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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.

LibreOffice Calc
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.

libreoffice_calc


Calligra Sheets
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.

calligra_sheets

Gnumeric
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).

gnumeric

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.

google_drive

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.

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wyllz chilunga says:

kingsoft office spreadsheet is the best alternative and is better than all the above

Craciun Dan says:

Didn’t even know about this office suite before. I’ll give it a try, thanks for this share!

Aldiii says:

@wyllz chilunga: I don’t see anything important that Kingsoft Office does better than LibreOffice Calc, but there are dozens of things that LibreOffice does better. Kingsoft also does not support ODF and is not Open Source.

wyllz chilunga says:

SO what if Kingsoft does not support ODF? you make it seem like its used by people at a mass scale. i find it quite useless cause nobody i know is going to be able to open ODF files if i sent one to them

Craciun Dan says:

But it is the standardized free format, so at least we should use it. I know I do, but that’s true, people out there don’t use it because they don’t know about it, since most of them use .doc and MS Office. So whenever I have to share a document file I have to use .doc (I believe some recent MS Office can open ODF now too – I may be wrong), or I just export it to PDF and send that instead.

Sicofante says:

Here’s the critical advantage of Kingsoft: A thousand times better compatibility with doc/docx/rtf documents, which is crucial for many organizations. Actually Kingsoft proves all those claims about how difficult it is to implement proper MS documents import are plain bogus. If they can do it, why LibreOffice devs can’t?

Ha says:

Except Kingsoft Office isn’t open source.

For that reason alone, Libre Office and Open Office are better choices.

JM says:

SIAG? OK it does not seem to be competition to modern spreed sheet application, but works very fast on old machines and have some interesting features.

Craciun Dan says:

I had a look at Kingsoft Office, it is pretty nice, great interface. Except for the OpenDocument issue, which I find a big deal too, how can you create charts in the spreadsheet application? I only had a look at it for a few minutes, but the charts button is inactive even when I have selected two columns.

Albin says:

Of course Microsoft itself has an online version of Excel for the browser (that is not as good as Google’s, but early days) and it’s also just put a version on Android. The benefit of that should be mainly for sophisticated Excel sheets (macros, visual basic, pivot tables) that would be wrecked by file conversion. Users in collaborative environments using Microsoft Office, including coworkers, vendors, clients and many college students, should not torture themselves trying to “work around” MS Office.

LibreOffice is really impressive and probably should be working on its own online / mobile support.

Moses says:

I have been using kingsoft office as a replacement for MS office. It is fast to load and have the “traditional” (Office 2003 or earlier) menu and also the latest “ribbon” menu. It runs on my windows computers and my android tablet.

Doug says:

My wife tried Kingsoft Office on her Windows 8.1 box. It could not find any of her files that were made by either Word or Office. They were saved in the formats Kingsoft listed as being compatible. Didn’t even see them.

I use LibreOffice on Linux for quite some time and see no need to change. Does most everything.

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