Ipad Pro Excel

If you frequently use Excel to create and edit spreadsheets on your Mac, you may want to access the same files while you’re on the go with just your iPad. Although Microsoft hasn’t released an iOS version of Excel, you can still work with Excel files on your iPad if you’re willing to accept a few compromises.

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View Excel files on your iPad

If you only need to view Microsoft Excel documents, you’re in luck; Apple’s iOS can display them natively. All you need to do is get the spreadsheets onto your iPad—for example, email them to yourself as attachments, or use an app designed for transferring and viewing documents, such as Avatron Software’s $10 Air Sharing, Good.iWare’s $5 GoodReader for iPad (), or Readdle’s $5 ReaddleDocs for iPad ().

Editing your spreadsheets is not quite as simple. Although several apps and methods exist, none of them has all of Excel’s features. As a result, you’ll face one or more limitations—for example, loss of formatting or a poor touch-screen interface.

Edit Excel spreadsheets with Apple’s Numbers

One natural option for editing Excel spreadsheets is Apple’s Numbers ($10, ). It can import and export documents in Microsoft Excel format, and offers a powerful and easy-to-use environment for creating and editing files.

As long as you’re running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, using the latest version of Numbers for Mac and iOS, and have an Apple iCloud account, transferring documents between a given app on your Mac(s) and iOS device(s) is simple thanks to iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud feature.

Unfortunately, when you import a file in Microsoft Excel format (.xls or .xlsx) or export a Numbers file in an Excel format, you permanently lose essential formatting, tracked changes, comments, and other file attributes. So, if you’re content to keep your Excel spreadsheets in Numbers format once they’re imported—or give up any unsupported formatting—Numbers is arguably your best choice. But if maintaining fidelity with original formatting is your top priority when working with Excel documents on an iPad, you’ll want to look for another solution.

Edit Excel spreadsheets with Google Docs

Another approach is to rely on Google Docs, Google’s free Web-based office suite. Many businesses have standardized on Google Docs because it’s a convenient platform that requires no software beyond a Web browser, provides automatic backups and versioning, and makes sharing files with co-workers easy. All of this would seem to be a natural fit for the iPad, too.

Unfortunately, it isn’t a perfect fit. Although you can upload nearly any format file to Google Docs, if you want to edit spreadsheets online, you must let Google Docs convert them to its own format; as with Numbers, that may entail a considerable loss of formatting—and in cases where formulas differ between Excel and Google Spreadsheets, calculations may change.

Moreover, editing spreadsheets once they’re converted is problematic. With the mobile version of Google Spreadsheets (the default view on an iPad), you can do only the basics—edit cell values, add rows, and change sort orders. But if you switch to the desktop-style Spreadsheet View, you’ll find many of the controls inoperable, and even something as ordinary as selecting a range of cells might prove impossible. The latest version of Nikita Lutsenko’s $4 GoDocs, which offers editing and offline storage of Google Docs, lets you switch more easily between Google’s mobile and desktop views, but because it uses a built-in browser for editing spreadsheets online, its editing capabilities have the same limitations as in Safari.

Try editing with an Office suite

Other good options exist, however, even for Excel spreadsheets uploaded to your Google Docs account. You can still have an excellent editing experience on an iPad by using the native editors built into any of numerous other iPad apps that connect directly to Google Docs.

All five of the following all-in-one office suites for the iPad include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. They all can edit documents from Microsoft Excel and offer direct ties to a variety of cloud-based services, including Google Docs and Dropbox, making it easy to get documents in and out. The spreadsheet components of all the apps let you adjust font, size, style, text color, background color, alignment, and number formatting. They include a wide range of built-in functions and let you resize columns and rows (although not always in the most obvious way). But there also are significant differences between them.

Documents To Go Premium DataViz’s $17 Documents To Go Premium () is an all-in-one office suite for the iPad, with word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. It has a functional but unexceptional spreadsheet capability, and it doesn’t take good advantage of the iPad’s touch interface. The app does allow you to search and sort your data, but can’t display charts, has no support for cell borders, and can’t merge cells. (However, any of those attributes present when the file was imported are preserved when you save the file.) Although it lets you import a spreadsheet that contains unsupported functions, it makes the file read-only.


Office² HD Byte Squared’s $8 Office² HD () has a broad set of spreadsheet features as well as a nicely designed interface. It supports sorting your data, and unlike Documents to Go Premium, also lets you merge cells, change borders, and search. But there’s one potentially serious drawback: Although most imported document features are preserved when you save an imported worksheet, charts are not. Note that the developer also sells the $6 Sheet² HD, an app with the same spreadsheet features but without word processing or presentations.

