Symon He

Which spreadsheet program should you use, Google Sheets or Excel? It depends on what you need. An Excel enthusiast will recommend it over Google Sheets for its superior functionality and long history of use in industry. Google Sheets evangelists will favor its simplicity and easy collaboration over Excel. Are you analyzing large amounts of data, for example, or managing your finances? Both tools are great for organizing data, but picking the right one will make your life easier.

Data Analysis Essentials Using Excel

Last Updated December 2020

  • 130 lectures
  • Beginner Level
4.5 (9,854)

Learn to apply the important concepts and techniques of data analysis using Excel. | By Symon He, Travis Chow

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Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel have many positive features in common. Both work with simple and complex mathematical calculations as well as data analysis. They both have most of the essential features needed in a spreadsheet program. This includes:

Sheets and Excel have many features in common. But their differences might influence the software you choose. Let’s look at each software more closely.

Reviewing Excel: Powerful features but limited collaboration

Excel spreadsheets have more advanced functionality when compared to Google Sheets. Excel has features such as Power View, which offers interactive charts, graphs, and maps along with other visuals. Plus, Excel can perform more advanced mathematical calculations and has more accessible formulas than Google Sheets.

Excel is also renowned for its unlimited storage and responsiveness. The software program can hold large quantities of data while still operating at typical speeds.

Along with Power View, Excel has other options for data visualization. The charting options are great for team meetings or if you need to present data in a simple way. You can easily analyze and visualize data with powerful built-in features like pivot tables and pivot charts. Excel offers customizable options like color, logos, animations, and text to create professional-looking presentations.

When it comes to collaboration, Excel was once quite limited in its options. However, with the recent release of cloud-based solutions like Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, collaborating online in Excel with multiple people is much more accessible. Though the online version of Excel has limited features compared to the full desktop version, the collaboration is now comparable to Google Sheets. Adoption of Office 365 and Microsoft Teams is expected to grow rapidly. 

Many people buy Excel as part of the Microsoft Office Suite to get full functionality and other Microsoft programs.

Choose the one that suits your work needs and budget.

Reviewing Google Sheets: A free, collaboration-friendly tool with limited storage

Google Sheets is simple for beginners to start using. It has an intuitive user interface and offers easy collaboration. More than one person can use Sheets at the same time without any lag. 

As a native Google app, Sheets integrates with other Google apps. You can get the benefits of Google Translate or Finance while working with Sheets.

Like other Google products, Google Sheets are saved on your Google Drive. You can access your documents from any device you log into with your Google account.

Users don’t have to worry about losing progress or previous versions, because they backtrack when necessary with revision history.

And, the price is right: Google Sheets is free. This is great for students, entrepreneurs, or those who don’t have a big budget. But, this also causes limitations. Extra storage can cost anywhere from a few dollars to over $200 based on your needs. If you don’t need a lot of storage, then free is a good way to go.

Making the choice between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel

There is not a clear “winner” when it comes to choosing between Google Sheets and Excel. Make your decision based on the context you’ll be working in.

Google’s free version is simple to use. It’s great for those with a small budget and uncomplicated requirements. But its limited functionality and lack of customizability mean it might not be best for big business. For students, freelancers, or small business owners, it may be the perfect tool.

Is real-time collaboration a priority for you? In that case, Google Sheets may be the right choice. 

For advanced data analysis and in-depth numbers work, Excel may be the best choice. It can store all your work and huge amounts of data without slowing down or costing more. Excel also offers in-depth calculation tools.

I often recommend students begin their use of spreadsheet software with Google Sheets. As your requirements change and your understanding increases, you can move to Excel. Consider what will work best for you and your business.Both are solid software programs that can make your life — and your calculations — much easier.

Page Last Updated: September 2020

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