Smartsheet vs Excel: Best Tool for Project Management?

Written by Kasper Langmann

In the world of project management, the tools you use can make or break your success. Two of the most popular tools in today’s market are Smartsheet and Excel. Both offer a range of features designed to help you manage your projects more effectively, but which one is the best fit for your needs?

Understanding Smartsheet and Excel

Before we delve into the comparison, it’s important to understand what each tool offers. Smartsheet is a cloud-based platform designed for project management, collaboration, and work management. It offers a spreadsheet-like interface, but with a host of additional features designed specifically for project management.

Excel, on the other hand, is a spreadsheet program that’s part of the Microsoft Office suite. It’s been around for decades and is used by millions of people worldwide for a variety of tasks, including project management. However, it’s worth noting that Excel was not specifically designed for project management, which can limit its functionality in this area.

Comparing Features

Task Management

When it comes to task management, Smartsheet offers a more robust set of features. You can assign tasks to team members, set due dates, track progress, and even attach files. Plus, Smartsheet’s Gantt chart feature allows you to visualize your project timeline and see how tasks relate to each other.

Excel, while it does allow for task tracking, lacks some of the project management-specific features of Smartsheet. You can create a list of tasks and assign them to team members, but tracking progress and managing dependencies can be more challenging.


Collaboration is another area where Smartsheet shines. The platform allows for real-time collaboration, with multiple people able to view and edit a sheet simultaneously. You can also leave comments on tasks, making it easy to communicate with your team.

Excel does offer collaboration features, but they’re not as robust as Smartsheet’s. You can share a spreadsheet with others and work on it simultaneously, but the process is not as seamless, and communication options are more limited.


Both Smartsheet and Excel offer integration with other tools, but Smartsheet has a slight edge in this area. It integrates with a wide range of other platforms, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Salesforce, and more. This makes it easy to bring all your work into one place.

Excel does offer integration with other Microsoft Office products, as well as some third-party tools. However, the range of integrations is not as extensive as Smartsheet’s.

Cost and Accessibility

Cost is always a factor when choosing a project management tool, and here, Excel has the advantage. It’s included as part of the Microsoft Office suite, which many businesses already use. This makes it a cost-effective option for those on a tight budget.

Smartsheet, on the other hand, requires a separate subscription. The cost can add up, especially for larger teams. However, it’s worth noting that Smartsheet offers a range of pricing options, including a free trial, so you can test it out before committing.

When it comes to accessibility, both tools are fairly equal. Smartsheet is cloud-based, so you can access it from any device with an internet connection. Excel is available on both desktop and mobile devices, and files can be saved to the cloud for access from anywhere.


So, which is the best tool for project management: Smartsheet or Excel? The answer depends on your specific needs. If you need a robust, feature-rich project management tool with strong collaboration features, Smartsheet is likely the better choice. However, if you’re on a tight budget and need a tool that can handle basic project management tasks, Excel may be sufficient.

Ultimately, the best way to decide is to try both tools and see which one works best for you. Both offer free trials, so you can test out their features and see how they fit into your workflow. Remember, the best tool is the one that helps you manage your projects more effectively and efficiently.