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Getting started with Grid for iOS

It's a spreadsheet app so simple that you can hardly call Grid a spreadsheet app. It's more a blank, if gridded, slate for creating lists, mapping out plans, and any number of things.

Grid is a simple, intuitive app that can be used for any number of ways to organize your thoughts or life. According to The Verge, it was started by an ex-Excel developer at Microsoft, who struck out on this own to create a spreadsheet app for the many ways people used Excel beyond numbers and formulas. Grid is such a departure from Excel that it's hard to imagine its author was once coding for Microsoft's spreadsheet team.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Open Grid and you're presented with a blank grid, well, after initially launching the app and tapping your way through a brief, chime-filled tutorial. After the tutorial, you must sign up for an account using an e-mail address.

When staring at a new grid, tap a square to begin. A green dot will appear, which you can then drag to select an area for your entry. Next, swipe up on the green dot to call up what Grid calls its Maestro menu. It features four buttons to let you enter text, a photo, a contact, or a map. And thus, we have completed the extent of Grid's basic commands for entering information.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

When you enter text, a menu bar sits atop the keyboard to let you format the text and cell to a degree. When adding a map, a search bar appears at the top of the screen for you to enter a location -- either city or zip.

For existing entries on a grid, there are a few useful gestures to know. Tap and hold to drag an entry to a new spot. Tap and then swipe up on the green button to call up a three-button menu, which lets you replace the entry, delete it, or resize it. Double tapping an entry opens it. So, photos and maps open so you can view them full screen, while a contact opens with a button to place a call.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

A menu bar runs along the bottom of the screen, with button to return you to the home screen, a button to share your grid, and settings button. The home screen is just a grid of your grids (and Grid starts you out with a few samples to get you started). With shared grids, multiple users make changes concurrently. I shared a Grid between two accounts I set up on my iPad and iPhone, and I would see the other's cursor as it hopped around the screen. Changes appear almost instantly on a shared grid, making the app great for collaborative lists or brainstorming sessions.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Grid is a free and universal app for iOS. To see it in action, check out the developer's video: