Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used software, but it isn’t free, as you may already know. It is one of the programs in the Microsoft Office suite, which is not prohibitively expensive but an unnecessary expense. The spreadsheet tool that helps in tasks like creating charts, maintaining data, and mathematical calculations, to name a few, is a must for many small businesses today. But if you want to save on this aspect of your business, fret not! Here’s a list of free and open-source alternatives to Microsoft Excel that you can use instead.
A cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets is one of the most used tools by small businesses. To access it, you need to have a Gmail account (which is free), but if you already have one, you can access Google Docs Editors products, ranging from Google Sheets to Google Drive and Docs, among others.
The spreadsheet tool is capable of doing anything that an average MS Excel user needs. It includes many similar features, such as a variety of charts and the capacity to build formulas; therefore, it’s a suitable choice if you want to save money. However, it’s a good idea to find out if the advanced features you need are available before making the switch.
With Google Sheets, an uninterruptible internet connection is a must. As long as you have good Wi-Fi, you don’t have to worry about saving your work multiple times, as the data gets automatically backed up online.
Calc by Apache OpenOffice
Another great, feature-packed alternative to MS Excel is Calc by Apache OpenOffice. Intuitive and easy-to-learn, Calc is a downloaded tool that runs locally on your computer, unlike Google Sheets.
Compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, Calc is very similar to MS Excel in functionality and appearance. It includes charts, macros, and most other capabilities that you may already be familiar with.
One of the advantages of OpenOffice over Google Sheets is that you don’t need internet connectivity to use it once you’ve downloaded it. However, if lack of cloud support is a deal-breaker for you, you may want to avoid this one.
Lio is a mobile application – available for iOs and Android – that simplifies recording and data management for its users. The simple yet intuitive application enables the users to create customizable intelligent tables that are feature-rich and work with images, formulas, contacts, dates, and locations. As of now, the app is available in 10 languages that comes as an additional advantage to its users.
It was a simple data tabulation app that offered an easy-to-use alternative to products like Microsoft Excel. However, the founders realized that users preferred pre-defined data templates over creating their own for a hassle-free and seamless experience. Therefore, the product evolved into a rich library of templates and communities, and currently, the users have over 60 templates to choose from.
MS Excel Online
Excel Online is one of the best free alternatives to the offline spreadsheet tool. Microsoft Office developed a web version of their most popular programs, including Excel, to compete with Google’s free, cloud-based programs. MS Excel’s web application, like Google Sheets, is available for free on the internet, and of course, it’s more like Excel than its Google counterpart. To access it, all you need is a Microsoft account.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t the full version of the offline tool; thus, some functions aren’t available. For instance, you won’t be able to alter sparklines or use VBA code. However, the online program has most of the features small business owners require from a spreadsheet application. Excel Online can open basic file formats like XLSX and XLSM.
Another cloud-based program, you can use Zoho Sheets online via any browser like Google Sheets and Excel Online. Just set up a free Zoho account, and voila, you can access the spreadsheet tool. With over 350 functions to offer, Zoho Sheet supports all MS Excel file formats, including XLSX, XLSM, XLTX, XLS, besides others like TSV, CSV, and ODS, to name a few.
In the ever-changing world, there are a ton of different alternatives to MS Excel. Since all of the above mentioned are free, choose the one you like the most, and you’re good to go.