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Everything you need to know about the spreadsheet app

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Screenshot showing a blank Google Sheet spreadsheet on a web browser

Your Google account gives you access to a suite of Google Workspace apps that can be used on a web browser. One of these apps is Google Sheets, Google’s spreadsheet app. When you have one of the best Chromebooks, you can install the ChromeOS app on it. It’s also available for Android, iOS, and Windows OS.


Google Sheets is a free spreadsheet application that handles all your spreadsheet-related needs. This guide explains what the Google Sheets app is and the features you get with it.


Google Sheets: A brief introduction

Microsoft Excel is the industry standard for editing, creating, and modifying spreadsheets. You must purchase a Microsoft 365 subscription to use it. Google Sheets is a web-based offering from Google that helps you do the same tasks you would do in Microsoft Excel (with some exceptions) for free. Together with Google Docs and Google Slides, Google Sheets is part of what Google calls Google Drive.

Google Sheets is available in over 80 languages and lets you work remotely and collaborate with others in real time, bypassing geographical restrictions. Multiple users can open, edit, and format files and use the built-in instant messaging program to connect with a team while collaborating on a task. Google Sheets automatically saves your progress, and other users with whom the file is shared can see the changes as they are made. You can also download a Google Sheet for offline use and sharing.

You can insert and delete rows, columns, and cells to make way for new data. You can also use advanced functions such as Vlookup and other mathematical formulas, the built-in AI smart fill for content autofill, and other functions. You can also create a Gantt chart and named functions on a Google Sheet.

What are the features of Google Sheets?

You can do a lot of basic spreadsheet stuff on Google Sheets. Here are the key features this cloud-based spreadsheet application offers:

  • Collaborate in real-time: Multiple users can use Google Sheets and edit the same spreadsheet simultaneously. The user’s changes are visible to everyone collaborating on that sheet. Collaborators can make comments or change the data on the spreadsheet in real time, and anyone can view the version history. Sharing spreadsheets is also available.
  • Data visualization: Like Microsoft Excel, users can feed data into Google Sheets and create graphs, charts, pivot tables, and other diagrams to visualize the data in any form they like.
  • Compatibility with formats: You can edit and create multiple spreadsheet formats on Google Sheets. The formats include XLSX, XLS, XLTS, ODS, CSV, TSV, PDF, text, HTML, and more.
  • Integration of Google products: The best part about using Google Sheets is the integration support for other Google products such as Google Form, Google Translate, and Google Drawing. For example, you can create a poll by inputting the questionnaire into a Google Form and loading the form into a Google Sheet.
  • Offline editing support: You can continue working on the Google Sheet if you lose your internet connection. The changes are automatically saved when your internet connection is back. The official Google Sheets Offline extension for Chrome activates offline editing for Google Sheets and other Google products.
  • Work with functions: Most of your Microsoft Excel functions work fine with Google Sheets. You can use functions such as COUNTIF, GETPIVOTDATA, INDEX, ROUND, and SUMIF on Google Sheets.

What’s the difference between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel?

Since both Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are spreadsheet applications, a comparison between the two is inevitable. Both have the same core features, but several other features separate the two. Below are some of the features you’ll find in one of the apps, but they are missing in the other.

User interface

When Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are open side-by-side, both look the same at first glance. However, Google Sheets follows a minimalist and simple UI that is easier for beginners to understand. Microsoft Excel is for advanced users and those familiar with the software. Google Sheets is better, and you’ll use Google Sheets more productively after reading our tips and tricks guide.

Data analysis and visualization

Google Sheets can be used in different ways to visualize data

Source: Google

Both spreadsheet applications offer support for many formulas. Microsoft Excel is more advanced and supports over 500 formulas. Data management is more organized in Microsoft Excel. But that doesn’t mean that Google Sheets isn’t capable. It supports all the necessary formulas. Excel has better data analysis, and you can visualize your data by creating pivot tables, GANTT charts, line charts, pie charts, scatter diagrams, and more.

Collaboration features

Google Sheets share workbook option on desktop

Source: Google

When it comes to collaboration, Google Sheets is better compared to Microsoft Excel. You won’t find many collaboration options in Microsoft Excel, even though it has an online version. The functionalities are limited and better suited for solo work. Google Sheets allows multiple teammates to collaborate on a sheet, which is an online spreadsheet app that shows each other’s selections and changes in real time, making it the best spreadsheet program for teams. The chat feature takes the game away from Microsoft Excel.

Cloud support

Google Sheets is a cloud-based web application that automatically saves your work and changes in the Google Drive cloud. In contrast to Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel’s web version, Microsoft 365, is accessed via a web browser, and it does not have all collaboration functionalities.

Dealing with data

Google Sheets gives you access to 10 million cells per spreadsheet, which is more than anyone requires. That’s low compared to Microsoft Excel’s 17 billion cells per spreadsheet. While not everyone (or almost no one) would use those 17 billion cells, it is nice to have extras.

Add-ons and extension support

Google Sheets enjoys a variety of third-party add-ons and extension support that enhances the functionality of the spreadsheet application. Our guide lists the best Google Sheets extensions to level up your experience. Microsoft Excel doesn’t support that many add-ons or extensions.

Price

Speaking of price, Google Sheets is free for individual users with Google accounts. Google charges businesses $12 per year, which gives access to the entire suite of Google Workspace products and offers 2TB of Google Drive cloud space. Microsoft offers Microsoft 365, which provides Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and other apps, for $69 per year.

Google Sheets: Your free spreadsheet friend

If your work demands that you collaborate frequently on a spreadsheet, use Google Sheets to complete your tasks. Although Microsoft Excel is the industry standard, Google Sheets is also capable and gives you access to all the needed features you need to visualize the data, and for free.

With multiple free templates, such as invoices, time sheets, budget sheets, purchase orders, employee shift schedules, GANTT charts, and project timelines, you can start your task right away on Google Sheets. If you have problems with Google Sheets, apply the solutions from our guide to quickly resolve them.

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