Digital General

6 Best Excel Alternatives Programs in 2022


The computer is an increasingly indispensable tool, both as a business tool and for everyday use. With this in mind, Microsoft Excel is a handy spreadsheet for all occasions: From complex business planning to simple management of your accounts and personal expenses.

It is an Office suite program best known to professional and non-professional users. It is a powerful program that can create complex documents with graphs, diagrams, and more.

However, like any professional tool, it has a price. While there are licenses with varying prices from home to enterprise licenses, not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on software.

Best Free Excel Alternative Software

Fortunately, there’re alternative programs for creating spreadsheets for free, as we’ve seen for software similar to Word, but not a few. Some of them are easy to use and very performant, suitable for novice users who want to learn how to use spreadsheets, professionals who wish to manage their budgets, and much more.

Here are the 6 best free spreadsheet programs similar to Microsoft Excel:

  1. Calc from LibreOffice
  2. Apple Numbers
  3. Free but limited Excel Online
  4. Google Sheets
  5. Spread32
  6. Calc from Apache OpenOffice

Let’s look at these in a bit more detail, highlighting the pros and cons of each to help you figure out if it’s a suitable alternative.

Best Free Excel Alternative Software

1. Calc from LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a complete suite that can almost completely replace Microsoft Office. It is a free program, which means completely free. The package also includes the Excel equivalent, Calc.

When you open the spreadsheet, it will look like a slightly older version of Excel. Precisely because of this similarity and because it’s free, it’s one of the most used replacement software by fewer experts in professional fields.

You have various advanced features on Calc that make it a truly outstanding tool. There is no shortage of charts, pivot tables, filters, and cell formatting. The files save with the .ods extension, but you can export them in .xls (even the new .xlsx) and other formats.

2. Apple Numbers

The equivalent of Excel for Mac and iOS. Numbers is one of the most powerful tools and can compare almost on par with Microsoft Excel. This is the best alternative program, and it’s also free!

While it isn’t yet complete for professional use, it is growing increasingly and may soon be on par with Excel. It looks a little different graphically, and when coming from a Windows program, it can be challenging to use at first, like everything else on a Mac. Numbers’ strength is its connection to iCloud. It has two significant advantages:

  • The first is to be able to edit spreadsheets from any Apple device. You can work from your iPhone when you’re not at home.
  • The second is the possibility of collaborating with other colleagues in real-time, making it very useful for those working from home.

The only difficulty is that if you want to work with someone who doesn’t have excel, the ‘standard .numbers’ format isn’t very well supported. It would be best if you never forgot to export the file as ‘.xslx or .csv.’

3. Excel Online and Mobile

The Office suite indeed costs a lot, but there is a free version, at least for now. This is Microsoft 365 Online, which makes the entire classic package available to online-only users.

So, if you’re used to using Excel and don’t want to change it, you can continue doing it for free if you have an internet connection. The most significant advantage is that you only need a browser (so you can use it on any operating system), and there is a dedicated app for every mobile device. Just like Numbers, you can edit your documents from smartphones and tablets.

Online, you can easily collaborate with your colleagues and share the file with them in a few clicks, knowing it’s always up to date.

Although functionally more limited, it may be sufficient for professional use as well as for personal use. You don’t have all the advanced features of paid Excel in the free version, and you can’t put the add-ins required for some high-level operations. You only need a Hotmail or Live account, and you can access these features free.

4. Google Sheets

Google has also created its office suite and programs similar to that of Microsoft Office. Sheets is essentially the equivalent of Excel Online and is a pure web solution.

5. Spread32

A free and very easy-to-use program is this Spread32. Let’s start by saying that it can’t compete with Excel, but it’s more than enough for home use and sometimes even professional service.

It supports most of the popular spreadsheet formats and has many features, including filters and, most importantly, macros that can be very important.

6. Calc from OpenOffice

OpenOffice is a prevalent software because it is free and open-source software with a large community. But in recent years, it has lagged a bit compared to LibreOffice.

For example, it has limited compatibility with Excel as it only supports the old ‘.xls’ format and not the new ‘.xlsx’ format. This is a considerable limitation when the file receives from an Excel user, not when requested to send it.

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