Microsoft Excel is the real gold standard when it comes to spreadsheets. And as good as Excel itself is, it costs money, which means you may always need an alternative. In this article, we take a look at the best 8 free alternatives to Excel.
1. Microsoft Office Online
The full Microsoft 365 office suite is available as part of a paid subscription. But you can use the web versions of some of the programs it includes for free. These include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
If you’ve worked with standard Microsoft Office for a long time, you’ll quickly get used to the online version: the web versions of the programs have almost the same design as their desktop counterparts. In addition, you won’t have any problems with the traditional Microsoft office formats.
At the same time, web applications are not designed to work offline and lack many advanced features like summary tables, a database editor, and support for RTF, HTML, and some other formats. Created documents are saved in the MS OneDrive cloud.
2. Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations
Platforms: web, iOS, Android.
Google’s suite of web-based office applications is ideal for people working in teams. The project is designed with the aim of collaborative editing of documents in real time, but for a single user, it can be a worthy substitute for Microsoft products.
Thanks to the full cross-platform will be able to use any device. Here, unlike Microsoft Office Online, documents can be edited even without the Internet, but for this you need to download an extension for Chrome. Google applications are conveniently integrated with other services from the company, such as Disk, Calendar and Gmail.
Despite supporting Microsoft formats, files saved in Word or PowerPoint sometimes lose some of their formatting when opened in Google’s services. In addition, the latter lacks some features and design settings. But most users won’t even notice this. Overall it’s one of the best free alternatives to Excel.
3. Apple iWork
Platforms: web, iOS, macOS.
A free alternative to Microsoft Office suite from Apple. iWork includes programs Pages, Numbers and Keynote, which are not inferior to the products of the competitor. With them, you can work with text documents, tables and presentations, respectively.
If you previously used Office, applications within iWork will seem unfamiliar to you and you’ll have to adapt to the new interface. But Microsoft-standard document formats will work just fine.
Apple’s Office apps support online collaborative editing and are available on macOS and iOS. Windows users can also work with iWork, but only with a browser on the iCloud website.
4. WPS Office
Platforms: web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
WPS Office practically copies Microsoft Office. This applies both to the basic features and interface design, and to the user experience as a whole.
The package offers Word, PowerPoint and Excel clones and fully supports all relevant Microsoft formats. The user also gets a PDF editor in addition.
A separate browser-based online version of WPS Docs is available for collaboration, but it has fewer formatting options than the operating system version.
5. SoftMaker FreeOffice
Platforms: Windows, Linux, Android.
Another successful copy of the Microsoft package, although not as accurate as the set from WPS. FreeOffice is more reminiscent of older versions of Microsoft Office.
By downloading the program, you get free analogues of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Any formats saved in those applications can be opened in FreeOffice without fear of losing formatting. What’s more, the program allows you to save files in PDF and ePub. However, there is no possibility for team work with documents over the network.
Unfortunately the free version of FreeOffice lacks a thesaurus which is an important element for many office software users. However it’s a great free alternative to Excel.
6. LibreOffice – open-source free alternative to Excel
Platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS.
LibreOffice is probably the only equivalent alternative to Microsoft. Within LibreOffice includes not only analogues of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but also a database editor that can replace Microsoft Access. It also has Math and Draw for working with mathematical formulas and vector diagrams.
LibreOffice knows almost everything that Microsoft Office has to offer, including support for traditional formats and even more. Thus, an active community of developers has formed around this office suite, constantly creating various plug-ins. With their help, it’s easy to add new features to the programs.
Of the disadvantages of LibreOffice is the inability to simultaneously edit documents with other people over the network and the lack of mobile applications.
Platforms: web, Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android.
OnlyOffice is compatible with DOCX, XLSX and PPTX. Files are edited in these very formats or documents are converted to them from other versions. The interface of the package is made very close to MS Office, so you won’t have to get used to it.
You can work with texts, presentations, tables and forms through a browser or desktop application. There are also mobile applications with all the basic editing and reviewing tools available.
When working together, changes in the document can be recorded automatically in real time. There is also a save mode on the appropriate button, which will help protect the files from unnecessary edits.
Platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD.
This office suite was originally designed for Linux, but versions for Windows and macOS gradually appeared. The suite includes text, spreadsheet, presentation and vector graphics editors. A separate database application, Kexi, an analogue of MS Access, is available.
The developers of the suite also offer Calligra Gemini. The application includes text and presentation editors. Its main purpose is to work with documents on a tablet or laptop with a touch screen.
The interface is noticeably different from MS Office, you will have to adapt to this. Simultaneous file sharing is not available. But all the basic editing tools in Calligra are there, which may be enough for most users.
If you want to learn more about productivity or had a problem viewing some files that you got on your e-mail then check our article Free MS Outlook PST Viewer. Also be sure to read our Offline OST to PST Converter Review.