 5

Overall Rating: 3.75 / 5

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