Gadgets

Chartcube turns spreadsheets into stories and conversations

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Spreadsheets are invaluable tools for sharing, explaining, and quantifying information, but they’re a pain to present to other people. If you want to share data from an Excel document during a presentation, you usually have to cut and paste charts from Excel into Powerpoint, which limits exactly which data points you can show. Chartcube, a startup from former execs from Evernote and eBay, has a better way.

Chartcube takes the data from your Excel worksheets, and creates an easily navigable “cube” on your iPad that shows different combinations of charts from the data with simple swipes of your finger. The end result is powerful and fun to use, making telling the story of your data a breeze.

Swiping left or right allows you to flip through your various metrics. Swiping up or down flips through those metrics’ grouping. The app also allows you to switch between how your data is summarized, including Sum, Count, and Average. Cubes can be shared with other users, who can add comments, questions, and notes.

Information can be quickly imported via the Mail app or integration with Dropbox, and the app comes with AirPlay support for giving public presentations or simply viewing your data on a larger screen. Currently Chartcube is only available for iPad, but iPhone and Android versions are on their way within the next 12 months.

Chartcube plans on using the same freemium model that has proven successful for businesses like Evernote, with enterprise options in the pipeline for the future. As for now, the company says they’re simply focused on seeing how people respond to the app. Having used Chartcube for a few weeks now, the app’s strengths are clear after a few minutes of use.

Sorting data for presentations is easy, allowing you to answer any questions someone might have about your data with a clear visual representation without having to create a specific chart just for them. The cube already has that chart, you just have to learn how to find it. The learning curve isn’t steep, but we recommend using the included Excel document as a tutorial a few times before you try Chartcube in a business meeting. If you regularly use spreadsheets during meetings, Chartcube may just become your next Evernote, an app you didn’t know you needed until it was there.

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