Microsoft Excel is a popular spreadsheet program by Microsoft that allows users to organize, analyze, forecast, and visualize data in a tabular manner. The tool has remained in every company’s work kit since forever. There is, however, a few snags that have forced many companies to switch to alternative tools and software.
In this article, we are going to explain why Excel has become obsolete and why today is the right time to switch to more advanced tools. After that, we’ll take a closer look into the best alternatives to Excel (free and paid) so that you can explore the right option and make an ideal choice for yourself (and your team).
So About Excel…
Excel is indeed a unique piece of technology. It’s quick to learn and commonly used across industries to manage the data relevant to the running of the business. But the reality is that there are tons of problems with Excel. For example,
- Excel is not ideal for project management
- Excel lacks flexibility
- Excel has no mobility
- Excel is not centralized
- Excel lacks data security
So, these were a few issues you can often come up against with Excel. Thankfully, there a couple of alternative software and tools that are available in the market, and they are able to perform better than Excel.
Table of Contents
- Best Excel Alternatives
- 2. Google Sheets
- 3. Zoho Sheet
- 4. LibreOffice
- 5. Microsoft Project
- 6. ThinkFree
- 7. SPREAD32
- 8. Workzone
- 9. Redbooth
- 10. Gnumeric
- 11. Scoro
- 12. WPS Office
- 13. Sheetster
- 14. Freedcamp
- 15. Podio
- 16. Calligra Sheets
- 17. SharePoint
Best Excel Alternatives
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2. Google Sheets
If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to Google Sheets. It’s basically a free, web-based software office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. The application allows users to create and edit files online and collaborate on them with others in real-time. Sharing spreadsheet documents, online storage, shared access, real-time editing over the internet, and offline access are some of the key benefits of this program that makes it an ideal choice for businesses and teams looking to collaborate and work on projects without having to coordinate their schedules. Lastly, with Google Sheets, users can also download files to their computer or keep the online files in sync with the ones stored on their local drive for offline access.
3. Zoho Sheet
Zoho is a suite of applications that works exceptionally well for small and medium-sized businesses. The appearance and functionalities of this tool are similar to those of Microsoft Excel, but it offers a much smoother experience. With Zoho Sheet, users can open files on their computer or import sheets using URLs, switch between different file formats like .xlsx, .xls, .csv, and .ods., collaborate with others in real-time, and stay connected to work from their mobile devices.
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LibreOffice is an open source Excel alternative that has been derived from the original Openoffice.org, just like Apache Open Office. And it’s not just Excel, LibreOffice is an alternative to the whole Microsoft Office application. However, if we keep the fact aside that LibreOffice provides all the basic excel features like pivot table and text to columns aside, LibreOffice clearly lacks an essential functionality i.e. extensive formatting. Also, there have been many incidents where the application crashes while handling a large amount of information. And that is why LibreOffice is often considered best for personal use but not so ideal for comprehensive business analysis.
5. Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project is a versatile, flexible tool for project management and portfolio management with both cloud-based and on-premises option. The tool is designed to help teams organize and keep track of their projects. It enables businesses to get started on the right foot while managing a project, manage project portfolio investments, and ensure successful project delivery with the intended business value.
ThinkFree is quite similar to Google Drive applications. It’s a suite of web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool that allows users to manage documents from any platform/device. With ThinkFree, users can create, view, and edit documents within the application and collaborate on them with others in real-time. The software is completely compatible with Microsoft Office and is pretty easy to use as compared to other spreadsheet applications.
SPREAD 32 is an excellent Excel alternative and a go-to-tool for analyzing and organizing the small amount of business data or spreadsheet files. It includes over 300 functions under mathematics, trigonometry, logic, engineering, and financial categories. SPREAD 32 works with almost every basic spreadsheet file which includes XLS, CSV, and PXL. However, if you often go through comprehensive data analysis or your hard drive is crammed with data most of the time, it might be best to look into their online spreadsheets.
