MobileInfocenter

Contact Info:
support@cesinc.com
URL: www.cesinc.com

Palm Infocenter.com Bottom Line:

The Price:
$39.95

The Pros:
  • If you know Excel, you know Quicksheet
  • Sync Excel documents with Quicksheet
  • 60 built-in functions
  • Pretty good graphing app, too

The Cons:
  • Setting up to Sync a bit complicated
  • Less-than-stellar Mac Support

Palm Infocenter.com Ratings*:
8b
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*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



Palm Infocenter.com Pick!
Quicksheet 5.0 Review
Ed Hardy (ed@palminfocenter.com)
7/25/2000


Do you eat spreadsheets for breakfast? Is you back aching from dragging a laptop around everywhere you go so you can access the data you have to have? Or even worse, do you keep having to call someone at the office to look up a simple number? Then Cutting Edge Software's Quicksheet 5.0 will free you from endless hassles and let you do your job. This is a very full-featured app that lets you take your Excel spreadsheets with you, edit them on the road, then sync them with Excel when you get back.

Getting Started
After you launch the app for the first time, you are presented a list of example workbooks to show you how it is done. If you aren't interested in these, just select "New" and you are off and running. Your workbooks can have up to 15 worksheets with 996 rows by 254 columns per sheet which is probably much, much more than you would ever want on a Palm-sized screen. Quicksheet deals with files in a way very familiar to all of us. You can open, close, save, and save-as just like you do on your desktop.


Worksheets
The screen for editing worksheets will be familiar to everyone who knows Excel, except the controls are along the bottom of the screen rather than the top. But still, there is the familiar line where you enter data and checkmark and X buttons to submit or delete your work. There is also a very handy drop-down box to let select any of the 60 or so built-in scientific, financial, statistical, date & time, lookup, and aggregate functions Quicksheet supports. To the right of that are arrows to allow you to move around in large sheets. You'll be using these a lot because any spreadsheet worth its salt is going to be much bigger than a Palm's screen. To make the job of moving around easier, you can set a preference that will let you use the Address and To-Do buttons to move you right and left and you always use the Up and Down buttons.

Above the controls is the worksheet itself. You can change the size of columns by dragging the edges and even freeze columns so they always appear on screen. In one of my few peeves with this app, you can't make a column editable and always on screen. One of the spreadsheets I use is my checkbook. I want to be always able to see the column with the descriptions in it, but if I freeze it, I can't add any new entries.

At the top of the screen on the right is a drop-down box listing the worksheets in this workbook. Next to it is a handy set of arrows to make switching between adjacent workbooks a breeze.

Syncing
Quicksheet comes with a conduit to sync your workbooks with Excel's. This is controlled through an application called the Quicksheet desktop that runs on your desktop. In it you specify which Excel files, if any, link to which Quicksheet files. You then use the Hot Sync manager to control whether the two files synchronize, the desktop file overwrites the handheld, the handheld file overwrite the desktop's, or simply do nothing. Having to control this final step through the HotSync manager is bit irritating and you can't set different settings for different files.

To make adding a new spreadsheet to your Palm easier, Quicksheet offers a drop-down box within Excel itself that lets you easily handle this process.

Quickchart
Amazingly enough, Cutting Edge has provided a second graphing application to go with the spreadsheet app. Quickchart lets you look at graphs of your data so you can more easily make sense of it. Quickchart isn't exactly a stand-alone app; the only way to look at a graph is to open one from inside Quicksheet. Just write a simple function and then double tap on it and a graph with that data will open in Quichchart. You have your choice of line, bar, pie, scatter, and stock charts.

Documentation
Quicksheet and Quickchart are powerful applications and are chock full of features. While this is wonderful in many ways, if you use it a lot you are eventually going to have to, gasp, read the manual. Or at least look something up in it. Fortunately, Cutting Edge has provided large, comprehensive manuals for both apps. During the installation of the desktop portion both are saved to your hard drive in Acrobat format.

Advanced
If you really want to get hard core, Quicksheet will let you link to shared Excel files on a network, and even connect with backend ODBC databases, though I'll admit I didn't try this. But I did move them over to Flash memory with JackFlash and they seem to be working great there.

Mac Support
Quicksheet does have an Apple Macintosh version but it is a bit behind the Windows one. The latest version for the Mac is 4.1 which means you won't get the Quicksheet Desktop app and the sync with Excel is still being tested. Also, there is no ODBC support.

Conclusion
Work doesn't just happen in the office at a desk any more. It happens in conference rooms, at client's, and God help us, on the Interstate. If you can't wait to get back to the office to access your spreadsheet data, Quicksheet is perfect for you. You won't have to lug that heavy laptop around anymore, either. Quicksheet reminds me of using the early versions of Excel before it got all bloated with features almost no one wants. It does pretty much what you need and not any more.

