For more than 30 years, almost everyone has used MS Excel spreadsheets, from high school students to scientists at NASA. 🚀
However, the way we work continues to change at light speed, and Excel has been slow in catching up.
That’s why many professionals like you are looking for Excel alternatives that can do a whole lot more.
In this article, we’ll take a look at ten advanced alternatives to Excel, along with their key features, pros, cons, and pricing.
- Why Do You Need A Microsoft Excel Alternative?
- The 10 Best Microsoft Excel Alternatives in 2021
- Setting The Record Straight 📀
Let’s jump right into it!
Why Do You Need A Microsoft Excel Alternative?
There’s no doubt that Microsoft Excel is an iconic spreadsheet program. You might have used it at least once to calculate figures, store sales data, or create a masterpiece! 🎨
However, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s perfect. 😬
Excel’s problems have become more visible now that alternatives have taken their place. These new spreadsheet software can patch up the issues you might face while using Microsoft Excel.
Some of these issues include:
A. Limited customization options
When it comes to customization, the best Excel can do is provide templates.
In most cases, templates may not have everything you need to manage specialized tasks.
Templates are like a store-bought suit; if they fit your purpose well, great. The best Excel alternatives are like fancy tailor-made suits; they’ll be a perfect fit for your business. 😎
B. Limited reporting features
Sure, Excel offers charts, diagrams, and graphs about your project, but they only visualize data that’s on your screen.
There’s no way of knowing how long it takes to finish a task or how much work a team member has on their plate.
As a result, setting up a project management plan in Excel is as tricky as assembling IKEA furniture for the first time!
C. It’s expensive
Want to buy Excel? You’ll need to shell out the big bucks—$ 139.99, to be exact. With this hefty price, we’d expect this Microsoft Office software to enlist Clippy to do all the work for you!
You can also get Excel features as a part of the Microsoft 365 package for $6.99 per month.
However, you’ll have to buy it alongside other tools like MS Word, Powerpoint, and Outlook even when you don’t want them.
The 10 Best Microsoft Excel Alternatives in 2021
We’ve seen why Excel isn’t as great a tool as it used to be. Here are the best Excel alternatives that you can use today to create spreadsheets:
ClickUp offers almost every spreadsheet solution in the book. The tool also supports powerful task management features to make the most of your spreadsheet data.
Let’s see why ClickUp is one of the best free alternatives to Excel:
A. Track and organize your work with the Table view
While an Excel spreadsheet is a great way to manage, edit, and organize raw data, what if you could do the same thing for your tasks?
Well, now you can. ClickUp’s Table view arranges all your tasks along with their details (assignees, status, due date, and more) in a cool grid.
The Table view allows you to determine the progress of each project task in a blink of an eye.
Here are a few more things you can do with this view:
- Copy and paste your table into another spreadsheet software like a Excel file or Google sheet
- Pin a column you’d like to see at all times while you browse through your table
- Autosize your columns to prevent the text from cutting out
- Share your Tables with anyone via a personal link
B. Make calculations with Formula Fields
Sure, ClickUp can organize tons of data, but…
With ClickUp, you can make simple and complex calculations in numeric Custom Fields within your task.
Let’s break this down:
A numeric Custom Field can store task details such as hours, numbers, and budgets. You can add up all these numbers with the help of Formula Fields.
You can determine the cost of an advertising campaign, the number of hours worked, and more by doing these calculations.
Want to use that old Excel formula that’s served you well?
You can create your advanced formulas from a list of 70 unique functions in ClickUp!
C. Perform quick math with Column Calculations
ClickUp can also help you find the sum, average, or range for an entire column. You can quickly determine project budgets, Scrum points, time estimates, and more.
D. Experiment with flexible views
MS Excel gives you one tedious view of all your data.
ClickUp does the exact opposite; it can shapeshift into your working style. As a result, you can view your projects and tasks from different angles with just a click.
Here’s a list of useful views you can flip through at any time:
- Board view: add all your tasks to an interactive Kanban or Scrum Board
- Calendar view: manage your busy schedule with a handy calendar
- Box view: see what your team members are up to
- List view: great for those who like to use a neat to-do list
E. Visualize your tasks with the Gantt view
Gantt charts let you visualize and schedule all your project tasks in a neat little timeline.
While Excel doesn’t have an explicit Gantt chart feature, you can technically create one with the help of a stacked bar chart, or you can just slap on an Excel template.
There’s one problem, though. Each time you need to reschedule or add a new task, you’ll have to edit the timeline yourself manually. If you’re managing a project timeline that’s rapidly changing every day, we won’t be surprised if you feel like this:
Don’t worry. With ClickUp’s Gantt view, you don’t have to lose your hair over timeline edits.
Here’s what Gantt charts can automate:
- Re-adjust dependent tasks after changing the project schedule
- Determine the sequence of tasks that are critical to the success of the project (critical path)
- Show the progress of the project in real-time
- Create task dependencies when you draw a line between two tasks
F. Get comprehensive insights with Dashboards
ClickUp is one of the best alternatives to Excel because it’s filled to the brim with useful charts, diagrams, graphs, and metrics. You can arrange all these Custom Widgets to create a virtual command center or Dashboard in ClickUp.
