Smartsheet vs. Excel – Which Spreadsheet Software is Better?

Microsoft Excel is still popular even decades after its introduction, but today, there’s a new powerhouse challenging the venerable app. Like Excel, Smartsheet is capable of planning projects, but the former is more of a number-crunching program that happens to be able to do several things. Many also wonder which app is the superior project planner.

Smartsheet vs. Excel - Which Spreadsheet Software is Better?

For those who are wondering what the answer is, we have you covered. You’ll find out what their similarities and differences are. Read on to find out which one is the winner.

Smartsheet and Excel Similarities

Excel will only allow users to create spreadsheets, and Smartsheet can do that. Other similarities include:

  • Charting
  • Multi-user collaboration
  • Templates
  • Integrations

What you can do in Excel, you can also replicate in Smartsheet. Unfortunately, despite Excel’s trusted reputation, it simply can’t do more than Smartsheet.

Smartsheet’s Powerful Features

Smartsheet works just fine with a simple spreadsheet, but it’s designed to do more. Below are some features Excel lacks but Smartsheet has.

Extra Views

You can create different views with Smartsheet, many of which are designed to increase a business team’s efficiency. They are:

  • Gantt view
  • Calendar view
  • Kanban boards
  • Sub-tasks
  • Dependencies
  • Reminders for tasks

The Gantt chart is a bar chart that has project tasks on the vertical axis, while deadlines are found on the horizontal axis. Therefore, the chart helps show the relationship between the two categories. Henry Gantt invented it.

Calendars are perfect for task management since you can set reminders for team members and have clear deadlines for specific goals.

The Kanban board is another popular management tool, but it uses a board instead of graphs. When a task reaches a specific stage, it gets moved to another category until completion.

These extra views can also show sub-tasks, which Excel isn’t capable of setting. With Smartsheet you have plenty of room for experimentation until you find a format that suits you and the team.

Powerful Collaboration

Excel does have real-time collaboration, but the changes take a while to show up. With Smartsheet, you can see changes appear in real-time. There will be fewer mistakes or wrong versions, as Smartsheet is much faster than Excel when detecting new data.

Collaboration is more than displaying changes, and Smartsheet has even more up its sleeve. You can share notes, files, and tasks all in real-time. A team member who wants a PDF document can receive it seconds after another person uploads it.

You can also make comments on projects, which is impossible on Microsoft Excel. Update requests and notifications are also part of Smartsheet, streamlining the workflow. Instead of using another messaging app to coordinate your teammates, Smartsheet lets you handle everything from one place.

Sharing sheets with Smartsheet is also easy, and you can share any project with an unlimited number of team members. Even those who don’t have Smartsheet can be invited via email.

All devices are supported for this feature, and every feature is usable, particularly on PC. Therefore, you can keep working on a project no matter where you are.

Microsoft Excel’s collaboration is inferior as it doesn’t allow collaborators to use all available features when working on the same spreadsheet. It also has a few functions for managing work.

Fine-Tuning Tasks

There’s no way to set sub-tasks and conditions in Excel, so everything has to be done manually or using time-consuming methods. However, Smartsheet allows users to attach dependencies and sub-tasks to an objective. For complicated projects, you’ll find the team handling their allocated assignments better since everything is conveniently located in a single task, including the conditions.


Sometimes, you might wonder what would happen if Excel had some automated features to make your job easier. Wonder no more, as Smartsheet has made that into reality. You can create automations in the app in just a few minutes.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, automations in software refers to a process that triggers when a human user does something. You can make Smartsheet send a project manager an alert if a team member marks something down for review. It’s all automatic after programming the automation.

Smartsheet makes this process straightforward, courtesy of its user-friendly interface. It’s a drag-and-drop menu that lets you do strictly as intended. You can customize all components, like the triggers, conditional paths, and more.

With some experience, you can use a straightforward process and create a highly advanced automation workflow, saving your team precious time.


Contrary to what some might think, Microsoft Excel doesn’t integrate other Microsoft Office products well or even at all. The program supports very few integrations compared to Smartsheet.

When it comes to integrations, Smartsheet gives you lots of choices, whether it’s a first-party or third-party app. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack are all possible integrations you can get.

Teams who don’t mind expanding Smartsheet’s capabilities can also pay for Resource Management, previously known as 10000ft. This add-on introduces extra management options to the manager, including the following.

  • Portfolio management
  • Tracking time
  • Advanced reports
  • Analytics
  • Forecasting
  • Budgeting

Excel doesn’t have anything remotely similar to team management tools like this.

Why Do People Still Use Excel?

You might wonder why many businesses still use Microsoft Excel despite all of Smartsheet’s advantages. It’s not difficult to see the logic behind the choice, and you might even agree with their reasoning. Here are some common answers to this question.


Many people stick to what they know, and Microsoft Excel is a common app many businesses still use. If a team manager sees no reason to move on to Smartsheet, they won’t make the change. For them, the effort of transitioning to a new app isn’t worth it.

No Necessity

For freelancers or small teams, it’s not necessary to switch, as Smartsheet is suited for larger businesses. Therefore, small teams or individuals will likely stick to what they already use, such as Excel.


Microsoft Excel can be purchased as a standalone program or part of Office 365, and the first option offers you a license that works until the particular version is obsolete. You can squeeze out at least five years of usage. The Office 365 version is also only $6.99 a month, making it a cheaper option.

Smartsheet costs $14 or more a month. There’s no freemium version, and you’ll be paying for the software as long as you’re using it.

Smartsheet Wins

Nevertheless, Smartsheet is the winner in this comparison. Excel is a powerful spreadsheet tool, but it’s not designed for anything beyond that. On the other hand, Smartsheet can do much more, especially with Resource Management or third-party integrations.

Everything Excel can do, Smartsheet can do better. If you’re a larger team and want to move on from Excel, this app is the way to go.

Extra Versatility

Smartsheet is the superior application, beating Excel in features, integrations, and pure versatility. Nevertheless, many people are more familiar with the latter software and may resist change. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide which program you want to use.

What do you like about Smartsheet? Do you know of other alternatives? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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