11 User-Friendly Spreadsheet Software Solutions
Spreadsheet software is an essential part of every company’s toolkit, and Microsoft Excel is the most popular of all of the spreadsheet software on the market. Thanks to its complex features and intuitive commands, Excel is commonly accepted as the most comprehensive program for storing and arranging information for all kinds of purposes. Most importantly for the team here at Scoro, many businesses find Excel an indispensable tool for project planning and data analysis.
Since it was first released as part of Microsoft’s Office package, it seems like there’s no business and no industry that could manage without Excel. But what if they could? Here, we’ll explore 11 of the best spreadsheet software packages to help you decide for yourself whether it’s an irreplaceable tool for analytics and data storage.
Scoro’s KPI dashboard software is like Excel on steroids. It lets you oversee every aspect of your business across as many interactive dashboards as required, and gives you the chance to keep track of your projects, workflow, and financial KPIs in real time. Sure, we’ll admit that our software doesn’t quite offer the same formal Excel functionality, but if you’re looking for a new way of understanding data, we’ve got you covered.
We offer our users an innovative data analytics tool that lets them integrate Scoro with third-party applications and software, enabling data to be imported into a central source of truth. While Scoro can’t conduct a comprehensive financial analysis, it can be easily integrated with the tools you already use for that purpose. You can also use Scoro to track KPIs via dashboards and reports which can then be presented to your team and partners at a glance.
2. Google Sheets
Google’s Office package is probably second only to MS Office in its popularity, and may even be more widely used by virtue of being free to use. Google Sheets is also the most easily manageable alternative to Excel, with a layout and functionality both easy to get used to if you’re already familiar with its Microsoft counterpart.
Pros of Google Sheets:
Cloud storage lets users of Google Sheets access their spreadsheets wherever they are in the world, provided they have a compatible device and sturdy internet connection to hand. If you require access to your documents on the go, this makes Sheets an invaluable resource.
Google Sheets also lets you take collaboration to a new level – while your organization can often be thrown into confusion over which version of an Excel document is the most up-to-date, Sheets can be edited by multiple users at the same time. This not only enhances teamwork, but takes your project management capabilities to a new level.
Problems With Google Sheets:
Whereas Excel has extensive options for formatting data charts – including changing the axis name and formatting data values – Google Sheets has limited formatting capabilities. Similarly, as it runs on the cloud, Google Sheets doesn’t have the same processing capacity as Excel, which lets you analyze over 10,000 rows of data at a time. That said, Microsoft’s tool isn’t the be-all and end-all – if the amount of data exceeds 300,000 rows, it is best to use a real data analysis tool like Matlab.
3. Apache OpenOffice
Another free data analysis tool, OpenOffice is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. This program’s comprehensive range of features offer a perfect alternative to Excel, particularly for those who need to manage smaller sets of data of under 10,000 rows. Over 100 million computers already have OpenOffice installed, and since it runs on a user’s device, it can work perfectly without access to an internet connection.
OpenOffice runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux, so everyone can download it. What’s more, it’s one of the few major open-source Excel alternatives, so if your company has specific needs from the program, a quick ticket to your development team can lead to a customized version which is expertly tailored to your business.
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Derived from the original OpenOffice source code, LibreOffice can give you a sense of what can be done with open source spreadsheet programs when you tinker under the hood a little. However, LibreOffice is less an Excel alternative than an alternative reality version of the ever-popular spreadsheet program.
This software offers mainstay Excel features like pivot tables and text-to-columns, but it does lack extensive formatting options. It also has a tendency to crash on occasion, making it fine for personal use, but not as reliable for comprehensive business analysis.
Similar to the Google Drive package, ThinkFree offers free spreadsheet software called Calc, alongside other online document formats named Write and Show. Compatible with other office programs, ThinkFree facilitates online collaboration and provides users with 1 GB of free online storage – which is an excellent starting point, if no match for Google Drive’s 15 GB.
