Excel vs google sheets: Detailed Comparison

Gyansetu Team Business/Data Analytics

Excel vs Google Sheets is another never-ending debate, along with Kanye west vs Taylor swift, and Cheetos vs Doritos; you just can’t decide which one is better. So, we are here to help you choose between Excel and Google Sheets. 

Read further for a detailed guide with everything you need about Excel vs Google Sheets. 

What is Excel?

Excel is one of the most used spreadsheet programs that is built and maintained by a billion-dollar tech company, Microsoft. It was initially used for Data entry purposes and revolutionized the data storage and entry field. Excel has a set of rows and columns where data can either be entered or represented. The later versions of Excel added more features that helped the users to personify more functions and operations on the data through formulas. Formula bars dramatically altered the speed and efficiency of data handling. 

MS Excel was later used to create reports, handy slips, and several data-related tasks such as accounting, estimating weekly or monthly expenses, etc. MS Excel has also been used for data analytics and various complex data-related jobs in the past few years. Excel is also used as a database. 

The picture below represents the interface of the MS Excel worksheet. You can see this screen when you first create a new workbook.  

https://static.javatpoint.com/ms/excel/images/excel-vs-google-sheets2.png

A spreadsheet consists of the following elements: 

  1. Cell: Each box in a spreadsheet is known as a cell.
  2. Row: Horizontal cells are called Rows.
  3. Column: Vertical blocks of cells are called Columns. 
  4. Row Header: The row at the top of the spreadsheet indicates the row number.
  5. Column Header: The column at the top of the spreadsheet indicates the column number.
  6. Formula Bar: The bar is where the formula is written.
  7. Selected cell: The cell that is selected by the user is highlighted with a bold outline, and the row and column number are shown in the selected cell.

Pros of MS Excel:

  1. One can represent data in graphs and pie charts, making it easy to understand the numbers.
  2. It is easy to perform calculations. 
  3. One of the great tools for data analysis.
  4. Simple, easy, and efficient way for data entry, storage, and printing. 
  5. Easy to generate reports. 
  6. So many free templates save a lot of time. 
  7. Easy to automate simple tasks with code. 

Cons of MS Excel:

  1. Lack of control and security
  2. Proneness to human error
  3. Hard to consolidate Excel data
  4. Not suitable for agile business practices
  5. Inability to facilitate quick decision-making
  6. Not designed for collaborative work
  7. Difficult to troubleshoot or test Excel
  8. Vulnerability to fraud/corruption
  9. Difficulty managing advanced pricing rules
  10. Unfit for agile business practices

What is Google Sheets?

Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet application that allows users to create, edit, and share spreadsheets online in real-time. Some of its features include adding, deleting and sorting rows and columns and allowing multiple users to collaborate on a single spreadsheet simultaneously. This collaboration is made possible by a built-in instant messaging program enabling users to communicate as they work.

Users can upload spreadsheets directly from their computers or mobile devices, and the application automatically saves every change made. This feature ensures that all users have access to the most recent version of the spreadsheet.

Google Sheets is part of the Google Docs Editors suite, which includes other free web applications such as Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites, and Google Keep.

The image below represents the layout of google sheets when you create a new workbook on google sheets

https://static.javatpoint.com/ms/excel/images/excel-vs-google-sheets3.png

 

The user interface is similar to that of MS Excel.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface: Google Sheets is easy to use and navigate, making it accessible to users with varying degrees of expertise.
  • Free to use: One of the most significant advantages of Google Sheets is that it is entirely free, unlike other spreadsheet software that may require a subscription or license fee.
  • Real-time revision history: Google Sheets features an inbuilt revision history that allows users to track changes made to a spreadsheet in real-time, along with chat support for better collaboration.
  • Integration with Google: Google Sheets seamlessly integrates with other Google products such as Docs, Slides, and Forms, enabling users to work more efficiently.
  • Better sharing support: Sharing spreadsheets on Google Sheets is hassle-free, with no version compatibility issues, making it ideal for remote teams.
  • Add-ons support: Google Sheets supports a wide range of add-ons that can help users perform advanced functions and automate repetitive tasks.

Cons:

  • Slower performance: Google Sheets may become slow when working with vast amounts of data, impacting productivity and causing frustration.
  • Limited formulae and functions: Compared to other spreadsheet software, Google Sheets offers fewer formulae and functions, which may restrict its use in certain scenarios.
  • Limited data visualization options: Google Sheets has limited options for customizing data visualization, which may not meet the requirements of some users.

As you are now aware of the details of Excel and google sheets, you know this isn’t enough to pick a side between Excel and Google Sheets. Therefore, refer to the below table for a detailed comparison. 