You can choose from:
- Line Chart
- Battery Chart
- Pie Chart
- Bar Chart
- Textblock and more
With Dashboards, you get comprehensive insights into tasks, sprints, projects, team members’ performance, profits, and more.
- Amp up your productivity and get more done with ClickUp’s intuitive app user interface
- Comments and Chat view make it possible to collaborate in real-time
- Offline Mode makes it possible to work even without an internet connection
- Create dynamic customer survey forms with the Form view
- Tons of keyboard shortcuts to help you zip through your work
- Ability to track time spent on tasks with the Global Timer
- Offers a built-in word processor for office documents called Docs (similar to a Google Doc but better!)
- Never forget an important comment, task, or meeting with Reminders
- More than 50 Automations to help you automate repetitive tasks
- Offers lots of integrations with popular work tools like Zoom, Salesforce, Time Doctor, and more
- No Table view in the mobile app (yet).
ClickUp is working at hyper speed to address these issues with new and exciting features.
Check out the product roadmap here. You can even vote on the ClickUp feature you’d like to see next!
ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan is jam-packed with features and supports unlimited users. Its paid plans start at $5/user per month.
- G2: 4.7/5 (3,300+ reviews)
Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,200+ reviews)
2. Google Sheets
Google Sheets is a spreadsheet tool that almost has the same capabilities as Excel.
This Excel alternative operates online and offers cloud storage, meaning multiple team members can work on the same Google sheet at the same time.
But since MS Office Suite has its internet-based spreadsheet app (Excel Online), is Google Sheets still a worthy Excel alternative, or has MS Excel put it to bed for good? Let’s find out!
- Supports macros that can automate repetitive tasks
- Auto-save feature preserves the Google sheets data
- Comments can be used to leave quick feedback on a Google Sheet
- Excel function can be extended with add-ons
- Easy-to-use interface
- Supports real-time collaboration
- Integrates well with Google tools (Google Docs, Slides, etc.)
- Offers fewer data visualizations, charts, and graphs than Excel files
- The spreadsheet program can slow down when managing a lot of data
- Doesn’t have enough keyboard shortcuts like Microsoft Excel and Excel Online
- Hard to configure alerts and reminders in a Google sheet
Unlike the Office Suite which hosts Microsoft Office Excel online, G Suite tools, including Google Sheets, are available for free.
- G2: 4.6/5 (1,400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (11,900+ reviews)
Gnumeric is an open-source spreadsheet program for any UNIX-based operating system (like Linux).
The tool boasts advanced analytic features and superior accuracy, making it a good choice for scientists, engineers, and students.
However, Gnumeric’s interface looks like it’s stuck in the 2000s.
Are its features as outdated as they seem? Let’s see…
- Offers all Excel workbook functions and 200 other unique functions
- Extensive random number generation can be used for statistics and cryptography
- Linear and non-linear solvers for advanced mathematical calculations
- Highly accurate functions make it great for data analysis
- Can import almost any file format, including Microsoft Office excel formats, Lotus 1-2-3, HTML, and more
- Since it’s an open-source tool, Gnumeric can be modified to suit your needs
- Bare-bones app user interface might not be appealing for some users
- Lacks pivot tables to summarize spreadsheet data
- No macros to automate tasks
- Advanced functionality is overwhelming for a new user
Since it’s an open-source tool, Gnumeric is free!
- G2: NA
- Capterra: NA
Numbers is Apple’s Excel alternative.
This spreadsheet app is super simple, which makes it great for beginners and casual users.
But does that mean Numbers is not the sharpest spreadsheet tool in the shed? Let’s find out…
- Vibrant charts and diagrams to visualize information
- Smart categories can be used to organize and analyze data
- Embed online videos (Youtube, Vimeo) within the spreadsheet
- Sleek and user-friendly interface; great for touch screen devices like the iPad
- Allows team members to collaborate in real-time
- Compatible with an Excel file and its functions (VLOOKUP, TRANSPOSE, etc.)
- Doesn’t support advanced formulas and equations
- Lacks advanced data analysis features found in Excel files
- Veteran Excel users might require time to adjust to new functions
Numbers is a free Office or Excel alternative.
- G2: 4.3/5 (100+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (1,800+ reviews)
Smartsheet is part project management tool, part spreadsheet application. It can help you manage and track projects right out of its signature ‘grid’ view. Looking for a ‘smarter’ Smartsheet alternative? This list of Smartsheet alternatives has got you covered.
But how well does this Excel alternative stack up against the real thing? Let’s take a look:
- Multiple views like grid view, calendar view, Gantt view, and more
- Interactive dashboard to see the project progress in real-time
- Set alerts and reminders for deadlines
- Automated workflows to cut down on repetitive tasks
- Dedicated resource management features
- Pre-built project templates (similar to an Excel template)
- An app for every mobile device such as Android, iOS, tablets, etc.
