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experience with other spreadsheets

  1. #1
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    experience with other spreadsheets

    As my current version of Excel gets older and older and I avoid the expense of upgrading Excel, I've started to explore other, less expensive (okay -- free) spreadsheet applications.

    My questions for this community?
    Am I at risk of losing guru status or even membership in an Excel community by hinting that I might use something other than Excel?
    How many others have tried other spreadsheets? Care to describe your experience(s) (good or bad)?
    Is there enough experience with other applications to ask questions about those spreadsheets? I realize that some questions (how to formulate a basic formula?) will be same across spreadsheet applications, as the basic spreadsheet programming language is pretty standard across spreadsheets. But there are some quirks individual to each spreadsheet, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by shg
    Mathematics is the native language of the natural world. Just trying to become literate.

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    Re: experience with other spreadsheets

    I have dabbled in four other spreadsheets.
    When I started, I used QuattroPro. It was a decent spreadsheet. I did not like its charting engine at all. It had limited macro/UDF abilities.

    I have tried Google sheets a little. As a browser based spreadsheet, I find it really slow, so I really don't like it for that reason alone. However, it seems to do a good job at keeping up with what Excel can do. With more of an "open source" development environment, it has worksheet functions that Excel does not have, while seeming to keep up with Excel's library of functions. It can create basic charts. If you know javascript, it can use javascript as a macro language to extend its capabilities (I do not know javascript, so I have not even tried to write any udfs or macros).

    Open office calc is a fairly basic spreadsheet. It seems that there is less development on this spreadsheet, so it seems to have fallen behind Excel and others. It seems pretty stable. It can do basic charts. For macros, you theoretically can use most any programming language to extend its abilities, but I have not explored their use. Because it is behind Excel in terms of worksheet functions, I did not like open office calc.

    Libreoffice calc -- basically open office calc but with a more active development team -- tries really hard to emulate Excel in all things while still being an open source spreadsheet. It seems to do pretty well at incorporating all of Excel's latest worksheet functions (without the need for a 365 or similar subscription). It can do charts -- though one of my big hangups is one particular chart that I do where LO calc's spline "smoothing" algorithm does a horrible job. LO calc supposedly comes with built in support for several different macro languages, but I have so far found the ability to write macros/UDFs in anything but their basic BASIC language difficult to incorporate into the spreadsheet.

    I recently tried gnumeric -- GNOME project's attempt at a spreadsheet. It is only available for LINUX, though I get the impression if someone knew how, he could download the source code and compile it for Windows. It looks like a good spreadsheet. Like Google Docs, it seems to keep up with Excel's developments, but does not limit itself to what Excel can do (for example, gnumeric has a built in INTERPOLATION() function for doing linear interpolation that has long been notably absent from Excel). Again, new functions are not hidden behind the 365 subscription wall, but available to all. It has basic charting abilities that I have not yet explored in detail. Like LO calc, you can use many different programming languages for macros -- including a built in python library that looks like one could easily add udfs with minimal difficulty. It also claims that anyone with good programming skills could add functions directly to the main library (if you know how and can then compile the program) to personalize your copy of gnumeric.

    Those are the spreadsheets I am familiar with and what I have learned so far. I would be interested in others experiences. I would also be interested in knowing if there is enough knowledge to pose questions about these other spreadsheets.

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