Spreadsheets have been a staple of the business world since 1979, used for all types of number-crunching duties from budgeting and expense reports to P&L statements and inventory management.
Google Sheets is one of the most popular spreadsheet software tools. It’s used for everything from performing calculations and making sense of data sets, and it does those things brilliantly.
But there are plenty of spreadsheets in the sea. It doesn’t hurt to keep fishing if you think there might be a better solution for your business. This guide breaks down ten viable alternatives to Google Sheets to make sure you pick the right one for you.
Besides being free, the beauty of Google Sheets lies in how easily multiple users can jump into the same spreadsheet to view or manipulate data. Each spreadsheet acts as a single source of truth, with the ability to edit the data in real-time and track any changes in its version history.
As impressive as Google Sheets is, it does come with some drawbacks:
For basic spreadsheet needs, Google Sheets will do the trick. But if any of the above drawbacks make you nervous, don’t fret. There are plenty of alternatives.
It’s hard to remember a time when Excel wasn’t the flagship tool for accounts departments across the globe. But unlike the original Excel, this version is free.
Excel Online is a lite, cloud-based version of Excel’s familiar desktop app. The online version is less feature-rich than the hardware installation, with only basic charts, stripped-back formula editing functionality, and fewer data filtering options.
But what it lacks in cutting-edge features, it more than makes up for in easy digital collaboration. You no longer need to play email ping-pong with your spreadsheet data or invest in a One Account to share your Excel files. Just hop online for a quick snapshot of your figures or to perform fairly standard calculations.
Microsoft Excel Pricing
Microsoft Excel Online is completely free for anyone with a Microsoft account.
If you've been trying to stretch the capabilities of Google Sheets to use it as a project management tool, Smartsheet could be a viable alternative.
Smartsheet takes cell-based data from a grid-style view and transforms it into something far prettier than your average spreadsheet. Its friendly document interface allows you to choose from Gantt, card, or calendar views to enhance your workflows and keep projects moving forward.
And if team collaboration is a priority, you won't be disappointed. Smartsheet allows built-in commenting, so it's a cinch to set up an approval process when you need input from colleagues or clients.
Suppose you need to punch your data into a presentation. You can roll up data from multiple sheets into a customised report or display it on an interactive dashboard to share with your decision-makers.
Smartsheet’s Pro plan starts at $7/month per user for an annual plan. You can also try it for free with a 30-day trial.
If you’re familiar with other online spreadsheets, then you’ll pick up Zoho Sheets quickly. It’s also compatible with Excel if you need to import data from elsewhere without losing formatting. And did we mention it’s free?
One of the key features of Zoho Sheets goes by the name of Zia—an automation feature that will analyse and overhaul the quality of your data. We all know that rows and rows of spreadsheet data can quickly become unmanageable. Zia is a lifesaver when you need rapid insights into your numbers.
Not sure if you've entered some dodgy figures? If you're using the Zoho Sheets mobile app, you can either type in a question or ask one out loud. This is a handy way to clean up your data and eliminate duplicate rows or inconsistencies. Filter down the cell range if you want Zia to scrutinise a more focused section of your numbers.
Zoho Sheet Pricing
Zoho Sheets is free to use.
If you want to use Google Sheets as a CRM or an applicant tracking system, you’ll need some intelligent workarounds to get it to act more like a database. But why not save yourself the bother, and use Airtable instead?
When you open Airtable, the default view looks like a more vibrant and colourful version of Google Sheets. This modern alternative is easy to use and comes with a host of features that can help you get more out of your data.
The platform goes way beyond the job description of a spreadsheet app, too. It allows you to build your own custom application—without writing any code.
With 1000+ popular integrations (including Paperform), Airtable is a solid option if you need to move data back and forth to create a seamless workflow.
Airtable has a limited free plan, with business plans starting from $10 per seat/month billed annually.
Coda combines traditional spreadsheet and word processor elements into one powerful tool. It moves away from using Battleship terminology (like A1 or G11) in favour of named objects. These are more user-friendly and can connect to table data anywhere else in your document using "=."
There is an initial learning curve to using Coda, and its blank canvas might be daunting. But once you pick up the functionality, you can create charts, tables, task lists, and project management calendars that go miles beyond the capabilities of standard spreadsheet software.
Coda has a limited free plan for teams. Paid plans document makers start from $5/user per month.
The wide range of templates in Apple Numbers look like huge pages rather than spreadsheets, which is great from an artistic point of view. You can add tables, shapes, images, charts, and more to create an engaging data display.
Beyond the visuals, the spreadsheet functionality does fall short compared to other options in the market. The data filtering options are a little clunky and don't offer the versatility you'll be used to in Google Sheets. And you can't use Numbers to process large data sets. The slowdowns and crashes are frustrating.
If you want to use Apple Numbers for personal use rather than performing complex calculations, and you prefer the look of it, it might be for you.
Apple Numbers Pricing
Apple Numbers is free for Apple users.
LibreOffice Calc has the spreadsheet vibe of Excel, with similar menu functionality. If you don’t have an affinity for the retro, you might find the user interface a little outdated.
The biggest difference, though, is the lack of cloud integration. For real-time collaboration, you'll need to manually save your spreadsheet file to the cloud and provide sharing access for your colleagues.
Nevertheless, this is an entirely free option that stacks up nicely against the bigger software players. It also offers a great selection of plugins if you want to stretch its functionality.
LibreOffice Calc is free as part of the LibreOffice productivity suite.
Notion is an all-in-one workspace, ideal for any collaboration from project management to note-taking, distributing meeting recordings, launching company wikis, and so much more.
Notion offers tons of customisable templates, whether you want to track company OKRs, create a team directory, or build an editorial calendar to manage content pipelines. You can even publish your Notion pages as a website using third-party applications like Potion if you want more eyes on your work.
In terms of formulas, there are limited defined functions available. You can do the basics but you can only reference data from the same page. You can level up the functionality with Notion integrations, including one with Paperform that can automatically update your page based on form submissions.
Notion offers a limited free plan. Personal Pro starts from $4 per month, while the Team version starts at $8 per month, both billed annually.
CryptPad is a free, open-source collaboration tool where you can collate notes, build Kanban boards, write code, and create spreadsheets by integrating with OnlyOffice.
Where CryptPad differs from other cloud-based offerings is security. CryptPad uses Blockchain technology to encrypt everything within its collaboration space–all in real-time.
That means the app can never see what you're typing, and you'll need to dish out encryption keys to anyone with whom you'd like to share your data.
CryptPad offers a free pricing plan for guests and registered users. Premium plans with more storage space cost between $6-16 per month.
ClickUp goes way beyond the confines of a spreadsheet to offer online project management software for businesses of any size.
Not only can you arrange your data in colourful columns, but you also have a space that acts as a central conversational hub for your team. Users can add and resolve comments, assign tasks to specific team members and update their status to keep things moving.
If you're working with time-sensitive workflows, ClickUp can estimate project completion dates to keep you on track. And no more wasting valuable hours going through the same laborious daily tasks—you can create custom templates to save for those repetitive workflows.
ClickUp offers a free limited plan, with small team plans starting from $5 per member per month.
Whether you need more advanced functionality, an easier interface, or a better way to visualise your data, there are tools out there that will work for you and your business.
If you're looking for a spreadsheet that can make sense of your form data, you’re in luck. Paperform integrates with many of the options mentioned above (and Google Sheets) so you can automatically update your spreadsheet based on form submissions.
Want to try it out for yourself? Start levelling up your spreadsheet software today with our free 14-day trial and make manually transferring cell data a thing of the past.
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