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Microsoft - February 16, 2019

5 free alternatives to Microsoft Excel

Spreadsheets are a part of the current business global, and meaning at some point you will have a look at one. The varieties of features you need out of your spreadsheet software can range, although, with many customers never coming close to desiring the strong features of Microsoft Office’s Excel.

For those of us that aren’t accountants crunching numbers each day, Microsoft Office, which incorporates Excel, may be prohibitively steeply-priced. You’re searching at paying $99 for 12 months for a business user, $6.99 a month for domestic use, or $149.99 for an Office Home and Student 2019 license.

If you don’t have that form of cash, or don’t want the one’s styles of functions, or certainly want to keep cash, there are plenty of viable options to Microsoft Excel that are to be had in the cloud and mounted on your laptop. Best of all, these alternatives are loose.

1. Google Sheets

Google Sheets is Google’s cloud-based totally solution to Microsoft Excel, and it is able to do the massive majority of what the common Excel user wishes. It’s also hosted inside the cloud and runs in a web browser, so it’s platform independent and can be run on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.

You never should fear about losing a single calculation, both—Google Sheets saves the whole thing in Google Drive, creating a crashed computer of no concern in your vital data.

As with Google’s other office gear, Sheets capabilities actual-time collaboration that lets in multiple customers to edit a file on the equal time. Users can see the cursor position of different human beings within the record, see what they may be doing as they’re doing it, and chat properly in the record window.

Advanced features that some Excel customers need are lacking, though, so in case you’re an Excel energy consumer, it’s a terrific idea to discover if the functions you want are available before migrating. There have also been stated troubles of formulas in Excel spreadsheets breaking when they’re uploaded to Google Sheets, so be conscious that you may run into problems moving.xls or .xlsx files out of your pc to Sheets.

On the plus aspect, scripting continues to be available in Google Sheets, although it is JavaScript based and not Visual Basic for Applications.

2. Microsoft Office Excel Online

Not to be outdone by way of Google, Microsoft has created its very own online version of Office, which incorporates a stripped-down version of Excel this is higher compared to Google Sheets than to the computer version of Excel.

It’s no longer to say that Excel Online is unusable or no longer well worth your time—it is without a doubt more like Excel than Google Sheets, so if you decide upon a familiar interface you may need to opt for Excel Online in place of going the Google route.

Recommending Excel Online to the common Excel person is excellent—it does all of the basics of the desktop model whilst including automatic cloud saving in OneDrive, and it has actual-time collaboration gear that Office 365 and 2019 lack.

Excel power users can also want to persuade clear of Excel Online. Many of the functions you rely on are long gone, restricted, or study-handiest—there may be no VBA scripting, no developing outside information connections, no find and replace, and no superior charting features. All of these abilities exist in Excel Online, however, they may be study-handiest.

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3. Apache OpenOffice Calc

When I talk to Windows customers who hate the look of Microsoft Office’s publish-2007 interface, I continually advise Apache OpenOffice. Calc, OpenOffice’s Excel alternative, does an amazing activity looking and feeling similar to Office 2003, that’s amazing in case you’d decide upon a time before the Office ribbon.

Prior to the advent of the cloud and the dominance of Google’s online workplace gear, OpenOffice reigned excellent among the ones looking for an unfastened Microsoft Office opportunity. This is especially genuine within the case of Calc, which keeps most of the important superior features of Microsoft Excel, albeit in slightly different paperwork in some instances.

If you’re an Excel electricity person thinking about migrating to OpenOffice, make sure to study the user guide—it will assist you to determine out if the features important for your paintings are to be had in Calc; if they’re, you would possibly have discovered your new favored program.

There is one most important downside to OpenOffice, which is trouble with other free systems: A lack of cloud guide. There’s no native cloud connection or actual-time collaboration for Calc, so if it is a deal-breaker, you can need to keep away from this one.

4. LibreOffice Calc

Like OpenOffice, LibreOffice is an unfastened workplace suite that includes its personal Excel alternative, also known as Calc. It runs into the same restrictions as OpenOffice, in that LibreOffice Calc lacks cloud guide and actual-time collaboration.

What LibreOffice does have is a tremendously robust listing of functions, a lot of which are not even present in Excel.

LibreOffice has more functions than Excel, can examine two separate spreadsheet files, has greater mobile formatting options, and it can even deal with imports of legacy spreadsheets from retired programs (Microsoft Works, Lotus 1-2-three, BeagleWorks, Claris Resolve, and so on.) formerly available on Windows and macOS.

There are correct motives to provide LibreOffice an attempt to true reasons now not to as well, which encompass: It has restricted macro recording abilities, it can not take care of outside statistics assets, it lacks the capacity to show many superior kinds of charts, and it cannot export files as prevalent XML.

Before trying LibreOffice, examine the functions listing to be sure your essentials are covered.

5. WPS Office Spreadsheets

When it comes to strong capabilities which can be a true opposition for Excel, WPS Office Spreadsheets cannot be beaten and with properly purpose: It’s the only freemium product in this listing. WPS Office is truly a paid product, but it does come with a completely-featured free model with one trap—it’s ad-supported.

Don’t permit that flip you off from giving WPS Spreadsheets a strive—the ads are brief (commonly lasting approximately 10 seconds), and the handiest pop up when you attempt to print, shop to PDF, or use some of its other greater particular equipment; when you watch an advert, that feature is unlocked for half-hour.

If you make a decision you want to dispose of the commercials in WPS Office, you need to pay $29.99 12 months or $79.99 for a lifetime license. That’s plenty less than Microsoft’s Office pricing.

WPS said it’s one hundred% well suited with Excel, meaning it’s going to open all Excel files efficiently, aid everything they contain, that means “you can open and edit spreadsheets from others, after which store them properly from WPS Office knowing others will be able to open them with none issues.”

If you’re worried approximately being capable of finding certain functions or want to be sure something you use is supported in WPS Spreadsheets, take a look at out the Spreadsheets assist topic at the WPS internet site. I wasn’t capable of discovering a handy chart of capabilities like with OpenOffice and LibreOffice, however, you must be able to discover what you are looking for by using looking there.

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