Many years ago—before many of you were born, I’ll guess—I began a long-running love affair. It has persisted through college, graduate school, a series of jobs, and moves to many different states. And yes, it even survived my wedding. I admit it: I love Excel.
Sure, I’ve been tempted over the years by the glitz of Numbers, the sheer power of Ragtime, and the freeness of OpenOffice. But after the briefest of forays with each of them, I knew they were not for me.
So why has my attachment to Excel lasted so long? For that answer, I need to go back in time.
When it comes to managing your email, Google’s free Gmail is easily one of the most efficient tools around. Over the years, Google has reinforced its unique approach and built bigger and better features into Gmail.
The result, however, can be daunting. Which of this email program’s many option do you actually need? Here are eight tips for using the best.
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.
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 ().
When you want to edit Microsoft Office documents on your iPad, you’re not limited to Apple’s iWork, Google Docs, and third-party office suites. Three apps, in conjunction with their respective cloud-based services, let your iPad connect to a virtual Windows server running in the cloud and run the Windows version of Microsoft Office remotely: CloudOn; nivio; and OnLive Desktop. Here’s how they compare.
Opening up CloudOn, you don’t feel like you’re connecting to a remote Windows desktop. Instead, it looks like a file browser. CloudOn connects directly to your Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive cloud-storage account, and the app opens with a directory listing of those accounts.
If you were to break into an office building not occupied since the mid-70s, there’s a good chance you’d see tacked to the wall a pine-based receptacle labeled Suggestion Box. This padlocked box would have a slot on top that allowed for the insertion of small slips of paper—each one containing a hastily scribbled note complaining about Fred in Accounting.
The physical suggestion box has largely disappeared, but there’s no reason for its functionality to, particularly if you’re willing to spend a little time with Automator. In the following few paragraphs I’ll show you how to construct and automate a virtual suggestion box so you can get employee feedback. These instructions work in both OS X 10.7 (Lion) and OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).
Like everyone else, I need to keep track of lots of bits of information. Some of those bits are as simple as the brand of salad dressing my wife likes; others are as complex as an outline for a multi-year project at work. Whatever the size, origin, and purpose of these bits, I keep track of them all by saving them in a reliable system of plain-text notes—a system that enables me to find any bit of information whenever I need it, in a form that makes sense to me when I do.
This system is based on two simple principles: All notes are saved in plain-text files, and I follow some basic but strict guidelines for creating and storing them.