Google does Spreadsheets

I received my invitation to trial Google Spreadsheets today (previously mentioned by Anton)

I immediately logged on, and was presented with a nice-looking blank sheet. I can’t be bothered to fill in a whole load of cells manually, so I thought I’d start out by importing an Excel file from my local disk – I suspect a fair number of first-time users will go down this route.


Once uploaded, it displayed without any obvious problems.


Scrolling through the sheet, it turned out that a few Excel features are not supported:

  • vertical text was replaced with horizontal text
  • drop down lists don’t appear
  • images were not imported
  • hyperlinks between cells and to other files are converted to plain text, and no longer work

I guess these are not going to be widely used by a basic user, and it is certainly no big deal for me – I’m just a curious techie 😉

One of the Excel features I do miss is that creation of a series by dragging down on the bottom right-hand corner of a cell doesn’t seem to work, and I can’t see any obvious way of achieving this.

Interesting that the spreadsheet format is not supported as an import option, although of course you could export from OO.o as .xls or .csv and import from one of those.

In general, the user interface is consistent with other Google offerings like GMail, and works well – and it is reasonably fast.

Of course, I’ve failed to mention the key features:

  • Google will store your data for you. This could be dangerous for corporate users – I’m certainly not going to be importing any of my work-related spreadsheets.
  • Data sharing. I can invite others to view or edit my spreadsheet, based on their email addresses. This is cool, but again, I’m nervous about what data I could reasonably share over the Internet.

So, there’s a brief review. It seems like this is a handy (if basic) tool, if you don’t already have OpenOffice, Excel, or some other desktop spreadsheet program.

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