The iPad has demonstrated its usefulness for business applications. Many companies are considering adding iPads to increase the flexibility and mobility of their workforces. The iPad does have some limiting factors that a traditional laptop does not: There is no media drive or physical keyboard and the iPad relies on a network connection to move files. These hurdles have been easily overcome through the use of Wi-Fi, compatible Office productivity software and cloud computing solutions.
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Excel Software and Alternatives
Excel is a spreadsheet program written by Microsoft that is part of its Office Suite of products. In its most recent form, the program allows a user to create ledgers, spreadsheets, graphs and pivot tables. Microsoft also has an edition for Apple computers, but has not yet released a version that you can use on the iPad. However, there are a few alternatives available for purchase and download from the iPad App Store, including Numbers and DocumentsToGo Office Suite. Any of the alternatives will allow you to open, edit and save Excel files.
Several iPad apps provide similar functionality to Excel. One of the best is Apple's own Numbers for iPad. The program is far cheaper than Excel and provides seamless interoperability, allowing the user to save and read files in Numbers or Excel. DocumentsToGo Office Suite provides a similar experience to Numbers and Excel and allows the user to read, save and edit files for Excel.
Using the Cloud with an iPad
Apple provides near-seamless integration of its cloud computing system, iCloud, that allows you to save edited Excel files over the Internet. The advantage of using this system is that it keeps the iPad's limited hard drive from getting cluttered with old files and it makes it easy to access those files from any computer with an Internet connection. You can pair Apple's Numbers program with iCloud and easily share Excel files between the iPad and a Windows-based workstation.
Office iPad app?
As of early 2012, Microsoft had not released an Office app for the iPad, and some technology experts doubted the company would ever do so because of its efforts to develop its own Microsoft-driven tablets. However, there was also much speculation in the tech press that such an Office app was indeed under development.
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