Review: Tap Forms for Mac
If you’ve been following us for a while you might remember that we were big fans of the Bento apps for Mac and iOS. These were personal database apps from FileMaker for people who didn’t want to invest in the cost or learning curve of the full FileMaker software. Last year, FileMaker stopped offering Bento which was a blow to its users, and left many searching for a replacement. After a bit of research, the name Tap Forms kept constantly coming up, so I wanted to give it a try myself and see if it could take the reigns as a worthy personal organization and database app.
When you first open Tap Forms you’ll notice there’s a few sample databases available. If you are completely new to an app like this, I’d suggest just browsing through those so you can get an idea of some of the things you can do with your own database. The column on the left is where your categories are which allows you to place your forms under categories like business, personal, etc. You can edit these categories and create your own to organize them to your liking. The middle column is where you form records are, and the large main column on the right is where your form layout is, which is where you will see and interact with most of your data.
You can get started by using one of the built-in forms, or create one from scratch. By using one of the existing forms you can simply fill in your data to the forms and you are on your way to having your first database setup. Alternatively, you could duplicate one of these forms and edit the form details to add or edit the fields to customize the form even further for your needs. Ultimately, the best way is to create your own form so you have complete control on what fields and information are displayed for your records. A new form is created by clicking the + button just above the categories area. From there you can name your new form, add a variety of form fields, edit the properties, and then your form is ready to go. Of course you can customize the form as much as you want. There’s a list of about 20 field types you can add to your form such as text fields, date, time, e-mail, file attachments, photos, and many more.
Once you have everything set your new form is ready for your data to be entered. The form has a default layout where your fields are displayed, and Tap Forms also gives you the ability to create a custom layout which I found to be one of my favorite parts of the app. The layout designer gives you the ability to create a new visual layout of your form by dragging and dropping the field types. You can add labels, adjust fonts and size, add images, and much more. This gives you so much more control on how the form looks so you give it a truly professional look and feel.
As mentioned at the start of this review, I was looking at this for a replacement for the Bento app, and Tap Forms does import your Bento template data quite easily. I just selected my Bento template file, imported it into Tap Forms, and my data and template were now ready for use. I had to make a few minor adjustments to some of the data to match how I wanted it before, but nothing troublesome and I was very happy I was able to get all my previous layouts and data into Tap Forms with just a few clicks. Tap Forms can also import data from other apps uses text data such as a .csv file.
One of the last things I wanted to talk about was syncing and file transfer options available in Tap Forms. There are versions of Tap Forms for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone, and syncing of your data with all those devices running Tap Forms is possible by using the integrated iCloud support. I have also been using the iPad version, and once the initial setup is done, syncing is nearly a seamless process and now your form data will appear and sync on each of your devices. This is very handy and it’s great to have access to your data regardless of what app you are using at the time.
I’ve been using Tap Forms on the Mac and iPad for several weeks now, and I’ve been extremely impressed with what I can do with this app. If you were a previous user of Bento and want an app that replaces and excels at functionality, then Tap Forms is what you want. If you are just getting into personal database apps and need the most tools and flexibility for your home or office, then Tap Forms is what I recommend. Whatever type of data you need organized, Tap Forms is more than capable of taking on the task.
Tap Forms is available in the Mac App Store for $29.99. The iPad and iPhone versions are also available on the App Store, and although I ran out of space to talk about the iPad version, I’ll expand on it in another post.