10 Best Excel Alternatives for Project Management and Spreadsheets

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    Despite project management and spreadsheet programs getting better by nearly every conceivable standard, Microsoft Excel is still a popular choice of many. In this post, we will review some of the best Microsoft Excel alternatives.


    Whether this popularity is owed to a simple spreadsheet platform with maximum customization, or that it lets you quickly process data, Excel is an essential tool in many workplaces.


    But the mere infamy of the tool can’t mask the reality that for advanced functionality revolving around different kinds of datasets, you will need a powerful Excel alternative.


    Particularly if you’re using the tool for project management, then you don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into, my dear friend! We’ve got proof to validate this.


    The reasons mentioned in the above proof should be motivation enough for you to switch to an alternative to Excel. If you don’t know where to start, or how to switch, don’t worry!


    Also Read:

    5 Reasons Why Excel Project Management Is Costing You More


    We’ve compiled for you a great list of Excel alternatives. And to make things even better, we categorized them according to the project management and spreadsheet functionality.


    Let’s start.


    The Best Excel Alternatives for Project Management


    Microsoft Excel comes with pre-built project templates to help you get started, but other critical project management features, like time tracking and collaboration, are missing from the platform. Therefore, we’re starting off the list with Excel alternatives you need for project management:


    1. nTask


    product and project_hero


    nTask grabs #1 position in this compilation.


    The tool makes an impression by coming up with features that normally you would get access to through third-party application integrations. An all-rounder when it comes to handling projects, nTask makes a pretty solid alternative to Excel.


    nTask makes project management easier for you by allowing you to store, process, organize and collaborate – all through one platform.


    The core functionalities associated with task management, time tracking, and project reporting can be experienced through a clean user-interface intelligently designed to bring maximum user ease.


    ⭐ Top Features

    • Task management through a comprehensive feature set including task assignment, task recurrence, prioritization, and task status
    • Advanced project scheduling and reporting through built-in Gantt charts
    • Time tracking module facilitating timesheet management and tracking of individual task efforts
    • Meeting management module for scheduling meetings. Manage agenda, recurrence, follow-ups, and decisions to share with team members
    • Issue management for timely identifying and resolving issues associated with your projects
    • Risk management for documenting potential risks and devising a mitigation plan for effectively dealing with them
    • Dedicated workspaces for teams working on multiple projects simultaneously to ensure a transparent flow of information
    • Powerful collaboration features, like comments within tasks and timesheet approvals
    • Notifications, reminders, and alerts for staying on track
    • Third-party application access


    💸 Pricing


    You can experience all the above-mentioned features and many more for Free and through Pro plan of the tool starting at $1 per user/month. Got a large team? nTask also caters enterprises through the customizable Enterprise plan.


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    2. Jira




    Next to Microsoft Excel alternative we have is Jira. A powerful tool quite popular with software teams, Jira provides workflow mapping for projects, along with multiple other Agile development functionalities for releasing the software effectively.


    The tool makes sure things are done right from the beginning by providing an array of features to plan, track, and report efficiently.


    To track your project performance in real-time, you can get access to a vast library of Agile reports ranging from basic burndown and burnup charts to more advanced sprint reports and velocity charts, etc.


    Key Features

    • Scrum boards
    • Kanban boards
    • Customizable project dashboard
    • Project roadmap
    • Bug and issues tracker
    • Customizable workflows
    • Custom search filters
    • Powerful Agile reports
    • Third-party application integrations



    • Jira offers a free trial of 7 days and paid plans. The paid plans start from $10 per month (changes with the number of users).


    3. Smartsheet




    Smartsheet provides project management solutions to teams through a spreadsheet-like interface.


    The software comes with a dynamic mix of tools providing a range of features like resource management, document management, pre-built project templates, and team portals.


    Being a spreadsheet program at heart, Smartsheet passes as a pretty solid Excel alternative, but with some enhanced project tracking functions and greater customization options.


    Key Features

    • Project dashboard
    • Gantt charts
    • Team portals
    • Activity log
    • Built-in resource management tool
    • Project templates
    • Document management
    • Shareable sheets
    • File attachments
    • Custom themes
    • Reminder notifications



    • Smartsheet allows testing of their product through 14 days free trial period. After that, the plans start from $14 for individuals and $25 per user/month for businesses. If you’re running an enterprise, you can contact them for pricing.

    Also See:

    Top 14 Microsoft Project Alternatives of 2020


    4. Airtable




    Airtable is a cloud-based project management software that combines the functionality of a spreadsheet and database to provide the most user-friendly experience while managing projects.


    It’s a free Excel alternatives, the tool comes with a pleasing design and easy interface to help users have fun while getting things done.


    Facilitating multiple views for data visualization, Airtable lets you organize your work the way you want. You can also create multiple databases in one location for quick and easy access.


    Key Features

    • Task management
    • Video chat functionality
    • Time tracking
    • Pre-built project templates
    • Issues and bug tracker
    • Powerful project sorting filters
    • Client project tracker
    • Safe file attachments
    • Multiple third-party application integrations



    • Airtable comes with a Free plan which offers some essential features. The paid plans start from $10 per user/month – billed annually.


