There are a few good reasons to use an online spreadsheet: you’re too cheap to buy Office, you’re sick of dealing with competing versions, you’re not a privacy freak, you like the challenge of explaining web 2.0 apps to your muggle friends. If you do go down that path, here’s our quick takes on a few of the free standalone options.
- EditGrid: Very simple; signup doesn’t even require an email address.
- Google Spreadsheets: No graphing, but nice sharing. Functions are split into tabs and menus, a departure from others’ attempts to recreate the whole jumbled Excel mess.
- iRows: The only spreadsheet we tested that showed ads. Pretty simple, with nice graphs.
- Jotspot Spreadsheets: Perhaps too folded into the rest of the Jotspot apps to qualify for this category; the only way to sign up seems to be to register for a 14-day free trial of all of JotSpot’s functionality (though limited use is free after that). Fewer functions than everyone else but nice additions like calendar view and map view, ability to attach files to a cell.
- Num Sum: As much as we like social software…we’re not really interested in finding other people with similar taste in spreadsheets. Num Sum’s focus is on sharing, to the point that all new sheets are public by default. The functions are good, though, even if they’re a bit smushed together.
- Zoho Sheet: Pretty graphs. Nice right-click functionality.
If you want a faithful recreation of the look and feel (though maybe not all the keyboard shortcuts and high-level stuff) of Excel, try Num Sum or EditGrid. If you’re looking for something from people who are thinking hard about expanding our office worker minds, try JotSpot. If you want to do a lot of collaborating, Google’s probably the best bet. In our basic testing, it didn’t seem like you could go too terribly wrong with any of the options. What’s your favorite? Let us know if there are others you would add.
p.s. Check out today’s Forbes.com piece for another take.