Why is Spreadsheet not dead?

Ever wondered why Spreadsheets are not dead yet? Spreadsheets existed in 1979 and they exist even Today. When most of 80s technology have gracefully left earth, why do over 1Billion users use Spreadsheets? And their usage is continuing to increase !! 

In 2021, we have thousands of SaaS tools designed to replace Spreadsheets. But still they  have not completely replaced spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets.

I spent some time learning why this was so and here are my findings,


Spreadsheets are flexible. It has the right balance between power and usability.  

“After having tried out virtually every data visualisation tool, I knew that Google Sheets was much more flexible and the option for me….” – [ Yashwin of KPI Media ]

Even enterprise reporting tools like Tableau, Sisense, SAP Business Objects have limitations. If you have to customize something, you need to do extensive coding changes in these tools. Apart from that when creating reports using tools like DashThis, Report Garden, you are restricted to a limited set of metrics and charts.

But, spreadsheets like Google Sheets help you create custom metrics and charts with formulas and inbuilt functions. Even if you don’t have a metric, you can calculate and create it on your own in Google Sheets using formulas, pivot tables and automations.

The truth is Custom reports are hard! Readymade analytics tools, try to solve this but, they never fully do it. This is because of the nature of the data. Business data keeps evolving and takes different shapes and meanings. Tools often lag behind data as users’ expectations and needs keep changing. 

Spreadsheets like Google Sheets are excellent choices in the reporting world, because users like you and I get full control of our data and can create custom charts & reports at will.


Google Sheets lets you Co-create your reports with colleagues and lets everyone contribute their ideas and creativity to build a great report. 

The productivity of two or three people building out a Marketing Report or Dashboard together in real time is really something.


One of the misconceptions we have is that Sheets are not useful for larger datasets. 

Google Sheets is really really fast – formulas, pivot tables update almost instantaneously. It does have the 5 million cells per workbook limitation, which is more than enough for small and medium businesses. It also ensures you organize reports into separate spreadsheets and keep it maintainable.

Spreadsheets of 2021 come with enough bells and whistles, to support any type of workload. 

For example Google Sheets allows you to write custom JavaScript code, to extend the base features. You can write SQL like queries to get data from your google sheets. You can translate any text within Google Sheets using the TRANSLATE() function, get finance data using GOOGLEFINANCE() function, the most important of them all, you can extend your spreadsheets with readymade Add-ons from the Marketplace and do anything that you want all within Google Sheets.

BIG brands, Fortune 500 companies all use Spreadsheets to build reports faster across their departments. It is impossible to find any organization that doesn’t own a licensed Spreadsheet software. They pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Spreadsheets licenses.

Spreadsheets have truly become irreplaceable and more valuable now than ever.

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