Google Sheets vs. Microsoft Excel: Which One Is Better For You?

December 5, 2023 531 views

The comparison between Microsoft Excel and Google sheets is a very complex chapter.  Both powerhouses boast distinct functionalities, and what resonates for one user may not for another. This article provides a detailed exploration of Google Sheets vs. Excel, guiding you through the nuances and aiding in your decision-making process. Explore thoroughly to ensure your choice aligns seamlessly with your specific needs.

An Overview of Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel:

Excel is a spreadsheet program designed by Microsoft, forming an integral part of the Office product group for business applications. It serves as a powerful tool for formatting, organizing, and calculating data within a spreadsheet. With a grid structure of cells arranged in rows and columns, Excel facilitates efficient data management and manipulation.

As part of the Microsoft Office and Office 365 suites, Excel is compatible with various applications and is accessible across Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS platforms. Commonly employed in business analysis, human resource management, operations, and performance reporting, Excel offers a diverse set of features, including graphing tools, pivot tables, formulas, and a macro programming language known as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

Some major features of Excel include as:

  • Advanced Calculations: Excel enables users to perform complex calculations using a variety of formulas.

  • Customization: Users can tailor Excel's interface with features like Quick Access Toolbar.

  • Integration: As part of Microsoft 365, Excel integrates seamlessly with other Office applications.

  • Programming Capability: Excel utilizes Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) for automation and custom functions.

Google Sheets:

Google Sheets, developed by Google, is a web-based spreadsheet program designed for versatile data organization and analysis. Launched in 2006, it operates within web browsers, providing a user-friendly interface for managing data through columns and rows, performing mathematical functions, and creating visuals.

Google Sheets finds extensive use in various applications such as analysis, data entry, accounting, budgeting, financial modeling, and more. Its popularity stems from its ease of learning, high skill ceiling allowing for advanced tasks, and broad community support. With continuous support and updates from Google, Google Sheets stands as one of the world's most widely used spreadsheet programs.

Users choose Google Sheets for its adaptability in both professional and personal scenarios, from work-related data analysis to creating family budgets. The platform's collaborative features, templates, and frameworks contribute to its widespread adoption, making it a reliable choice for beginners and advanced users alike.

Some features of Google Sheet include as:

  • Versatility: Google Sheets supports a range of applications from data entry to financial modeling.

  • Ease of Use: Known for its user-friendly interface, it's easy for beginners yet offers advanced capabilities.

  • Collaboration: With real-time collaboration, multiple users can work simultaneously on the same sheet.

  • Continuous Support: Regular updates and support from Google ensure a reliable and up-to-date experience.

Pricing Plans of Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel

Google Sheets:

Free Plan:

  • Ideal for individual use and small businesses.

  • Basic features for free.

  • Available as part of Google Workspace.

Google Workspace Business Plans:

  1. For business use, offering enhanced features.

  2. Paid plans start at $6/user/month.

  3. Includes 30GB cloud storage/user, custom business email, video meetings, security settings, and priority support.

  4. Various plans available based on business needs.

Microsoft Excel:

Microsoft 365 Business Plans:

Subscription-based plans with various tiers.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: Starting at $6.00/user/month.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: Starting at $12.50/user/month.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: Starting at $22.00/user/month.

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business: Starting at $8.25/user/month.

Offers web/mobile Office apps, cloud storage, security, and support.

Standalone Microsoft Excel:

  • One-time purchase at $159.99.

  • Standalone version for PC or Mac.

  • Includes Excel for 1 PC or Mac.

  • Compatible with Windows 11, Windows 10, or macOS.

Pros and Cons of Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel

Google Sheets:


  • Collaboration: Seamless real-time collaboration across devices.

  • Accessibility: Online and offline access without glitches.

  • Integration: Easily integrates with other Google apps.

  • Free Updates: Free and immediate updates to users.

  • Cost: Free for individual users; affordable business plans.


  • Data Analysis: Limited advanced data analysis features.

  • Visualization: Basic data visualization capabilities.

  • Automation: Limited automation options compared to Excel.

Microsoft Excel:


  • Functionality: Powerful tools for advanced data analysis.

  • Customization: Tailor the Quick Access toolbar to specific needs.

  • Advanced Features: Offers a variety of advanced feature add-ins.

  • Data Analysis: Robust formulas and features for complex calculations.

  • Automation: Superior automation capabilities with VBA.


  • Collaboration: Real-time collaboration is not as seamless as Google Sheets.

  • Access: Offline access requires specific saving on OneDrive or SharePoint.

  • Cost: Requires subscription for full features; can be expensive.

Google Sheets vs. Microsoft Excel: Which One to Choose?


Google Sheets

Microsoft Excel


Access online and offline from any device

Cloud-based with Google account sync

Machine learning-enabled "Explore" feature

Advanced data analysis and documentation

Customizable Quick Access toolbar, add-ins

Macro programming language (VBA)


Seamless real-time collaboration

Team members can work on the same sheet simultaneously

Requires saving on OneDrive or SharePoint for collaboration

Data Analysis & Visualization

Basic charts and graphs

Powerful data analysis, pivot charts, Formulas feature


Extensive list of formulas

Wide array of advanced formulas, including conditional formatting

Flowcharts and Charting

More chart types than Excel

Easy flowcharts, limited chart options


Uses Google Apps Script for automation

Uses VBA for automation


Free, immediate updates

Updates through version upgrades or MS 365 subscription


Free for individual users

Various MS 365 plans for personal and business use

In the ongoing tussle between Google Sheets and Excel, the better choice boils down to your unique needs. Google Sheets takes the lead with its fantastic real-time collaboration features, making it a top pick for teams and budget-conscious individuals. Its user-friendly interface, seamless integration with other Google apps, and complimentary updates add to its allure.

