5 of the Best Microsoft Excel Alternatives

The hunt for the best Excel alternative is not slowing down. Commercial revenues accruable to Data and analytics are expected to grow past US$200 billion in 2020, according to IDC. And every company is looking to have a bite out of this.

Microsoft Excel has remained unshaken in the spreadsheet business since forever. But there are a couple of problems, and chief of them all is the pricing. A standalone copy of the software costs $129.99. And if you prefer to use it in conjunction with Microsoft office, it costs $69.99 a year!

Thankfully, there are a couple of alternative spreadsheet software available for free, and they are able to perform as well as the spreadsheet giant.

1. Google Sheets


Google Sheets is Google’s response to the Microsoft Excel software. The beautiful hook is that you don’t need any special registration to use Google sheets. If you have a Googlel account, you can access and use this software.

The Google spreadsheet is hosted on a cloud platform but also features an offline application for both PC and mobile platforms. This feature means you can access your sheets anywhere and on any platform.

It is essentially an effective collaboration tool. You can edit and review sheets in real time with your team. It also allows you to write additional Javascript code to extend its capability. Connecting to web APIs is also a breeze. This feature allows you to pull data and information from web pages directly.

With its rich user interface and powerful Excel data functions such as the pivot tables and data visualization, you should be considering a switch to this powerful Excel alternative.

2. Zoho Sheets


This is another cloud-based alternative to Excel, built and managed by the business software solution giants Zoho. At its core, Zoho Sheets is built around Zoho’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software solutions. It thus bakes collaboration into its very core.

It allows you the freedom to switch between different spreadsheet extensions such as .xls, .csv .xlsx and .ods. You don’t have to bother with data compatibility anymore.

Despite its simple interface, Zoho Sheets sports formidable Excel functions like the pivot table, charts, and data visualizations. All these are on a level comparable to Excel.

Also, if you are a young startup looking to save funds, this is the best tool for you. The Zoho Excel app integrates smoothly with the rest of their CRM solutions and is free for teams of up to twenty-five people. It’s hard not to see it as one of the best Excel alternatives.

3. Libre Calc


Libre Calc is the spreadsheet software bundled in the LibreOffice productivity suite. The suite is regarded as one of the best Excel alternatives because of its active and large community.

Libre Calc is entirely open source. New features are always added and bugs corrected in regular releases. It is no wonder most Linux distros choose it as their default spreadsheet application.

This software is, however, a function-based application. Hence it doesn’t have very pretty data visualizations like Excel.

But it is incredibly powerful, as it supports all document formats as well as Excel Macros, too. It allows extensions and scripting in all major programming languages. Some of them are C++, Java, CLI, Python, and LibreOffice Basic.

Note, too, that it’s cross-platform capable with programs written for Linux, Windows, and macOS. Cloud support is also currently available, so this solves your collaboration problems.

4. Free Office PlanMaker


If you want an elegant and stylish spreadsheet, then look towards PlanMaker.

The developers of this free alternative tout it as the most effective Excel replacement available for free.

An impressive feature is the array of beautiful templates for data visualizations in 2D as well as 3D. It boasts seamless compatibility with Excel 2016 and also replicates essential functions such as pivot table and formulas.

It also comes with over 350 pre-configured formulas for math functions. This alone ranks it high among the most full-featured offerings available for free. Supported platforms are Windows and Linux.

5. WPS Office – Spreadsheets


WPS Office Spreadsheets supports all known sheets formats and integrates seamlessly with all previous Excel documents. Aside from the usual formulas, tables and lists, this tool supports advanced pivot tables and data modeling.

Its data visualization is also top notch, so you don’t have to worry about how your presentation looks.

It is currently available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. It is also an effective collaboration tool with support for a full-featured cloud service. It’s a worthy addition to the list of best Excel alternatives.

Choosing Your Best Excel Alternative

The battle for the best Excel alternative is not one that will be resolved any time soon. Personal preferences also play a considerable role as no single solution is perfect. If you are in search of the best Excel alternatives available, go ahead and make your pick from the list above.

Nicholas Godwin
Nicholas Godwin

Nicholas Godwin is a technology researcher who helps businesses tell profitable brand stories that their audiences love. He's worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies, global tech corporations and top consulting firms, from Bloomberg Beta, Accenture, PwC, and Deloitte to HP, Shell, and AT&T. You may follow his work on Twitter or simply say hello. His website is Tech Write Researcher.

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