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Google Sheets – My New Excel?

Everyone who knows me knows I love a good spreadsheet.  It’s something that I’ve always loved, as tragic as that may sound. I guess I’ve always liked the way it organises figures and helps me plan things. Now back when I was first in admin, Microsoft Excel was really the only option for spreadsheets. However, now Microsoft products (Word, PowerPoint, etc) have got alternatives by Apple and Google, Google’s version is called Google Sheets.

Google Sheets looks very similar to Excel, but I’ve noticed some distinct advantages to using it in Excel’s place.  Now is a great time to say that super important disclaimer. Google are not paying me in any way, this is simply my true opinion.  Seriously, they aren’t even sending me a bit of stationery. Although, if someone from Google is reading and wants to send stuff, feel free to give me a shout!

Anyway, let’s chat about where Google Sheets scores brownie points over Microsoft Excel in my experience:

Autosave

One of the most obvious advantages to using Google Sheets is the ability to autosave your document. Microsoft Excel do have an option where you can choose to autosave as frequently as every minute, but I have found it to be temperamental. And you know of course, the day when your computer crashes, this would be the day that it fails you. And you’re left screaming at the screen “Why didn’t you save this?!”

Google Sheets is online, it is completely cloud based so the document saves automatically. You don’t need to amend a setting, or make sure that function is switched on because that’s the only way it saves. Every single keystroke is saved.  However, should you need an Excel document because that’s what your boss wants or a client needs, you can download your sheet in that format. Or a variety of other formats if you need to.

Cloud

If you prefer, you can keep the document online. This means you aren’t using any space on your computer hard drive or memory stick. It is in the cloud. So, because it is online and saving automatically, you can pick it up on your smartphone and carry on working on it, or your tablet, or laptop, or desktop.  There’s no need to send it via email to continue working on it elsewhere as it is accessible online, so if you have an internet connection, you will be able to jump on and carry on where you left off. Simple.

Collaboration

Another great thing about Google Sheets being online – easy collaboration.  Again, there is a sharing option on Microsoft Excel but this is best if all users are on the same server.  So it would good for people who are working in the same office, for example.  With Google Sheets, however, you are simply forwarding a link, the same as you would to show someone a new restaurant or a funny video about a cat and a printer.

With Microsoft Excel, you can set a file to be read-only (with a password needed to edit). Google Sheets has a similar way of tackling this, but you allocate users who can see and/or edit the document, so you keep full control as the owner of the document.

Timestamped amendments

A really handy tool when you’re collaborating with other people is the timestamp amendments.  Google Sheets lets you see every single amendment made to the document, including when it was done and which user did it.  I cannot tell you how many times I have worked in shared spreadsheets and someone had deleted important numbers or formula!  Having this feature would’ve been so useful to identify the culprit and strangle retrain them.  You can also restore the document (after previewing it) back to any point, not just your ‘Last Save Point’. So if you want to return the document to a few hours, days or weeks before, you can.

Would you make the switch?

A lot of people (myself included) have been used to Microsoft products because they were the standard choice for ages.  In a similar way, I was very reluctant to move away from Nokia mobile phones (remember them?!) because I was used to them.  I’m not saying I won’t use Microsoft products anymore, far from it. But I do recommend that if the above interests you, you should give Google Docs a try.  All you need is a Google account (which you will already have if you use Google Mail, Google Calendar or have a YouTube account) and you can get started here, and it’s free!

Let me know how you get on.

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