I like Excel. Excel is a great tool when I am the only person working on the information, but when I want to collaborate on a spreadsheet, I often reach out to Google Docs. The advantage of Google Docs online is that several people can update the same spreadsheets at the same time. My team uses several Google spreadsheets to manage tasks, but it lacks the feel of Excel. But recently I discovered what may be the best of both worlds.
EditGrid looks a lot like Excel (so much like Excel that I’m a little concerned they will get shut down at some point). It is online and free. There is a version you can pay for with more features, but I have just started using the trial version and haven’t looked into what the paid version adds that I may desire.
EditGrid provides me the following features I wanted in an online spreadsheet:
- Multiple users can edit the document at the same time
- I could upload a document from Excel as my starting point
- I can restrict allowing edits by requiring a password to do so
- It does not require my fellow collaborators to have a @live account, @gmail account, or any other specific type of account
- It is free
- It looks great and works pretty well
If you have a @live.com account (a Microsoft account), then you can create and share Excel documents online via your skydrive account. The sharing options are a little more limited than the free options EditGrid provides, but they are sufficient. The only thing not to like about the free sharing of Excel documents via skydrive, is the requirement for the @live.com account.
No matter what online spreadsheet you use, you should back it up regularly if the content is important to you. Our google sheets are important to us and we back them up weekly. We once had a problem (years ago) that required us to scrap the current sheet, and replace it from a backup. We also have had a few occasions where the document was inaccessible, which is a risk for any online information.
Finally, I don’t recommend any of these products if your data needs a lot of security/protection.
But I do recommend you give EditGrid a try if you are in the market for a free online spreadsheet.