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Smartsheet vs Excel - Which One to Choose?

September 24, 2023 663 views

In the realm of data management, project planning, and task organization, the choice of the right tool can significantly impact your efficiency and productivity. Two prominent contenders in this space are Smartsheet and Excel. Both offer powerful capabilities, but they cater to different needs and workflows. This guide delves into the comparison between Smartsheet and Excel, aiming to assist you in making an informed choice. We'll explore the features, benefits, and ideal use cases for each tool, helping you determine which one aligns best with your specific requirements.

Part 1. Introduction of Smartsheet & Excel

1. What is Smartsheet

Smartsheet project management app is the flagship product of Smartsheet Inc. Smartsheet takes off from what a spreadsheet, such as Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, can do and turns it into a powerful project management app. With its flexibility and array of features, Smartsheet empowers individuals and teams to streamline their workflows, automate processes, and achieve their goals efficiently. Whether you're managing complex projects, tracking budgets, or orchestrating collaborative efforts, Smartsheet adapts to your needs, making it an indispensable tool for professionals across various industries.

2. What is Excel

Microsoft Excel stands as one of the most prevalent and powerful spreadsheet programs globally, a staple tool for businesses and individuals alike. Whether for financial modeling, statistical analysis, data representation through charts and graphs, or creating complex formulas, Excel is a versatile platform trusted by professionals in finance, engineering, education, and numerous other fields. Over the years, Excel has continued to evolve and introduce new features, making it an indispensable tool for businesses, professionals, students, and individuals for tasks ranging from basic data entry and calculation to complex financial modeling and data visualization.

Part 2. Compare Smartsheet with Excel

Features:

Smartsheet:

  • Grid View: Structured like a spreadsheet for easy data organization.

  • Gantt Charts: Interactive timelines for project management.

  • Card View: Kanban-style view for task management.

  • Automation: Automate repetitive tasks and workflows.

  • Collaboration: Real-time collaboration, file sharing, and @mentions.

  • Forms: Create web forms to collect data.

  • Reporting and Dashboards: Customize reports and dashboards for insights.

Microsoft Excel:

  • Grid Interface: Traditional spreadsheet format for data entry and calculation.

  • Formulas and Functions: Extensive library of functions for data analysis.

  • Charts and Graphs: Various chart types for data visualization.

  • Data Analysis Tools: Pivot tables, sorting, filtering, and data analysis functions.

  • Conditional Formatting: Format cells based on specific conditions.

  • Integration: Seamless integration with other Microsoft Office applications.

Price:

Smartsheet:

  • Offers a free trial.

  • Paid plans start at $14 per user per month (billed annually).

Microsoft Excel:

  • Part of the Microsoft Office suite, which is available through a subscription model (Microsoft 365) or a one-time purchase (Office Home & Student).

Pros and Cons:

Smartsheet:

Pros:

  • Great for project management and collaboration.

  • Offers automation and workflow capabilities.

  • Real-time updates and notifications.

  • Easy to use for non-technical users.

  • Cloud-based, allowing for accessibility from anywhere.

Cons:

  • Cost can be a factor, especially for larger teams.

  • Might have a learning curve for complex use cases.

Microsoft Excel:

Pros:

  • Versatile and widely used spreadsheet software.

  • Excellent for data analysis and complex calculations.

  • Extensive customization options.

  • Integration with other Microsoft Office apps.

  • Offline use is possible.

Cons:

  • Limited collaboration features compared to cloud-based platforms.

  • Steeper learning curve for complex functions and features.

  • Large data sets can slow down performance.

Support Devices:

Smartsheet:

  • Web-based platform, accessible on various web browsers.

  • Mobile apps available for iOS and Android devices.

Excel:

  • Desktop application available for Windows and macOS.

  • Web version accessible through web browsers.

  • Mobile apps available for iOS and Android devices.

Part 3. How to Download and Install Smartsheet & Excel

How to Download and Install Smartsheet

Smartsheet offers both free and paid versions of its powerful project management and collaboration software. In this step-by-step tutorial, we'll guide you through the process of downloading and installing Smartsheet's free version on your desktop.

Step 1: Go to the Smartsheet website https://www.smartsheet.com/platform/desktop-app.

Step 2: Click on the Download button on the sidebar to go directly to the official Smartsheet website.

