Excel Vs Google Sheets: Making an Informed Choice for Your Spreadsheet Needs

In today's digital age, spreadsheets have become an integral part of our professional and personal lives. Whether it's managing a budget, analyzing marketing data, or tracking inventory, spreadsheets have proven to be a vital tool for organizing, analyzing and sharing data. Two of the most widely used spreadsheet software available in the market today are Excel and Google Sheets.

While Excel has been a long-standing leader in the spreadsheet software industry, Google Sheets has made a strong push in recent years and gained a considerable share of the market. Both software offer unique features, benefits, and pricing models, making it challenging to choose the right one for your needs. However, understanding the key differences can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your spreadsheet requirements.

Key Takeaways:

  • Excel and Google Sheets are two popular spreadsheet software in the market.
  • Both software offer unique features and pricing models, which can make it challenging to choose one over the other.
  • Understanding the key differences can assist in making an informed decision that aligns with your spreadsheet needs.
  • Comparing factors such as pricing, features, accessibility, collaboration, data analysis, integrations, offline access, and privacy & security can help in making an informed decision.
  • Consider your specific requirements before making the final choice.


When it comes to pricing, Excel and Google Sheets offer different cost structures and subscription options.

Excel is a part of Microsoft Office and can be purchased as a standalone application or as part of an Office 365 subscription. The cost for the standalone version of Excel 2021 is $139.99, while a monthly subscription for Office 365 starts at $6.99 per month, with additional features and services included with higher-priced plans.

Google Sheets, on the other hand, is completely free for personal users and businesses with fewer than 100 users. For businesses with more than 100 users, a G Suite subscription is required, starting at $6 per user per month for the Basic plan and $12 per user per month for the Business plan, which includes additional features and support.

It's important to note that both Excel and Google Sheets offer a range of advanced features and integrations that may come with additional costs or subscriptions, depending on the users' needs.


Excel and Google Sheets are well-known spreadsheet software that possess different features, making them unique and suitable for specific tasks.


Excel offers a wide range of functions and helps to manage data and simplify calculations. Google Sheets is known for its sharing and remote collaboration functionalities, enabling multiple users to work on a single document in real-time.


Both programs offer various formulas to perform calculations. However, Excel's formula library is broader than Google Sheets, providing more flexibility and customization options.

Features Excel Google Sheets
Collaboration Tools Basic Advanced
Data Analysis Diverse Standard
Integrations Limited Abundant

Collaboration Tools

Google Sheets offers advanced collaboration tools, allowing multiple users to edit a document simultaneously and providing real-time chat functions. Excel, on the other hand, primarily offers basic collaboration tools, but its Microsoft Teams integration offers more advanced functionality.


Google Sheets has a variety of integrations with other Google apps and third-party services, whereas Excel's integrations are more limited. This gives Google Sheets an edge when it comes to providing more comprehensive solutions.

Overall, Excel and Google Sheets each offer unique features that cater to different needs. When choosing between the two, it is important to consider the specific requirements of your tasks to determine which software is best suited for your needs.


It is crucial to evaluate the accessibility of Excel and Google Sheets as users have different device requirements and usage preferences. Google Sheets is entirely web-based, whereas Microsoft Excel can be used online, desktop, and mobile versions. Microsoft Excel comes with readily accessible offline capabilities, while Google Sheets can work offline with a Chrome extension. Both applications are compatible with Windows and Mac devices. Google Sheets can also be used on Android and iOS systems, whereas Excel can be used on Windows, iOS, and Android.

"I prefer the offline capabilities of Excel for my business needs, whereas Google Sheets' web-based accessibility is useful for remote team collaborations."
-Mary Johnson, Business Analyst

User Interface

The user interface is a key factor in any software's usability, and Excel and Google Sheets are no exception. Both programs offer a range of features and design elements that can affect the user experience.

Excel's interface has maintained a consistent style over the years, with a ribbon layout that provides easy access to its functions and tools. While this interface may feel more traditional or familiar to some users, it can also come across as cluttered or overwhelming to others.

On the other hand, Google Sheets has a more modern design with a simple, minimalist layout that can be less intimidating for new users. Its toolbar is organized in a way that is easy to navigate and less likely to cause confusion. However, some seasoned users may find it more limiting or less customizable than Excel's interface.

In terms of navigation, Excel offers a wide range of keyboard shortcuts that can speed up the workflow for experienced users. Google Sheets, while also including keyboard shortcuts, may have fewer than Excel. However, Google Sheets does offer helpful features such as the Explore panel, which makes it easy to find relevant information and formatting tools quickly.

