Google Sheets vs. Excel: 6 Main Differences and Full Comparison


Google Sheets vs. Excel: 6 Main Differences and Full Comparison

Although many spreadsheet applications promise to offer the best, two vividly stand out among the rest: Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. The two come in handy when inputting, analyzing, sorting, and storing data. Unfortunately, their neck-to-neck features and characteristics make it hard for users to determine which spreadsheet is best. 

So, are Google Sheets and Excel similar, or are you more advantaged when you use one instead of the other? Continue reading for comprehensive information that will give you these answers. 

Google Sheets vs. Excel: Side-by-Side Comparison

Google Sheets vs Excel comparison infographic
Google Sheets Excel
Influencer Developers Google LLC Microsoft Corporation 
Initial Release 20061987
Storage of Data Stores in Google Cloud of the Google account being used Stores in offline in Device being used or online in One Cloud 
Price Free apart from Business SheetsNeed to subscribe to the MS Office pack
Ease of Collaboration Ideal application for collaborationNot as ideal for collaboration, especially if using different Excel versions 
Performance Not the best for high volume data Ideal for high volume data 
Supported Languages Available in about 83 languages Available in 91 languages 
Customization OptionsHas limited customization options compared to ExcelHighly customizable using the options in the ribbons 
Installation No need for installation since it works with web-browsersMicrosoft Excel must be installed on the device unless you are using Office 365 suite
Complexity Has a more straightforward user interface than ExcelIt has a wide range of functionalities, making it more complicated
Chatting/Communication FacilitySupports chatting and real-time communication Has no chatting feature 
Presence of Macros?YesYes
Statistical Analysis and Data VisualizationDoes not have as many data analysis tools like excel, meaning that you might have to do some things manually Has many data analysis tools and features 
Use of Keyboard Shortcuts Does not support several keyboard shortcuts It supports many keyboard shortcuts 

Google Sheets vs. Excel: What’s the Difference?

If you are struggling to settle either for Google Sheets or Excel, understanding their differences can help you choose one over the other. Here are the significant differences between the two applications.


Collaboration involves sharing your spreadsheet with people and discussing it. This area is Google Sheets’ stronghold. You can share a spreadsheet and enable others to edit it. These changes happen in real-time, regardless of the location or the device. 

Although Excel is trying to facilitate collaboration, it is still way behind Google Sheets. For Excel, you will need to save your file on One Drive or Share Point to enable collaboration. Even then, the process is not as swift as in Google Sheets. Therefore, if collaboration is your priority, then consider using Google Sheets. 

Formulas and Functions

The race between Google Sheets and Excel is neck to neck in the formulas and functions area. Both applications have numerous functions and formulas that enable data analysis. Nevertheless, the functions and formulas in Excel can be slightly above those in Google Sheets since it lacks some of the functions you can do for complicated functions. 

Even so, you can find an excel function or formula in a newer version that is lacking in an older version. Similarly, some functions and formulas may lack in the online version and are available in the desktop app. Therefore, if you are entering data that may need complex formulas, use the latest version of Excel so that you are not disadvantaged. 

Use of Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts

While Sheets and Excel support keyboard and mouse shortcuts, Excel has better and more reliable shortcuts than Sheets. This is significant since browser shortcuts may interfere with Google Sheets shortcuts. 

Thankfully, Excel does not have these limitations. Therefore, if you plan to switch from Excel to Google Sheets and you are used to shortcuts, you will need to learn how to do things the long way, such as pasting data values. Even so, you will love some Sheet shortcuts like typing “sheet.new” in your browser to open a new excel sheet. 

Data and Statistics Analysis

Although both applications enable you to enter and analyze data, Excel takes the lead. Unlike Google Sheets, which has 1,000 rows, Excel has unlimited rows and columns. Although Excel was known to crash when holding large volumes of data, this has improved with the newer versions. 

Moreover, Excel has features like Power Query, PowerPoint, and Power BI used in data analysis, and they lack Google sheets. The data visualization in Google Sheets is also limited. In Excel, you can visualize data using charts like basic, line, and waterfall. Therefore, if you have big data that needs complicated analysis, consider using Excel since Google Sheets isn’t equipped to handle such data. 

Google Sheets
Google Sheets allows you to analyze data but it is not great with large sets of data, capping it at 1,000 rows.

©Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock.com

Advanced Functionality 

Advanced functionalities come in handy when working with large amounts of data, maybe millions of rows. Excel supports more add-ins than Google Sheets. You will find Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power Query in Excel, which is not available in Google Sheets. 

Instead, Google Sheets uses third-party apps which have these add-ons. Nevertheless, these third-party apps are not as powerful as the advanced features in Excel. If you are working on a project that will need these add-ons, it is best to rely on Microsoft Excel. 

