Add-Ons Make Google Sheets Easier to Use Than Excel

by Denise Hazime on July 7, 2016

Add-Ons Make Google Sheets Easier to Use Than Excel banner  

There are a few Microsoft Excel wizards out there, and hats off to all  of you. You’ve spent years mastering pivot tables and archaic formulas. But for the rest of us, when we open Microsoft Excel, we do it with a big sigh and a wish for something that would make our lives easier. When Google Sheets was first introduced, it was viewed as the downmarket version of Excel - streamlined, easier to use, but without the advanced functionality that would convert accountants and other hardcore Excel users to Sheets. Since 2014, Google and third-party developers have steadily been adding functionality in the form of Add-Ons, which can help you do amazing things that you couldn’t do quickly in Excel, and all of the things that you are used to doing in Excel - even the wizards among you. And all of it without archaic formulas or having to build a template - you just search for the function you want, grab the Add-On, and press a button. Most Add-Ons are free.

Adding Your Add-Ons to Google Sheets

Add-Ons are easily accessible from the top menu; just click Add-Ons.

  Add-ons screenshot  

When you first start, you won’t see anything except “Get add-ons…” - if you are getting excited by the prospect of adding Google Analytics and Remove Duplicates, simply search for these add-ons in the add-on store when you click “Get add-ons…”  

Get add-ons    

Case Example 1 - Cleaning Up Mailing Lists

One of the basic functions anyone performs with Excel is cleaning up mailing lists. With Google Sheets, you don’t have to sort by name or zip and delete each entry line by line. Just install “Remove Duplicates”, select the Add-On, and let it do its work.

Case Example 2 - Google Analytics Reports

Anyone who has given a client or senior management a report generated straight out of Google Analytics is usually faced with a number of questions - they aren’t laid out so that most normal humans can understand them. But with the Google Analytics Add-On, you can import the data to make a clean, understandable report. You can take it further with grabbing an add-on to automatically calculate month-over-month percentage increases and decreases in key metrics, and present it all in easy-to-read chart form - all with just a few clicks of a button. If you want to take it further and build a custom Analytics dashboard for yourself and/or management in Sheets, you can find step-by-step instructions here.

Case Example 3 - Regular Spreadsheet Functions with AbleBits

AbleBits combines all of their useful Add-Ons for Google Sheets into one downloadable suite called Power Tools. With Power Tools, you can autosum data in rows or columns, erase data by criteria, and much more. No more hunting for the formulas you need to do each item in Google Sheets, just select the Add-On and enter your values and/or criteria and go. Add-Ons are available for Google Slides and Google Docs as well - but their use in Google Sheets will make it much easier for Microsoft Excel users to make the switch, and boost productivity since you don’t have to take the time to figure out how to perform a function anymore. If you’d like more information on what Google for Work can do for your business, contact UpCurve Cloud today.

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