The Best Spreadsheet Software Available Right Now

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Spreadsheets are important in the business world. 

These tools help provide and store information

The best spreadsheets allow you to sort, rearrange, and even make calculations on your data to help you in decision making.

In this article, we’ve listed out the best spreadsheet software available on the market, both free and paid. Of course, Excel is on the list, but there are a few surprises as well. 😊

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

What’s the ideal spreadsheet software?

Before we go into listing out the best spreadsheets, let’s take a look first at how the perfect spreadsheet feels like.

User-friendly: First off, a great spreadsheet software offers a good user experience (UX) and has a friendly user interface (UI).

One of the reasons why people use a spreadsheet is to make data analytics and financial models easier to make and handle.

Functions: What separates a spreadsheet from a text document is the fact that you’re able to make computations on your data using formulas and functions.

That being said, the ideal spreadsheet software would have predefined formulas called functions you could use.

Visualizations: After making calculations, great spreadsheet software would have visualization options.

A graphical representation of their data would be valuable to users and during presentations. Also, lots of analysis are easier to do with charts and graphs around.

Collaboration: A great spreadsheet program allows for collaboration.

Chances are, there will be a few users on a single worksheet. Or at least, there will be others who will look (or make changes) on the data.

Advanced features: Lastly, the ideal spreadsheet software has advanced features like pivot tables, conditional formatting, and macros.

Advanced users would need advanced tools to meet the demands of their analytics.

The characteristics above are what we considered in choosing the best spreadsheet software. Some may have more than the other. But each is chosen for their worth and value.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Microsoft Excel

home page of microsoft excel

Microsoft Excel is dubbed as the “standard spreadsheet” as it’s the most popular and commonly used spreadsheet in the world.

Out of all of the spreadsheets, Excel has the most functions and features. It has over 400 functions divided into 11 categories. It also has advanced features like pivot tables, VBA, and macros that help speed up the workflow.

preview of microsoft office excel online

Besides, Excel shines out of everything in this list because of its capability to handle large data sets with its powerful features.

Microsoft Excel

  • Platforms: Web, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Price: Office 365 for home use starts at $69.99/year; for business use starts at $8.25/user/month; standalone app costs $129.99
  • Pros: Long list of functions; able to handle large data sets; advanced plotting and charting features; user-friendly
  • Cons: Collaboration needs Office 365 subscription; other options only include emailing the file, network, and file sharing

ZOHO Sheets

home page of zoho sheets

If power is what you’re here for, Zoho Sheet is the best free Excel alternative there is.

To this day, Zoho Sheets has more than 350 functions available. In addition, it also has advanced features similar to Excel such as pivot tables, conditional formatting, and even data validation.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Also, you can record macros and use VBA. You can also create your own custom functions with minimal coding. Aside from that, you can build forms with drag and drop elements.

zoho sheets preview

Zoho, in general, is like a competitor to Google. It has its own sphere where apps can connect with one another. Sheet has a real-time collaboration feature with a chatbox window.

ZOHO Sheets

  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
  • Price: Free; basic plan starts at $8
  • Pros: Intuitive and simple UI which help shorten the learning curve
  • Cons: Highly dependent on internet

Google Sheets

home page of google sheets

Probably the worst threat to Excel’s dominance is Google Sheets.

Google Sheets is part of G-Suite, Google’s version of Microsoft Office 365.

Most of us already have a Google account. And that’s all it takes to use this spreadsheet. Once you’re on Google’s sphere, you can use all their apps for free and integrate them together.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
google sheets preview

The best feature of Google Sheets is collaboration. You can, literally, edit the same worksheet with other users on different locations and see the changes being made by each other.

Google Sheets

  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
  • Price: Free; Professional office suite starts at $4.20/user/month; Business plan starts at $10.20/user/month
  • Pros: Very accessible; easy to use; collaborative; continuously upgrading
  • Cons: Can be very slow at times; don’t have as much functionality as Excel

Apache OpenOffice Calc

OpenOffice was meant to become an open-source spreadsheet software alternative to Microsoft Office.

Originally, it was StarOffice which was then acquired by Sun Microsystems. It was later on donated to Apache in 2011.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Calc, OpenOffice’s spreadsheet software, is like the old version of Excel. But don’t let that fool you. This software has a similar interface and functionality as that of Excel’s.

spreadsheet of apache openoffice calc

Furthermore, Calc also packs some serious punch. It allows users to import raw data in different formats through its DataPilot feature. It also has “Natural Language Formulas” where users can use normal words to make commands and “Intelligent Sum Button” that automatically inserts the sum function.

Apache OpenOffice Calc

  • Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
  • Price: Totally free
  • Pros: Lightweight; fast and smooth; intuitive
  • Cons: Not for large/complex data sets; poor integration and collaboration

LibreOffice Calc

home page of libreoffice calc

There’s a reason why OpenOffice and LibreOffice’s spreadsheet software is called Calc.

