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Excel is being overused in many companies. Therefore, I would like to know of other solutions (ot spreadsheets based) that may be more appropriate for various use cases without requiring the user to be an expert in the field.

To get you started I know of the following:

  • Creating reports from data -> Access
  • Creating charts -> Tableau

I know about LibreOffice and OpenOffice so I am not after those, but rather software doing the same things as Excel only with a different approach.

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closed as not constructive by Hello71, Linker3000, Mokubai, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Stephen Jennings May 1 '11 at 20:53

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3 Answers

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I will comment your point about overuse. I don't think that Excel being overused in companies usually refer to excel VS its spreadsheet competitors. The free alternatives are good to know, but sticking with Excel hardly constitutes a "misuse" in that regard.

I believe that most common misuses of Excel are rather using it to do things where a spreadsheet does not scale well, or is not the right tool for the job, including (and I've seen it all):

  • Large databases
  • Complex data manipulation, charting and reporting
  • Automated systems, application development
  • Brainstorming, mind-mapping
  • Word processing, protected forms
  • Multi-user, shared information repositories
  • Task management, project management, budget management
  • Mission-critical data

Often such activities are started with excel (or any spreadsheet), and that is fine, but a think the term "overuse" most often arise when it's kept growing past beyond the point of productivity/flexibility/cost-effectiveness. Solutions will vary per type of usage.

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Unless you really-really want to differentiate ;-) why not use Google Docs/Apps? Gives you access on nearly every platform and you can do not need to worry much about your file backup.

Just a thought.

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It's also worth mentioning that it's free! Why drop $400 for MS Office when you have this great platform available. –  jmort253 May 1 '11 at 18:18
    
I was thinking more about doing things in a different way, than the Excel way, which is essentially what Google Docs does with a few tweeks. –  David May 1 '11 at 18:19
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If you need a desktop version of a spreadsheet program, try Open Office Calc.

I normally use Google Spreadsheets for new spreadsheets I'm creating, and I use Open Office in cases where I am opening a downloaded attachment and am not sure if I'm going to keep it or share it.

Both of these applications are 100% free to use.

Of course, since you mentioned you are not interested in Open Office -- I have no idea why -- here are some other alternatives:

  • Gnumeric - Gnome based desktop spreadsheet program, with Windows installers.
  • Simple Spreadsheet - Web based spreadsheet program, analogous to Google Spreadsheets.
  • WikiCalc - Another Web based spreadsheet program.

Read more here.

There is also Zoho Spreadsheets. Zoho has countless applications on the Web for increasing productivity, including a Google Spreadsheets clone.

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