Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spreadsheets: The Big Three

Spreadsheet applications have been around for quite a long time and, as is typical of technical evolution, the strong have survived while the weak fell away into obscurity. Currently, the Big Three are Apple Numbers, Google Sheets and, of course, Microsoft Excel.

 As is the case in most categories, it is no surprise that Excel is the King (or Queen if you prefer) when it comes to Functions. In addition to other tools, Functions, arguably, Make Spreadsheets Go. It is therefore interesting to take a quick look at the major applications in this regard.

 Apple Numbers 
There is no doubt that Apple’s Numbers is pretty to look at and does a great job on charts and graphics. The software also claims to make using functions and formulas less complicated through the use of an “intuitive” browser. Approximately 255 functions are available as is built-in help and the ubiquitous tooltips. Newly added functions include DATEVALUE, NETWORKDAYS, YEARFRAC, and several more.

Google Sheets 
Google Sheets is a free online spreadsheet application that lets you simultaneously work with other people. As with all of the major spreadsheet apps, it has substantially evolved over time and currently has approximately 315 functions to choose from. You can even Chat in real time with others who are editing the functions in your spreadsheet, and do most of the work that professionals require in this arena.

Microsoft Excel 
It is no surprise that Excel leads the industry with over 400 functions. It is doubtful that anyone in the foreseeable future will surpass the sheer depth of functionality that Excel enjoys. For instance it is particularly notable for many professionals that no other spreadsheet software includes anything like Pivot Tables. Although there is specialized number-crunching software, Microsoft continues to do an admirable job in updating and refining its crowning application.

Which one to use? Well, that depends on who you work with and what your needs are. When in doubt, however, you can’t go wrong with Good Ol’ Excel

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