When I previously looked at Permanent (2.0 mice), I concluded that the iPad spreadsheet app had potential, but that potential was mostly untapped. The app simply lacked many features--printing, cell styling, pinch-to-zoom, deleting rows and columns, and more--you'd expect from a well-rounded spreadsheet program.
However, Permanent did have some unique features, and I concluded my review by stating, "I think there's an interesting model here, and it definitely could work well if the authors can deliver on their promises."
Permanent 2 (version 2.2.2 as of this review; free with in-app purchases) loses much of the uniqueness found in the original version of Permanent, such as floating tables and images, and scrolling within a sheet instead of within the screen of the iPad. But the end result is a much more usable application.
Missing features addressed
I was pleased to see that nearly all the shortcomings I noted in the original version of Permanent have been addressed in version 2. Unlike its predecessor, Permanent 2 can be used in both portrait and landscape mode; it offers many more functions (I counted 133, up from 30); there's a full set of cell-styling functions; it supports printing; pinch-to-zoom works; and you can add and delete both rows and columns.
Other improvements include the removal of the visually confusing undo browser; tables can be longer than the screen; the navigation keys on the numeric keypad have been rearranged into a more logical layout; you can set heights and widths for both rows and columns; rows and columns can be easily moved around; and formulas adjust their references when you add or remove columns or rows that affect a formula's location.
In short, Permanent 2 is now a much more usable iPad spreadsheet application. Of the issues that I noticed during the first review, only two remain.
First, there's still no full-fledged help, leaving some aspects of the program to be discovered through trial and error. As an example, the "freeze panes" icon is a snowflake, which (kind of) makes sense once you realize what the button does, but its purpose isn't obvious without tapping it to see what happens. There is now, at least, a simple tutorial to get you up and running with the basics, which is a good start.
The second remaining issue is that you still have to manually type cell references when entering formulas. If you're writing a formula that refers to a number of cells in various locations, you'll find yourself dragging the screen around to find the proper cells to reference; once you find them, you then must type them, which requires lots of annoying toggling between the alphabetical and numeric keyboards, as cell references are in the typical letter-and-number format.
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