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6 Best (FREE & Paid) Excel Alternatives for Mac & Windows Users [Updated 2024]

Excel is the go-to spreadsheet program for everyone. But it has its limitations, too! A handful of software like Google Sheets is FREE and helps users overcome Microsoft Excel limitations, such as advanced team collaboration.

Microsoft Excel is the oldest and most feature-rich software, loved by millions of users.

But a few times, users may feel that it is not the appropriate program for them due to the pricing, steep learning curve, and limitations such as real-time collaboration.

Most Mac users face compatibility and pricing issues.

So, if you are looking for the best Excel alternatives, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, let us discuss top Microsoft Excel alternatives, both paid and free. We will discuss each software’s key features, pros, and cons, so make sure to read the article until the end.

Why do you need the best alternative to Microsoft Excel?

Excel is the top spreadsheet program for data analysis, preparing charts, and organizing massive datasets.

But it comes with a few drawbacks, as discussed below,

1. Pricing

Excel needs to be purchased for $159.99 per desktop. At this price, you will get a standalone license.

It is a part of the Microsoft Office suite. So, you can pay $6.99 per month and own this spreadsheet program along with other Microsoft Office suite apps.

The pricing is the major drawback for a few users who are on a tight budget.

2. Team Collaboration

Microsoft Excel comes with basic team collaboration features. You can go for real-time collaboration, but additional setup is required.

In contrast to dedicated online spreadsheet programs such as Google Sheets, the real-time collaboration features are pretty basic.

Users who are using different versions of Excel won’t be able to collaborate. It is a major drawback because the program throws an error.

3. It’s hard to find the person responsible for an edit

Knowing who has edited the specific cell is crucial. Things may get worse when multiple users are editing a single cell. 

With Microsoft Excel, it is hard to tell who has made the edits to the cell.

Team collaboration is an important feature, particularly in the case of teams that operate from different locations.

4. Steep Learning Curve

Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet program. However, it lacks a beginner-friendly and intuitive user interface. Most of the tools are hidden within the tabs of the program.

Users need to spend dedicated hours and days to learn this program.

Top 6 Microsoft Excel Alternatives for Mac & Windows in 2024

There are a couple of purpose-specific Excel alternatives that are worth trying.

If you are a Mac user looking for the best alternative to Microsoft Excel, here you go.

In the following section, we will discuss both FREE and PAID Microsoft Excel alternatives of 2023.

Here are our top picks:

  • Google Sheets – Best Overall
  • LibreOffice – Best Open-source
  • Apple Numbers – Best Built-in Alternative for Mac
  • Zoho Sheet – Best Excel Alternative with CRM Apps Integration
  • WPS Office Spreadsheets – Best Paid Excel Alternative
  • Quip – Best Excel Alternative for Lead Generation Teams

Let us discuss all of them in detail.

1. Google Sheets – Best Overall Excel Alternative

Google Sheets is the Best Microsoft Excel Alternative for Mac & Windows

Google Sheets is an online cloud-based spreadsheet program which has gained tremendous popularity over the last few years.

It is the best Excel alternative for Mac users who don’t wish to spend hundreds of dollars on a spreadsheet program.

Key Features

  • Real-time Collaboration – When it comes to team collaboration, Google Sheets outcompetes most of its rivals, including Microsoft Excel. It boasts features such as live chat for seamless collaboration. You can share a Google Sheet with unlimited users and assign specific roles to each one of them. Depending upon their roles, users can edit, view, or comment. Additionally, tracking the edits is also straightforward with the Version history tool. It allows you to quickly overlook all the changes made to the spreadsheet and restore any previous version.
  • Budget-friendly – Google Sheets is a free-to-use spreadsheet program for individuals. All you need is a free Google account. All the tools and features are accessible to free Google Sheets users without any limitations.
  • Intuitive User Interface – Google Sheets is an easy-to-use spreadsheet program with a short learning curve. You can access most of the tools directly from the main menu. Anyone can master this program within a few hours without any prior experience. Adding new information and formatting the cells is a breeze with a minimalistic toolbar section and the main menu.
  • Google Apps Script – This feature lets you automate various repetitive tasks, similar to the VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) in Microsoft Excel. It uses JavaScript. The basic knowledge of JavaScript is enough to automate most repetitive tasks. It aims to extend the Google Sheets functionality beyond the limits. You can use it to develop and integrate business applications with the Google products.
  • Integration with External Data Sources – Users can easily pull data from various resources. Google Sheets offers seamless integration with Google BigQuery, which can store all of your information regardless of the size of your company. Your teammates can use that stored data to perform various calculations to unlock the growth and future trends. BigQuery is similar to the Power Query within Microsoft Excel.


