Smartsheet and Microsoft Excel are two spreadsheet programs worth trying. However, the two platforms differ significantly in terms of features, price, and ease of use.
So which one is best for you? Let’s find out.
Smartsheet vs. Excel: Which is Better?
Microsoft Excel is a traditional spreadsheet program ideal for calculating numbers, analyzing and visualizing data, and managing projects. Smartsheet, on the other hand, is primarily a SaaS project management software that helps track deadlines and streamline workflows in real time.
Excel is a powerful statistical tool with project management capabilities, and Smartsheet focuses on collaborative task management.
However, both programs have a lot of overlapping features, so let’s see how they differ.
Although Excel and Smartsheet share many features, the two programs “excellent” in different areas. Depending on your needs, workflow, and organizational structure, one may be a better fit for you than the other.
- Views available. Excel is limited to the traditional grid view, while Smartsheet offers several customizable views, including Kanban boards, Gantt charts, grid views, and calendar views.
- Collaboration and project sharing. Smartsheet is an online platform, so updates are made in real time. It allows users to share and track milestones, automate notifications, and update the project simultaneously. Excel has collaboration capabilities, but some features are limited when co-authoring and you need to share files through OneDrive.
- Project organisation. Smartsheet lets you create a custom project dashboard by dragging and dropping widgets to better organize key information. Additionally, it is possible to create task lists with subtasks in Smartsheet. With Excel, this level of work management must be done manually.
- Version history. With the Excel desktop application, it is difficult to keep track of document versions and edit histories. Smartsheet features change tracking over time and let you see who did what and when in every cell in every document. It also lets you limit access through sharing controls so that only certain team members can edit certain parts of the sheet.
- Data analysis. Excel is one of the most popular tools for statistical analysis and tracking of data sets. Excel has several features that make it perfect for this job, from shortcuts to formulas that can eliminate much of the manual work involved in a field like accounting. Smartsheet has several data visualization features, and for light work it will be more than enough. However, Excel is currently the most powerful solution for data analysis.
Excel outperforms Smartsheet when analyzing large amounts of data, using complex formulas, filtering, or running macros. Smartsheet, on the other hand, is the clear winner when it comes to project management capabilities.
However, it is now possible to export data from Smartsheet to Excel and vice versa. The best resource management software can combine the two: Smartsheet for project tracking and Excel for data-intensive activities.
Integrations and compatibility
Smartsheet is available online via the web app and as an Android/iPhone app. Plus, it integrates with 130 professional services, including Box, Dropbox, Zapier, Salesforce, Jira, DocuSign, Google, and more.
Excel is available as a web app and on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It integrates with nearly 800 other apps, including Power Bi and Azure, more than six times the number that Smartsheet integrates with, though that gap is steadily narrowing.
Smartsheet and Excel are similarly priced, although Excel is more flexible when it comes to purchase options.
Excel Online is free, but it’s a very scaled-down version of the desktop app. The desktop app costs $159.99 as a one-time fee or $6.99 per month as part of Microsoft 365.
Smartsheet is available at $7 per month for Pro users and $25 per month for Business.
Easy to use
Excel and Smartsheet are relatively easy to use, but to get the most out of either application, both have a steep learning curve.
Smartsheet has a simple and modern user interface which makes it very easy to learn. It’s similar to Excel, so if you have experience with other spreadsheet programs, you should quickly get Smartsheet.
In terms of collaboration, Smartsheet is much easier to use. Multiple users can make changes to a document without having to worry about rotating multiple versions. It is also easier to access the program from different devices.
However, Excel is still more or less ubiquitous, which means the overall functionality and integrations are much broader. A side effect of this is that there are endless Excel templates, how-to guides, and in-depth tutorials on the internet that you can check out.
Smartsheet vs. Excel: Which is Better?
Smartsheet and Excel are powerful tools in their own right, but they have different core functions.
If you’re looking for a project management tool, Smartsheet will probably be more useful than Excel. However, start with Excel if you need a powerful data visualization and analysis tool. If you need resource management and a powerful statistical tool, you might consider investing in both programs and combining their capabilities.
Keep this in mind that many project management solutions can be great Smartsheet alternatives for you, including Google Sheets, Jira, MS Project, Asana, Trello, and Wrike.