First is xcellery beta which is online extended MS Excel which boasts of having all the features of an online spreadsheet (now what are the features of an online spreadsheet? – are there any standards defined?). It is not about replacing MS Excel but extend it, as it says. The attractive feature is that it lets you edit your sheet online as well as in MS Excel on just one click of mouse.
If you try to open your online sheet for first time, in Excel, MS Excel may throw a warning saying that it contains macros by Collaboral and the content will be blocked. You will need to enable them by selecting Always trust macros from this publisher.
Whoa! thats it. Now you can edit/create sheets in excel and store/view/share them in this online spreadsheet app – it is so tightly integrated with Excel. Best way of editing a sheet if there are multiple users sharing this sheet and they all have Excel installed. If you don’t have Excel on your machine, you can edit sheet online. It is too fast to load online spreadsheet as compared to considerable resources & time consumed by Google Spreadsheets (my browser hangs for few seconds every time, I try to open any sheet in Google Spreadsheets).
You can share your sheet with others. Template can be downloaded. Sheet can also be emailed on a click of mouse. Right now, you can’t see who is editing the file just the way Google shows but it is promised upcoming feature. If you want to try first before signing up, you can test it as a demo user, using link – sign in as demo user, provided on loading page. There is well created Tour also.
Second online spreadsheet app is Num Sum beta. It also offers similar features of an online spreadsheet – tracking, sharing and connecting with folks with similar interests. The third one is implemented using the tags feature. Another great feature is ability to create charts online – the feature which is missing even in Google Spreadsheets. One can insert images and also change the color of foreground/background of cells. It is pretty fast in loading. RSS feeds are provided just the way provided by Google. Still there is emptiness on the grounds of soul of Excel – the functions. There are very few functions which are there in this app and where Google is the leader. Even then it is pretty fast and there are features at par with google like cell merge, copy/cut/paste of multiple cells, group private sharing (limited to 2) and robust undo/redo. It also provides you to work offline – in that case, you can view and modify but not save the sheet online as connection isn’t there. But still, you can save it offline and later save online.
And another addition is EditGrid – a very nice, sleek, neatly designed, feature-full but a bit bulky website. The menus are really well designed and give competition to Google Spreadsheets. There is a long list of functions plus tools – there is cut/copy/paste for text & cells, undo/redo, search., print, import/export, text formatting including font type/size, share/publish, word wrap and what not. I liked evthing especially multi-cell functionality. And there is one special thing – right click ability to perform functions on selected cells – it makes it stand out of the herd. It misses Freeze Row functionality (as I wanted it when I found evthing else there plus I am using it a lot). Another basic features that it misses are auto expansions of cells when word wrap is applied & Ctrl+(arrows) to go to extreme rows/columns otherwise keyboard shortcuts work for another text formatting commands. It is still in beta. Long way to go!