Whether you use the program daily or not, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone today who hasn’t used Excel at least once in their career.
Just think about it:
Microsoft first released Excel in 1987 and since then, everyone — from accountants to marketers to your local grocer — has used the platform to organize, manage, and extract insights from data.
It’s a program built into the very fabric of modern business culture. And at the same time, people having been searching for better Excel alternatives almost since the beginning.
Well, it’s simple really:
While Excel’s functionality is essential to almost any business, the execution has its flaws.
There are a few glaring problems that have slowed down Excel users for years.
1. Collaboration is a hassle.
How many times have you been in this situation?
You’re on an email with five other coworkers, passing back and forth an Excel doc with new updates and revisions.
You add in your data, only to receive another updated version of the doc from your coworker.
You then do some variation of this:
Look, in all seriousness, Excel has a longstanding problem with collaboration.
Even with the introduction of Office 365 (Microsoft’s free, cloud-based Office suite), sharing data feels clunky and inefficient.
“In reality, the complex collaboration logic of Office 365, combined with the absence of proper training and adoption strategy often result in an organization displaying clear symptoms of poor collaboration.”
And of course, that poor collaboration results in big problems for businesses.
(Not to mention pretty consistent reports of outages that can cost your business time and money.)
2. Excel is complicated.
We all know that one Excel wizard who can whip up a pivot table faster than you can say, “SUM=A2:A18.”
But, for the large majority of us, Excel is a complicated tool that we’re barely able to use without running at least a few Google searches starting with “how do I…”
And unfortunately, Microsoft does not have the best reputation for customer support.
That means a lot of frustrated users who need help extracting the maximum value from a platform, but can’t get it.
3. It’s tough extracting insights from raw data.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this:
The data visualization tools in Excel leave a lot to be desired.
Sure, an experienced Excel user may be able to put together a few charts and graphs to help your Average Joe better understand complex data.
But generally, Excel is built for data management — not data analysis.
Luckily for us, a growing number of Excel alternatives have cropped up recently that address some of the core problems Excel users face everyday.
And that’s what we’re showing you in this post:
Here are 4 Great Excel Alternatives for Improved Teamwork
#1. Google Sheets
If you’re a big Excel fan and want to transition to something that feels similar but with obvious enhancements, Google Sheets is a great way to go.
First of all, it’s free. (So really, you have nothing to lose trying it out.)
But even beyond that, Google Sheets is an Excel alternative with some obvious perks, including:
- Simple, effective collaboration. Google Sheets lives on the cloud. That means easier real-time document collaboration and a single-source of data to save you from those hair-pulling emails with multiple drafts flying around.
- Accessible from everywhere. Never worry about forgetting a file on your desktop when you meet with a client. Your docs go with you wherever you go and are accessible from your phone and tablet, too.
Keep in mind that if you’re already one of those Excel wizards, you may be disappointed to find Google Sheets does not have some of the more advanced formulas that Excel offers. Otherwise, Sheets provides a great, free alternative to Excel that looks and feels very similar to the platform you’ve grown to know and love.
#2. Numbers for Mac
It took a long time for Microsoft to really give Excel for Macs the same level of attention and service provided to PC users.
So, Apple developed their own alternative called Numbers.
Like Google Sheets, Numbers has a simpler interface than Excel. That means the program is more intuitive, but also less capable of complex equations.
The real value-add with Numbers, however, comes from the visualization tools.
Leave it to Apple to develop a platform that turns numbers into beautiful, easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Numbers comes with prebuilt templates and over 250 different functions that allow users to deep dive into their data analysis.
#3. Apache OpenOffice
Admittedly, if you’re looking for a simpler solution to Excel, Apache OpenOffice isn’t it.
Though the platform has been around for over 20 years and boasts over 100 million users, the open-source tool can be a bit complicated when you’re first getting started.
But, there’s one big reason OpenOffice makes this list of quality Excel alternatives:
It is fully customizable to your business needs.
Because OpenOffice is an open-source platform, you can modify the tool to suit the needs of your business.
In addition to the customization, OpenOffice files are compatible with other data analysis tools and office software like Excel. And best of all: it’s free!
#4. Zapty (of course).
We’d be remiss not to mention our own platform as a possible solution to your Excel woes.
At Zapty, we know how important collaboration is for the success of your business. And we also recognize that document collaboration in particular is one of the biggest pain points for teams across all industries.
That’s why our platform allows real-time document collaboration through a single-source in Zapty.
For Excel users who are hesitant to leave Microsoft behind, collaborating on Excel documents through Zapty offers a great alternative.
Simply upload your Excel doc into Zapty where your whole team can access the file and add tasks, notes, links, and polls to the file.
Pretty great, right?
Don’t Take Our Word For It…
You can try Zapty for yourself by reaching out and requesting a free trial of the platform.
A member of our team can walk you through all of the great collaboration tools Zapty has to offer including: document collaboration, team chat, shared calendars, tasks, and projects.