Bento database on OSX is pretty good, while not a relational database it is better than using a spreadsheet to manipulate data. I write articles for money and I need to keep track of what I write and where I have posted the articles and the number of words I write and Bento is spot on for that. There is a version for the iPad and like on OSX it links in to your data that you have already in the Address Book and also in Calendar. Bento is an excellent choice for iPad business uses. Use Bento iPad with Mac Bento paired up to get the best experience with a database iPad.
Bento for iPad
So you open up Bento on the iPad for the first time and there is some sample data in there. You can if you want just start creating a new database but more than likely you have Bento on the desktop and you will want to sync the data from that. In the top right corner of the Bento App you hit the setting button, and it give you an option to sync with a new computer. When you tap on the button you are presented with a 4 digit number that you use when you go to Bento on the desktop and in the file menu click on Set up Sync With Device.
Pair up with the Mac
After that pairing sequence is done you can then click on Sync Now which you get to from the gear icon in the top right corner again. Hey Presto all you data is brought into the database for iPad. Next thing to do is to get it looking the way you want it to look. So I opened up the database by going to Libraries and choosing ‘Articles’.
The next thing was to chose the primary and secondary field to display in the list of records that you see on the left when the iPad is in Landscape orientation. It wasn’t showing what I wanted so I changed the Primary Field to Article Name and the Secondary Field to Date Created. I could choose a media or checkbox too which would give me an image to look at if I have a image field in the records or a checkbox field. I chose not to display that one. Sort By – Lets you choose how the list is displayed. I could go for by date created or Article name or by any of the other field in the database.
Diving into Bento iPad
When you tap the pencil icon on the top you can configure your main view. You may add a new field or choose a field you already have to show in the view. Easy to delete items off there too. From this view you can also change the theme. There are themes that look like inside a notebook, inside a ring bound folder, black backgrounds and other fancy views. Some have smaller text which is good if you want more to show on the screen. So choose and tap on Done.
Using Bento for iPad
When you have in portrait mode, you don’t get the list of record down the left side but you can use the arrows to scroll through the records or hit the icon in between to get the list and a search option. At any time you can tap on Libraries to change to a different database on Bento iPad. There is an icon for Collections where you can add a record to 1 or more collections, the icon is to the left of the delete button. A collection is a group in which you store similar records. That way you can have a subset of the main library. When you have the list of Libraries you will see an icon showing how many collections there are within that library, tap that button and work with that subset only if you want to. I am really impressed with Bento, it has to be one of the top iPad business apps.
Bento vs Air Forms vs HanDbase
From the home screen you can get a guided tour and learn about Bento for the Mac. The guided tour is a one page help guide. Very simple, but all you really need. Bento costs €3.99 and is a bargain. There is a trial version of Bento for the database for Mac and you don’t need a trial for the iPad at that price. You could try out the free Air Forms or the App HandDbase for iPad which is €7.99. It is pretty easy to learn how to use a database like Bento and the Bento database Mac.