Pros and Cons of Google Sheets vs Excel – Which Is Better?

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Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are two popular spreadsheet applications that offer a wide range of features for data management, calculations, and analysis. While both tools serve the same fundamental purpose of organizing and manipulating data, there are key differences between them that make each one unique. Understanding the pros and cons of Google Sheets vs Excel can help users make an informed decision about which tool best suits their needs.

In this article, we will explore the various aspects of Google Sheets and Excel and determine which tool is most suitable for their specific requirements.

Pros and cons of Google sheets vs Excel


Key Differences: Google Sheet Vs Excel

Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are both powerful spreadsheet applications, but they differ in several aspects. Here is a brief overview of the key differences between Google Sheets and Excel:

Category Google Sheets Excel
Developer Google LLC Microsoft Corporation
Package of G Suite MS Office
Launched in 2006 1987
Available Language 83 91
Preferability Preferable for a low volume (within 400000 cells) of data Preferable for a high volume of data
Offline Accessibility Accessible in both online and offline Accessible offline, but with MS 365 is accessible online also.
Chatting Available Not available
Macros Not available Available
Scripting Apps Scripting VBA
Cloud Drive Google drive One drive

Pros and Cons of Google Sheets vs Excel: Which One Is Better?

Almost every beginner tries to make a comparative discussion on pros and cons of Google sheets vs Excel and finds it confusing which one is better: Google sheets or Excel?But before making any decisions, first you need to know about the pros and cons of Google Sheets vs Excel in different aspects. This section will elaborate on 13 pros and cons of these two software.


1. Google Sheets vs Excel: Price

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Google Sheets is completely free to use for individual users.
  • Accessible through any web browser without the need for additional software installations.
  • Offers affordable pricing plans for businesses that require advanced features, collaboration tools, and increased storage.

Cons:

  • The free version of Google Sheets may have limitations in terms of storage capacity and access to certain advanced features.
  • Some businesses may require higher-tier paid plans to meet their specific needs, which incur additional costs.
  • Google’s pricing structure and plans may change over time, potentially impacting the cost-effectiveness for certain users.

Excel:

Pros:

  • Excel is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite, which offers a range of productivity tools.
  • Businesses often have access to Excel licenses through their Office 365 subscriptions.
  • Provides a comprehensive set of advanced features and capabilities, justifying the cost for power users.

Cons:

  • Excel is a paid product, requiring a purchase or subscription to the Microsoft Office suite.
  • The full-featured version of Excel can be relatively expensive for individual users or small businesses.
  • Upgrades to newer versions of Excel may incur additional costs, especially for users who require the latest features.

Subscription of Excel


2. Google Sheets vs Excel: Offline Access

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Allows offline access with offline mode enabled, enabling users to view and edit sheets without an internet connection.
  • Changes made in offline mode will sync automatically when a connection is established.
  • Provides the flexibility to work on sheets while traveling or in areas with limited internet connectivity.

Cons:

  • Offline functionality may be limited compared to the online version.
  • Advanced features or add-ons may not be available in offline mode.
  • Requires initial setup to enable offline access.

Offline availability of Google sheets

Excel:

Pros:

  • Can be accessed and edited offline without any restrictions.
  • Offers full functionality even when offline, allowing users to work seamlessly without an internet connection.
  • No limitations on advanced features or functions in offline mode.

Cons:

  • Requires software installation on the device for offline access.
  • Syncing changes made in offline mode with the online version requires manual action.
  • Requires regular updates and patches to ensure compatibility and security.

 


3. Google Sheets vs Excel: Collaboration

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Enables real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on a sheet simultaneously.
  • Offers features like comments, chat, and suggested edits for effective collaboration and communication.
  • Provides granular control over permissions and sharing options, ensuring secure and controlled collaboration.

Cons:

  • Collaboration features may not be as seamless or robust compared to dedicated collaboration tools.
  • Changes made by other collaborators can be seen instantly, which may lead to accidental or unwanted modifications.
  • Offline collaboration may not be as robust or available compared to the online version.

Collaboration in Google sheets

Excel:

Pros:

  • Collaboration is possible by sharing files via email or cloud storage platforms.
  • Allows users to review and track changes made by collaborators.
  • Offers control over access permissions to maintain data security.

Cons:

  • Simultaneous editing and real-time collaboration are not as seamless as in Google Sheets.
  • Collaborators may need to merge changes manually, which can lead to version control issues.
  • Requires external communication channels for effective collaboration.