Step 3: Click on the “Try Smartsheet for free” button to get started.

Step 4: Type in your work email address on the next page and fill out your details.

Step 5: Confirm your email address and create a password to start using your Smartsheet account right away. Your free trial gives you full access to Smartsheet for 30 days.

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How to Download and Install Excel

Step 1: Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/excel in your computer's web browser. You can use Excel for free for a month if you download the Office 365 free trial.

Step 2: Click Try for free for home -> Start your 1-month trial.

Step 3: Sign into your Microsoft account when prompted. Enter your email address and password to do so.

  • If you recently signed into your Microsoft account, you may not need to do this step.

Step 4: Sign up for the free trial. You'll need to provide a payment method before you can install Office. You can always cancel before your trial ends if you don't want to be charged.

  • Select a payment method.Click Credit card or debit card to add your card's information, or select one of the other options (e.g., PayPal) in the "Pick a payment method" section.

  • Enter your payment information.Fill out the payment information for your selected payment method. For a card, this will include your billing address, card number, card expiration date, and CVV.

  • If you selected a non-card method of paying, you'll need to follow the on-screen instructions to add your information.

  • Confirm your information is correct, then click Next.

  • If you used a non-card payment method, you may be prompted to enter your billing details before you can proceed.

  • Click Subscribe at the bottom of the page.

Step 5: Click Install. This is the blue button at the bottom of the page.

  • The setup will download to your computer.

Step 6: Install Office 365. Depending on your computer's operating system, this step will vary. Double-click the Office setup file, then do the following:

  • Windows: Click Yes when prompted, then wait for Office to finish installing. You'll click Close when prompted to finalize the installation.

  • Mac: Click Continue → Continue → Agree → Continue → Install → enter your Mac's password → Install Software → Close when prompted.

Step 7: Cancel your trial before you get charged. If you don't want to be billed for a year of Office 365 a month from now, do the following:

  • Go to https://account.microsoft.com/services/ and log in if prompted.

  • Scroll down and click Payment & billing under the "Office 365" heading.

  • Click Cancel on the right side of the page.

  • Click Confirm cancellation when prompted.

Part 4. Best Free Alternative to Smartsheet & Excel - WPS Spreadsheet

WPS Office is a modernized and powerful suite of office tools designed to cater to the diverse needs of users.

WPS Office offers a range of compelling advantages. First and foremost, it provides users with free access to essential productivity tools, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, along with a robust PDF toolkit, enhancing cost-effective productivity. Additionally, its extensive library of templates simplifies document creation, catering to various needs, from business reports to event planning. WPS Office stands out with its feature-rich environment, enabling advanced word processing, spreadsheet analysis, and dynamic presentations. Despite its comprehensive features, it remains lightweight, ensuring smooth performance on diverse devices without overburdening system resources. Moreover, its support for online documents facilitates seamless collaboration on cloud-stored files, promoting efficient teamwork, all while prioritizing document security and system stability to create a secure and reliable workspace for users

FAQs

1. Can I import data from Excel into Smartsheet?

Yes, you can import data from Excel into Smartsheet. Smartsheet provides several options for importing data from Excel to make the process as seamless as possible.

2. Can I use both Smartsheet and Excel together?

Yes, you can use both tools together. You can import data from Excel into Smartsheet for project tracking or analysis. Smartsheet also offers integration options to work with Excel files.

3. When should I choose Smartsheet over Excel?

Choose Smartsheet when you need collaborative project management, automation, and real-time updates. It's ideal for teams working on complex projects and tasks that require tracking, timelines, and collaboration.

4. When should I choose Excel over Smartsheet?

Choose Excel when your primary needs involve data analysis, complex calculations, and creating intricate spreadsheets. Excel is also suitable for individual users who do not require collaboration features.

Summary

Excel excels at data analysis and calculations, making it indispensable for number-crunching tasks. Smartsheet, on the other hand, is tailored for project management and collaboration, with features like Gantt charts and workflow automation. Now, WPS Office bridges the gap, offering a versatile suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools, making it an attractive middle ground for those who require both spreadsheet capabilities and document processing within one platform. In conclusion, your choice between Smartsheet, Excel, and WPS Office should be guided by your specific needs. However, if you're looking for a versatile solution that combines spreadsheet capabilities with document processing, WPS Office is a valuable option that provides the best of both worlds.

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