6. Excel Web Application
Microsoft built Web Apps for users to store their documents in the cloud and share them with other team members or clients. Of course, this also means they have created their own rival to Google’s Sheets. The Excel Web App works similarly, allowing unlimited sharing and co-working on a document. Instead of sending an Excel spreadsheet via email, you can work on it via Sharepoint and collaborate even more efficiently.
7. Numbers for Mac
Of course, while Google and Microsoft ran the table, there was no way that Apple could leave its customers out to dry, which might explain the creation of Numbers, a spreadsheet program for Mac users. One of the most interesting features of Numbers is its layout – rather than creating an endless grid when you start a new document, users are given a plain sheet. This gives you the freedom to choose fonts, style cell borders, and move everything around the canvas as you see fit. The result? A clear sheet with charts that are a pleasure to look at.
Numbers may just be the best spreadsheet software for visualizing information and creating impactful presentations from small amounts of data. If you’re not so visually minded, the program also offers pre-built templates and over 250 functions to support comprehensive analysis. Compatible with iPhones and iPads as well as Mac, you can access your Apple Numbers sheets wherever you are, and edit them in collaboration with other team members. And for those clients of yours who are firm PC fans, your Numbers sheets can even be saved as Excel files. Safe to say that Apple really has thought of everything.
8. Zoho Sheet
Another example of cloud-based spreadsheet software, Zoho Sheet empowers your productivity and enables working in an Excel-like environment. Users can create new spreadsheets or edit documents written in any of the other most popular spreadsheet applications. It offers functionality that legacy Excel users are familiar with, and lets you conveniently switch between .xlsx, .xls, .csv, and .ods formats without any problems.
However, despite its plethora of features, many people find themselves graduating from Zoho Sheet once their work becomes too demanding for its functionality to handle. Fortunately, even beyond this list, there are plenty of other Zoho alternatives to explore to suit all business requirements and price points.
SPREAD32 is another piece of free spreadsheets software that includes over 300 mathematics and trigonometry functions, as well as reference, logic, engineering and financial categories. It’s also versatile enough to work with all of the most common spreadsheet files like XLS, CSV, and PXL. When analyzing or organizing small amounts of data, this free spreadsheet program lets users filter data, inserting charts, and implement up to three unique conditional formatting settings.
That being said, if you have to compile a comprehensive data analysis, SPREAD32 shouldn’t be your go-to tool, as it doesn’t support working with a huge amount of data. What’s more, it doesn’t support cloud storage, so you may need to look for other spreadsheet software if you need to collaborate closely with others on projects.
Gnumeric is a simple open-source spreadsheet application that has all the basic Excel features, making it another fine tool for less complicated data analysis. It can open documents created with Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, OpenOffice, and others, and its open source code allows you to make custom extensions to the app as you see fit.
One strange detail it’s worth noting about Gnumeric is that its menus and dialogue boxes open under the main interface. For those more used to the layout of traditional spreadsheet software, this will probably take some getting used to.
11. BIRT Spreadsheet
Formerly known as Actuate e.Spreadsheet, this downloadable application is a powerful companion when you need to automate and centralize your spreadsheet production, maintenance, archiving, and security. The BIRT bundle also includes Free BIRT Spreadsheet Designer – an easy-to-use report writer for creating authentic Excel files and reports that retain formulas, formatting, live charts and data connections.
And unlike many of the other spreadsheet software packages we’ve discussed, BIRT Spreadsheet offers many features to facilitate thorough data analysis. These include live formulas, pivot tables, hyperlinks to navigate to other documents, and data-driven layouts, among many others.
So, while Excel has many more features than the majority of its free and paid alternatives – especially for analysis – it’s not necessarily the gold standard. It may be a great tool for some, particularly when large quantities of data need to be processed, but there are plenty of other spreadsheet software solutions that can do the job just as well. If you need to analyze your company’s budget and income, it might be more effective to use specific accounting software. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a clear overview of your client base, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool lets you arrange and analyze data even faster than Excel.
However, many businesses may be better served by a business tool which has been specifically designed to store and process business data, and present information in easy-to-understand performance dashboards. Scoro’s functionality offers all of this and more, so why not see if our software is right for you by signing up for a free trial?