4. Google Sheets vs Excel: Functionality

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Offers a wide range of basic functions and features suitable for most users.
  • Provides collaborative editing in real-time, allowing multiple users to work on a sheet simultaneously.
  • Integrates with other Google services, such as Google Forms for data collection and Google Analytics for data analysis.
  • Supports basic data analysis tools like filters, sorting, and conditional formatting.

Cons:

  • May lack some advanced features and functionalities available in Excel, such as advanced statistical functions or complex data modeling capabilities.
  • Charting options and customization may be more limited compared to Excel.
  • May have slower performance when dealing with large datasets or complex calculations compared to Excel.

Excel:

Pros:

  • Provides extensive functionality, advanced features, and a robust set of formulas and functions.
  • Offers advanced data analysis tools, such as pivot tables, goal seek, and solver, allowing for complex calculations and data modeling.
  • Supports advanced charting options and customization, allowing for visually appealing and dynamic charts and graphs.
  • Provides more advanced data validation options and formula auditing tools.

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve for advanced functionalities compared to Google Sheets.
  • Some features and functions may require knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming language.
  • Advanced features and tools may not be necessary for casual or basic spreadsheet users, making it potentially overwhelming.

5. Google Sheets vs Excel: Compatibility

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Works seamlessly with Google Drive, making it accessible from any device with an internet connection.
  • Supports importing and exporting Excel files, ensuring compatibility with Excel users.
  • Offers the ability to collaborate and share sheets with others, regardless of the platform they are using.

Cons:

  • Certain Excel features or formatting may not be fully preserved when importing files into Google Sheets.
  • Compatibility issues may arise when dealing with complex Excel files containing macros or advanced functionalities.
  • Limited support for certain Excel file formats, such as password-protected files or files with specific Excel-specific features.

Excel:

Pros:

  • As the industry standard, Excel has wide compatibility with various systems and software.
  • Provides a more extensive range of file formats and integration options, making it compatible with a broader range of tools and platforms.
  • Maintains compatibility with older versions of Excel, ensuring seamless file exchange between different versions.

Cons:

  • Requires the presence of Microsoft Excel or compatible software to open and edit Excel files.
  • Excel files may not be directly editable in other spreadsheet software, requiring conversion or importing/exporting to other formats.
  • Some advanced Excel features or formulas may not be fully supported or function correctly in other spreadsheet software.

6. Google Sheets vs Excel: Automation and Macros

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Provides automation capabilities through Google Apps Script, allowing users to create custom scripts and automate tasks.
  • Supports basic macros and automation options, allowing users to automate repetitive tasks.
  • Integrates with other Google services, enabling automated data import or export.

Cons:

  • Automation options may be more limited compared to Excel’s extensive macro and automation features.
  • Creating complex macros or advanced automation may require more coding and setup compared to Excel’s Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
  • The learning curve for using Google Apps Script may be steeper for users without programming experience.

Apps Script in Google sheets

Excel:

Pros:

  • Offers robust automation features, including Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), allowing users to create complex macros and automate repetitive tasks efficiently.
  • Provides a recorder tool to automate tasks by recording user actions.
  • Supports a wide range of automation possibilities, from simple repetitive tasks to complex data manipulation and analysis.

Cons:

  • Using VBA for advanced automation requires knowledge of programming concepts and the VBA language.
  • Creating and editing macros may be more time-consuming and complex compared to Google Sheets.
  • Macros created in older versions of Excel may require updates or adjustments when transitioning to newer versions.

VBA macro in Excel


7. Google Sheets vs Excel: Data Visualization

Google Sheets:

Pros

  • Offers basic charting and data visualization options, allowing users to create simple visual representations of their data.
  • Provides templates and pre-built chart types to easily create visually appealing charts.
  • Supports interactive charts with options for filtering and data exploration.

Cons:

  • Advanced data visualization features and customization options are limited compared to Excel.
  • Creating complex and advanced visualizations may require more manual work and customization.
  • The variety of chart types and customization options may not be as extensive as in Excel.

Excel:

Pros:

  • Provides extensive data visualization capabilities, including a wide range of chart types and customization options.
  • Offers advanced charting features such as pivot charts, sparklines, and 3D charts.
  • Allows for interactive and dynamic charts through the use of macros and formulas.

Cons:

  • Creating and customizing complex visualizations may have a steeper learning curve compared to Google Sheets.
  • Some advanced charting features may require manual data manipulation or setup.
  • Visualizations may become complex and resource-intensive, impacting performance for large datasets.

8. Google Sheets vs Excel: Mobile Experience

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Provides a responsive and user-friendly mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
  • Allows users to access and edit sheets on the go from their mobile devices.
  • Syncs change across devices, ensuring seamless collaboration between mobile and desktop versions.

