Tips for Num­bers on iOS

Mac Format - - IWORK TIPS -

22 Cre­ate forms for easy data en­try

One of Num­bers’ best fea­tures is one that hardly any­body knows about: Forms. They present a view to ta­bles in your spread­sheet which are tai­lor-made for en­ter­ing data quickly and eas­ily on smallscreen de­vices. All you need is at least one ta­ble on the sheet to have a header row.

Open the sheet on your iPhone or iPad, tap the + sym­bol at the top-left and then New Form. Now you get a ded­i­cated view for that ta­ble – com­plete with ex­otic cell types such as check­boxes and star rat­ings – that makes it easy to en­ter data. You’re not du­pli­cat­ing the data. In­stead the form is just pop­u­lat­ing data back into the ta­ble, and if you’re sync­ing over iCloud it will be there when you open the doc­u­ment on your Mac.

23 Un­freeze head­ers

By de­fault, head­ers are frozen – kept in place when you scroll – which is usu­ally a good idea. If you want to re­claim the space they take up on a small screen, turn freez­ing off from the Head­ers tab of the For­mat menu. On a Mac, this op­tion is lo­cated in the Ta­ble menu.

24 Fill data

The op­tion to fill data up, down, left or right is also avail­able on iOS, but it’s a bit tucked away. Se­lect a cell or cells, then tap Fill in the black pop-over menu (tap the right-point­ing ar­row if you don’t see it) to re­veal yel­low bor­ders. Drag them in the di­rec­tion you want to fill.

25 Fil­ter your spread­sheet

One re­ally handy fea­ture in Num­bers is the abil­ity to fil­ter your ta­bles. In this way, you can quickly fo­cus on bits of data that you need to ex­am­ine more closely. What’s more, you can set the fil­ters up and then switch them on and off with a check­box. You’re not ac­tu­ally delet­ing any data, you’re only hid­ing it.

For ex­am­ple, if you were self-em­ployed and used a Num­bers spread­sheet to track your in­voices, you could set up a fil­ter so that you can hide those in­voices that have been paid by click­ing the Sort & Fil­ter but­ton at the top-right. There are a few ways you could do it, but if you have a col­umn record­ing the dates your in­voices were paid, add a fil­ter for that col­umn and have it match the con­di­tion‘ cell is blank’.

26 Tem­po­rar­ily high­light a cell’s col­umn and row

It’s easy for your eye to skip a row or a col­umn on big spread­sheets, so hold while the pointer is over a cell to high­light the cell’s row and col­umn in blue. (If you do this of­ten, con­sider us­ing Num­bers’ Al­ter­nat­ing Row Color for­mat­ting op­tion, which makes it eas­ier to read across wide spread­sheets.)

27 Ref­er­ence cells on other sheets

Like most spread­sheet soft­ware, Num­bers lets you have mul­ti­ple sheets per doc­u­ment (though it also lets you eas­ily mix ta­bles, charts, pic­tures and other me­dia on each sheet, which is less com­mon), and it’s easy to re­fer across th­ese sheets in for­mu­lae and data vi­su­al­i­sa­tions. You could, for ex­am­ple, have a price list on a sec­ond sheet and an or­der form on the first. If you en­ter ‘3’ as a quan­tity in col­umn B on the or­der sheet then, in the to­tal cost cell of the same row, start typing =B2* and then click on the tab at the top of the doc­u­ment to switch to the price list and click the ap­pro­pri­ate cell. Num­bers will ref­er­ence that cell’s value to cal­cu­late what three of that prod­uct costs. Of course, if the price list is up­dated, the or­der form will be too.

If you need to change a cell ref­er­ence in a for­mula you’ve al­ready writ­ten, dou­ble-click the cell that con­tains the for­mula. This re­veals the for­mula in a float­ing bar, which you can move out of the way by drag­ging on the han­dle at its left-hand side. Click once on the coloured lozenge that points to the cur­rently ref­er­enced cell – if that cell is on a dif­fer­ent sheet, the view will switch to it – then click on the cell you want to ref­er­ence in­stead.

28 Add head­ers and foot­ers to printed pages

When you print Num­bers doc­u­ments you get a page num­ber au­to­mat­i­cally cen­tred at the bot­tom of each page, but it’s not clear how to re­move it or add other in­for­ma­tion to the header and footer. You might no­tice that mov­ing the pointer over the top or bot­tom of the print lay­out dis­play you get af­ter you press dis­plays a thin grey box di­vided into three. Click in any one of th­ese ar­eas (in­clud­ing the one with the page num­ber, which you’re able to delete) and a text pane will ap­pear next to the Page Setup op­tions in the side­bar. Here you can change the for­mat of the header and footer text, and choose whether they ap­pear on all sheets or only the sheet you’re typing in.

Un­der the In­sert menu you’ll find op­tions such as Page Num­ber and Page Count – which you could com­bine by choos­ing Page Num­ber, typing ‘ of ’ and then choos­ing Page Count – and Date & Time. To change a date’s for­mat, click on it af­ter you’ve in­serted it into one of the header or footer ar­eas.

29 Cus­tom date and time for­mats

As well as choos­ing from the ex­ten­sive list of date and time for­mats built into Num­bers, you can set up cus­tom for­mats to mix dy­namic data place­hold­ers with en­tered text. For ex­am­ple, we might track dead­lines for MacFor­mat us­ing a col­umn of dead­lines for our print edi­tion and an­other col­umn for the iPad edi­tion, and in a third col­umn note down how many days we have to build the lat­ter af­ter send­ing the for­mer to the prin­ters. By set­ting up a cus­tom date for­mat, we can dis­play this as ‘[days] to make the iPad edi­tion’.

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