With my new Windows Mobile phone came Office Mobile, including Excel Mobile version 6.1.Â (I always thought it was Pocket Office and Pocket Excel, but my phone says otherwise.)
Being an Excel guy, I was kind of excited to see this because… er… it’s Excel.Â What other reason do you really need?Â :)Â Now, to set expectations, I was aware that there was no VBA in it, and I’m okay with that.Â I just really wanted to see how much they could pack into it.
So off I go into Excel Mobile, and it asks me what file I want to open.Â Hmm… I don’t have any Excel files on my phone, so I’ll just create a new one… huh?
IF there is a way to create a new Excel document on the Windows Mobile 6 smartphone, it is so well hidden that there might as well not be.Â No amount of clicking on the simple menus would yield it for me, and there are no template installed by default.Â Not so good, I’m thinking.Â At any rate, I downloaded one from my email, opened it, cleared all the cells and saved a copy as a blank workbook on my phone.Â So at least now I have a way to start from a fresh file.Â It even gave me a warning that I might lose features if I saved it in that format.
Now, when it first opens the file, it goes into full screen mode.Â At first I thought it was just a viewer, but after a bunch of key pressing, I finally figured out that if you click the right “soft key” up on the phone, it will actually give you a menu.Â The UI is pretty simple, so I’ve listed it all below. (Simon Murphy might like it… it doesn’t have a Ribbon.Â )
The initial Menu in the viewer screen includes:
- Close File
- File (with Save As and Send… as options)
- Go To
So naturally, I’m heading into Edit mode.Â In here, I have two menus.Â The left soft key gives me a View menu including:
- Full Screen
- Cell Text
- Freeze Panes
- Zoom (with a 5 presets from 50% to 150% in 15% increments)
- Sheet (with each sheet listed)
The right soft key gives me a “Menu” menu with the following:
- Close File
- File (Save As & Send…)
- Edit (Cell Text, Clear Cell, Define Name, Delete Cells, Cut, Copy, Paste)
- Insert (Row, Column, Shift Right, Shift Down)
- Select (Cells, Columns, Rows, All)
- Tools (Sort, Find, Go To)
And that’s it for menus, folks.Â What surprised me here was that Define Name was part of the selection.Â The rest all make sense to me, but I see Define Name as more of a developer command than a user command. I guess it is logical though, as it could be used with Go To since the device has such a small screen.
I’ll admit that I found the inital View screen weird, as it was full screen, and none of the formulas showed, but rather only the results.Â Once you get in to edit the sheets, though, you can see the formulas.
Creating content is clunky, but then it isn’t really surprising given the device, I guess.Â To enter anything in a cell, you need to click the centre navigation button to get into Edit mode, then you have to manually type (on the tiny keyboard) your entire formula or data.Â There is no arrowing over one cell in a formula… you have to write in the whole thing one keystroke at a time.Â Maybe it will get easier in time as I get better with the keyboard, I don’t know.
At any rate, it’s not set up for full development, but then we knew that.Â I was able to set up a pretty basic spreadsheet to track how many kilometers I get vs how many litres of fuel I used since the last fill for my car though.Â So it does work.
I’d have to say that I wasn’t expecting much, truly, so am pretty happy with what is there.Â The lack of ability to create a new file is a pretty big oversight though.Â Hopefully they’ll fix that at some point.
I just think it’s pretty cool to tell people I have Excel on my phone.Â They usually nod and smile and say “Of course you do, Ken”.Â