Polaris Office Infraware’s $13 Polaris Office makes good use of the iPad’s touch interface, has a respectable chart-creation tool, and also supports adding images and adjusting cell borders. It offers find and replace, merging, sorting, filtering, and a helpful Freeze Frame feature, which locks header columns and rows so you can scroll within a spreadsheet without losing your place.

Quickoffice Pro HD Quickoffice’s $20 Quickoffice Pro HD () offers easier selection and editing than most other apps covered here and includes a find-and-replace feature. Charts from imported spreadsheets, although not displayed in the app, are preserved when you save. Other than that, though, Quickoffice has a fairly basic feature set—for example, no cell borders, merging, or sorting.

Smart Office 2 Picsel’s $10 Smart Office 2 has a somewhat awkward user interface even for simple actions such as inserting functions, and its performance can be sluggish. Like Quickoffice Pro HD, it lacks support for cell borders, merging, and sorting. It has a find feature but no replace. On the other hand, even though it can’t add new charts, it does display charts from imported spreadsheets—and even updates them correctly as the data changes.

Opt for a spreadsheet-only editing

Beyond these all-in-one office apps, I should mention one other iPad apps that edits spreadsheets specifically (but not Word or PowerPoint documents). Mariner Software’s $6 Mariner Calc for iPad has a solid array of spreadsheet features and can read and write Excel files (.xls only, not .xlsx). However, it doesn’t connect to cloud-based services for transferring files or preserve all formatting when saving imported spreadsheets.

Pick your tool

If you need to edit Excel spreads documents on an iPad, first consider whether they’ll need to travel back and forth between your iPad and Microsoft Excel. If not, Apple’s Numbers will likely give you the best experience. When you do need to preserve full Office compatibility, Office HD is your best choice, as long as you don’t need to import documents containing charts. If creating (or preserving) charts is essential, I’d give the nod to Polaris Office. There’s still one more option to consider, though, running the Windows version of Office on your iPad remotely.

Senior contributor Joe Kissell is the senior editor of TidBits and the author of the ebook Take Control of Working with Your iPad, Second Edition (TidBITS Publishing, 2011).

Right out of the box, an iPad Pro can do plenty—it lets you create doodles, send emails, watch movies, browse the web, check your schedule, and more. But Apple’s premium tablet really shines when you start adding third-party apps to it.

We found the very best apps to supercharge the iPad Pro, taking your essays, art, and music to the next level. These essential downloads prove the power and versatility of Apple’s top tablet.

1. Procreate

Can ipad pro run excel

We could do a whole feature just on digital art apps for the iPad Pro. Out of all of these options, Procreate wins for its breadth of features and intuitive interface. The app offers a wealth of advanced tools—well over 100 different brush and pen types, with more than 50 different customizations available on each one. These help you create some seriously brilliant end results, from basic digital sketches to advanced computer-generated artwork. Despite this multitude of options, Procreate still manages to avoid making its interface cluttered-looking or difficult to access. It really is a pleasure to use.

Procreate costs a one-time fee of $10. But to get the most out of it, you should also invest in an Apple Pencil ($130 from Apple).

Procreate for iOS, $10

2. Paper

Paper helps you scribble digital doodles, with an emphasis on taking notes and making plans rather than creating artwork (though the app can do that too). Like actual paper, it lets you organize everything in a series of customized “notebooks.” In another similarity, the interface is very simple to use: It keeps the workspace as the main focus.

Sign up for a Pro subscription ($8 per month), and you can add cross-device syncing, multiple brush sizes, unlimited color swatches, and more features. While you’re buying, be aware that, like Procreate, Paper benefits from the Apple Pencil accessory.

Paper for iOS, free or $8 per month for a Pro subscription

3. Pixelmator

Pixelmator is a comprehensive image editor for the iPad Pro, and it offers oodles of bonus features, including pixel-by-pixel editing, a vast range of tools, layer support, automatic adjustments, Photoshop compatibility, the ability to drop in text and shapes, and more. Create your own digital artwork from scratch, or make your existing photos look their best: The app can remove blemishes and imperfections from images, clone areas of a picture, blur or sharpen specific regions, and apply a host of color and brightness filters.

This thorough set of options comes with a price tag of $5. Add in an Apple Pencil and Pixelmator becomes even easier to control.

