Simple Data Entry With iOS Numbers Forms

In Numbers for iOS there is a special feature that allows you to enter data into form, rather than directly into a table. This one-record-per-screen data entry can make it much easier to enter information on the iPhone or iPad's small screen. The data in forms and the spreadsheet table is one and the same.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Simple Data Entry With iOS Numbers Forms.

So a hidden feature in Numbers for iOS, that's for the iPad and iPhone, is the ability to create forms. Forms are just another way of looking at data and it can make it a lot easier to enter data in. Let's take a look at a simple example.

I'm going to create a new spreadsheet in the Numbers app. Just a blank spreadsheet. Let's create something that's really, really simple. So, in this case, just something to keep track of gardening. Say you have a garden and you want to keep track of how many different types of vegetables you pick everyday. So you could do this in a spreadsheet and have it on your iPhone or your iPad for easy use. But a spreadsheet may be a little difficult to deal with. So here's how you can do it.

Let's create a spreadsheet here and we'll put in the first column will be the date. Then how many carrots are harvested. How many tomatoes, and how many cucumbers. That's what you have. Let's shrink that table. We can take away the heading there and we'll shrink the number of rows to start, like that. Now Forms, how you create forms, if you just try to create them from scratch you can't use them. You have to create a spreadsheet with a table like this first.

Once you have a table like this, with the header row filled out, you can hit the plus button there and you have the ability to create a new sheet or a new form. So if you don't get that there but it just creates a new sheet that means you haven't filled out the table enough to allow for a form to be created. But since I have created this table here, and it's just a simple table with four columns and each one has a header filled out, it gives me the option to create a new form. So I'll create this new form.

Now it's asking me to choose a table. So it's listing all the tables available and there's only one. So it can be a little confusing because it's just this one little table. So I'll tap that table there and you can see it shows carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers in this little form. Before we start filling it out let's go back to sheet. So I want to go and select this cell here, the first date cell. The only one that's there. I want to format it with the Date & Time. I'm going to hit the little i button there next to Date & Time. I'm going to select the type of Date & Time format that I want. So just something really simple like that. Also time. Set that to None.

Now I'm going to select these three cells here. I'm going to set those to be Number. Now I'm going to go back to my table. The table shows an empty form here. It says Tap to add title. I'm going to tap that and it's going to bring up this keyboard that's specific to the format. The format of that first cell I set to date. So it's going to bring up a keyboard that's specific to date. It's got useful things like a little today button. So let's select today. It's not going to bother me with the time because I set the format to not have a time in it. So that's really nice and easy.

Now I can tap down here in carrots. The keyboard at the bottom is now a numerical keyboard. Not all the letters because I set the format there to be number. So that's why I did all the format there. So let's say on this day 2 carrots, 3 tomatoes and 5 cucumbers are harvested. I'm going to close the keyboard there and see 2, 3, and 5 on May 7, 2018. Now if I switch back to the spreadsheet you can see the data there matches. It's got the date, it has carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Going back to the table I hit the plus button at the bottom. I get another record. Tap the title there and I can enter another date. I'll just hit today again but I'm going to use that little day + right above to move it up two days. Then I go to carrots and say 0 carrots on that day, 6 tomatoes, and 1 cucumber. Now I can see, for May 9, 2018, that's what I've got.

There's arrows at the bottom. See that left arrow there. Tap that and you go to May 7th. Tap forward to go to May 9th. Those are the two dates that I've got. I've got the Plus button to add a new record and I've got the trashcan to delete the current record. It shows me that there's two of two. If I switch to the spreadsheet you can see what's there. The table is keeping up with the form. They're actually one and the same. They're showing you the same data in different ways.

The thing is it's a lot easier to enter this data than it is to go in and edit the spreadsheet especially if you're on an iPhone. It's kind of difficult to set this all up on a small screen of an iPhone. But if you're using iCloud you can access this same form on your iPhone as you can on your iPad. Forms are specific to iOS. So there's no way to do them in Numbers for Mac. But you will see the spreadsheet appear there in Numbers for Mac.

It's just really useful. I can add another one here. Add another date. So let's go a few days in the future and then say 9 carrots, 5 tomatoes, and no cucumbers on that day. Now I have three days there and I can arrow through them or I can switch to the spreadsheet version of it. Very useful. You can imagine using this in a work situation. It's nice to be able to see just one record at a time with really big characters on the screen as opposed to this entire spreadsheet here. So if you use Numbers a lot and you think this might be useful look into using Forms. Practice with it. Create something simple like this to get yourself going and understand how to use it.

Comments: 7 Responses to “Simple Data Entry With iOS Numbers Forms”

    Suzanne Mudge
    11 months ago

    Thank you I can see how useful this will be

    George Hammond
    11 months ago

    Many thanks. I used this tip on a spreadsheet I use to keep up with what bills I have paid and when. Really nice to use the form on the iPad really makes it easy to fill n the information.

    Harry Palmer
    11 months ago

    Numbers forms in IOS. Fabulous! Wish I’d know this long ago. Thanks.

    11 months ago

    Hi. Excuse the translation with Google.
    I used the input form for IOS and it’s fabulous.
    But I have a problem. In a sheet (Post) I have two tables and when I create the form I show only one (the one I do not need because it is a table with constant values). Another sheet instead (Expenses and Revenues) shows me regularly the two tables. You have some ideas on why.
    Thank you.

    11 months ago

    Silvio: It could be because the second table isn’t properly formatted. Make sure it has a header row with headings for each column. Play around with it until you get it to appear as an option when you create a new form.

    George Hammond
    11 months ago

    I noticed that on YouTube the forms explanation appears to use a different version of numbers for IOS. It appears to make it easier to create the forms. can you respond to this difference?

    11 months ago

    George: Not sure what you mean. What thing uses a different version of Numbers than what other thing? What two things are you comparing?

Comments Closed.