Mad scientists, rejoice! 10 tablet apps take spreadsheets on the go

Need to crunch numbers and analyze big data? You're no longer limited to a hulking desktop. These apps let you work with spreadsheets wherever work takes you.

Spreadsheet Apps

Doing serious spreadsheet work on a tablet can be challenging, but spreadsheet apps are becoming more capable, whether you're on an iOS, Android or Windows slate. Microsoft Excel remains the gold standard for spreadsheets but it's Windows-only, and the few non-Excel spreadsheet apps for Windows RT are nowhere near as comprehensive. Read on, then, for the tablet spreadsheet apps worth checking out.

Microsoft Excel (Windows RT)

If you’ve got a Microsoft Surface RT tablet, Excel is included within the bundled Office Home & Student 2013 RT. It offers multiple-cell formatting, plus the capabilities to insert objects and sort data, but no macros or custom programs. That said, it’s the most comprehensive mobile spreadsheet application—that is, unless you count the full desktop Excel, running within Office 2013 on Surface Pro tablets. Windows Phone 8 users also can enjoy a pint-size version of Excel. And all these editions of Excel let you save spreadsheets to a SkyDrive account for easy anywhere-access.

Numbers (iOS)

Numbers is Apple's spreadsheet app, designed specifically for the iPad. It works on other iOS devices but looks best on the iPad's landscape mode. View, edit and create spreadsheets, then output them in Excel format. A bonus: Numbers has templates for expense reports, invoices and even exercise logs. If you move between Numbers and Excel, here's a tip. Download Microsoft SkyDrive for the iPad, and you can open spreadsheets from SkyDrive in Numbers.

Find Numbers here: iOS $9.99

Documents To Go (iOS, Android)

Documents To Go is a full, cross-platform Microsoft Office-style suite. The paid version lets you view, edit, and create Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. For spreadsheets, Sheet To Go supports 111 functions, cell formatting, auto-fit options, freeze panes, and charts. It's compatible with Google Docs, and it syncs files and folders between your device and your Windows desktop. As with many mobile spreadsheets, though, you can only edit one cell at a time.

Platforms: iOS ($16.99), Android ($14.95)

Google Drive (Android, iOS)

Google Drive is Google’s free , cloud-based file storage system, and it's the new name for the old Google Docs suite. Its spreadsheet maker, Sheets, has fewer fonts and functions than competing tools. However, you can share the spreadsheet with fellow Google Drive users, so it’s great for collaborating with team members.

Free: Android, iOS

iSpreadsheet (iOS)

iSpreadsheet is a super-basic iOS spreadsheet editor. It lets you create edit and view spreadsheets, and then save them to Dropbox or Google Drive. However, you can’t pinch-to-zoom, change cell number formats, add borders or modify column widths. Still, iSpreadsheet is affordable, and it lets you edit more than one cell at a time. If you’re just looking for lightweight spreadsheet editing on the go, it’s worth a glance.

Platforms: iOS ($2.99)

QuickOffice Pro HD (Android, iOS)

The Google-owned QuickOffice Pro HD is another Office-like suite. This $19.99 app (Android, iOS) is optimized for iPads and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) or later tablets. View, edit and create Office files. You can even choose the file version. For example, create a workbook for either Excel 2010, 2007 or 97-2003, depending on your primary system's compatibility. QuickOffice Pro HD ties in with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, and SugarSync. Thankfully, it enables edits in more than one cell at a time.

ThinkFree Mobile for Tablet (Android)

ThinkFree offers a polished suite for creating Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on an Android tablet. There are many templates, or create your own. This app provides a nice interface, as well as advanced options like inserting objects (tables, shapes, drawings, and video clips), and working in multiple cells at once. It's compatible with Google Drive, Box,and ThinkFree Online, a free, 1GB cloud storage system.

Platforms: Android ($9.99)

Sheet2 HD (iOS)

Sheet2 HD for $5.99 is another iOS-only spreadsheet app. View, edit and create Excel-format spreadsheets on your iPad, and enjoy Google Drive and iCloud compatibility. Formatting cells, changing cell types, freezing panes and merging cells are just some of the things you can do. It's only a couple dollars more than iSpreadsheet. Plus, you can save your work to SkyDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, MyDisk, Box, Alfresco, egnyte, soonr and other WebDAV services. Too bad it won't let you edit more than one cell simultaneously.

Olive Office Premium (Android)

Olive Office Premium is a free Microsoft Office suite for Android. You can view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. Olive lets you format cells, freeze panesand change cell alignment, but you can’t merge cells, or add borders or edit multiple cells at once. This app works with Google Docs, Dropbox, and Box, and is a must-have for Android tablet users looking to handle basic spreadsheets.

OfficeSuite Pro 6+ (Android)

The attractive OfficeSuite Pro lets you view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint docs. Its spreadsheet tool is easy-to-use, although it lacks simultaneous, multiple-cell editing. There’s a function button, plus you can format cells, rows, and columns, and insert charts. Save spreadsheets in different formats, like .xlsx, .xls and .csv. Cloud storage support includes Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, SugarSync and Microsoft SkyDrive.

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