  • Free to use
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Over 400+ functions or formulas to perform various mathematical and statistical operations
  • Autosave to Google Drive
  • Advanced real-time collaboration
  • Seamless sharing with colleagues and friends
  • Version history feature to track the edits
  • Excellent data visualization tools
  • Create filter views
  • Google Apps Script to automate repetitive workflows
  • Supports all types of spreadsheet formats


  • Huge datasets may slow down the program
  • A very few keyboard shortcuts are supported
  • Need a Google Docs Offline extension to be installed on Google Chrome for offline editing
  • Sharing Google Sheets links through email may leave confidential information vulnerable


Google Sheets is a free-to-use program for individuals. You don’t need to pay any charges to use any of the tools of this spreadsheet program.

For business use, you can subscribe to any of the following Google Workspace paid plans:

  • Business Starter – It starts at $6 per user per month and includes business email, 24/7 customer support, 30GB cloud storage, enterprise-grade access control, advanced security, etc.
  • Business Standard – It starts at $12 per user per month and boasts 2TB storage, vault, advanced cloud search tools, etc.
  • Business Plus – It starts at $18 per user per month and comes with 5TB storage, advanced security and administration controls, premium cloud apps, etc.

Image Source: (18th November, 2023)

Note that you can use Google Sheets without any limitations for personal use. You don’t need to subscribe to any of the above Google Workspace plans.

2. LibreOffice Calc – Best Open-source Excel Alternative for Mac

It is another excellent Excel alternative for Mac users. LibreOffice is an open-source spreadsheet program.

Key Features

  • Budget-friendly – LibreOffice offers a range of open-source software for documentation and data analysis. LibreOffice Calc is a totally free-to-use program. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. 
  • Ease of Use – The program boasts an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface for beginners. You can access most of the tools right from the toolbar section or the program’s main menu.
  • Excellent Data Organization and Visualization – Though it lacks advanced functions for professional-grade data analysis, users can leverage its decent collection of data organization and visualization tools to prepare monthly and annual reports.
  • Professional-looking Charts and Graphs – Users can create beautiful, comprehensive charts and graphs using LibreOffice Calc. The program boasts a powerful tool named Pivot Tables, which is common amongst the rival spreadsheet programs.


  • Free to use
  • Lightweight program
  • Easy to use and intuitive user interface
  • Web-based spreadsheet program
  • Best fit for both beginners and advanced users
  • Decent selection of advanced functions and tools
  • Support multiple file formats, including most of the popular Excel file formats


  • Formatting is time-consuming compared to Microsoft Excel


LibreOffice Calc is an open-source software which is totally free to use.

3. Apple Numbers – Best Built-in Excel Alternative for Mac

Are you a Mac user?

If yes, then you must try Numbers, which is one of the top alternatives to Microsoft Excel.

Though it is less powerful than Microsoft Excel, it does the job for most basic users.

Key Features

  • Intuitive User Interface – The program boasts an easy-to-use and intuitive interface for beginners at spreadsheet programs. It has a sleek Apple signature design, which will impress you.
  • Budget-friendly – It is a free-to-use program by Apple. You don’t need to pay anything to use this software. The Good news is that Apple is working on the Numbers to keep it in the league of Microsoft Excel.
  • Ready-to-use Templates – Apple Numbers offers a range of premade templates to assist you with budgeting, invoicing, listing, and much more.


  • Free to use
  • Decent selection of ready-to-use templates to boost your data analysis and organization
  • Over 200+ functions/formulas
  • Supports various multimedia and spreadsheet file formats


  • Not compatible with the Windows operating system
  • Ability to perform basic spreadsheet tasks


The Numbers is an official spreadsheet program and part of iWork by Apple. It comes pre-installed on your computer and is free to use without any limitations.

4. Zoho Sheets – Best Excel Alternative with CRM Apps Integration

Zoho offers powerful CRM tools to take your lead generation and business management to the next level. The Zoho Sheets has become one of the best Excel alternatives in recent years.

Key Features

  • Team Collaboration – Zoho Sheets allows multiple users to collaborate in real-time. They can view and edit spreadsheets simultaneously. All edits are recorded and can be accessed by the owners with a few simple clicks.
  • Accessibility – Similar to Google Sheets, the Zoho Sheets is a web-based software that can be accessed anywhere in the world. You need an internet connection to view and edit Zoho Sheets.
  • AI Assistant – Zia, an AI-powered assistant, takes your data organization and visualization to the next level. It automatically generates graphs based on the input data. It also answers complex questions about your data and provides valuable insights to boost your reporting capabilities.
  • Integration – The program can be easily integrated with 1000+ applications. It seamlessly integrates with other Zoho products for advanced business management and lead generation.