    The Best Excel Alternatives for Spreadsheets


    It wouldn’t be fair on our part if we didn’t include alternatives for Excel spreadsheets, because a lot of you rely on spreadsheets for your daily tasks’ management. Let’s start:


    5. Google Sheets


    Google sheet


    An easy to manage alternatives to Excel, Google Sheets is quite similar to Excel when it comes to functionality and design. There are a few things that Excel lacks when compared with Google Sheets.


    For starters, all your files are stored in the cloud which means you can access your data from any device and at any time you want.


    An interesting feature of Google Sheets is that you can share them with anyone and work together simultaneously. You can even add comments and chat with your team members to collaborate instantly.


    Key Features

    • Project templates
    • Charts and graphs
    • Comments within sheets
    • Chat functionality
    • Shareable spreadsheets
    • Automatic data backup
    • Third-party add-ons



    • Google Sheets is free.


    6. LibreOffice




    An open-source office suite, LibreOffice is a quite popular free Excel alternatives. Compatible with a wide range of document formats, the tool is an excellent exporter of data and provides maximum control to the user.


    LibreOffice comes with 6 component programs that essentially make up the complete office suite. These components are Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics), Math (formula editor), and Base (databases).


    Key Features

    • Word processor
    • Presentation templates
    • Powerful diagraming and flowcharts
    • Pivot table
    • Compatibility with other document formats
    • Data export functionality



    • LibreOffice is free.


    7. Zoho Sheet


    Zoho Sheet


    Another cloud-based spreadsheet program, Zoho Sheet grabs 7th position in our list of Microsoft Excel alternatives. The application provides real-time collaboration features, alongside essential spreadsheet functionality.


    For ensuring maximum data security, Zoho Sheet provides you with an option to lock particular cells in a spreadsheet. Moreover, with version history feature, your data is backed up for you to access it anytime you want.


    Key Features

    • Shareable spreadsheets
    • Comments within sheets
    • User-specific lock settings
    • Version history
    • Multiple charts and graphs
    • Checklist management
    • Compatibility with other document formats
    • Public and private spreadsheets



    Zoho Sheet is free.


    See also:

    The 8 Best Trello Alternatives for Kanban Project Management


    8. Numbers


    Apple Numbers


    Stepping into the game of spreadsheet programs, Numbers is Apple’s version of Microsoft Excel and can work as a perfect Excel alternatives. Numbers provides high-quality data visualization tools and reporting functionality to users. The application comes with pre-built templates, numerous customizable shapes, and donut charts to help you convert your data into beautiful presentations.


    Spreadsheets can be easily shared and edited by anyone to make sure they don’t miss any update.


    What’s even more interesting about Numbers is that even if someone prefers to work on Excel, you can save Numbers spreadsheet as Excel spreadsheet and continue to work (talk about sportsman spirit, eh?).


    Key Features

    • Ready to use templates
    • Smart categories for organizing data
    • Donut charts
    • Interactive diagrams and graphs
    • Customizable shapes
    • Shareable spreadsheets
    • Password protection
    • Compatibility with Microsoft Excel



    • Numbers is free.



    9. Bime




    Bime is one of those Excel alternatives that can help you visualize data with making any efforts. You can easily present the data, analyze and visualize the reports on Bime dashboard.


    With the Bime Analytics tool, you can get the information from different sources to create customized reports, metrics and generate dashboards. However, it cannot deliver all the Microsoft Excel functions and feature sets, but still, you can save your time in making visually appealing data reports with charts and graphs.


    Key features:

    • Analyze and organize your data in one place
    • Create your custom metrics and KPI’s
    • 25 ways to visualize your data
    • Collaboration and sharing option
    • Device responsiveness
    • Email alerts
    • Instant forecasting
    • Join data with SQL
    • Integration with many applications you use



    • Plan starting at $490/month


    10. Apache OpenOffice


    Apache Open Office


    One of the best Excel alternatives that you can find right now in the market is Apache OpenOffice. It is a free and open-source suite of different tools and software that assist different businesses, professionals, and companies in their daily activities.


    These activities include writing different projects, streamlining their document management tasks and processes, and also manipulating or changing valuable data and information regarding the company and its projects.


    The software also allows you to transfer data and information between the different tools included in a unique feature-set. It also provides spreadsheet applications that have the power to pool different data from various sources all at the same time.


    Some of the most interesting features that this amazing tool has to offer are described below.


    Key Features

    • Wizards for easy on-boarding
    • AutoCorrect Dictionary
    • Text Frames and Linking
    • HTML, PDF, MediaWiki Formats
    • Natural Language Formulas
    • Scenario Manager
    • Impress the Audience with Presentations
    • Complete Range of Views
    • Easy-To-Use Drawing and Diagramming Tools
    • Drawing Tool
    • Smart Connectors
    • Fully Equipped Modern Word Processor



    • There is a free trial of the software available for use if you just want to check out the software for a day, to see how is it different from MS Excel
    • But if you think that you are going to stay put and that this software is going to work for you according to your needs and requirement, use the free version




    These are the best Excel alternatives on your list. If you can any suggestions for other alternatives to Excel, feel free to reach me out at: fwilson@ntaskmanager.com


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