Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel

Have you ever felt that you could use a powerful, advanced yet modern spreadsheet program that is also free? Many of us cannot look beyond Microsoft Excel. But have you heard of Google Sheets? Or have you tried finding the difference between Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel? Well read on and it could change your perception of spreadsheet programs.

Google sheets vs Microsoft Excek
Google Sheets

What is the difference between Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel needs no introduction, it is the most popular Spreadsheet program used by more than 750 million users globally. This Microsoft product is used in most Organisations worldwide due to its adaptability and universal appeal. Using Excel, you may do practically any data-based problem-solving task, ranging from simple data input to complicated computations including macros and Visual Basic programming. Although it will be hard to completely replace it, Google Sheets offers several incredible features that might make it a viable alternative to Excel.

Google Sheets is a free spreadsheet program that runs in the cloud. You can open it in any browser, however, it has all of the capabilities of a complete spreadsheet program, allowing you to do advanced data analysis. So, here is a detailed look at Google sheets.

Let us look at some differences between Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel

  • Google Sheets is a web-based application, while Excel is a desktop application. (Althogh we do have Office 365 version but for sake of comparision we are taking the installed version here.) With Sheets, you won’t have to worry about having many copies of your work floating about. Each user is always presented with the same, most recent version of Sheets, which displays the same spreadsheet data.
  • Sheets are designed to facilitate collaboration, and it performs well. Excel is still attempting to catch up in this area.
  • Both Excel and Sheets feature charting and Pivot Table capabilities for data analysis, with Excel’s being the more capable of the two in both situations.
  • Excel can handle significantly larger datasets than Sheets, which has a cell maximum of 2 million in its default configuration. With large datasets G-Sheets may lag which Excel can handle with ease.
  • Given that it is a cloud-based tool, Google Sheets connects very effectively with other Google services and third-party websites.
  • Both feature scripting languages that may enhance their functionality and create unique tools for specific purposes. Google Sheets ERP makes use of Apps Script (a Javascript variation), while Excel makes use of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

What is the benefit of using Google Sheets?

  • Google Sheets is completely free, just need Google sheet sign-in
  • It is collaborative, teams may all view and collaborate on the same spreadsheet simultaneously in real-time.
  • It has enough tools to do complicated analysis, at the same time it is user-friendly.
  • You can easily edit Excel (.xlsx) files easily online without downloading or converting them.
  • Smart Fill is an intuitive feature which will help you to see quick suggestion and analyze faster. Also query in simple language and get quick insights.

How to use Google Sheets?

Create your first Google Sheet

  • Go to your application suite from your Google account
  • Or you can search for Google Sheets using Google search. Once you open Google sheets, you will be requested for Google Sheets log in. 
  • It is at this point that you will be sent to the Google Sheets home page, which will display any prior spreadsheets that you have generated.
  • You can create your first Google Sheet by clicking on Blank or you can start using any of the existing user templates available like Monthly budget, Annual Calendar, etc.
Google Sheets
Open Google Sheets
  • If you want to generate new Google Sheets from your Drive folder, just click on the blue coloured NEW button. 
  • When you create a new Google Sheet, the folder will be made in your main Drive folder (your root folder). 
  • Please do not be alarmed if you do not see the Sheet right away; it may not appear until you have titled it. 
  • If you want to move it to a different folder, you may do so here (to keep things organized). This is accomplished by clicking and holding the file while dragging it to the location you desire. You may also download Google sheet for working more effectively.
  • Here is the look of a new Google Sheet.
Blank Sheet

Some of the most used functions

To select a row or column

Choose a row or column by clicking on the number (for rows) or letter (for columns) of the row or column that you wish to pick. This will highlight the whole row or column in blue. To select more rows or columns press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard.

Google Sheets select rows
Selecting Rows and Columns

To change the width of a column or height of a row

You may adjust the width of a column or the size of a row by moving your cursor over the grey line representing the boundary of a column or row until your cursor changes. Then, to adjust the width of this column, click and drag the pointer left or right as necessary. To modify the height of rows, use the same steps as before. Same as Excel.

How to add rows or columns in Google sheet?

Additional columns or rows may be added by selecting and clicking the current column or row next to adding the new column or row. Right-click to bring up the options menu, then pick Insert Before (or Insert After) for Columns or Insert Above (or Insert Below) for Rows, depending on which column or row you want to insert. 

Google sheets insert rows
Inserting Rows or Columns

How to include more rows and columns towards the end?

Whenever you get close to the outside boundaries of a Google Sheet, the rows and columns will come to a halt. But don’t be concerned, you can always add more.

VLOOKUP in Google Sheets

If you are familiar with Excel VLOOKUP then this will not be a problem for you.

Syntax: VLOOKUP(search_key, range, index, [is_sorted])

//'search_key' is the term or value you are trying to Search
//'range' is the column/row range where you are searching for the data. First column of the range is always searched
//'index' The column number in the range which is to be returned to where the lookup is run
//'[is_sorted]' by default is TRUE, recommended it should be FALSE. If TRUE is selected, then the formula will try to search for an exact match, if not found, it will return a closest match less than or equal to is returned. If FALSE is selected, an exact match is returned, else you get #N/A.

Highlight duplicates in Google Sheets

This can be tricky in Google Sheets as you need to add a formula. It is not as straightforward as in MS Office.

  • Select the column where you want to highlight the duplicates
  • Go to Format > Conditional Formatting
  • Select Add another rule
  • Under Format rules section dropdown, select Custom formula is
  • Use the formula:
    • Syntax: =countif(range,first row name)
    • For example if you are using column A, range A1:A10, then the formula will be: =countif(A1:A10, A1)>1

Additional information

The default number of rows in your Sheet is 1,000, which you will notice after scrolling to the bottom (or if you have entered a significant amount of data). Adding extra rows is simple; just click on the icon to the right and choose either 1,000 as shown or any other amount you like (up to a limit, more on that below).

If you reach the right edge of the Sheet, which corresponds to the final column, you may continue to add columns in the same manner. Using the right-click menu, choose “Add a column to the right” from the final column’s cells to bring up a selection of options.

Finally, bear in mind that each Google Sheet has a maximum of 2 million cells, which is a lot smaller for a reasonable-sized transaction database for an e-commerce store, for example. In any case, you’ll notice that Sheets slows down significantly before approaching the limit. When dealing with tens of thousands of rows of data and sophisticated algorithms and models, the majority of respondents notice a slight slowdown.

Conclusion: Which is better Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel?

Google Sheets is a handy spreadsheet for most of your home and small office needs. It is free and for a starter and new user, it is an ideal tool. There are some advanced features as well. However, if you have large datasets and work on advanced macros and programming then Excel will suit you better. Bear in mind the cost of using Excel versus using Google sheets for free.

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