Best Excel Alternatives 2021

Many of us take for granted that everyone has access to a version of Microsoft Excel. However, the fact is that the Microsoft Office Suite is expensive and if you don’t think that you’ll use the applications regularly you may be reluctant to shell out the money to pay for it.

With this in mind, it’s conceivable that you’ll run into a situation when you have an excel sheet that you need to view, but you might think you’re in a bit of a pickle if you don’t have a version of Excel to open it with! Well, don’t worry – our IT support team have got you covered. There are a number of affordable/free Excel alternatives that allow you to both view and save Excel files, so you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Google Sheets as an Alternative to Excel

One of the most popular and well-known Excel alternatives is Google Sheets, which is part of the Google Docs suite. Creating basic spreadsheets is extremely easy; all you need is a Google account and access to the Internet. Some Excel alternatives can take a while to get used to as they aren’t laid out in the user-friendliest manner but Google Sheets is displayed in an uncluttered way that has the user in mind.  Furthermore, as standard, you can save and edit Excel files.

The main drawbacks of the system are that you cannot print directly from the program and you cannot create graphs or charts.

Numbers as an Alternative to Excel

Apple’s Numbers software is part of their iWork package, which now comes as standard on Mac machines, so you won’t find yourself paying extra to gain access to it. You’ll be able to open and save Excel files and as the software is stored on your Mac you don’t need a high speed Internet connection to complete your work.

There are a few drawbacks that you’ll also need to be aware of. Most notably, the list of formulae available aren’t as comprehensive as other Excel alternatives, so if you think you’ll be creating complex spreadsheets that rely on formulae, Numbers probably isn’t your best bet.

Most obviously, Numbers is only available on Mac, so if you are running Microsoft or any other form of OS other than Mac OS, Numbers won’t be compatible with your system.

Spread32 as an Alternative to Excel

In a nutshell, Spread32 is a free Excel program that utilises most functions that you’d find yourself using when creating your normal everyday spreadsheet. It works in a similar way to Excel and even has some of our favourite features like the invaluable AutoSum button. You can take advantage of the free trial version but after a while the pop up ads can be quite annoying, so if you like the software it’s worth investing $20 to purchase it (still much cheaper than Microsoft Office).

The drawbacks of Spread32 are that you cannot create pivot tables, custom lists or display multiple sheets side by side, so if you are extremely interested in any of these features it is worth considering one of the other options.

Zoho Sheet as an Alternative to Excel

Zoho Sheet is an application within Zoho Docs, an online documents creation and editing suite. With Zoho Sheet you can open and save excel files and with a range of formulae and pivot tables available you should be able to create any document you need and save it as an excel file.

Zoho Sheet is packed full of features to help you create a vast array of spreadsheet documents but there are also a couple of drawbacks that you need to be aware of. Firstly, as this is a web based application you will need access to the Internet to edit your files, so working on the Underground on the way home from work will be impossible. Secondly, you only have 5GB of storage available. While this is enough for most people, if you want to create multiple documents you might find yourself paying a small fee to upgrade the capacity available to you.

There you have it! There is no need for you to feel pressured into purchasing the Microsoft Office Suite if you don’t feel that you’ll use the applications regularly enough to warrant the cost. Let us know which options you try and how you get on.

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