There was a time when office compatibility was a bit of a problem on Linux, but with the latest office suites out there available for Linux, this is not an issue anymore. The applications here mimic MS Excel’s behavior, so switching to one of them should be pretty straightforward. Exporting and importing to and from MS Excel format works as well, and there aren’t many compatibility issues – however, the native format these programs use is the OpenDocument Spreadsheet (ODS) format.
This is the spreadsheet application which comes with the powerful LibreOffice suite. This seems to be the most feature-rich and powerful spreadsheet application for Linux. It has support for formulas, charts, text/cell formatting, inserting images, macros, exporting/importing files from MS Excel, saving to OpenDocument Spreadsheet (ODS) format, PDF export function, powerful configuration options.
Sheets is included in the KDE office suite, Calligra, with support for charts, text and cell formatting, support for functions. Calligra 1.8 has been released just a few weeks ago, with a new interface and lots of changes, including Sheets.
Gnumeric is the GNOME spreadsheet application, with rich features. I like Gnumeric a lot because it offers a consistent interface, highlighting the column letter and row number. Gnumeric has support for charts, inserting images, and a very comprehensive help system with examples on how to accomplish various tasks. Gnumeric is a very good alternative to MS Excel if you’re already used to it, but also a great tool for learning on how to start-up creating and working with spreadsheets. Although it can save as ODS (OpenDocument Spreadsheet) format, it doesn’t seem to be able to import charts from files created with other spreadsheet applications (for example Calligra Sheets).
Google Drive Spreadsheet
This is a cloud service provided by Google, so you can access from your web browser it if you have a Google account. Google offers 15 GB of free storage shared between all of its services (including GMail, Photos, or Blogger). The Google Drive Spreadsheet application saves changes instantly, can export your documents as OpenDocument or MS Excel, has support for charts, formulas and many other tools. The interface it’s built in is pretty fast too, so you can give it a try if you haven’t yet. Besides, it saves the files automatically on the cloud server, meaning you can synchronize and access them from everywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.
Depending on what your needs are, you can use any of them. LibreOffice Calc seems to be the most powerful, while Calligra Sheets and Gnumeric blend well in their respective desktop environments (KDE and GNOME), while for Google’s Spreadsheet you only need a web browser.
Do you know of any other notable spreadsheet applications? Please share them with us in the comments below.