Workzone is an easy-to-use, cloud-hosted application for efficient project management, team collaboration, and document management. For years Workzone is being used by teams to stay organized at work. The tool helps them to organize projects by tasks/subtasks, set priorities, assign responsibilities, and get notified in real time regarding project or task progress. It enables project managers and teams to keep their projects in check and quickly identify the ones that need immediate attention. It’s a mature and battle-tested project management software solution that has been an excellent Excel alternative since 2000.
Redbooth is a software that has been overshadowed by the popularity of other project management and team collaboration tools for quite a long time. But eventually, teams and businesses have started to realize that Redbooth is a significantly better alternative than the competing tools, including Microsoft Excel. Redbooth is effective, intuitive, secure, and trusted by users across all industries. It serves as an ideal single place where teams can conduct HD video conference meetings, one-on-one discussions, team chats, file sharing, task management, and more.
Gnumeric is an innovative and open-source spreadsheet application that provides all the basic functionalities with other additional features. For users who’ve had previous experience with any other spreadsheet software, Gnumeric is easy-to-use and is a great tool for less complicated data analysis. It’s a powerful Microsoft Excel alternative with which teams can read files saved with other spreadsheets and manage large spreadsheets while remaining responsive. Gnumeric also provides users with the ability to get a more customizable feel and save tons on transition.
Scoro is an intuitive data analytics solution that can also be considered as “Excel on steroids”. It doesn’t provide the formal Microsoft Excel functionality but when it comes to organizing and visualizing business-critical information, it’s an excellent tool to work with. The tool integrated seamlessly with an array of third-party applications and tools which makes it even easy for teams to keep everything and everyone at one place. Also, it’s an excellent tool for analyzing and managing an extensive amount of business data. And as compared to Microsoft Excel, Scoro delivers more insightful and beautiful visualizations.
12. WPS Office
WPS Office is an amazing, affordable office suite for Microsoft Windows, Linux, iOS and Android, developed by a software and Internet services company based in California, USA. The office software solution allows teams to perform various tasks, create and modify word/text documents, convert PDF documents to editable formats, create spreadsheets and presentations, retrieve deleted files, and everything else that helps to fulfill their file management or document management needs. WPS Office is an efficient and light application that empowers businesses and teams to painlessly manage their everyday tasks and activities at work.
Sheetster is an open source, standalone online spreadsheet service that allows teams to create, edit, and access spreadsheets in different formats. It provides support for a range of excel features and formulas and can import and export files in .xls and .xlsx formats without any hassle. Sheetster also provides server-side API and REST API which makes it an ideal choice for development teams who are looking to integrate spreadsheets into web applications.
Freedcamp, a web-based project management and team collaboration software that keeps teams organized and on track via the cloud. This free project management platform can be used for an unlimited number of projects and users. It’s an ideal software solution for businesses that are looking for ways to stay in control of their projects, resources, time, and data. Freedcamp provides an array of tools and capabilities that allow teams to achieve their goals without having to invest in multiple tools.
Podio is a simple collaboration software that is designed to help teams stay organized and communicate better within the workplace atmosphere. It does that through a system that puts everything and everyone in a single place. Podia provides tools for various project management functions, including team collaboration, task management, file sharing, automated workflows, shared calendar, meeting scheduling, and integrated chat. With this software, teams can closely track their projects and keep their documents organized, no matter what.
16. Calligra Sheets
Calligra Sheets is a feature-rich calculation and spreadsheet tool. It is being used by teams across the globe for creating and calculating business related spreadsheets, including employee work hours, overall expenditure and income. The technology used in Calligra Sheets is the same as any other Calligra product. That’s why it integrates well with any other Calligra application and is easy-to-use. Furthermore, it allows users to create flowcharts and mindmaps for work and keep them in a central place until the work is done.
SharePoint is a Microsoft-hosted cloud service that helps teams to store, organize, access, and share information in a more efficient manner. The solution unites some really impressive features, including content management, business intelligence, workflow management, personal cloud, workflow management, and more. The overall vision behind this solution is to streamline effectiveness and provide teams access to the relevant data at the right time.