- Limited conditional formatting and advanced Excel formulas
- Not a fully-fledged task management solution
- No in-built time tracking features
- Costlier than other Excel alternatives
Paid plans start at $14 per month for an individual and $25/user per month for businesses.
- G2: 4.3/5 (2300+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (1500+ reviews)
6. Zoho Sheet
A part of the Zoho Office Suite, Zoho Sheet is a cloud-based Excel alternative.
This spreadsheet tool allows remote teams to organize project data and create detailed reports from any device.
- Visually appealing conditional formatting with color scales and in-built icons
- Audit trail to see who has made changes to the sheet
- Data cleaner removes duplicates, prevents data mismatches, and more
- Large range of predefined Excel formulas
- Ability to lock specific cells in the spreadsheet app to prevent accidental edits
- Supports almost every file format, which includes Excel file formats, .csv, .ods, .tds, .html and .pdf
- No offline mode
- Unable to link data between more than one spreadsheet
- Native integrations restricted to other Zoho apps
Zoho Sheet is a free.
- G2: 4.5/5 (80+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (40+ reviews)
7. Apache OpenOffice Calc
Apache OpenOffice Calc is one of the most popular free alternatives to Excel and is used on over 100 million computers worldwide.
Open Office Calc claims to work as a strong data analysis tool for number crunchers.
But does Open Office Calc have what counts? Let’s find out…
- Downloadable spreadsheet for offline work
- Open-source software that can be modified to fit different business requirements
- Can save data in the OpenDocument format
- Supports LOOKUP function
- Convert a spreadsheet into a PDF for easy file sharing
- Comprehensive data analysis features for smaller sets of data
- Lacks cloud functionality
- Being open-source software, it’s prone to more security risks
- Users have to rely on a community forum for technical support
Apache OpenOffice Calc is one of the few free Excel alternatives.
- G2: 4.2/5 (10+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (30+ reviews)
8. LibreOffice Calc
Like Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice is a free, open-source software.
It’s one of the alternatives to Excel that has intuitive and comprehensive spreadsheet functions.
Does that make LibreOffice Calc the spreadsheet all-rounder? Let’s find out…
- Advanced DataPilot technology to draw raw data from databases, cross-tabulate, and summarize
- Ability to work on “what if” data analysis with the help of a scenario manager
- Built-in wizards guide for advanced features
- Supports latest document formats like docx, xlsx, and pptx
- Intuitive app user interface for beginners
- Supports multiple users for collaborative work
- Limited support for macro recording
- Can only accommodate 1,024 columns (15 columns less than Excel)
- No fully-featured app for Android or iOS devices
LibreOffice Calc is a free alternative to Excel.
- G2: 4.3/5 (10+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (1,200+ reviews)
9. Hancom Office Cell
Hancom Cell is a part of the Hancom Office Suite (previously known as ThinkFree Office). The software lets you organize, reformat, and rearrange your data for analysis and modeling.
Let’s find out how this spreadsheet application fares as a true free Excel alternative…
- Hancom Office Mobile feature to edit and view your documents on mobile devices
- Supports cell formatting like number format, indentation, text wrapping, and borders
- Available collaboration features via Hancom Space
- New chart recommendations feature provides visualization ideas based on your data
- Build, run, and edit Excel-compatible macros
- Use pivot tables to summarize, analyze, explore, and present your data
- No free plan
- Potential to lose data during file conversion
- Lack of learning tutorials
Hancom Office Cell is one of the spreadsheet programs on the expensive side. Paid plans start at a whopping $59 per PC for individuals and students!
- G2: 3.8/5 (10+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (10+ reviews)
10. WPS Office Spreadsheets
A WPS Office spreadsheet is a powerful Excel alternative that contains hundreds of the most commonly used functions and formulas.
This spreadsheet application runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, iOS, macOS, and Android platforms.
But does a WPS Spreadsheet have all the Excel sheet features you’re looking for? Let’s find out.
- Ability to solve complex problems using “what-if” data analysis
- Supports advanced pivot tables
- Provides customizable charts, including scatter, line, column, pie, bar, etc.
- Supports more than 50 keyboard shortcuts
- Allows you to edit multiple documents
- Supports track change comments
- A WPS Spreadsheet lags while handling large-scale data
- No auto spell-check integration in a WPS Spreadsheet
WPS Office Spreadsheet has an ad-supported free version with limited features. Its paid plans start at $39.95/user per year.
- G2: 4.2/5 (30+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (650+ reviews)
Setting The Record Straight 📀
Excel is like a vinyl record player. It’s excel-lent at what it does and has many faithful fans.
However, Excel faces the same issues as a record player; it’s bulky, hard-to-use, and doesn’t offer quite as many features as its contemporaries.
The best alternatives to Excel have all the features Excel has and a few more. However, while each tool we listed here has something to offer, there’s nothing like ClickUp!
Flash into ClickUp for free today to get your hands on a spreadsheet tool that will help your business grow at the speed of light!
Questions? Comments? We're here for you 24/7 at email@example.com!