microsoft vs google

Discussion – Google Spreadsheet vs Microsoft Excel

Spreadsheets are invaluable tools in creating budgets, producing graphs and charts and for storing and sorting data. They can vary in complexity and can be used for various reasons. May it be business data storage, accounting and calculation, budgeting and spending, assisting with data exports, and data sifting and cleanup, and accomplishing business administrative task.

Best examples of spreadsheet software are Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. These two allow complex mathematical calculations and data analysis, has auto-save feature, and is also compatible with Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OS X.

Although many businesses rely on Microsoft Excel as their go-to application for spreadsheets, Google Sheets innovatively gives companies the option to figure out budgets, client contacts, and more.

Tl; dr;

Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are two of the most popular spreadsheet platforms used by many small business owners and freelance enthusiasts anytime, anywhere.

They both have similar functionality, such as advanced conditional formatting, tracking dependencies, as well as existing robust graphs and picture creation options.

Let’s take the time to discuss their core differences.

Key Differences: Google Spreadsheet vs Microsoft Excel

excel spreadsheet

Source: Lifehack

Years back, Microsoft Excel has been a constant partner for businesses but as software migrates to cloud, Google’s innovative spreadsheet software emerged as a worthy opponent.

For now, care to think about these questions.

What are the main differences between the two? What key areas do each of these software has greater edge? What’s best to use?


Although more and more users are trying out Google Sheets as a spreadsheet tool, Microsoft Excel has an entrenched user base that’s comfortable with Excel. Thus, it still takes a considerable amount of time for user to eventually switch over to a new app and be familiar with it.


Google Sheets makes work easier, integrating you into any workflow. It also gives you the ability to share with just about anyone while limiting their access and/or control.

On the other hand, Microsoft Excel allows sharing and collaboration but limited to what Google Sheet does. You’re restricted to sharing files via email, haven’t been getting the same level of collaboration that Sheets does.

But if you are using Office 365, you can get access to a similar tracked edit page and similar options for seeing activity from other users. But for now, Google Sheets prevails.

Functions and formulas.

Excel has far larger functions and formulas whilst, some Sheets’ formulas are still missing.

Offline access.

Microsoft Excel can still work perfectly offline and can automatically set up your files sync via OneDrive as soon as you regain internet access.

However, even if Google Sheets has offline access available, you’d still have the difficulty accessing files you previously created whilst online, pushing you to install an offline extension to be able to work on files extensively offline but extensions can misbehave at all times.

Handling larger budget files.

In terms of handling transaction records, tabs, and fancy calculations and graphs, Microsoft Excel can handle up to 17,179,869,184 cells.

Although Google Sheets might be fine and dandy for your budget, it can only handle up to 5,000,000 cells.


When using a lot of functions, Microsoft Excel has a handy Quick Access toolbar where you can pin buttons for relatively quick and easy workflow. Whereas, Google Sheets have no such feature.

Cloud and Syncing.

Google Sheets was built from the ground up to be a cloud based alternative to Microsoft Excel, making everything accessible from your Google account, and also see and access all your files from Google Drive.

With Excel on Office 2019 or earlier requires a bit of setting up, so there’s a need for you to use Office 365 to get the same level of instant synchronization between devices.


Microsoft Excel requires one-time payment of Microsoft Office or a subscription to Office 365, while Google Sheets is completely free to use: no annual fee, no monthly fee, and no user free. Plus, if you have a Google account, you can already access to it directly.


Though Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel has pros and cons, both are still catching with each other in terms of technology, accessibility and compatibility making the gap between them getting smaller and smaller, slowly turning the two platforms to be quite similar.

By Tuan Nguyen

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