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Are there viable spreadsheet app alternatives to Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel may be widely used, but other spreadsheet applications such as Google Sheets and Thinkfree are available for organizations to use.

Microsoft Excel may be the reigning king of spreadsheets in the enterprise, but it is not the only option.

Perhaps the best known and most widely used Microsoft Excel alternative is Google Sheets, an online spreadsheet app. Google Sheets is not quite as powerful as the current version of Excel, but it contains many of the most popular features. Google Sheets also looks and feels a lot like Excel, so Excel users should catch on pretty quickly.

Among the Microsoft Excel alternatives is LibreOffice Calc. Calc is a full-featured spreadsheet app that is a part of the LibreOffice suite. LibreOffice regularly updates Calc, and version 5.3 has an option called Enable Wildcards in Formulas turned on by default. This feature improves compatibility with other spreadsheets by giving users a greater amount of text-string search capability. The latest version also includes new cell styles and a new median function for pivot tables.

Apache OpenOffice Calc is another Microsoft Excel alternative. The fact that OpenOffice uses the same name for its spreadsheet as LibreOffice is no coincidence. Both applications can trace their roots to the same code base, but the two office suites eventually splintered into separate projects. LibreOffice seems to be the more popular of the two, but both are viable spreadsheet app options.

A particularly noteworthy option is Thinkfree Office. Like LibreOffice and OpenOffice, Thinkfree Office is a full productivity suite. Thinkfree Office has been specifically designed to provide a consistent experience across different devices. The desktop and smartphone versions look nearly identical to one another and display spreadsheets in a similar manner. Thinkfree also offers an online version of its software and provides cloud storage through the Thinkfree cloud. 

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This was last published in August 2017

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