When Excel first hit the market, businesses flocked to use it for their management needs. But it’s far from the only option. There are many free alternatives to Microsoft Excel you should know about.
Many people are so married to Excel they won’t consider other spreadsheets. Upon first glance, it seems like the perfect one-stop-shop for scheduling, accounting, compiling data, tracking sales and more. Tap or click here for three tips and tutorials that help you make the most out of Excel.
However, if you don’t use Microsoft Excel for its intended purpose — entering and storing data — you may be creating more problems. If you use Excel for timesheets, billing and capital resource management, it’s time for an upgrade. Try these free alternatives to Microsoft Excel.
1. Import your old Excel work to Spreadsheet.com
Customization is easy with this website. You can choose from a ton of templates to get whatever you need. Right off the bat, it’s a lot more versatile than Excel.
It’s handy for small business owners who need help with accounting. You can create your CRM system, plan for compensation, keep track of inventories and more. You can also connect data from different teams within your organization.
It’s a great one-stop-shop for your team. This project management tool has elements of both traditional spreadsheets and advanced databases like Basecamp or Trello.
Spreadsheet.com lets you play around and customize, too. You can drag and drop documents into different fields. You can even create thumbnails, rating systems and custom dropdown menus. It also lets you tag team members.
2. Smartsheet is another excellent, free alternative to Microsoft Excel
Here’s another tool that works like a spreadsheet and a project management tool. The designers behind it wanted to combat “spreadsheet hell.” They created a solution by making a tool with many functions.
This way, you can get everything done in one place. Although it looks like a traditional spreadsheet, it contains many helpful functions. Need help calculating numbers? You can use 84 formulas with this website.
Like the other tools on this list, Smartsheet is free. Well, free for the first 30 days. Once your trial runs out, subscriptions start at $7/month.
We recommend trying it out and seeing how you like it. If you still find it lacking, check out our sponsor, NetSuite. It’s a massive upgrade with countless features that will help any intelligent business owner. (More on that later.)
3. Work from your browser with Google Sheets
You don’t have to download anything to get the Excel experience. You can use Google Sheets, which works just like it. So if you want to move away from Excel but want a similar interface, this is a great option.
This online spreadsheet editor comes with 15GB of free storage. You can use it for years before using up all that space. So if you need a new resource for financial spreadsheets, we highly recommend it.
Once you run out of space, though, you can upgrade to paid financial software. We recommend our sponsor, Oracle Netsuite. More on that option later. For now, here are five valuable Google Sheets formulas everyone should know.
4. AirTable is another one of the best free alternatives to Microsoft Excel
When you ask a search engine, “Is there a free alternative to Microsoft Excel?” you’ll often find AirTable. Some say it’s the best free version of Excel. Others say this program is replacing Excel.
Maybe you should try it out first before believing the hype. This user-friendly Excel alternative is intuitive and flexible.
You can track your information from different angles, insert thumbnails, create custom interfaces and automate various processes. Plus, it connects with hundreds of apps, so you can integrate it with other programs you use every day.
5. Lastly, check out Zoho Sheet
Here’s another excellent option for small business owners. This great Microsoft Excel alternative lets you start in a snap. You just have to make an account and you can start using it from your browser.
This tool is a great way to work with colleagues since you can make edits, add comments, and start discussions in real-time. (And it’s inside your spreadsheet, making things easier to keep track of.)
It also protects your data with user-specific lock settings. Several functions, charts and extra features make collaborative data analysis a breeze. Best of all, it’s free for teams of 25 or fewer people.
Free alternatives to Microsoft Excel don’t come with all the bells and whistles, though
To make budgeting as quick and easy as possible, you’ll have to sign up for the big guns. Kim’s top pick is our sponsor Oracle NetSuite. It’s the world’s No. 1 cloud business system.
NetSuite gives you visibility and control over your financials, HR, inventory, e-commerce and more — all in one place — instantaneously. Whether you’re doing a million or hundreds of millions in revenue, save time and money with NetSuite. Join the more than 29,000 companies using NetSuite right now!