Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reviewed: Bento

Bento is a Mac-only program from the makers of FileMaker. It's marketed as a organizational tool and I have been using it for the past two months for financial tracking and also to organize the guest list for my wedding. 

In simplest terms, it is a user-friendly spreadsheet program that trades the sophisticated functionality of Excel for prettier graphics, ease of use and wonderful integration with other Mac programs like Address Book and iPhoto. You can also export easily to Excel or Numbers if you need to create more complicated formulas than simple sums or counts.

I like Bento because it is easy to start using. In layout, it reminds one of iTunes at first, as you can create libraries and collections of data and the search feature in the upper right hand corner is similar. You can quickly start making a table full of data, and then switch to the form view, which allows you to create a card for each piece of data, called a record, which is really useful for seeing if a certain guest is also attending the rehearsal dinner and being able to see a picture of them so the groom can practice name/face recognition.

The applications for the program are not unlimited. Within the form view there are many preprogramed themes you can choose from, but you can't change the font color, for instance. However, I think Bento is a good program for fairly-savvy Mac users who want an alternative way to keep records or aid in event planning that's friendly and intuitive.

 Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the wedding! Very well organized.