That’s because LibreOffice Calc is actually a fork or another version of OpenOffice.

But unlike OpenOffice, LibreOffice Calc feels more like Excel, including its ribbon-like interface. Also, it runs natively on most operating systems including Mac, Windows, and Linux.

LibreOffice also a long list of supported functions divided into 10 categories. It also supports pivot tables and conditional formatting.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
preview of libreoffice calc

When it comes to handling large data sets, Calc can hold its feet. It’s still behind Excel, but it can do better than web-based spreadsheets.

LibreOffice Calc

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
  • Price: Absolutely free (If you would want to contribute to this project, you can donate to them through their website)
  • Pros: Free and works just like Excel (almost)
  • Cons: Some formatting features require more effort than in Excel

EtherCalc

home page of ethercalc

EtherCalc is a great spreadsheet for a quick collaboration without having to open up an account.

Its simplistic interface makes it the most user-friendly among the web-based spreadsheets. Using it is also simple, there’s no need to sign up for an account.

If you need to work with others in real-time, you can just copy the URL and send the link to the rest of your team.

preview of ethercalc

But for a quick non-complicated collaboration session, EtherCalc is more than enough.

EtherCalc

  • Platforms: Web
  • Price: Free
  • Pros: Very accessible and similar to excel
  • Cons: Lacks advanced features; UI (User Interface) can be improved

Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a collaboration and project management-oriented spreadsheet.

That is, aside from the normal spreadsheet tasks, this software is great for project management and other non-computational spreadsheet tasks.

Aside from its tabular interface, you can create HTML information portals and forms with drag and drop elements. This app is built for teams and collaboration.

smartsheet spreadsheet

Aside from that, Smartsheet allows integration with several enterprise tools and apps like Google, Dropbox, Jira, Slack, OneDrive, and many more.

Smartsheet

  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
  • Price: Starts at $14/month for individual use; $25/user/month for business use
  • Pros: Simple to use; great collaboration; great for project management
  • Cons: Moderate learning curve; user interface can be improved; limited functions and formulas

Apple’s Numbers

front page of numbers for mac

Numbers has superior visualization against most in the list here.

If you’re on Apple’s ecosystem, Numbers is also a good spreadsheet you can use. However, it’s not as powerful as Excel or Google Sheets yet.

If you like stunning graphics, Numbers is the right tool for you. It’s been said that Numbers is the spreadsheet for artists because of how artistic its graphical representations can be.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
preview of icloud numbers

In a few years, Apple’s Numbers could become a serious competitor to Excel.

Apple’s Numbers

  • Platforms: Mac, iOS
  • Price: Free
  • Pros: Importing data made easier
  • Cons: Cannot be installed in other OS outside Mac; still has to develop to be in par with existing spreadsheets

Airtable

Airtable is a bit like Smartsheet but with additional “spreadsheet” functionalities.

Though Airtable is a spreadsheet software, it’s also used for database and project management. Spreadsheets are called “bases, columns are “fields”, and rows are “records”.

Airtable has lots of templates available like product planning, product launch, sales CRM, content calendar, and even project tracker.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

What separates Airtable from the usual database and project management apps is how you can use Airtable for spreadsheet tasks. You can use formulas on your records and even create stunning graphs and pivot tables.

Basically, it’s a spreadsheet app made with non-spreadsheet functionalities in mind.

Airtable

  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
  • Price: Free with 1,200 records per base (unlimited bases); $10/user/month for 5,000 bases; $20/user/month for 50,000 bases
  • Pros: Pleasing to the eye user interface; available templates and tutorials; flexible for a spreadsheet app
  • Cons: Occasional problem with data import and export; a bit of a learning curve for non-database users

Quip

front page of quip

Quip is like a software where you can use to integrate different types of documents.

As a Salesforce app, Quip isn’t your ordinary spreadsheet software. It’s a productivity tool, real-time collaboration software, and a spreadsheet molded into a single master program.

As proof of its spreadsheet capabilities, Quip has over 400 built-in functions which can be accessed straight from its simplistic yet stunning user interface.

Quip, unlike Google Sheets or Airtable, provides you the ability to switch between “Document” and “Spreadsheet” layout.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Once you open Quip, you’re greeted with a document style canvas instead of the usual tabular format. You have to manually create a new sheet within the document yourself.

preview of quip

But it’s of no inconvenience since it’s easy to do. It’s like the equivalent of clicking a square icon that indicates “Create a new spreadsheet”.

Quip

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Price: Starts at $10/user/month
  • Pros: New level of collaboration; allows neat file management with visibility options
  • Cons: Heavily internet-reliant; needs a business email for the free demo

Wrapping things up…

As can be seen above, Microsoft Excel is still the best spreadsheet software out there.

However, lots of competitors are slowly rising on the stage. Free alternatives are closely becoming as powerful as the paid ones.

When choosing your spreadsheet software, you must go down to basics — your objective in using the software and what functions and features you need. 😊

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
2019-09-04T13:08:23+00:00