Cons:

  • Advanced functionalities and complex formatting may be limited or not as intuitive on the mobile app.
  • Certain features may have a different interface or may be unavailable compared to the desktop version.

Mobile availability of Google sheet

Excel:

Pros:

  • Offers mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to access and edit spreadsheets on their mobile devices.
  • Provides a familiar and consistent interface with the desktop version of Excel.
  • Allows users to work on complex spreadsheets and access advanced features on their mobile devices.

Cons:

  • Mobile apps may not have the exact same functionality as the desktop version, especially for complex calculations and data analysis.
  • The user interface and experience may not be as optimized and intuitive as Google Sheets’ mobile app.

Mobile experience with Excel


9. Google Sheets vs Excel: Add-ons and Extensions

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Offers a range of add-ons and extensions through the G Suite Marketplace.
  • Allows users to enhance functionality by adding specific tools for data analysis, reporting, or other specialized needs.
  • Provides options for customizing and extending Google Sheets’ capabilities based on individual requirements.

Cons:

  • The selection of add-ons and extensions may be more limited compared to Excel.
  • Some add-ons may require a paid subscription or limited functionality in the free version.

Add-ons in Google sheets

Excel:

Pros:

  • Provides a wide range of third-party add-ins and extensions.
  • Offers a vast library of specialized tools and add-ons developed by the Excel community.
  • Allows users to customize Excel’s functionalities and integrate with other software systems.

Cons:

  • The process of finding and installing add-ins may require additional effort and research.
  • Some add-ins may have compatibility issues or require updates when transitioning to a new version of Excel.
  • Third-party add-ins may come with additional costs or require separate licensing.

10. Google Sheets vs Excel: Data Capacity

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Can handle large amounts of data, although performance may be affected with very large datasets.
  • Cloud storage allows for virtually unlimited storage capacity.

Cons:

  • Processing large datasets can be slower compared to Excel, especially with complex calculations and formulas.
  • Sheets with extremely large data may experience performance issues or become unwieldy to work with.

Excel:

Pros:

  • Well-suited for handling large datasets and complex calculations efficiently.
  • Offers optimized performance even with very large datasets.

Cons:

  • The file size of Excel workbooks can grow significantly with large datasets, potentially causing compatibility and storage issues.
  • The offline version may have limitations on the amount of data that can be processed compared to the online version.

11. Google Sheets vs Excel: Customization and Advanced Features

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Provides a variety of built-in templates and customization options for formatting and styling sheets.
  • Integration with Google Apps Script allows users to create custom functions and automate tasks.

Cons:

  • Advanced features and customization options may be more limited compared to Excel.
  • Macros and advanced automation may require more coding and setup compared to Excel’s VBA.

Excel:

Pros:

  • Offers extensive customization options, allowing users to create complex and highly tailored spreadsheets.
  • Advanced features, such as pivot tables, Power Query, and Power Pivot, provide robust data analysis and modeling capabilities.

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve for advanced functionalities compared to Google Sheets.
  • Customization options may be overwhelming for users who do not require complex features.

12. Google Sheets vs Excel: Support and community

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Access to online documentation and support forums provided by Google.
  • Growing community of users sharing tips, tutorials, and templates.

Cons:

  • Support resources may not be as extensive as Excel’s due to its smaller user base.
  • Limited availability of specialized training or courses.

Excel:

Pros:

  • Extensive documentation, tutorials, and training resources are available due to their widespread use.
  • A large community of Excel users, providing ample support and resources for troubleshooting and learning.

Cons:

  • Official technical support from Microsoft may require additional subscription or licensing.
  • Updates and changes in Excel versions may require users to adapt and learn new features.

13. Google Sheets vs Excel: Keyboard Shortcuts

Google Sheets:

Pros:

  • Offers a range of keyboard shortcuts for common actions, such as copying and pasting, formatting cells, and navigating through the sheet.
  • Keyboard shortcuts are generally intuitive and easy to remember.
  • Provides the ability to customize keyboard shortcuts based on personal preferences.

Cons:

  • The range of keyboard shortcuts in Google Sheets may be more limited compared to Excel.
  • Some complex actions or specialized functions may not have dedicated keyboard shortcuts.
  • Users transitioning from Excel may need to adapt to different keyboard shortcuts in Google Sheets.

