Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.
What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.
In this series we explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything. We recommend open source solutions.
Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.
Google Sheets is proprietary software. We recommend the best free and open source alternatives.
1. LibreOffice Calc
LibreOffice Calc is a component of LibreOffice, a hugely popular office suite that’s compatible with other major office suites. We like the Function menu in the spreadsheet editor displays functions in a clear outline form. Its charts are clear and elegant even when processing complex data.
2. OpenOffice.org Calc
Calc is the spreadsheet component of OpenOffice.org. Like any spreadsheet, you can enter and manipulate data.
The software offers good functionality including:
- Functions, which can be used to create formulas to perform complex calculations on data.
- Database functions, to arrange, store, and filter data.
- Dynamic charts including Bubble Charts and Filled Net Charts.
- Ability to open, edit, and save Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
- Import and export of spreadsheets in multiple formats, including HTML, CSV, PDF, and PostScript.
Gnumeric is another excellent free and open source spreadsheet application. The software aims to offer high accuracy computations, expressive graphs, and a wide range of statistical analysis tools.
Gnumeric helps you keep track of information in lists, organize numeric values in columns and rows, perform and update complex calculations by defining each step of the calculation and modifying particular steps subsequently. The software can create and display or print graphical plots of data using bar plots, line graphs, pie charts or radar charts, implement complex optimization modeling or perform many other tasks involving numbers, dates, times, names or other data.
4. Calligra Sheets
Calligra Sheets is a fully-featured calculation and spreadsheet tool. It’s a competent tool to create and calculate various business-related spreadsheets, such as income and expenditure, employee working hours, etc. It’s not as strong as the other software featured here, but still worth investigating.
All articles in this series:
|Alternatives to Google's Products and Services|
|Analytics is a platform for both website and mobile app analytics. This hosted web analytics software remains the mostly widely used analytics service.|
|Calendar helps manage your busy life with a digital calendar. It offers tons of features and makes it easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place.|
|Chat is communication software which provides direct messages and team chat rooms, together with a group messaging function.|
|Chrome is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. It's the most popular web browser but has a chequered track record from a privacy perspective.|
|Classroom is a learning platform for educational institutions that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments. The main aim of the platform is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.|
|Contacts is a contact management service. It's available on the sidebar of Gmail, a web app, and for Android.|
|DNS resolves a particular domain name to its IP equivalent. There are many free DNS providers. A few stand out from the crowd.|
|Docs is a web-based productivity office suite. The suite includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites, and Google Keep.|
|Drawings is diagramming software included as part of the web-based Google Docs Editors suite. Create and edit flowcharts, organizational charts, website wireframes, mind maps, concept maps, and more.|
|Drive is a file storage and synchronization service. Want a solution that also includes the online office components available in Google Docs?|
|Earth Pro maps Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS. Fly anywhere to see satellite imagery, 3D buildings, 3D trees, terrain, Street View, planets and much more.|
|Finance is a website focusing on business news and financial information. It provides real-time market quotes, international exchanges, financial news, and analytics.|
|Firebase is a platform for creating mobile and web applications. It's currently their flagship offering for app development providing an all-in-one cloud service.|
|Forms is a survey administration software included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.|
|Gboard is a virtual keyboard app developed for Android and iOS devices. It features Google Search and predictive answers.|
|Gmail is a hugely popular email service. You might not like the automated scanning of email content.|
|Jamboard is a digital interactive whiteboard developed to work with Google Workspace. Sketch your ideas whiteboard-style while benefiting from the access and connectivity of an interactive canvas, on mobile or directly from your web browser.|
|Keep is a note-taking service. The app offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.|
|Maps is a web mapping service offering satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, and interactive panoramic views.|
|Meet is a video-communication service. It offers enterprise-grade video conferencing built on Google’s global infrastructure.|
|Photos stores your images in the cloud for convenient access from anywhere. Lots of useful tools, but it’s difficult to shake the sinking feeling that Google is analysing your pictures.|
|Search looks at privacy-focused alternatives to Google Search. If you believe that Google invades your privacy, what alternatives do we recommend?|
|Sheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.|
|Sites is a structured wiki and web page creation tool. Build internal project hubs, team sites, public-facing websites, and more—all without designer, programmer, or IT help.|
|Slides lets you create pitch decks, project presentations, training modules, and more. It's part of the Google Docs Editors suite.|
|Translate is a multilingual neural machine translation service that translates text and websites from one language into another.|
|YouTube is an online video sharing and social media platform. It's a hugely popular service but has encountered a number of privacy issues.|
While I wholeheartedly agree with using open source none of your suggestions offer easy collaboration as Google Docs & Office 365 browser versions do. That is a niche that many people rely on.
Tadaen, it seems you are wanting a like-for-like equivalent, rather than an alternative?
What do you suggest as better open source choices?
Alternative means different product with same functionality, not just some replacement. All “alternatives” suggested here are desktop applications, not online collaborative solutions, as Google Sheets is. That’s Tadaen’s point and I agree with it.
Someone: you are not correct. The definition of the word “alternative” is “(of one or more things) available as another possibility or choice”. Therefore software A doesn’t have to offer the same functionality as software B to qualify as an “alternative”. What you are describing is, in fact, the word “equivalent”.
The point is that the software we’ve recommended as alternatives can still be used as collaborative solutions, sometimes with the help of additional software. Just as an initial thought, LibreCalc offers the ability to share spreadsheets which can be accessed and edited by multiple users simultaneously. There are many open source solutions which offer cloud storage so these shared spreadsheets can be worked on collaboratively.
@Steve, you are spot on