Excel vs. Google Sheets User Interface Comparison

Program User Interface Navigation Customizability
Excel Ribbon layout may feel cluttered, but provides easy access to functions and tools Offers a wide range of keyboard shortcuts for experienced users Highly customizable with ability to create personalized templates
Google Sheets Modern, minimalist design with simple toolbar Includes some keyboard shortcuts, but may have fewer than Excel Less customizable, but includes pre-made templates and easy formatting tools

Ultimately, the user interface of Excel and Google Sheets depends on personal preference and level of experience. While Excel may offer more customization options and keyboard shortcuts, Google Sheets' minimalist design and helpful features can make it an attractive option for new users or those who prefer a simplified approach.


Excel and Google Sheets provide a range of templates that can be used to streamline various processes, including budgeting, invoicing, and project management. However, there are some differences between templates available in Excel and Google Sheets that may affect which platform is best for your needs.

Excel Google Sheets
Excel templates are generally more complex and fully-featured than those available in Google Sheets. They often include macros and charts that can be customized to suit specific needs. Google Sheets templates are generally simpler and more limited than those available in Excel. However, they can be customized with ease, and many are available for free through the Google Sheets Template Gallery.
Excel templates often require a bit of technical know-how to use to their fullest potential. However, they provide a wide variety of options that can help users to create professional-grade spreadsheets more quickly and easily. Google Sheets templates are designed with ease of use in mind, making them ideal for those without advanced technical skills. They are also free and easily accessible from within the platform, which can be particularly convenient for small businesses or freelancers looking to get started quickly.

Overall, it's important to consider your level of technical skill and the specific needs of your project when deciding between Excel and Google Sheets templates.

Data Analysis

Excel and Google Sheets are both great spreadsheet tools to analyze data. They offer various statistical functions to calculate results in no time. While Excel has been a go-to for many users due to its advanced data analysis capabilities, Google Sheets holds its own with its robust charting options and Data Visualization tools.

Excel has over 100 built-in functions and formulas for statistical analysis. Users can create charts to visualize and compare data, and build pivot tables to summarize large data sets. Functions, such as AVERAGE, STDEV, and COUNTIF are popular and user-friendly. Plus, users can even use add-ins or create macros in Excel to enhance its data analysis capabilities further.

On the other hand, Google Sheets offers a wide range of charting options and customization capabilities. With features like Sparklines, users can visualize data trends directly in a cell. Google Sheets also allows chart embedding, making it simpler to share data analysis with others. Furthermore, users can create pivot tables, perform regression analysis, and extend their capabilities through various add-ons available on the Chrome Web Store.

While both offer unique strengths in data analysis, the choice between Excel and Google Sheets comes down to the user’s needs. Users looking for advanced data analysis capabilities may prefer Excel, whereas if users need to collaborate on and share charts, Google Sheets may be a better fit.


One of the most critical factors in choosing a spreadsheet program is its collaboration abilities. Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets both offer real-time editing, sharing permissions, and commenting capabilities, but they differ in the details.

Real-time editing: Excel limits users to one person working on a file at a time, whereas in Google Sheets, multiple people can work on the same document simultaneously.

Sharing permissions: Excel allows file sharing via OneDrive and SharePoint, with control over who can view and edit. Google Sheets, on the other hand, offers more sophisticated sharing options, including the ability to control access by specific user or domain, and the ability to set expiration dates.

Commenting capabilities: Both programs have commenting capabilities, allowing users to share feedback or ask questions. Excel shows comments directly on the sheet, while Google Sheets pops them up in a sidebar, avoiding clutter.

In general, Google Sheets has an edge over Excel when it comes to collaboration capabilities, making it a popular choice for businesses with remote teams or multiple stakeholders.


Integrations can be a game-changer for enhancing productivity and efficiency when working with Excel and Google Sheets. Both platforms offer a wide range of integrations with third-party applications and services that extend their capabilities beyond basic spreadsheet functions.

Excel has a vast array of integrations, including Microsoft Power BI, which allows for seamless data visualization, analytics, and business intelligence. Furthermore, Power Query integrates data from various sources, allowing a vast range of data to be imported into Excel.

Meanwhile, Google Sheets integrates with Google Analytics, allowing marketers to analyze website traffic data efficiently. Zapier is another popular integration, which enables users to automate tasks by connecting Google Sheets to other web applications.

Looking for integrations that emphasize accounting? Why not check out Quickbooks or Xero for Excel? For Google Sheets, Tiller offers options displaying account balances of various financial services.

