Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel: Which One is Right for You?

Spreadsheets can be used for many things. The endless rows and columns make it really easy to log and work with data. Keeping track of your data and numbers can get really confusing and messy if you can’t take care of it. Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are two of the softwares that make this process a lot easier.

These two programs have many similarities but they are also different in so many ways. They are so similar that it can be difficult to differentiate between them. In this article, we’re going to lay out the similarities and differences to help you choose which is better to use.

Whether you’re using a spreadsheet to document personal finances or important business-related data, it is important to use the software you’re most comfortable with.


Common Features

When it comes to doing what spreadsheets do, both softwares have got the job down. They are both able to solve calculations and organize data they way you want to. Both Google Sheets and Excel can:

    • Solve complex calculations. Plug in the numbers and what it do the rest.


  • Be compatible. Both softwares are compatible with Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OS X.
  • Provide a variety of templates. Now all you have to do is adjust it to your preference.


    • Generate code and keywords. Creating and sort of list is super simple.


  • Auto-fill. This feature makes it easier to insert text into the slots.
  • Auto-save. You don’t have to worry about constantly pressing save to secure your work.


  • Store, sort, filter and analyze data. You can structure your data in any way you wish.
  • Create standard operating procedures. Use clear and detailed instructions to get the best results.

So if you’re looking to do any of those things, either program will work for you with no problems. However, it comes down to the extra features and perks of one against the other. Comparing these perks is what is going to make you prefer either Google Sheets or Excel.


A Closer Look At Excel

Excel has been alive since 1987, and we should mention that any other spreadsheet created in built like Microsoft Excel. Excel is obviously the root of all spreadsheets we’re familiar with today, although some of Excel’s features remain exclusive. First, let’s take a look at all the good points of Microsoft Excel.

  • Full featured and advanced functionality. Some of the advanced tools exclusive to Excel are PowerPivot and Power Query, which allow you to automate millions of data transformations and updates. Another featured is Pivot Charts, which allows charts to automatically update as the underlying data changes. In addition, repetitive tasks on Excel are very easy automated because of the active community of scripts available.
  • Unlimited storage and quick responsiveness. Excel is built for corporations who deal with huge amounts of data and numbers. The system is programmed to withstand a very large amount of data. Therefore, no matter how much data is added, the interface remains quick and responsive.
  • Endless options for data visualization. Power View is another tool special to Excel. It is used to create better data visualization. Power View is able to bring data to life by creating interactive charts, graphs and other visuals. This also makes it easier to create whatever visual you wish. It even allows you to customize your visuals in terms of visuals in terms of color, logos, animation or text. More than that, automating these tasks makes it easier for businesses to make use of these customized visuals.
  • More formulas and functions. With Excel, you can make use of more advanced mathematical calculations. The formulas available to you on the software will definitely satisfy your needs. Meanwhile, many of these features and functions are not available on Google Sheet.
  • No internet, no problem. Many view this as a great advantage for Excel. Having access to your laptop or desktop is enough to work on your Excel spreadsheet. This is beneficial to people who travel a lot or spend a lot of time commuting. Although, this also comes with some disadvantages.

On the other hand, Excel is not all perks and advantages. There is definitely a price to pay for these features and it’s not cheap. Excel also has some negative sides that we need to keep in mind.

    • No clear revision history. On Excel, you can access your revision history, however its not as simple as how you would on Google Sheets. Also, once you’ve accessed it, it is not easy to figure out when and who did what.
    • It’s not easy to use. Excel has many feature, and to take full advantage of them you need to be very familiar with all the tips and tricks. Excel is known to be difficult to use, and some can not master it on their own. Taking course and classes on how to use Excel properly is very common amongst businesses and companies.
    • Collaboration can be confusing. Every now and then, Microsoft introduces a new and updated version of Excel. These updates are great, however it becomes a hassle when it comes to collaboration. Some features are only available on the updated version, so they can not be accessed on the older version and vice versa. This slows down the collaboration process as you wait for everyone to download the desired version.


  • Cannot access from computers other than your own. As mentioned earlier, you do not need internet to access your Excel document. However, this means that it is not automatically saved on the cloud. As a result, you can only access your work from your own laptop or desktop. For confidential data, this can be advantageous. But it can be problematic when trying to access your work anywhere at any time.


  • It ain’t cheap! The price for Microsoft Excel is $109.99 for one PC. Some view it as a great investment for the long run. However, if you’re looking for the basic uses of Excel this is a waste of your money. There is a cloud-based version called Excel Online which is free, but lacks all the advanced functions that makes Excel unique. Ultimately, it is just another version of Google Sheets minus the Google integrations.

