Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are two of the most popular spreadsheet software available thus the Google Sheets vs Excel is a highly interesting topic. These programs allow you to manage your data and create complex spreadsheets with minimal effort.
MS Excel is the original spreadsheet software, whilst Google Spreadsheet is a relative newcomer. However, despite its shorter history, Google Sheets is used by millions and is the top contender to the original Microsoft product.
But which spreadsheet software is suitable for you and which one is better? In reality, these two programs share many similarities, but there are key differences in the functionality and usage of Google Spreadsheet and Microsoft Excel. In this article, we compare different aspects of the two programs for your benefit including price, collaboration, features, and compatibility.
Google Sheets vs Excel: Price
Google Sheets has the advantage here as it is completely free to use if you choose the personal plan. Anyone can use Google spreadsheets providing they have a Google account, and anyone can utilize all the Google Doc spreadsheet tools.
There is a Business plan available which gives access to the G Suite and a host of advanced security features and increased usability. This includes enhanced collaboration, insights from Google AI, and enterprise-level security. Unless you are a large business, however, the personal version of Google Sheets will suffice.
In contrast, to use Microsoft Excel you must have a subscription to Microsoft Office 365. This is relatively inexpensive, and you can have a subscription for approximately $5.00 per month. For this small price, you gain access to Microsoft Excel and the other main Office programs including Word and PowerPoint. However, plenty of people still tend to use free Microsoft Office alternatives.
Price comes down to your personal circumstance and what you want to pay. If you can’t afford a monthly software subscription, Google Sheets app is the obvious choice.
Google Sheets vs Excel: File Saving and Synchronization
Saving files is hugely important as you do not want to lose any data or work. For example, what happens if you have a power cut and your computer suddenly cuts-out? It is therefore important to assess the saving functionality and any recovery tools available.
Microsoft Excel does not automatically save files. If you try to close MS Excel without saving a spreadsheet first, you will be prompted with a save message. This gives a failsafe, but it is not infallible. Also, if something does happen to your computer, MS Excel provides a recovery option and, in most instances, you can recover the latest version of a document.
In contrast, Google Docs spreadsheet automatically saves your file when changes are made. This can cause minor lag, but it ensures that you always have access to the latest version of the spreadsheet. Also, your spreadsheet is automatically synchronized with Google Drive so you can quickly access it from anywhere.
Google Sheets vs Excel: Collaboration
Collaboration is often important if you have multiple people that need access to the same spreadsheet. This is a common feature that businesses require or teams of developers.
Google spreadsheet provides the edge for collaboration as it is based online. Multiple people can work on the same document – all you have to do is set sharing privileges, and send a sharing link to the people who you want to give access.
In contrast, for multiple people to work on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, you have to use Microsoft Excel Online. This is a paired software version of the desktop program. Also, you have additional sharing options if you and your team members have a Microsoft Office 365 Business subscription. Otherwise, collaboration for multiple people using the desktop version involves emailing the spreadsheet back and forth or submitting it to a shared drive location.
Google Sheets vs Excel: Compatibility With Third-Party Apps & Software
Microsoft Excel has better compatibility with third-party apps and software. Many programs support the MS Excel file formats like .xls. Also, many programs support Microsoft Excel file transfers. You can easily open excel files and will rarely encounter compatibility issues. You can even access Excel files in Google Spreadsheets.
In contrast, Google Sheets app does not offer the same level of compatibility. You can freely open Sheets within the Google Suite, but there is limited compatibility outside of this. It is admittedly easier to share and transfer between devices however by using the simple link-sharing process. You can also convert the files as Google Drives offers the feature to convert uploaded files for free, for example, we shared the guide on how to convert videos with Google Drive.
Google Sheets vs Excel: Features
As the original spreadsheet software, Microsoft Excel has a larger selection of detailed and complex features. You can create advanced formulas, conditional formatting, and pivot tables, for example. Also, you can link together multiple spreadsheets and even bring in data from external sources relatively easily.
It offers excellent control over the spreadsheet creation process and this program is ideal for complex data analysis and accounts spreadsheets. Microsoft is also pushing rapid updates into Excel and it is continually receiving new exciting features that boost its functionality further.
Google Excel does have some catching up to do in terms of features. However, since its initial development, it has already progressed greatly. When it was first released, it was essentially a glorified calculator. Over time, Google has added a host of functionality including pivot tables and it is not far off from having the same features as Excel.
Which is The Best – Google Sheets vs Excel
So which spreadsheet program is the better option to boost your productivity? Let us first say that BOTH spreadsheet software are excellent and great tools for creating spreadsheets and complex sets of data.
However, there is a current clear division between the ideal usage. Google Sheets is a free spreadsheet software and has a slightly smaller set of features than Excel. It also features better collaboration tools. As a result, this spreadsheet program is ideal for basic teamwork and data entry. For example, it could be used by a team of content creators to set a workflow for their articles.
In contrast, Microsoft Excel is certainly a better option for high-end data analytics and complex spreadsheet creation. It does not have the same level of collaboration, but it does have a huge set of powerful tools and features for advanced spreadsheets. If you have large volumes of business data, accounting info, or analytics, for example, Microsoft Excel is a clear choice.