Excel vs Google Sheets

The first version of Microsoft Excel was released 31 years ago. Today, Excel is one of the most used programs especially by business professionals. Thousands of businesses rely on Microsoft Excel and use it for different purposes. But in the wake of online tools and cloud systems, an alternative solution came up threatening to take its throne.

Differences between Google sheets and Excel

As a part of Google Drive suite, Google sheets online program was released 12 years ago. It emerged unexpectedly and introduced a totally different way of data and document management.

In spite of the growing popularity of Google sheets, Microsoft Excel has preserved its image and users. There are individuals who use both tools, whereas other strictly choose a desktop or online solution. If you are not sure what spreadsheet program would be the best for your needs, let’s see what are the main differences:

  • Google sheets is totally free, so if you run on a tight budget, this is the right choice for you
  • Microsoft Excel is not free but it has a lot of professional features that you cannot find in Google Sheets or they are not good enough
  • If you prefer desktop, offline solutions, and no internet required, Excel is for you
  • For those who like to work on the go, Google sheets are accessible everywhere
  • However, Excel also has an online solution and a mobile app, but it is not completely free
  • Excel can handle more data than Google sheets so it is the right choice for those who deal with big data sets
  • You can find more data visualisation features in Excel than on Google sheets
  • Formulas are simply better in Excel
  • Collaboration is easier in Google sheets because it can be a real time, multiple people can work in the same sheet at the same time

Can Google sheets do everything Excel can?

As you can see from the list above, Google sheets cover most of the basic Excel spreadsheet features. You can use Google sheets to store data, to make data visualisations, charts, to make formulas but all these mentioned features are limited, compared to Excel.

If you need to handle bigger amount of data, create complex formulas and better looking charts, that the answer is no- Google sheet cannot do everything Excel can.

Advantages and disadvantages of Google sheets

On the other hand, Google sheets has other advantages and some people may find it as a better solution to Excel.

Advantages of Google sheets (when to use it)

  • Real time collaboration: if you work with a team on the same matter, you can use Google sheets to add data at the same time, wherever you are
  • It has very simple interface, so individuals with beginner computer skills would feel more comfortable working in Google sheets
  • Everything is saved automatically, no need to worry whether your computer will crash. If you have a slow or old computer, Google sheets is a safer option
  • When you store data and documents online, your computer doesn’t lose memory
  • It is free to use

Disadvantages of Google sheets (when to use Excel)

  • If you deal with big data, Google sheet may work slower than Excel
  • Google sheets don’t have a wide range of data visualisation options unlike Excel
  • For complex accounting and bookkeeping, formulas in Google sheets are not good enough
  • Google sheets documents are on the cloud, so if someone hacks your business email, your data may leak. If you worry about data safety, Excel is better for preserving important and confidential documents

Switching from Excel to Google sheets

If you decide to use Google sheets, and you have Excel files in your computer, you can upload all those files in Google Drive and open them in Google sheets. Here’s how to switch from Excel to Google sheets in just a few steps.


  1. Sign in to your gmail account and open Google Drive.
  2. Click on “New” and then on “File Upload” to upload one Excel file at the time. To upload multiple files at once, you can create a folder first and then upload the whole folder.
  3. When the file is uploaded, you will see the check mark in the right bottom of the screen. Then open a document with a double click and if you want to get a Google sheet version of that document, choose the option “Open with Google Sheets”.

Convert Excel formula to Google spreadsheet

Unfortunately, Google sheets doesn’t support all formulas you create in Excel, especially the complex ones. Here you can find the list of all formulas and functions supported by Google sheets. And here you can find the list of incompatible formulas between Excel and Google sheets. If you are having troubles with converting Excel formulas that are not on the list, you should write a message in Google Drive forum and someone will give you a correct answer.