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August 18, 2015
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Life After Office: Embracing Google Sheets

Today’s post is part of a series on How to Survive Life After Microsoft Office. For the complete story download the Life After Office ebook. The focus of the post below is how to adapt and use Google Sheets instead of Excel.

Whatever will you do without Microsoft Excel? Use Google Sheets, of course. Google Sheets and its capabilities are practically identical to MS Excel, along with its own set of enhancements.

Don’t Panic, You Can Still Build Pivot Tables

Yes, Google Sheets can create pivot table reports. Google Sheets has a robust list of spreadsheet formulas and functions. Named ranges, filters, data validation, conditional formatting (for marking which figures put you in the red versus in the black)—it’s all there. You can even add embedded images to your Gsheet that conform to strict formatting rules and create repeating lists that Google Sheets will autofill for you. All the major features you relied upon in Microsoft Excel are there in Google Sheets from day one. Gsheets are real, honest to goodness professional-grade spreadsheets.

Enhance Data Collection by Connecting GSheets to Google Form

MS Excel pros often relied on custom forms to make it easier for “regular” users to populate spreadsheets without having to know their way around individual cells, columns and functions. Google Sheets can offer something very similar with Google Forms. While Google describes Gforms as a “survey tool,” Google Forms can be used to solicit any data from anyone and use it to populate a specific spreadsheet. Google Forms can offer respondents many different input options, from text fields to dropdown lists to ranking scales and more. You can apply formatting themes to these forms, pre-populate your forms with standard answers, and even make your forms screen readercompatible for use by the visually impaired. And, like all Google Drive apps, you can share your Google Forms with a link.

Get Grade-A Reports with Google Sheets Templates

As with Google Docs, Google Sheets has pre-made templates that are already formatted— with embedded formulas and functions—for specific uses. All those aforementioned expense reports, travel vouchers, timecards and even budget calculators have been built, shared and publicly rated by others, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you need a standard specific-use spreadsheet.

Excel-ERate Your GSheet with Add-Ons

While Google Sheets has all of the all-star MS Excel functions built in, some of the more niche Excel functionality that doesn’t come standard in Gdocs is available via an Add-On. These aren’t basic functions, either. There’s a Linear Optimization Add-On, an Add-On to find fuzzy data matches and even a Monte Carlo simulation Add-On. You can also use Add-Ons to connect to other data-rich applications like Google Analytics, Twitter or even good old Excel— all without bothering to manually import data.

Enumerate Others With Web-Embedded Google Sheets

If you’ve got a Google Sheet that needs to be publicly visible, you can embed that Gsheet in a website. It works just like embedding a YouTube video in a blog post; embedded spreadsheets are visible, scrollable and downloadable. There’s no easier way to get your data (and analysis) out to the world. Google Slides is adaptable to nearly any screen; your Google presentations will display adequately on both the smallest smartphones and the largest high-definition wall projectors. Gslides are designed to be edited on each of these interfaces as well.

If this post hasn’t completely reassured you that Google Sheets will be there to  satisfy (or surpass) your MS Excel needs, you can click here to learn more about what GSheets has to offer you.

For the entire story on Surviving Life After Office, download the eBook below:

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