The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (2022)

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (1)Suzanne Humphries

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (2)Suzanne Humphries
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The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (3)

Spreadsheets are ubiquitous: people use them every day for tracking inventory, budgeting, data tracking, and a million other things. And, while Microsoft Excel has been the go-to spreadsheet for years, there are other (free) alternatives you might like more.

Whatever your reason is for using a spreadsheet, odds are you’ve used Microsoft Excel at some point. And, while the software is more than capable of handling anything you throw at it (even Grandma’s knitting patterns and your little brother’s Minecraft building plans), Excel is expensive and even lacks a few features that would make it more usable. Thankfully, there are plenty of free alternatives available, many of which are just as powerful and easy to use.

Update, 3/16/22: Checked that content and links are up to date. Updated link for WPS.

Table of Contents

(Video) 10 Best Excel Alternatives in 2020 | Paid + Free Tools For Your Team

What to Look for in a Microsoft Excel Alternative
Best Cloud-Based Alternative: Google Sheets
Best for Apple Users: Apple iWork Numbers
Best Open-Source Alternative: LibreOffice Calc
Closest to Microsoft Excel: WPS Office Spreadsheets
Best for Serious Data Analysis: Zoho Office Sheet

What to Look for in a Microsoft Excel Alternative

Free spreadsheet software should be just as powerful as paid options and come stocked with all the tools you need to spreadsheet your heart out. Here are the most important features good spreadsheet software should offer, and why they’re important:

  • An Intuitive Interface:Spreadsheets are designed to handle complex tasks, but that doesn’t mean that the software itself should be clunky or difficult to use. The best Excel alternatives have a clean modern look and smart tool organization, and are stocked with a ready artillery of built-in formulas, functions, and templates. The software should also have cross-platform support, so you can access them anywhere.
  • Live Collaboration Support:If your team needs to work together through a spreadsheet, it’s imperative that the software supports simultaneous collaboration. Likewise, the program should also be able to track who makes what change when, and to allow you to lock down individual cells (or the whole document) so no unwanted changes can be made. It should also let you set the spreadsheet as read-only and enable other permissions for users.
  • Powerful Functions and Formulas:Whether you’re tracking warehouse inventory, handling accounting for your department, or creating charts from data for an upcoming presentation, your spreadsheet software has to have a wide variety of formulas at the ready. Basic options for simple math are a given, but if you need something more advanced like statistical or logical functions, or the ability to create a custom function, the software should be able to handle those as well.
  • Dynamic Visuals:Not that looking at thousands of cells of text and numbers isn’t a ton of fun, but charts and graphs are a little easier on the eyes. Visuals let you see data at a glance and are a must-have item for presentations. Good Microsoft Excel alternatives support dynamic charts and graphs that update in real-time as your data does, and should allow for extensive customization so you can make your visuals look and work exactly how you need them to.
  • Advanced Features:Most people probably won’t ever bother with the advanced features found in most spreadsheet software like custom macros, filters, pivot tables, conditional formatting, or the ability to compute and analyze large data sets. However, it’s nice to know that those features are there when and if you need them.

Best Cloud-Based Alternative: Google Sheets

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (4)

Google Sheets (Free) has become as well-known as Microsoft Excel. Google users already have access to this app, plus its ability to integrate with other Google products (like Google Forms and Google Data Studio) makes it easier for you to stay on track while working on your projects. Sheets also saves everything you create to the Cloud, so you’ll have access to your spreadsheets from any desktop, iOS, or Android device.

The software is easy to navigate and use with its clean and minimal appearance. Support for simultaneous collaboration is great for teams, and it even has a built-in group chat area wherein everyone on your team can talk about the document as they work. You can comment on cells and set specific user permissions for individual cells or the entire document. A robust Sheets Help section is also ready to help in case you have questions.

Sheets has tons of built-in formulas, as well as plenty of pivot tables, conditional formatting options, and templates that can save you time and effort. It contains robust customizable charts and graphs for visualizing your data, which update dynamically as your data does. Google Sheets also stores granular documentation of changes and supports versioning.

