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Comparing Google Spreadsheets to Excel

If you’ve used Microsoft Excel at all in the past, Google Spreadsheets will look somewhat familiar—to a point. While Google Spreadsheets adds some unique web-based collaboration features, it also lacks some features that you might be used to in Excel, such as charts, macros, pivot tables, and database functionality. So the two programs, while similar, end up being somewhat different.

That said, Google Spreadsheets does offer a few features not found in Microsoft Excel, the most important being online sharing and collaboration—as well as the saving of all documents online.

In addition, there are some minor differences in how the two programs work. For example, while Google Spreadsheets can work with most Excel data and import Excel XLS files, some Excel text and date formatting doesn’t directly import. Google Spreadsheets also lacks cell border formatting (you can format cell background color, however), and doesn’t offer Excel’s time-worn right mouse button options. Finally, unlike Excel, Google Spreadsheets doesn’t let you zoom in or out of a spreadsheet—you can’t change the size of the spreadsheet grid.

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