Microsoft Excel vs. Google Sheets: Shiksha Online

Microsoft Excel vs. Google Sheets: Shiksha Online

5 mins read1.4K Views Comment
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Mar 3, 2023 13:30 IST

Google Sheets and MS Excel are similar in terms of usage and formulas. While most of the features of these most popular spreadsheets are the same, there are some differences that you must know. This article covers MS Excel vs. Google Sheets.


Both Google Sheets and MS Excel are very popular when it comes to managing and presenting data. Microsoft Excel has dominated the market for the longest time, since its launch in 1979. Excel is a part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite and is available for Windows and macOS. You would need to install the program on the computer and use it. On the other hand, Google Sheets is a spreadsheet application, a part of the online office suite by Google Drive. You can use it online for free, without any installation. The article covers the topic of Google Sheets vs Excel.

Google Sheets vs Excel

Below are some of the major differences between Google Sheets and MS Excel. Let’s explore Google Sheets vs. MS Excel as per different features.

Basis Microsoft Excel Google Sheets
Cost $159.99 for 1 PC or Mac, Excel with Microsoft 365 starts at $6.99/month Free
File Sharing  Share using a shared workbook or Excel for the web Share directly with multiple people
Collaboration Collaborate in Excel for the web Collaborate in real-time from Sheets
File Saving  Save using Filename locally, SharePoint or OneDrive  Save automatically to Drive
Keyboard Shortcuts Being a stand-alone application MS Excel offers more keyboard shortcuts than Sheets Specific to Google Sheets
Internet Dependability  Used in offline mode, independent of internet Can be used both offline and online 
Statistical Analysis & Visualization Superior functions for statistical analysis & visualization with many in-built formulas and features Charting and analysis need to be done manually 
Filters  Create filters Create filters & filter views
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Let’s explore some of the major differences between Google Sheets and MS Excel in detail.

Offline vs. Online

The mode in which both the sheets operate is the fundamental difference between the two. 

Excel runs locally, which means that you can access documents that you own or receive. Microsoft is making changes that will try to achieve the teamwork capabilities that Sheets already enables, but that’s just getting started.

However, it has a cloud based alternative, which allows OneDrive users to work with Excel online as well. 

Google Sheets, on the other hand, works entirely online. 

Remote work – Synchronization 

Google Sheets has automatic synchronization, which is ideal for working remotely or with multiple user access. You have the version history at hand and you can recover data or previous information if needed. All changes are shown in real time, and there is an option to communicate with others having access to the same sheet. 

While working with Excel, you would still need to save your changes and send the file for someone else to make their own changes, etc. And if you wanted to recover some deleted data, it wouldn’t be possible.

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Data Size

For many companies, the important thing when deciding between Google Sheets or Excel is data processing. Google Sheets allows you to fill and edit up to 18,278 columns, while MS Excel offers 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns per sheet. 

This suggests that MS Excel offers greater storage over Google Sheets.


Google Sheets and Excel are similar in terms of standard features and offer a range of possibilities, such as performing mathematical calculations, adding data, inserting rows and columns, etc. 

However, if you want to perform complex mathematical or statistical calculations, and create financial models, macros, and complex flowcharts, Excel is a better option.

Google Sheets is evolving with new features being regularly added, some of the unique data analysis and visualization features remain exclusive to Excel as of now.

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The main factor in measuring the usefulness of spreadsheet programs is the formula functions it offers, which can save a lot of work in many areas. Both Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel have essential functions, such as SUM, AVERAGE, MIN, or MAX. Users who want to perform sums or know a maximum value, for example, will be satisfied with both.

Excel also offers many more advanced features designed for specialized tasks. Google Sheets, meanwhile, stands out for unique formulas such as GOOGLE FINANCE, which allows you to integrate stock quotes. However, Excel still beats Google Sheets when it comes to complex procedures.

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Ease of Use

Excel has an extensive features menu, while Google Sheets has a more minimalistic look. However, with the symbol table, Excel wins points in this regard. 

This table allows you to modify and edit values ​​with just one click on the corresponding symbol. On the other hand, Google Sheets only enable you to do it through the menu, clicking on the different options until you reach the desired function.

Data Security

At this point, although Microsoft has advanced much more with OneDrive, Google continues to offer better support and better control of security thanks to two-factor authentication, the HTTPS connection, and some other key points that it has in its favor. 

It is necessary to mention that if you use the desktop version of Excel, you should have a good antivirus on your computer. There are more chances that your data will be compromised.


Google Sheets is free to access and is an absolute winner compared to Microsoft Excel in this regard. On the other hand, Microsoft Excel is part of the Office suite, which is sold through annual subscriptions. You can also get Excel as a separate program by paying for it only once.


Google Sheets vs Excel remains an ongoing debate. The choice is completely dependent on your usage. If you are looking to start with using spreadsheets then go for Google Sheets, it has advanced functionalities and formulae and is free to use.

If you are ready to invest in a more advanced and are more into in-depth data analysis, you should opt for Excel.

Hope this article on google sheets vs excel helped you understand the difference between these two powerful data analysis and visualization spreadsheets.

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About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio