For creating spreadsheets on a computer – the first name that practically pops up on everyone’s mind is Microsoft Excel. From the beginning Microsoft Excel has created such an expression that it’s hard to think about an alternative. But, Microsoft Excel is a paid software and not everyone can afford much for a software like this – hence an alternative was highly required. Thanks to the technological advancements, there are plenty of Microsoft Excel alternatives these days of which we reviewed the top 10.
- Google Sheets
Speaking of the best alternatives to Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets certainly deserve to be in the number one spot. Cherry on top – unlike Microsoft Excel for computers, Google Sheets is completely free. And it’s online so cloud storage is offered very naturally – no software installation or specific local storage required. All features like tables, charts could be added and Google Scripts could be used to edit and modify the menu and dialogues. However, being a web based application Google Sheets is a better alternate only if the data sheets are smaller.
Microsoft Excel might be the best pick for Windows users out there, but if you happen to be a Mac OS or iOS user then Numbers should the primary choice. It’s a built-in spreadsheet creation tool in all Apple devices and currently, it’s been made free. However, Numbers feel different than Excel in terms of usability so it could take a little time to get used to.
- Microsoft Office Online – Excel
Unlike the offline version of Microsoft Excel, this version is free and allows the users to work without even downloading. All the basic features still work but some advanced features like macros, shading, merge, format painters, and borders etc. wouldn’t. The saved files are usually stored on OneDrive or Dropbox – makes a great tool for collaboration, but still lagging behind Google Sheets for this purpose.
- Zoho Sheets
Zoho Sheets looks almost like Microsoft Excel, but there are prominent differences as well. Zoho Sheet is an online based spreadsheet client unlike MS Excel. In terms of features, Zoho Sheets is a great collaboration tool and Zoho offers their own cloud storage for that purpose. The free account provides a 1 GB account. For more storage needs, $5/month gives 50 GB storage and $8 buys 100 GB.
Smartsheet isn’t free, but for the power users this could be an excellent alternative to Microsoft Excel. First 30 days are under the free trial period and after that, the payment may be made on a monthly or yearly basis. Smartsheet provides almost all the features that Excel does, however there’s few more on Smartsheet like Calendar View, Gantt etc. Like most other online spreadsheet software, Smartsheet offers great collaboration features as well. The Basic plan costs $16/month and the Team plan costs $50/month.
- Apache OpenOfficeCalc
Apache OpenOfficeCalc is a great free alternative tool for spreadsheet and collaboration based projects. Basically the OpenOffice suite is a full-fledge office suite like Microsoft Office, and the OpenOfficeCalc is the spreadsheet creating and editing program. It’s an open source program and full free. Free doesn’t mean any less useful – in fact, Apache OpenOffice is equipped with all necessary features available on Microsoft Excel. The interface is very neat.
Typically based on the same OpenOffice codes and algorithms as it’s an open source program, but LibreOfficeCalc has been modified to a greater extent to make it different and a more advanced tool. The naming strategy has been kept similar as well, adding Calc as suffix to indicate it’s the spreadsheet editing tool inside the LibreOffice suite. The interface on LibreOfficeCalc looks pretty similar to the MS Excel from Office 2003 but LibreOffice has improved features – 2015’s standard.
To work with numerical data, calculate them, plot them into tables, pie or bar charts and come up with statistics – Gnumeric can help. The program is open source hence it is free. The operational capability is impressive and it works very fast. It’s not an online web based spreadsheet program like many other, but the desktop program is very lightweight and even an old PC could smoothly run this program.
PlanMaker is an Excel alternative but not free, rather cheaply priced than Excel. This is not a better program and not even open source, but in case you need Excel features on an emergency basis but can’t afford to get Excel then PlanMaker might be the savior.
- WPS Office Suite
Android users probably already know about WPS Office Suite. It’s an office suite for smartphones and tablets. There are limited functionality because it’s not a computer, but almost all basic tasks could be done while on the go. WPS Office Suite can store files directly into Dropbox for collaboration or storage purpose. The interface is excellent.
Few of these alternates are as good as Microsoft Excel is, most are on the same page and few are quite subpar but very useful. Mark your requirements and pick the best alternate that suits your purpose.