Generally, Excel is for people of the professional world. It is the ideal software for people dealing with large amounts of data and needs quick and easy responsiveness. It is obviously more expensive than Google Sheets (which is free), yet you can definitely get your money back through the generated results.

Most professional presentations are made through Excel, since they make use of its advanced and unique features. However, if you’re worried about the excessive amount of data you’re plugging into your spreadsheet, Google Sheets might be the fit for you.


Analysis of Google Sheets

Google Sheets is known for three main advantages, collaboration, inexpensiveness and easiness to use. Alongside those three benefits, Google Sheets comes with many others.

  • Free. Google Sheets is completely free for anyone who wishes to use it. All you need is access to the internet and a Google account and you’re good to go. However, the only thing you might wish to pay for is extra storage. Google provides a list of reasonable monthly rates depending on how much storage you need.
StorageMonthly Price


    • Easy to use. There is not debate over how easy Google Sheets is to use. Unlike Excel, you can easily navigate your way around the program and you don’t need to pay for classes or even search up how-to guides online. Google Sheets is very simple for pretty much anyone to use.
    • Made for collaboration. The main advantage of Google Sheets is the easy collaboration features. On Google Sheets, multiple people can be working on a document at the same time without any lagging. Also, you can see who is adding what and make instant comments and corrections. This is all done through Google Drive which is an online network where people can work on documents and projects collectively. This feature also allows you to access your spreadsheet form multiple devices at the same time and all your work will be saved online.
    • Chat window too! In addition to the great collaboration feature, Sheets also has an embedded chat window. Through this window you can chat with your peers and discuss the spreadsheet you’re working on. As a result, everything is in one place and you can stay focused on the task at hand.


  • Access from any computer. Since everything is saved online, you can access your work from any device at any time. All you need is access to internet and you edit your work as you please.


    • Integrated with Google. Another key advantage is how interconnected Google Sheets is with other apps. Since it is part of the Google family, it allows you to import all kinds of data from other Google features by using functions such as Googletranslate() or Googlefinance(). Tools like ImportFeed and ImportData also allow you to include data from the internet directly onto your spreadsheet. This will save you a lot of time and effort when collecting data from other sources.
    • Revision history. The built-in revision history gives you a clear chronological image of all the changes made to the file. It shows you who made the change and when. All you have to do is go to File > Revision History to view all the records. Sheets also gives you to option of restoring a past version if you wish to.


  • Import your work, no problem. Another feature of Google Sheets will work for Excel users as well. On Google Sheets, you can import your Excel document and convert it to a Google Sheet. This means you can create your work on Excel using all its features, and then you can import it to Google Sheets in order to collaborate with others.


Alternatively, there are many reasons why many prefer Excel over Sheets. The fact that Google Sheets can’t handle a lot of data is a great disadvantage to many. Take a look at what else you’d be missing out on.

  • More data, less responsiveness. Google Sheets isn’t designed to work well with a lot of data and numbers. There comes a point when the more data you add into the spreadsheet, the slower it becomes and the more it lags. This can be a problem for many professionals who need to visualize large amounts of data.


  • Limited data visualization. When it comes to data visualization, the features available on Google Sheets may not satisfy professional needs. There are less customizable features and tools. You are definitely more restricted in customizing visuals, data, charts and graphs on Google Sheets. For professional presentations you need this feature to alter your presentation to fit your purpose.
  • Limited formulas and functions. A lot like the limited data visualization, you can also do little when it comes to formulas and functions. If you’re familiar with formulas on Excel and would like to insert them on Google Sheets, you can sometimes do it. However, it is not the same as it would be done on Excel.



To Conclude..

The battle of the spreadsheets doesn’t end here. It is up to you to decide which suits you and your preferences better. There is no clear winner on which you should use, you are the one who decides. If you still can’t point out which software suits you better. Take a look at this final list we’ve created.

Pick Excel if..

  • You need to do a lot of in-depth data analysis.
  • You work in a business that deals with a lot of data.
  • You want to do a lot of advanced mathematical calculations.
  • You need a quick, responsive software to go with your heavy number crunching.
  • You want more flexibility with customizing your data.
  • You want to have more power over how your data looks like in presentations.
  • Your work needs to done and shown professionally.
  • You don’t mind paying the price for these features.

Pick Google Sheets If..

  • You do not want to spend extra money on spreadsheets.
  • You do not want to spend extra time learning how to use the spreadsheet.
  • You want a software that is easy to use with no hidden tricks.
  • You don’t mind limited customization.
  • You don’t mind the limit on functions and formulas available.
  • You prefer the real-time collaboration and interaction.
  • You will use a lot of the Google features like Google Finance.
  • Your revision history is important to you.
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