Excel:

Pros:

  • Excel provides an extensive set of keyboard shortcuts that cover a wide range of actions, from basic editing to advanced formula manipulation.
  • Offers dedicated keyboard shortcuts for many specialized functions and features.
  • Allows users to customize and assign their own keyboard shortcuts to specific actions.

Cons:

  • The sheer number of keyboard shortcuts in Excel can be overwhelming and difficult to memorize.
  • Some complex actions or specialized functions may require multiple key combinations, making them more challenging to execute.
  • Users transitioning from Google Sheets may need to familiarize themselves with different keyboard shortcuts in Excel.

Read More: How to Copy from Excel and Paste to Google Sheets with Formulas


Differences Between Formulas in Excel and Google Sheets

Regarding working with formulas, both Excel and Google Sheets work pretty much in the same way except in a few areas. For example, Google Sheets does not support Array Formulas or formulas with Structured References yet. However, Google Sheets has some unique functions that don’t exist in Excel.

40 Google Sheets Functions That Don’t Exist in Excel

Some of the following exclusive Google Sheets functions may have taken it a step ahead of Excel.

  • ADD
  • ARRAYFORMULA
  • COUNTUNIQUE
  • COUNTUNIQUEIFS
  • DETECTLANGUAGE
  • DIVIDE
  • EQ
  • FLATTEN
  • GOOGLEFINANCE
  • GOOGLETRANSLATE
  • GT
  • GTE
  • IMAGE
  • IMPORTDATA
  • IMPORTFEED
  • IMPORTHTML
  • IMPORTRANGE
  • IMPORTXML
  • ISEMAIL
  • ISURL
  • JOIN
  • LT
  • LTE
  • MINUS
  • MULTIPLY
  • POW
  • QUERY
  • REGEXMATCH
  • REGEXREPLACE
  • REGEXEXTRACT
  • SPARKLINE
  • SPLIT
  • TO_DATE
  • TO_DOLLARS
  • TO_PERCENT
  • TO_PURE_NUMBER
  • TO_TEXT
  • UMINUS
  • UNARY_PERCENT
  • UPLUS

Read More: Differences Between Excel and Google Sheets Formulas


Google Sheets vs Excel: Which One Is Better?

All the discussion about the pros and cons of Google sheets vs Excel will help you taking decision about which to use.

Pros and cons of Google sheets vs Excel


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Google Sheets and Excel files be easily shared and exchanged?

Both Google Sheets and Excel have compatibility with common file formats. Google Sheets can import and export Excel files, while Excel can also open and save files in various formats, including those used by Google Sheets. This allows for easy sharing and exchanging of files between the two platforms.

2. Do companies use Excel or Google Sheets?

Companies use both Excel and Google Sheets, and the choice often depends on various factors, including company size, industry, internal processes, and individual preferences.

3. Which is easier to use Excel or Google Sheets?

The perception of which tool is easier to use can vary based on individual preferences, prior experience, and specific use cases. Users who are new to spreadsheet applications or prefer a simple and collaborative interface may find Google Sheets easier to learn. Meanwhile, users who require more advanced functionality or have prior experience with Excel may find it easier to work with Microsoft Excel.


Takeaways from This Article

  • Google Sheets is free, offers strong collaboration features, allows real-time updates and commenting, provides cloud-based storage, and integrates well with other Google products.
  • Excel has advanced functionality, supports complex data analysis, offers automation with macros, provides powerful charting options, and seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft Office applications.
  • Google Sheets is suitable for basic to moderate spreadsheet tasks, collaboration-driven projects, and remote teams. Excel is preferred for complex data analysis, automation, and when extensive integration with other Office applications is required.
  • Both Google Sheets and Excel can import/export files from each other’s formats, facilitating easy sharing and exchanging of files.
  • The choice between Google Sheets and Excel depends on your specific needs, budget, collaboration requirements, advanced functionality, and familiarity with either tool.

Conclusion

In the article, we tried to discuss the pros and cons of Google sheets vs Excel. When choosing between Google Sheets and Excel, it’s crucial to consider factors like your specific needs, budget, collaboration requirements, advanced features, and familiarity with the tools. Google Sheets is well-suited for basic to moderate spreadsheet tasks and collaborative projects, while Excel is preferred for complex data analysis and extensive integration with other Office applications. Ultimately, the decision should be based on the unique requirements of your business or personal use case.


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Md. Shamim Reza

Md. Shamim Reza

Hello there! This is Md. Shamim Reza. Working as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at ExcelDemy. We try to find simple & easy solutions to the problems that Excel users face every day. Our goal is to gather knowledge, find innovative solutions through them and make those solutions available for everybody. Stay with us & keep learning.

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