Best spreadsheet software options
Regardless of whether you work in financial services, real estate, healthcare, or any industry in between, there’s a good chance you use spreadsheets daily.
The basics of spreadsheet software
By helping you organize, store, and analyze data, spreadsheets help you stay organized and productive. Most importantly, they can help you keep your numbers and forecasts accurate and definitive — which is especially critical as your business grows.
Types of spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are highly flexible tools that can help you do everything from generate reports to create budgets, and anything in between. The best spreadsheet software can not only help you capture and manage thousands of data sets, but it can also help you
- Set, track, and attain goals
- Build a visual presentation of your data
- Plan for the future and improve your decision-making processes
Whether you’re on the hunt for a free tool to stay organized or you’re looking for a top-notch solution that offers more than just traditional spreadsheet capabilities, we’ve compiled 13 of the best spreadsheet software options on the market to help you find an option that works for you.
The best spreadsheet software tools to try
1. Jotform Tables
Jotform Tables is an all-in-one spreadsheet-database tool that lets you collect, manage, and share your data from one centralized location. You can sync responses from connected online forms, import existing data (like from a CSV or Excel file), or manually add new entries into Jotform Tables.
Jotform Tables is a collaborative spreadsheet software solution that allows you to customize access settings, assign entries to teammates, and even send data to other platforms to optimize project management and communication.
Pros: It’s highly customizable, code-free, user-friendly, and powerful.
Cons: The free version has a lower limit on the number of forms and submissions you can have.
Pricing: Plans include the free Starter plan (up to five forms), Bronze ($34/month), Silver ($39/month), Gold ($99/month), and Enterprise (custom pricing).
Just so you know
When a spreadsheet isn’t enough, use Jotform Tables to collect and manage information online.
2. Microsoft Excel
On the market since 1987, Microsoft Excel has become one of the most popular spreadsheet software options — offering a wide variety of functions and features in addition to different ways to visualize data.
While the Excel interface is simple enough for even elementary school students to use, the program has also pioneered cutting-edge filters and formulas to sift through massive data sets. Add in the customizability of its Quick Access Toolbar to pin your most-used functions and the availability to collaborate with other users seamlessly, and you can see why Excel is one of the best spreadsheet software solutions.
Pros: It’s efficient, collaborative, and well known.
Cons: It’s not the most scalable spreadsheet software option. It’s difficult to troubleshoot and vulnerable to viruses, and it can be slow at times.
Pricing: You can purchase Excel as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription starting at $6 per month per user for businesses or $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month for individuals.
3. Apple Numbers
If you’re an Apple customer, you’re probably familiar with Numbers, the free spreadsheet application that comes preinstalled on Macs. A key factor that makes Numbers one of the best spreadsheet software options is its clean, modern interface. Unlike Excel, Numbers loads as an infinite blank canvas that allows you to insert and place data tables wherever you want, including side by side.
Numbers also comes fully equipped with custom templates to help you quickly execute common tasks.
Pros: It delivers powerful data security, enables offline collaboration, and offers sophisticated design for charts and graphs.
Cons: It’s only compatible with Apple products, and it’s less user-friendly compared to other spreadsheet software options.
Pricing: The software is free for Mac users.
4. Google Sheets
Google Sheets, which only requires a Google account to access, offers real-time collaboration capability, commenting, and version history to accurately track progress between contributors.
Google Sheets syncs with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) apps like Google Analytics and Google Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) and can populate a spreadsheet with data pulled from Google Forms.
In addition to its collaborative features, Google Sheets also comes fully equipped with a slew of both mathematical and logical functions. Even better, it’s available on the web as well as on apps for Android and iOS systems, making it one of the most easily accessible software options.
Pros: It delivers easy sharing capabilities, real-time editing, built-in intelligence features like Smart Fill and formula suggestions, and industry-leading security measures.
Cons: It can be slow at times — especially if you’re working with a lot of data. Its design capabilities for creating charts and graphs are fairly basic.
Pricing: Plans include Personal (free, up to 15 GB per user) and Business Standard ($12/user/month, up to 2 TB per user).
Quip is a unique productivity tool that combines spreadsheets, documents, and team chat in one app. While it’s been around since 2012, Salesforce acquired it in 2016, and the tool features the flexibility and customization options most have come to expect from Salesforce. For instance, you can toggle between document and spreadsheet layouts as you work.
Quip also boasts more than 400 built-in functions and offers keyboard shortcuts for most menu items, such as selecting a row, column, or data range.
Pros: It’s adaptable, straightforward, collaborative, and highly secure.
Cons: There are limited formatting controls. It’s difficult to navigate, requires a consistent internet connection, and isn’t the best on mobile.
Pricing: Plans include Quip Starter ($10/user/month), Quip Plus ($25/user/month), and Quip Advanced ($100/user/month).
If you’re on the hunt for something slightly less cumbersome than traditional spreadsheet software, EtherCalc might work for you.
Similar to Google Sheets, EtherCalc is free, web-based software. However, it doesn’t require an account to use. Simply visit the EtherCalc website to generate a new sheet with a unique URL, which you can then copy, paste, and share for edits and brainstorming sessions.
Pros: It’s simple to use and easy to access and share.
Cons: It requires internet access, offers limited functions compared to other spreadsheet solutions, and is very outdated.
Pricing: It’s free to use.
7. Zoho Sheets
This list of best spreadsheet software wouldn’t be complete without Zoho Sheet, another cloud-based Google Sheets alternative.
Zoho Sheet far surpasses Google Sheets, though, in terms of features, packing in more than 350 predefined functions. Some additional features include pivot tables, conditional formatting, and data validation. You can even incorporate data from external sources with a click of a button.
