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Create a Spreadsheet File from Scratch

Create a Spreadsheet File from Scratch

To create a new spreadsheet from scratch on your iPad, tap the New Spreadsheet icon that’s located in the upper-left corner of the Getting Started Screen, or the square icon containing the plus sign (+) that’s situated between the File Import and trash can icons. Upon choosing to create a new spreadsheet, the Choose a Template screen (shown in Figure 3) appears. It showcases 16 different template choices, each of which can be fully customized.

Figure 3 Numbers offers a handful of built-in templates.

If you tap the Budget template (shown in Figure 4), for example, Numbers loads that sample template, which contains two different charts and two tables. You can begin customizing any element of this spreadsheet by tapping on it, and then using the command and menu icons located in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Figure 4 This is a sample of the Budget template built in to Numbers for the iPad.

The command and menu options displayed when you tap some of these icons vary, based on what type of information you’re editing or creating. For example, your available options are different if you’re altering a chart versus a table.

Looking at the four command icons displayed in the upper-right corner of the screen, let’s start with the left-most icon, which is a circular icon containing the letter “i”. This icon is only accessible if some element of your spreadsheet is already selected and highlighted. Start by tapping the pie chart located in the sample Budget template that’s been loaded (as shown in Figure 5).

Figure 5 You can create a variety of charts and graphics in conjunction with your spreadsheets.

When the pie chart is highlighted, it is surrounded by a blue frame. Use your finger to resize or move a highlighted and framed object, or double-tap on it to edit its contents. Once highlighted, tap the circular icon with the “i” to gain access to some of the editing features, in this case, the ones that apply to pie charts.

You’ll notice that the window displayed has two additional command icons at the top (Chart and Arrange), plus the Chart Options submenu command, which allows you to customize the chart’s title, legend, text size, chart font, and a variety of other elements related to that chart. The Chart Options window is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 Customize your charts from the Chart Options window.

Going back to the sample Budget spreadsheet file that’s displayed on the screen, tap on any cell within the table located in the center of the display. Now, again tap the circulator icon with the letter “i” that’s located at the top of the screen. You’ll notice a window appears that contains an entirely different set of options and commands (as you can see in Figure 7).

Figure 7 Adjust your Table options.

This window has four main command icons along the top, including Table, Headers, Cells, and Format. When you tap each icon, the window offers a different selection of command options. For example, if you tap the Format icon, you can alter the type of data that will be entered into the highlighted cell(s) of your spreadsheet. You have eight main choices: Number, Currency, Percentage, Date & Time, Duration, Checkbox, Star Rating, and Text.


If you tap on the Table icon, a different selection of command icons is accessible, including the Table Options command for accessing the Table Options sub-menu, which is located at the bottom of the window (shown in Figure 8).

Figure 8 Even more customization is possible from this Table Options menu.


The media icon, which is second from the left at the top-right corner of the main Numbers screen, is used to import new graphic elements into your spreadsheet. This window has four options on the top: Media, Tables, Charts, and Shapes. Depending on which you choose, the submenu options you’ll see next will vary.


To add a third chart to the sample Budget spreadsheet, tap the Charts icon, and then choose the chart type you want to add (as shown in Figure 9). The new chart is added to the bottom of the spreadsheet and is now ready to be repositioned, resized, and fully customized.

Figure 9 You can choose from many different chart formats.


The Tools icon (which looks like a wrench) is located third from the left in the upper-right corner of the main Numbers screen. The Tools window gives you access to the Find, Go to Help, Edge Guides, and Check Spelling features of Numbers. These are features also found in Pages and Keynote.

To view your spreadsheet without the command, menu, and tab icons at the top of the screen, tap on the icon with the two opposite pointing arrows in the upper-right corner of the main Numbers screen. This allows you to view your spreadsheet in full-screen mode. Return to the main Numbers screen by tapping anywhere at the top of the screen.

Renaming Your File

Located in the top-center of the main Numbers screen is the filename for the spreadsheet you’re working on. The default name is the name of the template you selected, or it is “Blank,” if you choose to create a spreadsheet from scratch without a template. To rename a file, return to the Getting Started page and choose the thumbnail from the center of the screen that depicts the file you want to rename.

Below the thumbnail will be the default name for that file. Tap on the current title to access the Rename Spreadsheet screen (shown in Figure 10). The iPad’s virtual keyboard appears, and you can now rename the file. Tap the Done key on the keyboard, or the Done icon in the upper-right corner of the screen, to save the new filename and return to the Getting Started screen.

Figure 10 You can name or rename your file using the iPad’s virtual keyboard.

New Features and Functions Yet to Come

For help using any of the features and functions built in to Numbers for iPad, visit Apple’s website. Also, periodically access the App Store from your iPad, and tap the Updates icon at the bottom of the screen to determine if a new version of Numbers has been released.

As of late October 2010, version 1.2 was the most current version of Numbers. However, with the release of iOS 4.2 in November, an updated version of Numbers for iPad may also be released that will allow you to utilize some of the new features built in to the tablet’s operating system (such as multitasking and wireless printing).

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