Tap Forms HD
Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
I like being organised (borderline OCD some might say) and I use a variety of apps to help me achieve this. In my view, a database creating app should be part of any organised persons arsenal and so I’ve been extensively using Tap Forms to manage and store my information both at home and at work.
Tap Forms is a huge, flexible app (and is therefore quite daunting to review!) and has 25 ready-made forms built-in and 19 customisable fields to create your own forms with.
The built-in forms (think bank account records, software licenses, homework assignments etc) can either be used straightaway as they are, or you can tailor them to suit your needs. I personally don’t use the built-in forms and make up all of my own, which is relatively simple and quick to do selecting from the 19 possible fields, giving the field a name, and arranging them however you like. Many of the fields can be pre-defined; for example, the date and time field can be automatically filled in with today’s date and time when you start creating a record, or default text can be left in text fields, or text can be selected from global pick lists. The calculation field is also pretty cool as it can automatically calculate a result based on figures from other fields. When creating large numbers of records this all helps speeds up data entry and ensures records are consistent and accurate.
I find on the iPad that the landscape view is most useful as you can see the records along one side at all times and the record details on the other.
The search function is also very useful and you can categorise forms, group records within forms and sort records by whatever fields you desire. I also use the favourites button frequently so I can instantly find important records.
Other features of note:
- Alerts (although I’ve not used them myself and to be honest I’m not quite sure how they work!)
- Backup & restore function, using Drop Box, iTunes or FTP server
- Import and export a variety of file types (Word, Excel, PDF). Records can be emailed individually, complete with photographs and drawings etc. or records can be exported on mass as a .csv file (which can then be manipulated in your preferred spreadsheet programme)
- Built-in web browser
- Customise font settings
- Text Expander support
- Beam forms to other Tap Form users
- Audio recorder field (notes field powered by Nuance dictation). I’ve found this to be a bit hit and miss in terms of accuracy and it’s often quicker to type
- Drop box integration for uploading/ downloading files
- Link to form (one-to-many relationships and many-to-many relationships). Never really got to grips with this field
- Security settings to protect your sensitive information. Password protection using 256-bit AES encryption and so it could function as a standalone password manager in its own right.
I can’t really fault Tap Forms as it’s just so useful! However, if you put a gun to my head I would say that I’d like to see pick lists automatically re-sort themselves (after adding to them) as currently you have to go into the edit pick list screen and manually click ascending or descending to re-order the list. I find myself regularly hunting around for specific items in pick lists only to find they were dumped at the bottom of the list. Also, when uploading to Drop Box the files just get dumped at the top folder level instead of into a specific Tap Forms folder.
I have found the app to be relatively stable in use, however on the iPhone it occasionally crashes when taking a photo and on the iPad I have had it freeze after importing small .csv files.
All things considered Tap Forms HD is a well polished app that is a pleasure to use. If you have the time and inclination it’s surprising just how many things you can use it for.
|Ease of Use||Pretty easy, depending on how complex you make the forms|
|Value vs. Price||Quite pricey at $ 8.99 so you need to use it a lot!|
|Overall||It’s a keeper|
|App Name:||Tap Forms (iTunes)|
|Price as of this writing:||$ 8.99. A free version of this app is available for the iPhone/ iPod Touch.|
|Available on:||iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad|
|Developer:||Tap Forms HD|
|Device & iOS used for review:||iPad 2, iOS 5.|