Google Spreadsheets – Very First Impression

I gave Google Spreadsheets a whirl today. My impression is an overwhelming “Eh…”.google spreadsheets

First the good. I’m amazed by what people are able to do in a web browser nowadays. Google Calendar is really slick. The gmail interface isn’t as ‘fresh’ as it originally was, but it’s still powerful and easy to use.

Google Spreadsheet looks really nice — as you might expect, it looks and feels like a spreadsheet. You can enter formulas (well, basic ones anyway), you can color cells, you can change fonts, all the standard things you’re used to.

It seems to have pretty decent formula support. I don’t know if it supports all the operations Excel does, but it certainly has a fair sampling of math, finance, and database methods. It supports multiple sheets in a spreadsheet.

But that’s about it. There doesn’t seem to be any support for charts, not much support for auto-filter tables, though you can freeze rows, no fancy cell formatting.

Overall, it seems like it might be a good bet if you’re trying to whip up a quick amortization table, and it might even be good enough for a simple budgeting spreadsheet.

I tried importing two spreadsheets, one with a simple IRA withdrawal amortization and a table with some basic sums, which it handled fine, and the other with a reasonably complex and large checkbook and budget, which it could not import. I haven’t yet triaged exactly why the import failed, but presumably there was a function that it couldn’t support.

It would have been nice if it gave a more verbose error during the import.

So, it earns an “eh”. Not bad, but not great. I might use it for some basic stuff, and it might be reasonable for sharing a softball roster, or something like that, but I doubt it will replace Excel anytime soon.

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