I have read reviews of the iPad versions of Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote in which the reviewer describes the apps as “gorgeous”. Sadly, at least in the case of Numbers, beauty is only skin deep. I can only wonder if these critics ever actually try to use apps for practical work. If they did, they would soon discover that Numbers is so buggy that it is surprising that Apple released this app as something other than a beta version.
My first and only project before abandoning the app was a simple record of expenses. The spreadsheet had only three columns…. a column for the DATE, another for the AMOUNT and the third for COMMENT. I envisioned using the tabs to organize the data by months. There was no calculation but had the project progressed I may have summed the amounts, but it never got that far.
The problems began with formatting the DATE. I wanted to see something like 05 Jan or Jan 05. I did not want the year and certainly not the time. I was able to accomplish this for individual cells but attempts to format a column failed. Numbers kept insisting on inserting the year and time. After several attempts I finally got rid of the time but the year would not go away. I could have lived with that bug until Numbers started to display an incorrect date. I would enter Sept. 16, Numbers would display Sept, 11. Deleting and re-entering sometimes helped and sometimes did not. And, by the way, deleting the contents of cell was a tricky operation. A double tap on the cell sometimes brought up a delete option and sometimes did not. Apparently, tapping is somewhat an art in this app.
At this point it was clear that Numbers was too buggy for actual use. Nevertheless, I went on to setup the monthly tabs. I tapped the “+” tab.A blank sheet appeared. I mean really blank without grid lines or anything. Huh??? I soon found that only by copying and pasting from my first sheet could I get a new sheet with column headings and grid lines. This may or not be a bug but it is certainly non-intuitive and certainly a nuisance, This was my point of abandonment Perhaps I’ll try it again one day when the bugs are fixed, After all, it is gorgeous.
I went on to set this project up in Quickoffice in about 15 minutes. Using an app that offers compatibility with Microsoft Office formats does have some advantages that I will discuss in a future post.