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Choosing your best Excel alternative
Even though excel seems like a sweet spot now, it’s better for you to keep the upcoming innovation in mind and switch to more advanced technology. It will definitely take some time to evaluate the available alternatives but do ensure that the software you choose will scale well with your organization and team.
Hope you found this post helpful. Good luck!
Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2018. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.
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- Apple Numbers.
- Zoho Sheet.
- WPS Spreadsheets.
- LibreOffice Calc.
- Google Workspace.
- PDF Tables.
- Apache OpenOffice Calc.
Very similar in appearance and functionality to Excel, Google Sheets is probably the most popular Excel alternative. It offers timesaving features similar to Excel's, such as charts and graphs, built-in formulas, pivot tables and conditional formatting.
Google Sheets is Google's cloud-based answer to Microsoft Excel, and it's capable of doing the vast majority of what the average Excel user needs. It's also hosted in the cloud and runs in a web browser, so it's platform independent and can be run on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.Which of the following are free alternatives that you can use instead of Microsoft Excel? ›
Google Sheets is nearly equal to Excel in performance, even offering some additional features lacking in Excel. It's also free. Files in Google Sheets save to the cloud, like everything else you create with G Suite.
- Apache OpenOffice. ...
- LibreOffice. ...
- NeoOffice. ...
- Kingsoft WPS Office. ...
- SSuite Office. ...
- Google's productivity apps. ...
- Microsoft Office Online. ...
- iWork for iCloud.
With its impressive tables and images, Numbers makes it possible to create beautiful spreadsheets, and comes included with most Apple devices.What Google Doc is like Excel? ›
Google Sheets was built as a cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Excel, and all you need is a Google account. With it, you can sync and save every Google Sheets document automatically in Google Drive (cloud). This also means the files become accessible immediately from anywhere.Is Google Sheets better than Excel? ›
Compared to Excel, Google Sheet is a preferred application for collaboration. Excel is the superior product in the case of statistical analysis and visualization since many formulas are built-in in Microsoft Excel. If you want to create a chart on Google sheet-like Gantt or a flow chart in excel.What is the easiest spreadsheet program? ›
Online LibreOffice Calc or Apache OpenOffice Calc. may be all you need if you need a basic spreadsheet for simple data entry and calculations. If you need more advanced features, such as pivot tables or macros, you may want to consider Microsoft Excel.Is Microsoft discontinuing Excel? ›
No, as part of Microsoft 365 you will continue to get access to apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. We will also continue to offer one-time purchases of those apps to consumers and businesses via Office 2021 and Office LTSC plans.
Excel offers some advanced features that set it apart from Google Sheets, like built-in advanced statistical tests, better data analysis tools, more keyboard shortcuts, and the ability to import data from more external sources.What is the best free platform for Excel? ›
- Useful Excel for Beginners [Udemy] ...
- Everyday Excel, Part 1 [Free Coursera Course] ...
- Microsoft Excel — Improve your skills quickly [Udemy] ...
- Easy Excel Basics for Beginners — Get Started with Excel [Udemy]
- Data entry.
- Data management.
- Financial analysis.
- Charting and graphing.
- Time management.
- Task management.
It's estimated Excel is used by 750 million people and 63% of companies consider Excel a vital accounting tool. It's ranked the best spreadsheet software. In a recent competitive review of the top 45 spreadsheet software, Excel ranked #1 with the most features and over 400 functions, more than any other competitor.Which of the following is a free alternative of Microsoft Office? ›
The Document Foundation's LibreOffice Writer, like OpenOffice, is a completely free and open-source product that offers word processing, support for . doc and . docx file formats, and all the tools the average Microsoft Word user will need in a word processor.What are the 7 Microsoft Office suite? ›
- Microsoft Word.
- Microsoft Excel.
- Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Microsoft OneNote.
- Microsoft Outlook.
- Microsoft Publisher.
- Microsoft Access.
- Skype for Business.
OpenOffice, the traditional alternative to Microsoft Office
The OpenOffice.org, or OOo, first launched in 2000, 10 years after Microsoft's, and came out with the first version of its software in 2002.