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Best for Apple Users: Apple iWork Numbers

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (5)

Apple’s version of Excel, iWork Numbers (Free), is available to anyone with an iCloud account (which includes PC users), but the mobile app is only available for iOS users (sorry, Android). Numbers, of course, supports the Apple pencil, so if you’re working from your iPad, you can make notes and draw diagrams manually. The app also supports real-time collaboration, showing you real-time edits, and lets you save and export documents as Excel files if you need to work with anyone using Excel. If you need to keep an important document secure in Numbers, you can lock it down with a password, Touch ID, or Face ID.

In Apple’s true minimalistic form, Numbers’ default is a blank sheet instead of a grid (like Excel and its alternatives provide), and its features are sparse and minimally represented. You can easily add charts, tables, and other content as needed, or choose a template with which to get started. Numbers has over 700 customizable shapes you can fashion for data visualization, as well as plenty of options for adjusting the way fonts, tables, and cell borders look. The app’s tools can handle complex functions and formulas, and its Smart Categories feature provides table organization and summaries for deeper insight into your data.

Best Open-Source Alternative: LibreOffice Calc

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (6)

Calc (Free), part of LibreOffice, is a robust spreadsheet program for Windows, macOS, and Linux users. Though the software doesn’t have the beauty and flash of the other alternatives, it’s open-sourced, meaning you have access to much more functionality and the freedom to customize pretty much anything. If you don’t want to start with a blank document, choose afree templateto work off of.

LibreOffice Calc has native support for Excel files. You can also customize its appearance so it only shows you the tools and features you want to work with, and its handy keyboard shortcuts make it easy to quickly navigate its interface. The software’s built-in wizard helps you create visualizations from your data and use other advanced features, making it easy to use for new and veteran users alike.

Calc has a neat tool called DataPilot that lets you import raw data from external databases and manipulate it in your own spreadsheet. You can also create dynamic charts and graphs that display updated data in real time. The software offers flexible cell formatting and robust customization options for text, cells, and charts. In addition, multiuser collaboration in Calc is also possible, but this feature isn’t as robust as it is in pretty much any other alternative.

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Closest to Microsoft Excel: WPS Office Spreadsheets

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (7)

If you’re looking for an Excel alternative that still looks and functions largely like Excel, WPS Office Spreadsheets (Free) is the one to choose. In addition to having a similar layout to Excel, WPS is also compatible with XLS, XLSX, and CSV files, so you can import files from (or export to) Microsoft Excel without issue. WPS Office is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and on the web as well (but only as the entire suite); if you want access to just Spreadsheets, you’re still stuck with the entire suite, including the word processor.

WPS has a beautiful modern interface that’s easy to use. It supports track changes and comments, as well as multiuser collaboration with WPS and Microsoft Office users, and it has over 50 keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation. The software supports advanced pivot tables, contains over 100 formulas you can use with your data, and has a what-if analysis feature you can use for finding solutions for data-heavy complex problems. Paying to upgrade to the Premium plan ($29.99/year) eliminates ads, gets you cloud storage, and lets you access the program on up to nine devices (instead of three on the free plan).

Best for Serious Data Analysis: Zoho Office Sheet

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives (8)

Zoho Office Sheet (Free) is great spreadsheet software for many reasons, the first of which is its AI-powered data analysis tool, Zia, which analyzes your data and provides insights to help you better understand it. Zia gets rid of inconsistencies and duplicate values, and automates pivot tables and charts that you can then add to your spreadsheet. You can also “ask” the tool questions about your data, or to analyze said data with certain filters in place, and it will help you find an answer.

Zoho doesn’t lack for other features, either, like real-time collaboration for up to 25 users or a chat panel where users can discuss a documents. The audit trail tool lets you see who made a particular change to the document, and Zoho backs up every document with default version backups so you won’t have to worry about data loss. You can lock down the entire document, or just certain cells, with a password, set read and edit permissions, and publish part or all of your spreadsheet on the web.

