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Parallels Access vs. TeamViewer: Excel Comparison

November 01, 2014


Remote document editing is one of the most popular uses for remote desktop software — and regardless of your profession, it’s likely that Microsoft Excel is one of the programs you most frequently use. We used Parallels Access and TeamViewer to compare how easy it is to open, edit and save Excel documents remotely.

Both applications are very good. However, although Parallels Access’ set up required a bit more work, the way it mimics native app behavior saves a lot of time and confusion when you’re actually working – it may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re busy and working on a small screen, it’s a real help.

Test Platform

  • Host Computer: Dell Inspiron 13z, Intel Core i3, 6 GB RAM, Windows 8.1
  • Mobile Device: Apple iPod Touch, Fifth Generation, iOS
Editing Excel Documents in TeamViewer

TeamViewer full screen mode with an Excel file on an iPod Touch from a Windows PC.

Upon connecting to a remote computer using TeamViewer, you’re presented with a screen detailing the various shortcuts that you can use within TeamViewer to emulate mouse input. You’re then taken to the remote computer’s desktop. While using TeamViewer, you can see an on-screen representation of the remote computer’s mouse pointer. Interfacing with the computer, therefore, is essentially the same as if you were using it locally; dragging your finger across the screen causes the mouse pointer to move and double-tapping simulates a double-click. Opening and saving an Excel document is as easy as it would be sitting at the computer, although it is important to remember that some of your device’s native gestures — such as dragging a single finger up or down to scroll — don’t work within TeamViewer.

Editing Excel Documents in Parallels Access

Excel in zoom mode in Parallels Access on an iPod Touch.

When you connect to a computer for the first time, Parallels Access displays a short video explaining how it differs from other remote desktop software. In effect, Parallels Access makes desktop applications behave like mobile applications. To enjoy this feature, you’ll first need to tap the “+” icon at the bottom of the Parallels Access launch screen. This displays a list of the remote computer’s applications. Tapping the switch next to Excel adds it to the launch screen. At this point, controlling Excel is much as it would be at the computer except that Parallels Access removes the mouse pointer; to click an item, you tap it directly.

TeamViewer vs. Parallels Access

In a sense, it is slightly more difficult to get started with editing Excel documents in Parallels Access compared to TeamViewer. While TeamViewer brings you directly to the remote computer’s desktop and allows you to navigate on your own, Parallels Access requires you to add Excel to the launch screen before using it unless you manually switch to the desktop view. In addition, Parallels Access has a few more shortcut gestures and as a result is slightly more difficult to learn at first.

Upon becoming accustomed to the shortcuts, though, we found that it was slightly more intuitive to edit Excel documents in Parallels Access compared to TeamViewer because it doesn’t require shifting into another mode of thought. Common tasks such as text selection, scrolling and zooming are accomplished in the same way in Parallels Access as they are in other mobile apps, making it possible to perform actions such as filtering, sorting and editing spreadsheets more quickly.

Consider the process of opening an Excel document, for example; in TeamViewer, you would do this by dragging one finger across the screen until the mouse pointer is on top of the document you want to open. You would then double-tap to open the document. In Parallels Access, double-tapping the document’s icon causes it to open. By eliminating the mouse pointer, even simple tasks may take several minutes less to complete within Parallels Access.