Overall, while both Excel and Google Sheets offer impressive integration capabilities, the choice of platform typically depends on the specific requirements of the user.

Offline Access

One of the most significant differences between Excel and Google Sheets is offline access. While Excel requires installation on a device or access through their online platform, Google Sheets are accessible from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection.

However, Google Sheets do offer an offline mode, allowing users to access and edit their sheets without an internet connection. To enable offline access, users need to turn on the feature in their Google Drive settings or use the Google Sheets mobile app and download the sheets for offline use. Once the internet connection is restored, any changes made in offline mode will sync automatically.

Excel, on the other hand, requires installation on a device, and while it can provide offline access, users need to enable it manually. Additionally, Excel can only sync changes and updates made to its files once the internet connection is restored.

Therefore, if offline access is crucial for your needs, it is essential to take into account the different options and limitations offered by Excel and Google Sheets.

Privacy and Security

When it comes to privacy and security, both Excel and Google Sheets take the protection of user data seriously. Microsoft Excel offers encryption options, which can protect workbook files with a password and restrict access to specific users or groups. Additionally, Excel offers user-level security, which can help protect sensitive data from unauthorized users.

Google Sheets also employs several security measures to safeguard user data, including two-factor verification, suspicious login notifications, and automatic saving to cloud servers to ensure data is not lost in case of device loss or malfunction. However, some users may be concerned about Google's business model centered around data collection.

Overall, both Excel and Google Sheets prioritize privacy and security measures for their users, providing options for data encryption and access control.


Excel and Google Sheets are both powerful spreadsheet tools for professionals and businesses alike. While Excel may have the edge in terms of advanced functionalities and data analysis capabilities, Google Sheets excels in accessibility, collaboration, and cloud-based integration options.

Ultimately, the choice between Excel and Google Sheets depends on individual preferences and specific needs. For businesses that require complex data analysis and a wide range of advanced formulas, Excel may be the better option. On the other hand, Google Sheets could be a great choice for organizations that need easy collaboration, offline access, and cloud-based integration capabilities.

Regardless of your choice, both Excel and Google Sheets offer unique features that can enhance your productivity and simplify your workflow. We hope this comparison guide has helped you make an informed decision for your spreadsheet needs.


What is the difference between Excel and Google Sheets?

Excel and Google Sheets are both spreadsheet software, but they have some key differences. Excel is a Microsoft product and is widely used in business settings, while Google Sheets is a web-based application that offers collaborative features. Additionally, Excel is a paid software, while Google Sheets is free.

How much does Excel cost compared to Google Sheets?

Excel requires a paid subscription as part of the Microsoft Office suite, with prices varying depending on the plan. On the other hand, Google Sheets is free for personal use, and businesses can subscribe to G Suite, which includes additional features, starting at per user per month.

What features does Excel have that Google Sheets doesn’t?

Excel offers advanced data analysis tools, more complex formulas, and a wider range of formatting options compared to Google Sheets. It also has VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) support for automation and customization.

What are the advantages of using Google Sheets over Excel?

Google Sheets excels in collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on a spreadsheet simultaneously and providing easy sharing and commenting features. It also offers cloud storage and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Can Excel and Google Sheets be used offline?

Excel can be used offline if the necessary files are downloaded to the device. Google Sheets, however, requires an internet connection to access and edit spreadsheets. Changes made offline in Google Sheets will sync automatically when an internet connection is established.

Are there templates available in Excel and Google Sheets?

Both Excel and Google Sheets provide a range of templates for various purposes, including budgeting, project management, and personal finance. These templates offer pre-designed layouts that users can customize to suit their needs.

Which software is better for data analysis, Excel or Google Sheets?

Excel is known for its powerful data analysis capabilities, with advanced statistical functions and charting options. Google Sheets also offers some data analysis tools, but it may not have the same level of complexity and depth as Excel.

How does collaboration work in Excel and Google Sheets?

Google Sheets excels in collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on a spreadsheet simultaneously. It offers real-time editing, sharing permissions, and commenting features, making it ideal for teamwork. Excel can also be shared and collaborated on, but it may require additional steps and may not be as seamless as Google Sheets.

Can Excel and Google Sheets integrate with other applications?

Both Excel and Google Sheets support integrations with various third-party applications and services. These integrations can enhance functionality and enable users to connect their spreadsheet data to other business tools.

How do privacy and security compare between Excel and Google Sheets?

Excel stores data locally on the user's device, offering control over privacy and security. Google Sheets, as a cloud-based application, stores data securely on Google's servers. Both have measures in place to protect user data, but users may have different preferences when it comes to data privacy.