Comparing Google Spreadsheets to Excel
If you've used Microsoft Excel at all in the past, Google Spreadsheets will look somewhat familiarto a point. Although Google Spreadsheets adds some unique web-based collaboration features, it also lacks some features that you might be used to in Excel, such as charts and macros. So the two programs, while similar, end up being somewhat different. (Figures 2 and 3 show how similar the two applications look.)
Figure 2. A blank spreadsheet in Google Spreadsheets...
Figure 3. ...compared to a similar blank spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
Just how similaror differentare Google Spreadsheets and Excel? Table 1 compares and contrasts the two spreadsheet applications.
As you can see from this table, the major features lacking in Google Spreadsheets are
However, Google Spreadsheets does offer online sharing and collaboration and the capability to save all documents online.
The lack of charts and graphs is due to the fact that Google Spreadsheets doesn'tas yethave a built-in graphics engine.
In addition, there are some minor differences between the two programs. For example, while Google Spreadsheets can work with most Excel data and import Excel XLS files, some Excel text and date formatting doesn't directly import. Google Spreadsheets also lacks cell border formatting (you can format cell background color, however), and doesn't offer Excel's time-worn right mouse button options. Finally, unlike Excel, Google Spreadsheets doesn't let you zoom in or out of a spreadsheetyou can't change the size of the spreadsheet grid.
Other Web-Based Spreadsheets
Google Spreadsheets isn't the only web-based spreadsheet out there, either. There are a number of standalone web-based spreadsheet applications, as well as a few that are part of online office suites.
These alternative online spreadsheets applications include
The following web-based office suites also have spreadsheet components:
Most of these web-based applications offer the same type of sharing and collaboration that you find in Google Spreadsheets. Many of them also offer a few more features than Google Spreadsheets, such as charting and graphing. All, like Google Spreadsheets, are free.