The app supports over 350 functions, in addition to advanced functions like pivot tables and conditional formatting. It can automate certain tasks, create validations for data entry, collect data with forms, and import data from external sources like a web page, an RSS feed, or an external file. The app also lets you create custom functions and record macros. Zoho is cloud based and can be accessed anywhere.

(Video) Best FREE Microsoft Office Alternatives - WPS Office, LibreOffice, FreeOffice & more

FAQs

What is the best alternative to Microsoft Excel? ›

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is also the most easily manageable alternative to Excel, with a layout and functionality both easy to get used to if you're already familiar with its Microsoft counterpart.

Is there a free Excel version? ›

Use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more for free with Office on the web.

Can you get a free version of Excel? ›

Using Microsoft Excel and other core Office programs is free via the web, and all you'll need is a Microsoft account. Head over to Office.com and click 'Sign in' to enter your details. If you don't yet have an account, choose 'Sign up for the free version of Office' and follow the instructions.

Which is better Google Sheets or Excel? ›

Both Google Sheets and Excel are good to use. They both have some unique features. If you want to collaborate on data, opt for Google Sheets. However, for calculations and analysis, Excel is a better application.

Is Google Excel free? ›

Google Sheets is free, and it's bundled with Google Drive, Docs, and Slides to share files, documents, and presentations online. It includes almost all of the same spreadsheet functions—if you know how to use Excel, you'll feel at home in Google Sheets.

Is smartsheet better than Excel? ›

Smartsheet is an online work execution platform in a familiar spreadsheet format, that is better than Excel in work management, collaboration, visibility, accessibility, and integrations.

How do I get Excel 365 for free? ›

Get started with Office 365 for free

Students and educators at eligible institutions can sign up for Office 365 Education for free, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools. Use your valid school email address to get started today.

How do I download Excel on my computer for free? ›

Sign in to download Office
  1. Go to www.office.com and if you're not already signed in, select Sign in. ...
  2. Sign in with the account you associated with this version of Office. ...
  3. After signing in, follow the steps that match the type of account you signed in with. ...
  4. This completes the download of Office to your device.

Can I use Excel without Office 365? ›

The good news is if you don't need the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools, you can access a number of its apps online for free -- including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar and Skype.

Does Windows 10 have a free spreadsheet? ›

WPS Office Free is up to the standard option of Windows 10 free spreadsheet software that allows you access to a wide range of features. This pack contains 3 software options that replace Word, Excel, and Powerpoint: WPS Writer, WPS Spreadsheet, and WPS Spreadsheet.

How much does Excel cost? ›

Microsoft Excel has 2 pricing edition(s), from $6.99 to $139.99. A free trial of Microsoft Excel is also available. Look at different pricing editions below and read more information about the product here to see which one is right for you.

Is Microsoft Excel free on Windows 10? ›

It's a free app that will be preinstalled with Windows 10, and you don't need an Office 365 subscription to use it. The existing My Office app has many of these features, but the new Office app puts the focus on the free online versions of Office if you're not an Office 365 subscriber.

Which is better Google Sheets or Excel? ›

Both Google Sheets and Excel are good to use. They both have some unique features. If you want to collaborate on data, opt for Google Sheets. However, for calculations and analysis, Excel is a better application.

What is the easiest spreadsheet to use? ›

Top 10 Spreadsheets Software
  • Microsoft Excel.
  • Google Workspace.
  • Quip.
  • Apple Numbers.
  • Zoho Sheet.
  • Minitab Statistical Software.
  • LibreOffice.
  • WPS Spreadsheets.
8 Sept 2022

Is Google Excel free? ›

Google Sheets is free, and it's bundled with Google Drive, Docs, and Slides to share files, documents, and presentations online. It includes almost all of the same spreadsheet functions—if you know how to use Excel, you'll feel at home in Google Sheets.

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