Pixelmator for iOS, $5

4. Microsoft Excel

Apple is eager to promote the iPad Pro as a serious computing device, and few apps demonstrate this better than Excel. In recent years, the famous spreadsheet program has seen significant improvements on mobile platforms. The iOS version now lets you add charts and annotations, as well as making basic edits to data and formulas. While it hasn’t reached the level of the full-fat desktop version, this is a very competent mobile adaptation of Excel that makes it possible to finish your work on the go.

The free app includes key formatting and sharing tools. However, to make edits (rather than just view spreadsheets), you will need an Office 365 subscription from Microsoft, which will set you back $7 per month.

Microsoft Excel for iOS, free or $7 per month for Office 365 subscription

5. YouTube


Ipad Pro Excel Shortcuts

This essential video player should be one of the first apps you download onto your new iPad Pro. Whether you want to catch up on the latest sports highlights or learn to play guitar, you’ll find yourself turning to the YouTube app. You can also upload your own video clips straight from an iPad Pro.

With the free YouTube app for the iPad, you’ll have access to content from live streams to music videos, as well as any shows and movies you’ve purchased from Google Play Movies & TV. If you pay $12 per month for YouTube Premium, you can also get an ad-free experience and access to some original web shows.

YouTube for iOS, free or $12 per month for YouTube Premium

Ipad Pro Excel

6. Evernote

Evernote is widely regarded as one of the best note-taking apps in the business. Part of its appeal is that you can adapt it to so many different uses, from taking lecture notes to editing a shopping list shared between multiple family members (everything syncs seamlessly across multiple platforms). Because its interface is easy to navigate on a touchscreen, and it offers support for handwritten notes—whether you scribble them with a finger or an Apple Pencil—Evernote works particularly well on the iPad Pro.

Plenty of these features are available free of charge. If you need access to more features, such as offline support and plug-ins for other mobile apps, you can purchase a premium subscription for $8 a month.

Evernote for iOS, free or $8 per month for a premium subscription

7. LumaFusion

If you plan to do some advanced video editing on your iPad Pro, Apple’s own iMovie is a decent (and free) choice—but LumaFusion is better. It offers a traditional, timeline-based interface, as well as a host of drag-and-drop functions you can use to split and combine scenes, and add filters and effects. With a set of comprehensive tools for creating titles, mixing and syncing audio alongside your clips, and introducing effects like slow or fast motion, LumaFusion guides you from the first steps to the final export of your movie masterpiece.

Admittedly, at $20, the price of entry is relatively steep. But if you want your iPad Pro to help you with serious video editing, this app won’t let you down.

LumaFusion for iOS, $20

8. Notability

The iPad Pro makes a great note-taking tool, particularly if you download Notability. Your digital scrawls will never have looked so good and well-organized as they are inside this app. It lets you enhance your handwritten text with different pen styles and colors, find search terms within a digitized version of your notes, drop in images and typed words, and import and annotate PDFs. In other words, this is a complete sketching and note-taking solution.

At $10, Notability costs more than a less visually-dazzling option like Evernote. But the iPad Pro was designed for apps like this—it really makes the tablet shine.

Notability for iOS, $10

9. Google Docs

If you think there are too many note-taking apps for the iPad Pro, just wait until you check out the selection of writing programs. You might opt for anything from Apple’s own Pages to the beautifully-designed Ulysses, but we’ve selected Google Docs. When you write on an iPad Pro, you need an app that focuses on core features like formatting and collaboration without including so many elements that it appears cluttered on screen. Google Docs ticks all the relevant boxes: It’s lightweight, user-friendly, and versatile. It also works offline, so when you lose Wi-Fi or LTE access on your iPad Pro, you can keep typing that report.

Like most Google apps, this one is free to use, and it lets you access your essays from any other mobile device or web browser.

Google Docs for iOS, free

Ipad Pro Excel Review

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Ipad Pro Excel Video

10. Things

If organization buffs plan to manage their tasks and to-do lists on an iPad Pro, they can’t do better than the Things app for iOS. It’s almost as fully-featured as the macOS version, which means it gets two thumbs up from us. With simple and intuitive tools for scheduling, sorting, and searching, you can stay on top of all your projects, small and large alike. Choose your favorite view and use it to review what you need to do today and how far along each project is. Meanwhile, integration with the iOS Calendar and Siri makes Things even easier to use.

Ipad Pro Excel Spreadsheet

This marks another relatively expensive app in our list. But if you think about the years of use you’re going to get from Things, and the time you’re likely to save with its help, we think the app is worth the outlay.

Ipad Pro Excel For Dummies

Things for iOS, $20