6 Best Free Spreadsheet Programs

Microsoft Excel alternatives you'll love

There are several free spreadsheet programs that have the capabilities of Microsoft Excel without the price tag. These free spreadsheet programs have all the spreadsheet functions you'd expect as well as features such as Excel file compatibility, clean interfaces, automatic spell check, macro creation, and auto-saving.

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Google Sheets

Google Sheets MROUND result
What We Like
  • Offers functions and a design similar to Excel.

  • Work is saved to the cloud.

  • Part of the broader Google Docs framework.

What We Don't Like
  • Google's lack of privacy.

  • Its cloud-first design means taking extra steps to keep local copies of content.

Although it's not a desktop application like the others listed here, Google Sheets is a popular alternative to Microsoft Excel—in both its online and offline variants.

Sheets works like any other spreadsheet. However, because it's a cloud-based service, by default, it saves your work in near-real-time and stores your files in your Google Drive. You must log in with a Google account to create new spreadsheets, but once logged in, the tool is free to use.

Sheets is a cloud-based service that supports real-time collaboration and document sharing features that desktop-based solutions generally cannot match.

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WPS Office Spreadsheets

A spreadsheet with black and red numbers

Gregor Schuster / Getty Images

What We Like
  • Cross platform.

  • Works on iOS and Android mobile devices.

  • Smaller install footprint.

  • Simple interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks advanced Excel features such as spell check.

  • Only the paid version has a full suite of features.

  • Must download the full suite.

WPS Office Spreadsheet is a great free spreadsheet program. Its beautiful, intuitive interface is simple to use, and it supports many features.

It works with the same file types as nearly every version of Microsoft Excel, including the XLSX, XLS, and CSV formats. You can open these common file types and save to these file types.

This free spreadsheet software supports more than a hundred formulas for working with data.

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OpenOffice Calc

OpenOffice Calc in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Works with most spreadsheet file formats.

  • Extra extensions and templates are available.

What We Don't Like
  • The Help section isn't very extensive.

  • An overly simplistic interface.

OpenOffice Calc has many of the same features as Kingsoft Spreadsheets, including support for common file formats. However, it isn't as easy to use. It does offer unique advantages, such as support for creating macros and an automatic spell check feature.

Also, OpenOffice Calc allows different toolsets to be detached from the main program window to provide more space for working while providing tons of useful features.

The Extension Manager lets you add features to OpenOffice Calc that aren't included in the default program, which is another way to customize the program to your liking.

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Gnumeric in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Simple and easy to use interface.

  • Quick and responsive.

  • Free to download and use.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't include all the functions available in Excel.

  • Graphs and charts lack style.

Gnumeric is an advanced spreadsheet program. There are numerous tools you won't find in some of the other software from this list. Though there are advanced features like auto-saving workbooks, it also supports the common ones you'd expect to find in a spreadsheet program.

Microsoft Excel 2003 and 2007 formats are supported, and data can be imported from a text file and then filtered in Gnumeric.

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Spread32 in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Free to download and use.

  • Hundreds of functions.

  • Stores a lot of data.

What We Don't Like
  • Only available for Windows.

  • Doesn't open Excel files.

Like all these spreadsheet programs, Spread32 supports hundreds of functions and all the regular formatting tools. Still, the program interface is easy to use and provides a clean working space.

Files save to your computer in many formats, including XLS, XLT, PXT, CSV, and BMP.

Spread32 is portable, which means you don't have to install it to use it. Also, it can run from portable media like a flash drive. It takes up less space than the other programs in this list; the size is under a few megabytes.

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SSuite Accel

SSuite Accel
What We Like
  • Fast download.

  • Has an effective formula search utility.

  • It's easy to connect data sources.

What We Don't Like
  • Installs extra utilities automatically.

  • Cluttered toolbars.

  • Supports limited file formats.

SSuite Accel doesn't look nearly as nice as the other programs from this list, but it's a working spreadsheet program that performs many of the same functions.

Files save to formats like XLS and CSV but also to some Accel-specific ones like VTS and ATP.

SSuite Accel connects to external database files and supports opening files directly from Dropbox and other online storage services.

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