5 Free Alternatives to Microsoft Excel: What Are They?
February 5, 2020

Spreadsheets have become a part of the business world these days. This means that you will have to take a look at one someday. The kinds of features you may need from the spreadsheet application can vary, but like most users, you may never need the robust functions that Microsoft Excel offers.

If you are not an accountant who has to crunch number on a daily basis, then Microsoft Office, which also includes Excel, can be very expensive and unnecessary for you. You will be paying $99 per year for business use, $149.99 – for a student license, or $6.99 every month for home use. If you don’t need these features, or you don’t have this kind of money, or you just want to save some of it, there are so many alternatives to Microsoft Excel that you can find in Cloud and install on your PC for free. Below are the best substitutes that are free.

1. Google Sheets

Google has created Google Sheets as its Cloud-based version to compete with Microsoft Excel. The good side of this software is that it can perform most of the tasks that an average Excel user usually needs. It is hosted purely in Cloud and runs in a web browser. Therefore, you can run it on Linux, macOS, and Windows. With Google Sheets, you won’t lose any calculation because everything is saved in Google Drive. So, your data will be safe even if your computer crashes.

Google Sheets works in real time just like other programs of Google Office Suite. This feature allows the multiple users to edit one document at a time. The individuals can chat with each other in the document window, see what other people are doing, and also see the cursor position of other users. However, some features that many Excel consumers usually need are not available. So, you are encouraged to confirm whether the functions you need are actually available before you migrate. Another advantage is that Google has made scripting available in its Google Sheets. This is a good thing despite the fact that it is based on Java and is not Visual Basic for Applications.

2. WPS Office Spreadsheets

WPS Office Spreadsheets is second to none when it comes to great features that give true competition to Microsoft Excel. As a paid program, it comes with a fully-featured version, which comes with advertising. But don’t worry, ads only show when you try to save to PDF, print, or use some additional features. Advertising lasts about 10 seconds. You can also get rid of it by paying $79.99 for a lifetime or $29.99 for a year. Compared to Microsoft Office pricing, this is much less.

This software is 100% compatible with Excel documents. This means that it can open all the formats correctly and supports everything that they contain. This also means that you can open and edit spreadsheets from other users and save them from WPS Office, bearing in mind that others can open them whenever they want.

3. Microsoft Office Excel Online

Microsoft has also created a great variant of the online version of Office to avoid being outdone by Google. It includes a stripped-down kind of Excel that is much better than Google Sheets. It is also better than the desktop version of Microsoft Excel. Of course, this software is more like MS Excel than Google Sheets, making it the perfect option for those who prefer a familiar interface. It is a great alternative for an average Excel user, because this program performs all the basic functions available for the desktop version, and at the same time adds automatic saving to Cloud in OneDive. What is more, it also has real-time collaboration tools, which are not present in Office 365. However, if you are an experienced Excel user, then this version of software may not be good for you. Many features that you rely on are read-only, unavailable, or restricted. There is no VBA scripting, no advanced charting features, no find and replace, and no creating external data connections.

4. LibreOffice Calc

LibreOffice Calc is another office suite, which includes its own Excel alternative such as OpenOffice. It is known as Calc and runs into similar restrictions as OpenOffice. The only difference is that LibreOffice Calc doesn’t have real-time collaboration and Cloud support. What makes this software stands out is its robust list of features, some of which are not even included in Microsoft Excel. This tool comes with more functions than the Microsoft program, more cell-formatting options, and can even compare two separate spreadsheets. The downside of this software is that it cannot handle outside data sources, export documents as generic XML, and display multiple advanced types of charts.

5. Apache OpenOffice Calc

Apache OpenOffice Calc is an excellent alternative for those individuals who hate how the version of the Microsoft Office 2007 interface looks. This program looks and feels more or less the same as Office 2003. Prior to the dominance of online office tools offered by Google and before the invention of Cloud, this software was the best option among people who were looking for an unpaid Microsoft Office substitute. Apache OpenOffice Calc retains a number of important advanced functions and features of Microsoft Excel, and that is why it gained supreme.

The major drawback of this software is the lack of Cloud support. Actually, there is no real-time collaboration or native Cloud support for Calc. This can be a deal-breaker for some users, especially those who are looking for a tool that offers Cloud support as well as real-time collaboration functionalities.


Now you have to choose any software you like the most among this list of free alternatives. If for some reason you don’t want to use Microsoft Excel, this is one of the best options to use.

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