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Software letting handheld users put it on paper

A growing number of companies are introducing software that allows people to print documents--even complicated spreadsheets--from their handheld computers.

    Handheld devices are not just for addresses, dates and games anymore.

    A growing number of companies are introducing software that allows people to print documents--even complicated spreadsheets--from their handhelds. The products are expected to make the devices even more popular with mobile professionals who need to produce on-the-spot sales quotes or data for clients.

    Tuesday, Bachmann Software introduced a spreadsheet printing application for Palm-powered handheld computers. The Sparta, N.J.-based company is aiming its Quicksheet Edition and PrintBoy Office software at traveling workers who need to print their spreadsheet files directly from their handhelds.

    People who use the software must beam files to a portable, infrared printer to receive hard copies. The software can produce printed portrait and landscape views, grid lines, column alignment, proportional fonts, column headings, cell formatting and sheet selection. The Quicksheet Edition of PrintBoy Spreadsheets retails for $19.99.

    As handhelds catch on with workers who travel for sales calls or remote meetings, spreadsheet software and infrared printers have become hot items. Earlier this month, Milpitas, Calif.-based digital imaging company SiPix introduced its Pocket Printer A6 with a suggested retail price of $149. The battery-powered printer uses advanced thermal technology for wireless infrared beaming, so it has no ribbons or ink cartridges to replace.

    Bachmann Software executives say such products will have ample demand. For example, a typical Quicksheet user could collect figures while negotiating with a client and would like to offer a copy of the resulting spreadsheet, or a field service technician who needs to provide a customer with an instant price quote for completing a job.

    "By offering Palm users the ability to print their documents and spreadsheet files, we have created a truly mobile business center," Dan Reuvers, vice president of Bachmann Software, said in a statement.