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Edit Google Spreadsheets on Your Mobile Phone

Google just released an updated version of its Google Docs spreadsheet product that finally allows you to edit your spreadsheets on a mobile phone. Now, if you have a G1, iPhone, iPod Touch, or Nokia S60 phone, you can not just browser through your spreadsheets, but actually edit them as well – though with some rather annoying limitations. Documents and presentations remain read-only for now.

At first glance, allowing users to edit a spreadsheet on their phones doesn’t sound like it would be a very hard problem to solve, but the size of these devices does make it hard to develop an interface that is usable, yet still displays enough information.

Every row now features and ‘edit’ button on the left side, and you can sort columns easily by clicking on a box at the top of each row.  As we are working on the web, these changes are also immediately reflected and saved in the standard version of Google Docs.

Good for Text – Bad for Math

For large spreadsheets, the small screen on a mobile phone makes extensive work on your documents rather arduous. The mobile version is also severely limited, as you can’t actually edit any cells that hold mathematical formulas, and when you update a number in your spreadsheet, the results of the formula are not automatically updated. Instead, you will have to reload the page to see the new results.

Because of this, the mobile version of Google Docs spreadsheets is currently only really useful if you just want to edit relatively simple lists of texts.


, Google’s closest competitor in this space, still doesn’t allow its users to edit spreadsheets in its mobile version, but you can create and edit very simple text documents.

Documents and Presentations?

We expect that Google will also allow users to at least perform some edits on documents and presentations in the near future, but given the current limitations of the supported mobile phones, we don’t expect to be able to create a full-blown presentation on our iPhones anytime soon.

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