  • Free to use
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Short learning curve
  • Excellent spreadsheet program for data visualization
  • AI-powered assistant generates beautiful and comprehensive graphs
  • Advanced team collaboration
  • Cell-locking prevents users from editing specific cells
  • Supports most popular spreadsheet file formats such as .xlsx, .csv, .ods, etc.


  • Offline editing is not supported


Users can use Zoho Sheets and all its features for free without limitations.

5. WPS Office Spreadsheets – Best Paid Excel Alternative

WPS Office Suite includes various productivity tools for individual and business use. It also offers an excellent spreadsheet program.

Users can perform various operations and calculations using a range of tools that are similar to Microsoft Excel.

Key Features

  • Intuitive User Interface – The program offers a beginner-friendly user interface. Anyone can master this program within a few days. It comes with a short learning curve.
  • Built-in Templates – Over 100,000+ premade templates assist you with annual reports, budgeting, listing, invoices, and more. Users can easily access these templates with a few simple clicks right from the welcome screen.
  • Team Collaboration – WPS Office Spreadsheets can be accessed from mobile and desktop devices. It is an Excel editor which can be shared with multiple users. You can view the users and the respective cells they are working on. 


  • Free version available
  • Best fit for basic calculations and data visualization
  • Decent selection of team collaboration features
  • Includes 200+ functions/formulas for mathematical and statistical calculations
  • Support a variety of Excel file formats such as .xlsx, .csv, .ods, and more while importing


  • It can be laggy while handling large datasets
  • The free version comes with limited features


You can use WPS Office Spreadsheets for free, but they have limited features. To unlock its full potential, you need to opt-in for the WPS Pro plan that costs $9.99 per 3 months or $17.99 per year.

The paid plan allows users to access premium templates and team collaboration tools. It also comes with an ad-free user experience.

It is not as powerful as Microsoft Excel. But if you are looking for an excellent Excel alternative with solid team collaboration capabilities, then Quip will be the best fit.

6. Quip – Best Excel Alternative for Lead Generation Teams

This is our last pick on this list, which features a modern interface with a set of unique tools.

The Quip is mainly used by the sales teams around the globe. It is built for teams.

Key Features

  • Team Collaboration – Apart from standard formatting and customization tools, you will get access to team collaboration tools such as Edit history. All the users can chat and collaborate on the spreadsheets in real time.
  • Ease of Use – Quip’s interface is pretty straightforward. Anyone can master this program within a few days. You can easily format your spreadsheet with minimal formatting options.
  • Integrations – Quip comes integrated with Salesforce, Unsplash, and more. Users can easily integrate this spreadsheet software with productivity tools such as Slack.


  • One-on-one messaging
  • Advanced team collaboration tools
  • Live chat feature
  • There are over 400+ functions/formulas within Quip
  • Handful of pre-built templates for data analysis and visualization
  • Seamless integration with Salesforce


  • It doesn’t offer a free plan
  • Paid plans are a bit costly
  • Not the right choice for advanced data visualization


Image Source: (18th November, 2023)

Quip doesn’t offer any free plan. Users need to opt-in for one of the following plans:

  • Starter Plan – It starts at $10 per month with an annual commitment and comes with unlimited documents, group chat, etc.
  • Plus Plan – It starts at $25 per month with an annual commitment and offers Enterprise API and SSO (Single Sign-on)
  • Advanced Plan – It starts at $100 per month with an annual commitment and comes with advanced integration with Salesforce CRM

It is not a pocket-friendly Microsoft Excel alternative. But considering the advanced collaboration tools, it is worth giving a try.


That’s all! You have made it to the end.

Excel is the best spreadsheet program out there, which has been in the market over the last few decades. However, sometimes it makes sense to use other software such as Google Sheets, LibreOffice Calc, Zoho Sheets, etc.

There are tens of spreadsheet software in the market. But it all boils down to your requirements, including basic editing, data visualization, team collaboration, and more.

If you are looking for an Excel alternative for your Mac, then go for Google Sheets or LibreOffice Calc.

I think Google Sheets is the best alternative to Microsoft Excel. Click here to read our complete comparison: Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel.

Also, feel free to comment below if we need to include any best alternative worth adding to this list.