 

Category Microsoft Excel Google Sheets
Developed by Microsoft Corporation Google LLC
Launched as a pack of MS Office G Suite
Launching Year 1987 2006
Languages supported 91 83
Performance Great for a high volume of data Great for low volumes of data (less than 400,000)
Collaboration Not favorable for collaboration Preferred application for collaboration
Tools for analysis Superior product for statistical analysis Requires manual analysis
Online offline usage Can be used in offline mode Can be used in both online and offline mode
Chatting facilities No Available on the sidebars
Macros Yes No
Scripting VBA Apps Script
Price $8.25/users/month Free for individuals, $5/user/month for business
Cloud Drive OneDrive Google Drive

 

Comparing speed, storage, and collaboration feature:

 

Speed

No doubt, Microsoft Excel is better when it comes to speed and efficiency. As per the usage, the processing speed of Microsoft Excel is faster compared to Google Sheets. Therefore, you should consider Excel sheets if you have a large amount of data with more than 5000-10000 rows. However, both Sheets and Excel slow down when they reach their maximum capacity. What’s more, if you need collaboration on a spreadsheet, Google Sheets are convenient and quick.

Storage/Capacity

The amount of data you’re working with plays a significant role in deciding which spreadsheet software is best for you. If you’re working with large data, you should go with Excel. The cell limits are around 7,000,000 for Google Sheets and 17,179,869,184 for Excel. Therefore, if you need to analyze or go through more than five million cells, you will need to use Microsoft Excel. Five million is more than sufficient for most of us for day-to-day use. However, if you’re running global campaigns and want to fill data quickly, you should consider getting started with Google Sheets.

Collaborations

If you’re managing a marketing firm or responsible for marketing reporting, you will have to share the sheets with the internal team and clients. When it comes to collaborations, Google Sheets offer more flexibility and ease of use compared to Microsoft Excel. Google Sheets come with real-time collaborations, making changes directly within the sheets easy. Moreover, you can check the changes’ history and assign different levels of access to the sheets such as – view, commenter, and editor.

On the other hand, Excel comes with an online version that allows you to share the sheet using OneDrive and provide access to others. However, it doesn’t feel flexible as many people use the Excel desktop version, and they will get an email for collaboration.

The major problem from both the world.

Excel’s lack of keeping up with the business world:

The modern business world is undergoing significant changes that are transforming and redefining the corporate landscape. These changes are also evident in the insurance industry, where large-scale business transformation programs, mergers and acquisitions, and management buyouts are becoming increasingly common. In such programs, reinsurance spreadsheets are often highly personalized to each user’s needs and preferences.

However, this high level of customization creates significant challenges when a new person takes over as part of a corporate transition. The spreadsheets may be so customized that the new person will have to start from scratch and develop their version. Unlike a system, spreadsheet users do not have a manual to guide them on how to use the functions of the spreadsheet, resulting in significant productivity inefficiencies.

Moreover, this situation again exposes the data to errors if a new worker is left guessing what to do. Therefore, businesses need to adopt standardized spreadsheet practices to avoid such inefficiencies and ensure seamless transitions during times of corporate change.

Cell number and size limitation problem in Google sheets:

The primary constraint for Google Sheets is its limit on the number of cells. Both new and converted documents are restricted to 10,000,000 cells, which means that having 1,000,000 cells in each tab would result in a limit of 10 tabs, regardless of the actual tab limit. As a result, working with large amounts of data becomes challenging, and the sheet slows down considerably. Therefore, it is important to consider this limit when dealing with large data sets.

In addition, Google Sheets limits each cell to a maximum of 50,000 characters. A warning message will appear if you attempt to paste more than 50,000 characters into a cell. However, if you import data that exceeds the character limit, the cells that exceed the limit will be skipped, resulting in potential data loss. Therefore, if you work with extensive numbers or strings, it is essential to ensure that no cell contains more than 50,000 characters to avoid any loss of data.

Which One Is Superior In 2023?

Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel share similarities, but choosing the right one depends on your needs. Use Google Sheets to work with small data sets and collaborate with others. If you work with big data and need to analyze it in detail, use Microsoft Excel. Which one will you choose?

The bottom line.

There is a great divide when it comes to the comparison of Google Sheets and Excel, with many holding strong opinions on either side. While Google Sheets is playing catchup to Excel, it is doing a commendable job. The competition is neck-and-neck, with the design features being the deciding factor.

Google Sheets offers online collaboration, storage, and backup, while Excel provides offline dependability, muscle power, and a wider range of formulas. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on which features are more important for the user. For example, if collaboration is a priority, Google Sheets may be the better option, while those in need of more powerful tools may prefer Excel.

Gyansetu Team

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