Excel vs Google Sheets: Best Spreadsheet Software

11 Nov · 6 min read

Excel vs Google Sheets: Best Spreadsheet Software

The information age has arrived. The person who controls the data can rule the world. The person who can extract the necessary information from a given set of data will win the world and be able to manipulate the market by accurately forecasting trends and market-based data. Spreadsheets are the most commonly used tool for performing such analysis today, both by professionals and laypeople. The spreadsheet provides an advantage for data storage, analysis, and obtaining the desired analysis. In this article, we will compare Excel and Google Sheets.

Spreadsheets are currently developed in the market by Apply (Apple Numbers), Microsoft (Microsoft Excel), and Google (Google Sheets). Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are becoming increasingly similar as both try to compete and add more and more functionality that aids the user in better analysis.

What are Google Sheets?

Google Sheets is a web-based application developed by Google that was released in 2006. It was released as part of Google Suite, which also includes Google Docs, Google Drawings, Google Slides, Google Sites, Google Keep, and Google Forms. It's available as a web application, which means you can use it on any device with an internet-connected browser. It doesn't even have to be Google Chrome; you can use any browser you want. Google has mobile apps for its apps suite if you wish to view or edit files on the fly on your mobile devices.

Unfortunately, Google Suite does not have any desktop apps (unless you use a Chromebook that uses Chrome OS). Fortunately, the web apps are well-designed enough to run smoothly and without incident. You can also enable offline editing mode if you anticipate needing to work on a spreadsheet without an internet connection for an extended time.

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a piece of commercial software that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It was the first version of Microsoft Office to be released in 1989. It may surprise you, but the first version of Microsoft Office was released for the Mac. Of course, it's now available for PC, Macs, and mobile devices. It's also available online through Office Online.

Excel is used to create sheets that format and organize data, calculate formulas, visualize data, and do other things. Excel, like Google Sheets, can manage and display data. It does, however, have more complex features that allow users to do more. Microsoft Office is available in several editions, including 1995, 1997, 2000, XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2021. (the most recent). You can buy a perpetual copy of MS Office, but it's a good idea to get the most recent version. It's worth noting that Microsoft continues to support versions dating back to 2013. Unfortunately, support for the 2010 version will be discontinued in October 2020.

Key Differences Between Excel and Google Sheets

If you look closely, you'll notice that Google Sheets and Excel are both attempting to copy each other’s fine features. In other words, they are strikingly similar in many ways. However, there are some significant differences in their core characteristics.

The primary distinction between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel is that Google Sheets provides unparalleled collaboration capabilities, whereas Excel focuses on providing the most powerful data analysis tool. Now let us look more in-depth at these features:

  • Cost

When choosing a spreadsheet tool, the cost is frequently one of the first (and sometimes the most important) determinants.

Microsoft Excel is not free, and you can purchase it as a standalone tool or as part of the Microsoft 365 subscription. However, you will be charged monthly or yearly for it.

At the time of writing, a Microsoft 365 subscription would cost $70 per year. And if you only want Excel, it will cost you around $140. (one time). Excel now has a free online version, but it lacks the features found in the 365 subscription version.

In contrast, Google Sheets is free to use. You already have access to Google Sheets if you have a Google account (which many of us do because we use Gmail).

While Google offers paid G-suite services, the free Google Sheets version provides the same functionality.

As a result, many freelancers and small businesses prefer Google Sheets.

  • Collaboration

Collaboration is a key feature, especially with so many businesses embracing remote work.

As a result, a good spreadsheet should show you when your teammate is editing it in real-time. You won't have to tap them on the shoulder to ask, 'Is it done?'

  • Formulas

Both programs use many formulas, and while one may be ahead at any given time, the other quickly catches up.

Excel and Google Sheets are neck and neck when it comes to formulas.

But, if we had to pick a winner, we'd go with Google Sheets. To begin with, Google Sheets has more formulas than Excel. It also has some formulas that can be used with the web because it was designed as a web-based tool.

In Google Sheets, for example, there is a formula called IMAGE that allows you to directly insert an image into a cell by using its URL.

Also, Google Sheets introduced dynamic array formulas like SORT, FILTER, and UNIQUE much earlier than Excel.

And, while these new formulas are available in Excel in Microsoft 365, they are not available to people who do not have Microsoft 365. (Excel 2016 or 2013, or previous versions).

However, in the case of Google Sheets, everyone has access to these new formulas (as well as all new functionalities as soon as they are released).

While Excel has been catching up in the formulas department, they have recently begun working on newer formulas that are not available in Google Sheets. There is a new lookup formula called XLOOKUP, for example, and they also added a new formula called LET, which is quite useful.

  • Data Analysis

Google Sheets was not designed for powerful analysis; instead, it has features that are more suited to beginner and intermediate users.

To be honest, Google Sheets was not designed to analyze data. Sure, you can work with a few hundred or even a few thousand data points in Google Sheets, but anything more than that will make you unhappy.

When you first open a Google Sheets document, it only has 1000 rows. And if you need to add more rows, you must do so manually.

This makes sense for their target audience, who primarily use Google Sheets as a data entry tool to track student grades, project timelines, and basic transactions.

If you have thousands of rows of data, you should invest in a more powerful tool (read Excel).

Excel, on the other hand, is designed to work with large amounts of data.

While it has a reputation for crashing or becoming too slow when there are more than a few thousand data points, it has gotten better with each version.

Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power BI are examples of new tools that work well with big data.

Millions of rows of data are no problem for Excel!

So, if you work with a large amount of data and need to analyze it, Excel is a no-brainer.

Final Thoughts

They both structure data in a tabular format. In other words, the data is organized into rows and columns. The primary distinction between Excel and Google Sheets is that you can share the Google Sheets link with anyone and have them edit the file. This feature makes Google Sheets an excellent choice for those who work in groups or on collaborative projects. However, for data analysts, Excel is unquestionably the best option.

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