Disclosure
Cutting Edge Software is an advertiser with the Palm Infocenter.

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MiniCalc and TinySheet?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2000 12:19:16 AM #
Any comparisons with MiniCalc and Tinysheet?
Which one is really better?
RE: MiniCalc and TinySheet?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2000 9:48:53 AM #
Can't tell for sure how objective it is, but here's MiniCalc's comparison:
http://solutionsinhand.com/UsVsThem.html" CLASS=NEWS TARGET=_NEW>http://solutionsinhand.com/UsVsThem.html
RE: MiniCalc and TinySheet?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2000 12:41:07 PM #
Comparison charts posted by a vendor are about as credible as Gore comparing his record to Bush, or vice versa. I'd look for reviews or roundups written by non-partisans. I've found those charts to be somewhat deceiving.
Quicksheet vs. TinySheet
Ed @ 10/18/2000 6:55:16 PM #
Here's a comparison between Quicksheet and TinySheet:

http://www.ugeek.com/pdageek/features/palmspreads/

---
Plenipotentiary
Palm Infocenter

Not very useful

Kurt @ 7/26/2000 5:44:47 PM #
I tried QuickSheet 4 recently and abandoned it before the 3 day trial was even up.

1. They tout its ability to synch with Excel, but that only applies to Windows users; Mac users can't accomplish this feat.
2. QuickSheet is absolutely no Excel. If you play with Excel formulae at all, you're screwed, as QuickSheet won't touch most Excel functions.
3. This is no fault of QuickSheet's, but the Palm's screen is simply too small for spreadsheet work. What use is it to see only 4 columns by 8 rows at a time?
4. Even if you're willing to live with the tiny screen, QuickSheet does not provide an easy way to scroll around. The horiz. and vert. scroll bars aren't an adequate answer. What is needed is a grabber hand (a la Quark or PhotoShop) that lets you grab the document and slide it around. They don't provide this though.

If you're a die-hard Palmist and spreadsheet fan, by all means, go download the demo. But prepare to be disappointed.

-Kurt

RE: Not very useful
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2000 9:25:35 AM #
Many criticisms Kurt has seem due to incomplete familiarity with the product or 2 minutes of surfing at the ces website. I quickly discovered that a beta Mac conduit for Excel exists (haven't used it yet, though), I discovered that upon loading the app on my Visor, a simple drag of cells across the screen will extend the selection (just like in excel on the desktop) so "grabber hands" are entirely unnecessary-- the buttons for the device can be mapped to move the field of view (address = left; Todo = right; up=up; down=down).. What could be easier?

I think Quicksheet is the furthest thing from a disappointment. This thing rocks!

RE: Not very useful
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2000 2:52:05 PM #
Im not sure what Kurt expects to do with this, but Quicksheet has been invaluable for me in doing quick calculations, carrying important spreadsheets, manipulating data,etc. Of course you cant do big spreadsheets and it is a little hard to scroll around in a large spreadsheet, but I use all the time for doing sales analyses and trends, running what if sales increase scenarios, keeping price lists with me, estimating impact of price increases, doing on the fly analyses in meetings, running home mortgage calculations while at the open house, running car payment calculations while at the dealer, tracking my financials, etc. These are all relatively small spreadsheets, but the ability to use formulae linked to variable cells makes all the difference in the world. Who wants to redo calculations by hand one at a time on the calculator? Kurt, probably expected a significantly higher level of usage/interaction. All my friends have made quicksheet part of the standard Palm software.
RE: Not very useful
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2000 2:52:05 PM #
Im not sure what Kurt expects to do with this, but Quicksheet has been invaluable for me in doing quick calculations, carrying important spreadsheets, manipulating data,etc. Of course you cant do big spreadsheets and it is a little hard to scroll around in a large spreadsheet, but I use all the time for doing sales analyses and trends, running what if sales increase scenarios, keeping price lists with me, estimating impact of price increases, doing on the fly analyses in meetings, running home mortgage calculations while at the open house, running car payment calculations while at the dealer, tracking my financials, etc. These are all relatively small spreadsheets, but the ability to use formulae linked to variable cells makes all the difference in the world. Who wants to redo calculations by hand one at a time on the calculator? Kurt, probably expected a significantly higher level of usage/interaction. All my friends have made quicksheet part of the standard Palm software.
Mac (beta) synch works for me...
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/19/2000 1:32:43 PM #
I've used the Mac (beta) synch conduit and it works OK for me...

Overall I rate this as one of the add-on apps I
use most often (with BrainForest and DateBk3/4).
(My #1 Palm add-on is Teal Lock, by the way.
That's the one thing that I recommend to everyone.)

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