Microsoft Office Is Now Free for iPhones, iPads and Android
Office users will now be able to create and edit documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on iPhone, iPad and Android devices at no cost.
iWork is an office suite of applications created by Apple Inc. for its macOS, iPadOS and iOS operating systems, and also available cross-platform through the iCloud website.Does Apple offer Excel? ›
Fun fact: There's a version of Microsoft Office written just for Mac. So you can use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on a Mac just like on a PC.
Yes, you can replace Excel with Google Sheets. You have to upload the Excel file to your google drive. Save it as a sheet file, you can change your drive settings to do that. Once the settings are adjusted, everytime you will upload an Excel file in your drive, it will be replaced with a Google Sheet.Does Google have a free Excel? ›
Google Sheets was built from the ground up to be a cloud based alternative to Microsoft Excel. Everything is accessible from your Google account and you'll be able to see and access all of your files from Google Drive.What can Excel do that Google Sheets cannot? ›
- Processing power. This is a common dealbreaker in the Excel vs. ...
- Data visualization. Creating charts and other ways of visualizing your data is a breeze in Excel, but Sheets has very limited data visualization capabilities.
- Formulas. ...
- Business Intelligence tools.
Collaboration in Google Sheets works seamlessly where you can have multiple users editing the same sheet from multiple devices (be it a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile). You also don't need to worry about saving your Google Sheets files as it is saved in real-time.What is Google Sheets best used for? ›
With Google Sheets, you can create and edit spreadsheets directly in your web browser—no special software is required. Multiple people can work simultaneously, you can see people's changes as they make them, and every change is saved automatically. Google Workspace account—Don't have one?What are the limitations of Google Sheets? ›
Up to 10 million cells for spreadsheets that are created in or converted to Google Sheets. 40,000 new rows at a time. Maximum number of columns of 18,278 columns. Number of Tabs: 200 sheets per workbook.Is Google Docs the same as Excel? ›
Excel is a spreadsheet management software program with data analysis tools to help users track and visualize data for greater... Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create and format text documents and collaborate with other people in real time.Is Excel still the best? ›
Yes, Excel is still widely used in business. For many business analysts and managers, the ability to use spreadsheet technologies such as Excel or Google Sheets is considered common knowledge.Is Google Excel free? ›
Our Verdict. Google Sheets beats Excel because it's absolutely free to use.Do most companies use Excel or Google Sheets? ›
Most companies use Microsoft Excel to serve its numerous and diverse spreadsheet needs. Excel however, is less than ideal for business purposes, in light of the program's great inherent error risks and high management overhead.
Google Sheets is an online spreadsheet app that lets you create and format spreadsheets and work with other people. DOWNLOAD CHEAT SHEET.What is Google's version of Excel? ›
Google Sheets: Online Spreadsheet Editor.Should I learn Excel or Google Sheets? ›
Excel vs. Google Sheets: Which should you choose? Excel is best fit for those who work solo and need advanced data analysis tools, whereas Google Sheets is better for teams that need a simple spreadsheet solution with great collaborative features.Is Excel no longer free? ›
Use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more for free on the web.What is the simplest spreadsheet? ›
Online LibreOffice Calc or Apache OpenOffice Calc. may be all you need if you need a basic spreadsheet for simple data entry and calculations. If you need more advanced features, such as pivot tables or macros, you may want to consider Microsoft Excel.What is the most commonly used spreadsheet? ›
Introduced in the late 1980s, Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular and well-known spreadsheet software programs.
Microsoft Excel may crash due to any one or more reasons given below, Incompatible Add-Ins. Outdated MS Excel program. Conflict with other programs or antivirus tool.Why Excel is so difficult? ›
Even tech-savvy professionals can find Excel difficult because it has its own programming language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which is used to create macros, or pre-saved automations that run an action or a set of actions.Can Python replace Excel? ›
Python is considered a more efficient data analysis tool for complex calculations and large volumes of data. However, Excel is still more popular overall than Python, and it is used by a large number of people in financial analysis.