On the other side, Excel is the go-to powerhouse for in-depth data analysis and customization enthusiasts. With advanced formulas, a plethora of feature add-ins, and robust automation through VBA, Excel is the tool of choice for intricate calculations. While Google Sheets wins for collaboration and affordability, Excel triumphs in functionality and sophistication, letting you tailor your choice based on your specific needs.

Best Free Alternative to Google Sheets and Excel - WPS Spreadsheet

In the ongoing debate over the superiority of spreadsheet tools, the clash between Google Sheets and Excel persists. Each has its strengths, but amidst the discussion, WPS Office Spreadsheet emerges as a noteworthy alternative. Offering a seamless user experience, WPS Spreadsheet stands out with its remarkable features. It is a free-to-download and free-to-use application, ensuring accessibility for all. Boasting full compatibility with Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, it ensures a smooth transition for users.

The inclusion of free PDF editing tools, a treasure trove of delicate office templates in the built-in WPS Template Library, and support for online documents make WPS Spreadsheet a compelling choice. Moreover, it serves as an excellent free alternative to Google Docs. Besides that, WPS AI enhances the overall WPS Office experience by providing advanced features such as document analysis, efficient formatting, and intelligent content recommendations. Elevate your spreadsheet endeavors with WPS Spreadsheet's user-friendly interface and feature-rich environment.

How to Install WPS Office for Free

Step 1: To embark on your journey, open the WPS Office website on your computer.

Step 2: Click the "Free Download" button on the WPS Office homepage to download the software.

Step 3: Venture into your downloads directory and seek out the "wps_wid.exe" file. Upon locating it, double-click it to embark on the installation process for WPS Office.

Step 4: To install WPS Office, check the box next to the terms and conditions and then click the "Install Now".

Step 5: Once WPS Office is successfully installed, it will automatically launch, allowing you to start using its comprehensive suite of productivity tools right away.

How to Edit a Worksheet in WPS Spreadsheet

Step 1: Initiate WPS Office and proceed to the sidebar menu. From there, identify and click the "New" option.

Step 2: For creating a new sheet, choose "Sheet" from the options and then select "Blank". Alternatively, users can opt for the pre-designed templates conveniently located in the interface.

Step 3: Fill in the appropriate cells of the spreadsheet with the desired data.

Step 4: Enhance the appearance of cells by employing the formatting tools accessible within the toolbar.

step 5: Organize data by sorting, filtering, or emphasizing specific cells as needed.

Step 6: Restructure the document's layout by employing a range of formatting choices, encompassing font size modifications, color applications, and text alignment adjustments.

Step 7: Craft calculations, encompassing totals and averages, with the aid of formulas.


Q1. What can excel do that google sheets can’t?

Google Sheets lacks some features that Excel offers:

  • Processing Power: Excel can manage larger and more intricate data sets. Google Sheets lacks a fast processing speed in comparison.

  • Data Visualization: Excel provides more options and flexibility for creating charts and graphics, like intricate trendline options for in-depth data representation.

  • Formulas: Excel has a broader range of built-in functions, especially for advanced statistical tests and data analysis. For example, it has built-in features for complex financial modeling.

  • Business Intelligence Tools: Excel features Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power BI, enabling users to import, manipulate, and analyze data from various sources.

  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Excel possesses more keyboard shortcuts for formatting and filtering data, including shortcuts that Google Sheets lacks.

These differences highlight the varied capabilities, and the choice between Excel and Google Sheets depends on specific user needs and preferences.

Q2. How to use Excel for free?

You can use Excel online for free by signing up for a Microsoft account and accessing Excel on the Microsoft 365 website. Here is how you can do it:

Step 1: Open your web browser and visit the Microsoft 365 website.

Step 2: Sign in using your Microsoft account credentials or create a new account if needed.

Step 3: Upon successful sign-in, navigate to the profile icon located at the top right. Select "My Microsoft Account" to access your Microsoft dashboard.

Step 4: Next, click on the main menu situated at the top left corner. Subsequently, select "Excel" to launch Excel Online.

Step 5: Begin utilizing Excel Online to create, edit, and save files seamlessly, all at no cost.

Q3. Which spreadsheet tool, Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, is better for your specific needs?

Users can decide wisely between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel by considering their unique requirements. If you are working with a team and prefer a simple, no-cost solution, Google Sheets is the way to go, especially with its collaborative features. On the other hand, if you're working solo and need advanced data analysis tools, Excel is your best choice. Therefore, consider aspects such as collaboration requirements, data complexity, and budget constraints to identify the most suitable solution for your tasks.

Choosing Your Spreadsheet Tool

After a comprehensive comparison between Google Sheets and Excel, the choice ultimately hinges on individual preferences and specific needs. Google Sheets excels in seamless collaboration and real-time updates, while Excel stands out for advanced data analysis and visualization. However, it's crucial to consider WPS Office Spreadsheet as a noteworthy alternative, offering a user-friendly interface, compatibility with various file formats, and enhanced productivity. Experience the benefits of WPS Office Spreadsheet – download now and elevate your spreadsheet tasks with ease.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.