Releasing Updates 

Both Excel and Google Sheets do their best to stay up to date. However, Google Sheets is better and more convenient with updates. In addition to the free updates, they are real-time, meaning everyone with the version will see the upgrades as soon as they are made. 

Unfortunately, for Excel 2016 and older, you will need to pay for and install a newer office version to get updates. Luckily, Microsoft 365 since it works like Google Sheets. So, opt for Google Sheets if you want to stay current with all the latest upgrades. 

Excel has greatly improved the software with new updates so there aren’t nearly as many crashes.


Cost and Accessibility 

Microsoft Excel mainly focuses on offline functions, while Google Sheets focuses on online functions. To get Excel, you need to pay for your Microsoft 365 subscription. However, Google Sheets is available online for free unless you use a Google Workspace account for business. Even then, the cost you pay is less than the subscription for Excel. 

Therefore, if you are working on a budget, you can use the free Google Sheets spreadsheet. Otherwise, pay for the offline Excel more so if you may not have access to an online connection to use Google Sheets. With Excel, you always have access to your data.  

Microsoft 365 Package
Microsoft 365 Personal (12-Month Subscription)
  • Create, organize, and do work remotely
  • Access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more
  • Create, edit, and share files and photos
  • Access to Outlook for emails
  • Built-in ransomware detection and recovery
  • Compatible with Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Android phones,
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2023 04:51 am GMT


Excel can be complex and intimidating, especially to beginners. On the other hand, Google Sheets has a more straightforward toolbar that is not as complicated to the eyes. Although this comes at the cost of less functionality, it is more friendly to a spreadsheet user who does not have ample data to analyze. 

Excel has complex functions and features that can scare away users, especially those not conversant with the program. Additionally, Google Sheets is more user-friendly because you don’t have to save your work manually. For Excel, you need to save your work manually, increasing the risk of losing the data if your computer shuts off unexpectedly. 

Compatibility with Devices

Since Google Sheets is an online application, you can access it on all devices, regardless of the type or operating system you use. On the other hand, although you can install Microsoft Excel on a Mac computer, it is best on Windows. Therefore, if you don’t have the Windows operating system, you can opt for the Google Sheet application. 

Google Sheets vs. Excel: 6 Must Know Facts

  • Google Sheets has a better user interface but is not the best for complex data analysis and statistics. It works well with data below 400,000 cells. 
  • Excel is mainly available offline in the Microsoft Office pack. You can also install the app on your Android or iOS device. 
  • Google Sheets is available online and comes as a G-suite pack. You can only install a Google Sheets desktop app with Chrome OS
  • Excel has no limit on the number of cells and is ideal for data analysis and visualization. 
  • Google sheets have a chatting facility on the sidebar, enabling online communication with other people with access to the sheet. This feature is not available in Excel. 
  • Excel has more built-in formulas and functions than Google Sheets. Although Google Sheets supports third-party apps to compensate for this, they are not as powerful as Excel’s function, formulas, and add-ins. 

Google Sheets vs. Excel: Which One is Better?

While Excel has superior functions and formulas, it is more complex and not the best for collaboration. Therefore, if you are torn between Excel and Google Sheets, the determining factor should be your needs. 

If you need a spreadsheet application to enter data that doesn’t require many calculations, use Google sheets. Otherwise, consider Excel for huge data that you hope to update even in the future and needs a lot of analysis.

If the two still seem to tie after considering your needs, then settle for Google Sheets as it’s free.

Up Next:

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, Google Sheets or Excel?

Your needs determine the best spreadsheet between Google Sheets and Excel. Excel is best for complicated spreadsheets that do not require much collaboration, while Google Sheets is best for spreadsheets that don’t require much analysis. Google Sheets is slightly better than Excel, given all the advantages.

Can you transfer data from Excel to Google Sheets?

You can transfer data from Excel to Google Sheets. To do this, go to your Google Drive, click New, then File Upload. You’ll get a prompt to your internal storage. Select the Excel file and click open to upload it. After uploading, click on the file, which will open on Google sheets. To save it, click File, then save it as Google Sheets.

What can Excel do that Google Sheets can’t do?

Excel can perform complicated data analysis and provide better data analysis than Sheets. Additionally, it has business intelligence tools like PowerPoint and Power Query, which are also necessary for data cleaning and analysis. Excel is also more powerful and faster in handling big data sets (above 1,000 cells).

What can Google Sheets do that Excel can’t do?

Google Sheets enables excellent collaboration, a feature that is lacking in Excel. Moreover, Google Sheets has a friendlier and better interface, especially for beginners. Although Excel is not so complicated, you will need to learn and understand it to make the best out of it.

Which spreadsheet is the best for a beginner?

Google Sheets is friendlier to a beginner than Excel. In addition to having a better user interface, Google Sheets lacks complicated formulas and functions that may confuse and frustrate a beginner. Therefore, one can familiarize with spreadsheets using Google Sheets and continue to Excel as they advance.

To top