Excel is more than just a spreadsheet – for many businesses it is the mathematical engine that tells them whether they will have enough cash to pay next week’s wages.
Unfortunately the cloud version of Excel, Excel Web App, is a pale imitation of the desktop version. It is only capable of basic edits, which leaves the cloud-only field open to Google Spreadsheet.
Microsoft intends its Office Web Apps to be an extension of its desktop software, and no cloud-based spreadsheet program comes near the power of desktop Excel. However, the attraction of using cloud-based software makes a feature comparison between the two cloud programs a worthwhile exercise.
Here are the top 10 reasons why Google Spreadsheet is better the Excel Web App.
10. Comments. Google Spreadsheet can add comments to a spreadsheet, a highly useful feature for collaboration.
9. Insert objects. Google Spreadsheet can insert forms, drawings, scripts, images, gadgets and charts into a spreadsheet. Excel Web Apps can insert tables and hyperlinks (as can Google Spreadsheet).
8. Conditional formatting. A cell that counts total expenditure can be set to turn red if it exceeds a set figure, for example.
7. Data validation, protecting and hiding sheets. Useful tools for preventing the wrong information being entered into (or read from) a spreadsheet.
6. Functions. Google Spreadsheet can perform a huge number of functions in the browser, from the common (sum, average, count) to the specific, such as engineering and math calculations or finance formulas. There are 11 categories with as many as 60 functions in each.
5. Scripts. Google Spreadsheet users can write their own scripts, choose from a gallery of scripts created by other Google Apps users, and create their own script library to use on any spreadsheet.
4. No right-click shortcuts. If you’re creating a lot of documents online, the ability to jump to the most common tools is a real time-saver. A right-click with your mouse brings up a contextual menu in Google Apps and Word Web Apps but not in Excel Web Apps. Google Spreadsheet can insert comments, find and replace, validate data and name ranges with a right-click.
3. Pivot tables. This function takes a spreadsheet of data, such as sales figures, and turns it into tables that recalculate themselves on the fly as you include or exclude fields. Pivot tables can be turned into graphs with a single click, making them very useful for analyzing large amounts of data.
2. No find and replace. A major omission from Excel Web App, which can only find data. Even then the search function is very basic compared to Google Spreadsheet, which can search from match case, match entire cell contents and search all sheets in a spreadsheet.
1. Can’t auto-complete by selecting the first two cells in an order (eg consecutive numbers, days of the week, months) and dragging to select cells below and automatically fill it with the next items in a list. There is no auto-copy either.