What are the cons of google sheets

Microsoft Excel Online and Google Sheets are browser-based spreadsheet apps - a use case that is still widespread and important in most organizations. They are each part of an entire Office suite: Excel Online is a module from Microsoft Office 365 and Sheets is an application from Google G Suite.

Microsoft Office is mainly known for its locally installed applications such as Excel, Word and Co. and only made the move to the cloud with online versions a few years ago. (Depending on the Office 365 tariff, the end user has either only the online tools or the locally installable versions available.) The G Suite Office apps, on the other hand, are developed for the cloud from the start and do not have to be installed locally Counterparts.

Therefore, first of all, I would like to point out: In the comparison below, I will compare Excel Online (and not the Excel to be installed locally) with Sheets.

In many areas, Excel Online and Sheets have almost the same range of functions. It would therefore be too tedious to really list every function and look for differences in detail. In the following, I will therefore limit myself to those twelve features where I could really make out differences between the tools. They are particularly relevant for experienced users who work a lot and intensively with tables and who therefore derive the greatest benefit from a mature, flexible implementation.

1. Conditional formatting (colors)

In Excel Online, we can format table fields based on their content and, with the help of a few predefined rules, for example, automatically mark marked cells with a value less than 10 in red. Color gradients can also be displayed, which at first glance convey how good or bad a result or a number is in comparison with others. We have a number of color templates available for this. However, your own color combinations are not possible. To do this, we can also select horizontal data bars and icons for marking in Excel Online.

Such color markings can also be made in Google Sheets. Not only are there some predefined formatting rules here, we can also specify custom formulas. Colors in sheets are much more versatile than in Excel Online. We can also add color gradients in sheets. Various color templates are also available for this. Sheets also gives us the option of choosing our own colors and defining the values ​​that should be color-coded accordingly. However, horizontal markings or icon markings are currently not available in G Suite.

Both tools therefore offer good options for visually marking values. Excel Online opens up the option of using additional icons for this, while Google Sheets supports a broader range of applications via the user-defined formulas.

2. Text alignment

Text can be aligned horizontally and vertically in Excel Online. We can also make indents and also set text that is longer than the width of the column to automatically wrap.

In Google Sheets, text can also be aligned horizontally and vertically. In the meantime, indents in a table cell are not possible. For this, text can not only be broken, but optionally also cut off. In addition, we can rotate the text in different directions.

When it comes to text alignment, the two tools do not take a lot: the basic requirements are met; the use cases for oblique and indented text in tables should be rare.

3. Pictures

In Excel Online, we can only insert images by uploading them. These are then in front of the cells and can be scaled and rotated.

In Google Sheets there is the option to decide whether a picture should be inserted into a cell or (as in Excel Online) should be placed in front of the cell. Images can also be inserted into sheets from various sources: We can start the webcam directly and take a photo, integrate images via a URL, Google Photos, Google Drive and web search, or make them available via upload. The images can then also be scaled, but not rotated. It is possible to assign scripts to images. This can be useful, for example, with graphic buttons, which then trigger certain functions with a click.

When it comes to pictures, Sheets clearly scores. The flexibility to insert images in a wide variety of ways and from various sources, while with Excel Online only the upload from the local computer is possible, opens up considerably more flexibility.

4. Inserting shapes

Various shapes, lines and arrows can be inserted in Excel Online. We can then customize the look using several color templates. However, Excel does not allow completely custom colors. In addition, it is not possible to place text in the shapes.

Shapes, lines and arrows can be integrated into Google Sheets via the menu item "Drawings". If necessary, we can also specify individual colors for these elements. In addition, shapes and images can be combined with one another. We can also insert text into our shapes. After saving, we also have the option to assign a script to the shape or drawing and in this way to create interactive buttons quickly and easily.

Here, too, Sheets scores with more flexibility than Excel Online. Above all, the ability to define your own colors and use text in shapes can be helpful in many application scenarios.

5. Charts

Excel Online masters all basic diagram types for the visualization of data. The labeling, the positioning of the legend and the grid lines can be adjusted, but the colors cannot.

Google Sheets offers roughly the same chart types, but gives us a little more formatting options than Excel. For example, a trend line and an error bar can also be displayed; we can also change the colors of all or individual bars or segments. Diagrams can also be downloaded directly as images or PDFs in Sheets and published individually via a link.

With the diagrams, Sheets can convince with more options. Incidentally, both Excel and Sheets can be supplemented with many other diagram types with additional add-ons such as the free diagramming solution draw.io.

6. Links

In Excel Online, URLs, areas in the document and e-mail addresses can be linked. However, only a simple input field is available for this. For a link to an area of ​​the document, on the other hand, you have to know the exact code and cannot simply click on the desired area to select it.

In Sheets there are no more input fields available either, but a very intelligent one that makes various suggestions. Via this field we can (as in Excel) link URLs, table areas and e-mails. Sheets is differentiated into entire worksheets, which can be selected via dropdown, or cell areas, which we can simply select by marking.

Thus, when it comes to links, Google Sheets can convince with a more intelligent input or search field and significantly better usability.

