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6 free alternatives to Microsoft Excel

If you do not need to pay for an costly Microsoft Office subscription, listed below are free alternatives to Excel which you can get for free right now.

Image: BrianAJackson, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Spreadsheets are a part of the trendy enterprise world, and meaning sometime you’re going to have to take a look at one. The sorts of options you want out of your spreadsheet software can fluctuate, although, with many customers by no means coming shut to needing the strong options of Microsoft Office’s Excel.

For these of us who aren’t accountants crunching numbers daily, Microsoft Office, which incorporates Excel, will be prohibitively costly. You’re paying no less than $5 monthly for one enterprise license, paid in full for a 12 months up entrance, $6.99 a month for dwelling use, or $149.99 for an Office Home and Student 2019 license.

If you don’t have that sort of cash, or don’t want all of Excel’s options, or just need to save money, there are many viable alternatives to Microsoft Excel which are obtainable within the cloud and put in in your laptop. Best of all, these alternatives to Excel are free.

Google Sheets

Image: Google

Google Sheets is Google’s cloud-based reply to Microsoft Excel, and it’s able to doing the overwhelming majority of what the common Excel consumer wants. It’s additionally hosted within the cloud and runs in an internet browser, so it’s platform unbiased and will be run on Windows, macOS, and Linux methods.

You by no means have to fear about dropping a single calculation, both — Google Sheets saves every part in Google Drive, making a crashed laptop of no concern to your essential information. As with Google’s different workplace instruments, Sheets options real-time collaboration that enables a number of customers to edit a doc on the identical time. Users can see the cursor place of different individuals within the doc, see what they’re doing as they’re doing it, and chat proper within the doc window.

Advanced options that some Excel customers want are lacking, although, so in case you’re an Excel energy consumer, it’s a good suggestion to discover out if the options you want can be found earlier than migrating. There have additionally been reported problems with formulation in Excel spreadsheets breaking after they’re uploaded to Google Sheets, so remember that you can run into points transferring .xls or .xlsx information out of your laptop to Sheets. On the plus aspect, scripting remains to be obtainable in Google Sheets, although it’s JavaScript primarily based and never Visual Basic for Applications.

Zoho Sheet

Zoho Sheet with examples of pie and bar charts and a spreadsheet.
Image: Zoho Sheet

Zoho Sheet is a spreadsheet software program that features collaboration, information visualization and automation options that assist groups get work executed quicker. Zoho Sheet is a free, cloud-based spreadsheet instrument that helps a number of file sorts, together with Excel (.xls), .csv, .ods and .tsv codecs to simply transfer your current sheets into Zoho Sheet.

Collaboration in Zoho Sheet is straightforward, with real-time updates on the sheet degree for any customers within the doc. Use macros and even VBA code to automate updates and pace up work. Collaborators can use Data cleansing to be certain that errors are caught rapidly, or roll again to a earlier iteration with Version History. And Zoho Sheet can simply be used through the cellular app or revealed to the online with granular controls over embedded information manipulation.

Zoho Sheet is a part of the bigger Zoho household of apps, which signifies that extensions and integrations are simple and quick. Use Zoho Forms to rapidly consolidate data in a single Sheet, and Zoho’s AI, Zia, will assist groups visualize information with pivot tables, charts or graphs.

Microsoft Office Excel Online


Not to be outdone by Google, Microsoft has created its personal on-line model of Office, which features a stripped-down model of Excel that’s nearer to Google Sheets than to the desktop model of Excel. It’s not to say that Excel Online is unusable or not value your time–it’s undoubtedly extra like Excel than Google Sheets, so in case you favor a well-recognized interface, it’s your decision to go for Excel Online as a substitute of going the Google route.

Recommending Excel Online to the common Excel consumer is okay–it does all of the fundamentals of the desktop model whereas including automated cloud saving in OneDrive, and it has real-time collaboration instruments that Office 365 and Office 2019 lack. Excel energy customers might want to keep away from Excel Online. Many of the options Excel energy customers depend on are gone, restricted, or read-only–there’s no VBA scripting, no creating exterior information connections, no discover and change, and no superior charting options. All of these capabilities exist in Excel Online, however they’re read-only.

Apache OpenOffice Calc

Image: Apache

When I discuss to Windows customers who hate the look of Microsoft Office’s post-2007 interface, I all the time advocate Apache OpenOffice. Calc, OpenOffice’s Excel various, does a very good job of feeling and looking similar to Office 2003, which is nice in case you’d favor a time earlier than the Office ribbon.

Prior to the arrival of the cloud and the dominance of Google’s on-line workplace instruments, OpenOffice reigned supreme amongst these on the lookout for a free Microsoft Office various. There is one main downside to OpenOffice, which is a matter with different free platforms: A scarcity of cloud assist. There’s no native cloud connection or real-time collaboration for Calc, so if that’s a deal-breaker, it’s your decision to keep away from this one.

LibreOffice Calc

Image: The Document Foundation

Like OpenOffice, LibreOffice is a free workplace suite that features its personal Excel various, additionally referred to as Calc. It runs into the identical restrictions as OpenOffice in that LibreOffice Calc lacks cloud assist and real-time collaboration. What LibreOffice does have is a surprisingly strong record of options, lots of which aren’t current in Excel.

LibreOffice has extra capabilities than Excel, can evaluate two separate spreadsheet information, has extra cell formatting choices, and it might probably even deal with imports of legacy spreadsheets from retired functions (Microsoft Works, Lotus 1-2-3, BeagleWorks, Claris Resolve, and so forth.) previously obtainable on Windows and macOS. There are additionally good causes to skip LibreOffice, which embody: It has restricted macro recording talents, it might probably’t deal with exterior information sources, it lacks the flexibility to show many superior forms of charts, and it might probably’t export paperwork as generic XML. So, earlier than making an attempt LibreOffice, learn the options record to make sure your necessities are included.

WPS Office Spreadsheets

Image: WPS Office Software

When it comes to strong options which are a real competitors for Excel, WPS Office Spreadsheets can’t be beat and with good cause: It’s the one freemium product on this record. WPS Office is definitely a paid product, but it surely does include a fully-featured free model with one catch–it’s advert supported.

Don’t let that flip you off from giving WPS Spreadsheets a strive–the advertisements are fast (usually lasting about 10 seconds), and solely pop up once you strive to print, save to PDF, or use a few of its different extra particular instruments; when you watch an advert, that function is unlocked for half-hour. If you determine you need to eliminate the advertisements in WPS Office, you want to pay $29.99 a 12 months, or $119.99 for a lifetime license.

Editor’s word: This article was up to date to embody the most recent details about these Excel alternatives.


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