Why Excel is Still the Best Spreadsheet Platform

I have been using Excel in since business since 1996, and that was not because Excel was only available from then, that was because I only started working in 1996 after finishing school. Now I hear that there were other spreadsheet options before Excel, and that Excel came and stole the market from them. I don’t deny this, but I didn’t really use them to any great degree, so it doesn’t really play a part in my understanding. I know Excel, and I know that there are other options out there which claim to do more. I don’t agree. I’ll do my best to explain to you why I think this.

Firstly, out of the current options, Excel has been around the longest. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that just because the others are newer, they can’t have good ideas, but they could also have ideas that don’t work. Excel has been around, it has been tested, and used extensively, and they have learned what works. I know some people don’t like Excel 2013, but I love it. It is by far the best version yet, and I think that they have improved an already brilliant program. There are always new products coming out to rival the ‘originals’, but they seldom do. How many cola drinks come out, yet Coke still holds the market. When people think of spreadsheets, they think of Excel. There is a reason for this.

Secondly, it is backed by Microsoft. Microsoft may not be the most popular company sometimes, and they may have been slow to get on board with phones and tablets, but when it comes to PCs, they are still the daddy. I am a PC man, I hate using Macs. That is always open to debate, it is like supporting a sports team – there will be someone just as passionate as you are, but supporting the opposition. I think that Microsoft realises the value of Excel, and they are constantly upgrading it and adding to it. Once they get it more mobile and laptop friendly, it will be an even more powerful business tool, as you could have your software with you while you’re out and about. This is good news for people like myself who use Excel to produce software for businesses, we have the backing of Microsoft to improve our products! The more Microsoft adds to Excel, the more we can offer you.

Thirdly, I have created spreadsheets for people using Excel, Open Office and Google Sheets, and Excel is the most advanced by far. Yes, Google Sheets has the advantage of being online and the possibility of having more than one user at a time, but if you set Excel up correctly, it could do the same. [Edit – Excel is now also online with similar collaboration aspects as Google Sheets]. When I create spreadsheets for any other platform, I still use Excel, but then I alter it when complete in order to work in the specific program used by that particular client. I always have to simplify it in order to work, as Excel has functions that the others have not got to yet. There is always more that can be done in Excel that can’t be done in the others. I have found many functions and formulas that can be done in Excel and Excel only, yet I have never come across any (useful ones) that Excel can’t do that any other can.

If you are a Mac fan, or Google fan (as I am too), and you’re getting ready to write me a strongly worded letter, please just allow me to make one more point. All the other spreadsheet builders copy Excel. Excel comes out with the new functions and formulas, then Open Office, Google Docs and Mac Numbers follow suit. This to me is confirmation that Excel is the market leader and still the best. If the others had good ideas that Excel copied, I would say that maybe they were in with a shout, but it seems that Excel is doing the leading, and the others following.

Apple may be leaders with the iPhone and iPad, Google may be trying to take over the world and be the market leader in search engines, Open Office may be free and very useful, but Microsoft is the market leader in spreadsheets with Excel. Who knows what the future holds, but at the moment, they are the one to beat.

Happy Excel-ling.

Richard Sumner

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