Spreadsheet Software Review
Why Buy Spreadsheet Software?
A spreadsheet is just another way of referring to a program that simulates a paper worksheet, like from an old time ledger. For those of you who are still using a manual approach to keeping your books, etc. a spreadsheet program is a computer program that consists of rows and columns that make up a grid. You can enter a formula that will automatically total a list of numbers, meaning you’ll never have to get out that calculator again.
While Microsoft Office and Excel have become the industry standard, not all spreadsheet programs are created equally. Whether you're looking for a certain function or just an Excel alternative, it's important to make an informed decision. You need to find something that is easy-to-use and above all, economical! We have rated the best spreadsheet software so you that you can determine which is the best for your needs and your budget. On this site you will find articles related to spreadsheets as well as reviews of spreadsheet software.
Most spreadsheet programs are simply parts of a larger home office suite. This means that the programs cannot be purchased as a standalone product, but in most cases you may find this to be advantageous since you’ll get an entire package and this can certainly mean you’ll get more bang for your buck.
- Usability – Can you find things? Is it easy to delete or insert cells? Can you change the font sizes and colors without too much difficulty?
- Easy formulae construction - When you need to develop a formula, is it easy to figure out how to make the formula?
- Formula library - You don't want to write every formula you need. Look for a repository of formulae you can pick from.
- Conditional formatting – We all know that you want to highlight the important parts of the spreadsheet – the one that shows how much profit you’ve made or how much you owe (oh, we hope not).
- Printing – Be sure to pick a program that lets you print the part of the spreadsheet you’re interested in printing. If not, you’ll end up with an enormous printout that may not even be able to fit onto the paper you’re using in your printer.
- Publishing to the Web – Many of the spreadsheets you develop may be of interest to many people in your organization. This means that instead of e-mailing the spreadsheets around, you may want to consider putting them up on a website. Good spreadsheet programs make it easy to convert a spreadsheet to HTML so it can be put up on the Internet easily.
- Adding symbols and pictures – In your final product, the fact that you can make the information you’ve gathered look appealing may end up being very important to you. Select a product that gives you the ability to import attractive symbols, images, and to easily change the colors, type faces, and backgrounds of the fonts.
What to Look for in Spreadsheet Software
There are several elements of Spreadsheet programs, and some are more important to particular users than others. Regardless, here are the most important aspects to consider when evaluating which spreadsheet software is right for you:
Today, whether you choose to go with Microsoft Excel or not, you will still have clients and associates who are using Excel. That means that you will need to be able to open and save your work in formats that Microsoft can work with. This means that one of the most important capabilities your new spreadsheet program must have is the ability to be compatible with Microsoft Excel.
Spreadsheet programs can be much more interactive and functional if they can be accessed by computer programs. When you’re picking the spreadsheet that will help you the most, you’ll want to make sure your pick will work with the programming language you’ll need to be using.
There are a ton of extra features you can get on your spreadsheet program. The important thing is to make sure that your choice has the bells and whistles you’ll want to use. Lots of people want to be able to put images and symbols in their spreadsheets. They also want to add comments to cells so the people viewing it can get an explanation if something isn’t clear from simply looking at the numbers and columns.
Check the features out very carefully and choose one you’ll be able to grow into for the future.
When you’re doing your calculations, you’ll want a lot of flexibility when you’re inputting which parts should be added, subtracted, multiplied, divided, averaged, etc. Although all of the programs have these functions, not all of them are so easy to work with. You’ll want a tool that enables you to repeat the formulas for each row or column that is newly-created.
You’ll also want a spreadsheet that has a large number of built-in formulae you can choose from. After all, you don’t want to re-invent the wheel every time you try to prepare a complex spreadsheet.
Formula, however, may not be the way to go. Why? Because every time you need a formula in a new spreadsheet, you pretty much have to rebuild it and that's why many people are using programming languages to build functions that can be reused over and over. Obviously this can save you a great deal of time if you tend to build complex formulae.
Printing and Publishing
Once you have finished with all of the calculations for your spreadsheet, you will have others that want to look at the information. And not everyone wants to look at a page full of numbers. Each of the programs offers a variety of different ways to display the data in pie charts, bar charts, and line graphs. Take a long look at the variety of what is offered in each spreadsheet program because there are those who will evaluate your work on how attractive the graphics look.
Some will want to view your findings on the Web so make sure your choice easily publishes the data in HTML format. Also, don’t forget that people will prefer to forward the spreadsheets around in PDF format so make sure your software can easily write the spreadsheet into a PDF document.
More than anything, you want to choose a program that has an interface you find easy to work with. You’ll only know this about the spreadsheet program if you download it to make sure you like the way the controls are laid out.
Whenever you are looking for new software, make sure that when you have a problem or if you cannot figure out how to use a new function that the help section is of a good quality. Be sure to click on the help link and see if they have furnished you with an easy to use method of finding the information you need.
Remember that no matter how great the program is, if you can’t get it installed, you can’t use it. We have rated each of the programs on the ease of installing the program.
Consider your options and the unique combination of features and usability from each software. We've rated and ranked the best spreadsheet software to help you find the best option for your needs. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™