7. Filters

Normal filters for tables can be activated in Excel Online. These then appear in the table header and can be operated via dropdown and checkboxes.

Sheets also comes with the same filter. But here there is also the function "data slicer" or "slicer". This enables us to activate filters that appear as freely movable buttons and that can filter a selected area. For example, practical overview pages can be created on which data are clearly displayed in diagrams and which can now be easily filtered using the buttons without us having to change the diagram or first navigate to the table that contains the data and filters.

With the filters, too, Google Sheets offers more flexibility with the data slicer or slicer.

8. Filter views

I have already mentioned the normal filter options and the slicer function in sheets. A very important function for tables that several people work with at the same time are the so-called filter views.

To illustrate and as a practical example, let's take a table with many columns and rows that lists all employees of a company who work in different locations. Now an employee of the HR department in Germany is working with the list to invite all German employees to a summer party. To do this, he filters the table and only shows the German employees. But now an employee from France accesses the list at the same time and needs the e-mail addresses of all colleagues for an international newsletter. There is already a problem: Either the employee from France does not notice that a filter is activated and wonders why only German employees are in the list or he deactivates the existing filter again and the German employee is confused because suddenly everyone is back Employees can be seen.

For precisely such scenarios there are filter views in Google Sheets. The employee from Germany can now simply create a filter view and name it, for example, "Employee Germany". Now the edge of the table turns black and it can filter out all other contacts. If the colleague from France opens the table at the same time, however, he sees it in the normal state with all employees. For example, if he only needs all contacts from France, he can also use a filter view without restricting the actual table for all other agents. There are currently no such filter views in Excel Online.

Here it becomes clear that Google is already further than Microsoft when it comes to aspects of real-time collaboration. If several people are to work together in a table, filter views are actually essential in order not to lose track of things.

9. Checkboxes

Excel and Sheets are also often used in project planning or similar use cases in which tasks have to be processed or in which something is true or false. The easiest and clearest way to see if something is done is to use simple checkboxes that can be ticked off. However, these are not currently available in Excel Online. In sheets, checkboxes can be easily integrated into worksheets using the "Insert" menu item.

So the point goes to Google Sheets, because Excel Online simply does not provide the function.

10. Automation with macros

Many work steps in calculation programs can be automated with macros and scripts in order to save time and effort. As users, we can record macros relatively easily by simply carrying out the steps that the automation should take over in the future. The macro writes the appropriate script for this in the background. (Of course, scripts can also be written directly in an editor with the appropriate know-how.)

Google Sheets has both options. Microsoft currently only offers scripts and macros in the desktop version of its Office tools; the functions are therefore not available in Excel Online.

Macros and scripts are certainly functions that are aimed at technically savvy users. In this way, however, you can provide powerful support and shorten work processes. Obviously, Microsoft has not yet managed to implement these capabilities in its online products.

11. Artificial intelligence

If we mark a table in Excel Online, we can use the menu item "Ideas" to display suggestions for diagrams for our data. These can then be inserted into the table with a click.

Google Sheets has a very similar feature called Explore. In contrast to Excel Online, Sheets not only makes suggestions for diagrams, but goes one step further and also provides information on important data and asks or answers questions about it.

With this AI / AI function, we get a foretaste of what will be possible in the future with cloud tools. While Excel Online currently only provides a visualization aid for data, Sheets already answers individual questions.

12. Link tables

Google Sheets has the option of copying and pasting tables and charts from Sheets in the other G Suite tools such as Docs (word processing) and Slides (presentations). We can activate an intelligent link: If a link is active, an update button automatically appears in the other tools when the original data is changed in the sheet.

For example, if we prepare an annual report in Docs and copy the preliminary balance sheet from Sheets, we only need to click on Update in our report as soon as the accounting department has completed the balance sheet in sheets after the annual financial statements, instead of re-entering the data back and forth copy. This saves time and reduces errors. Excel Online or the Office 365 tools currently do not offer this option.


Most Office users would describe Excel or Sheets as the most complicated Office tools. Text documents and presentations can be created quickly. Spreadsheets are usually a bit more complex. With formulas, macros and scripts, sometimes demanding, but also very helpful automations can be built. Accordingly, Excel and Sheets are traditionally particularly useful for departments and teams that deal with numbers a lot - such as accounting, controlling or marketing.

Microsoft has clearly not yet managed to transpose the functions that make Excel so powerful in the classic offline version into the cloud. Sheets convinces with more and more intelligent functions on almost all points.

Contribution as a video

Just reading about functions is not enough for you? I also take up all the features that we discussed above in the following video:

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Are you interested in modern collaboration in companies with Google software as an Office alternative? Contact us if you have any questions or want to know more: We are an official Google Cloud partner and would be happy to advise you without obligation on the introduction, licensing and productive use of Google G Suite!

Further information

Why large organizations choose Google G Suite as an office alternative
Office 365 alternative: How Google is positioning itself with G Suite for enterprise customers
Microsoft Word Online vs. Google Docs: Twelve Functions in Comparison
Google G Suite: Audit-proof and GDPR-compatible mail archiving in the Google Vault

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