Pros: It’s multilingual, adaptable, and compatible with any device, and has its own mobile app.
Cons: It can be slow at times and has a complex interface.
Pricing: It’s free to use.
If you’re looking for a free alternative to Excel that runs on your computer as opposed to through the web, LibreOffice is a solid option. While it lacks some collaborative capabilities, LibreOffice’s management of large data sets makes it an ideal choice for someone who needs to handle massive amounts of information on a budget.
LibreOffice also has about 300 functions and includes the DataPilot tool, which allows you to aggregate raw data and repurpose it in your spreadsheets.
Pros: It’s fast, flexible, and compatible with Microsoft Office products.
Cons: It’s somewhat cumbersome and lacks integrations, and the interface can be confusing.
Pricing: It’s free to use.
9. Apache OpenOffice Calc
Initially released in 2000, Apache OpenOffice Calc was designed as an open-source alternative to Microsoft Excel. OpenOffice.org donated it to the Apache Software Foundation in 2011, which has recently made an effort to modernize the software.
Some key features include the Scenario Manager for “what if” calculations and natural language formulas. This free software is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.
Pros: It’s easy to learn and flexible, and it uses natural language to generate formulas. It’s also collaborative.
Cons: It’s outdated and especially slow for large or complex documents. It also lacks some popular functions.
Pricing: It’s free to use.
Sign up for a free Jotform account to create powerful online forms in minutes — with no coding required.
If improved project management and team collaboration are two of your goals, you can’t go wrong with Smartsheet.
With Smartsheet, you can customize an existing project management template to create timelines and Gantt charts, monitor the status of specific tasks with a kanban view, and use the reminders tool to nudge a team member to approve or edit a piece.
Smartsheet boasts seamless connectivity with other productivity-boosting apps like Google Workspace, Dropbox, Slack, and OneDrive — as well as collaboration with external users like clients or investors — so it’s no surprise Smartsheet is one of the best spreadsheet software platforms out there.
Pros: It delivers enterprise-grade security. It’s scalable and it provides a centralized interface for projects and data.
Cons: Some reviewers report it has poor customer support, is difficult to navigate and slow. It includes fewer formulas than other spreadsheet software.
Pricing: There are four plan options: Free for one user, Pro ($7/user/month), Business ($25/user/month), and Enterprise (custom pricing).
Complete with templates and tutorials, Airtable is like Google Sheets 2.0. This modern, well-designed platform is geared toward improving productivity — offering features and templates that include a project tracker, a content calendar, a product planning tool, and a sales customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Airtable has all the features you’ve come to expect from a dynamic spreadsheet solution — like the ability to create pivot tables and graphs, use formulas, and summarize values — along with plenty of project management and collaboration features. (Pro tip: If you use Jotform, you can use the Airtable integration.)
Pros: It’s agile, scalable, intuitive, and fast, and it offers powerful data protection.
Cons: Some reviewers report it has limited customization options and minimal reporting tools.
Pricing: Plans include a free option (up to five creators or editors), as well as Plus ($10/seat/month), Pro ($20/seat/month), and Enterprise (custom pricing) options.
Stackby is a collaborative spreadsheet-database tool that enables you to create workflows for specific needs. It combines the practicality of a spreadsheet interface with the comprehensiveness of a database in a customizable platform.
You don’t need to know how to code to use Stackby. It automates workflows via third-party services like YouTube, Google products, Mailchimp, and Facebook. While Stackby is as easy to use as a spreadsheet, it’s much more versatile, offering various capabilities that make it a robust solution.
Pros: It’s highly collaborative, easy to use, flexible, and customizable, and it delivers great customer support.
Cons: Some reviewers report that it’s difficult to learn to use.
Pricing: Plans include a free option (up to 10 stacks), as well as Personal ($5/seat/month), Economy ($9/seat/month), Business ($18/seat/month), and Enterprise (custom pricing).
SeaTable is an online database with an enhanced spreadsheet interface. Unlike Excel, however, with SeaTable, you don’t have to use just one type of data. In addition to standard data types like text, numbers, and dates, SeaTable allows you to upload images and other files.
Though SeaTable looks like a spreadsheet, it provides a flexible solution that brings all of your information into a single database. By applying various filtering and sorting features, you can create multiple views for different needs.
SeaTable is a real-time collaboration tool that enables different teams to work on the same spreadsheet and access all the data they need.
Pros: It’s simple, adaptable, and efficient, and it delivers responsive customer support.
Cons: It’s hard to set up. It can be slow at times, and it offers limited formula options.
Pricing: SeaTable offers four plans: free, Plus (€7/user/month), Enterprise (€14/user/month), or Dedicated Cloud (custom pricing).
While it may be hard to choose just one of these spreadsheet platforms, you really can’t go wrong with any of them. The best way to decide which is right for you is to identify your needs, wants, and expectations from a spreadsheet solution and determine your short- and long-term growth goals. Then, you can compare and contrast those elements against this list of 13 best spreadsheet software solutions and find the right one for your organization.
This article says last updated Jan '23, but the Zoho summary needs to be updated--the phrase “far exceeds” requires further substantiation. As of April 2023, from Zoho's own site, the number of functions is far less than 350 at just under 200 (199) and Google Sheets is now over 500.
For anyone interested, GSheets passed Excel as far as number of functions in 2018 (491 to 488), but Excel is back on top in 2023 with 504 to 502 at last count. Of those, Excel has 65 unique functions not found in Sheets, which has 62 unique to it, demonstrating the comparable function capabilities. Form integration, Arrayformula(), and ease of use (simple things like reordering columns) are some things that Sheets.....excels at (pun intended).