Posts tagged Google-Spreadsheets

Google Spreadsheets

August 28th, 2006

I’ve been fooling around a bit with Google Spreadsheets recently, and I expect that I’ll be using them more in the future. While they’re still in the lab, however, there are a few things I’d like to see on the burner.

  • It would be nice to be able to track changes, a la writeboard, especially those made by other users.

  • It’s not quite obvious that you can go beyond the default 100 rows. You can insert more than one row at a time if you have more than one row selected, but if you have an ongoing project to keep adding to, it can be a bit annoying to keep stopping to insert rows. Not a really big deal I guess, but it breaks up “the flow.”

  • I haven’t had occasion yet to use more formulas than “sum,” but it appears that there’s a generous helping of them available. That’s a good thing, but I can’t find any assistance on syntax in the support pages. In my experience, syntax is similar but not identical in different spreadsheet software (e.g. where MS Excel uses commas, OpenOffice Calc uses semi-colons). I’m pretty sure I could figure out formulas I’m already fairly familiar with, but I find it easier to use my existing software to look up formulas I use less often than to look them up online in the absence of an easily googleable comprehensive list.

  • Spreadsheets are printable if you use “Get HTML” and print them as a webpage, but if you need a hard copy that’s more presentable, you still need to download it into your own software to format it any further.

  • I find myself mainly using Calc to create and edit spreadsheets, and then uploading and downloading them to and from google as necessary. As the main asset of web-based spreadsheets is, as googleblog pointed out, the ability to share and collaborate on a single document without the annoyance or risk of passing around multiple, out of sync copies, it’s a bit unfair to expect this or other Web 2.0-type office applications to be out-and-out replacements of their desk-top bound kin. In that case, all but the first of my points (tracking changes) don’t really matter. But then again, if I do all my work in other software and download and upload it, replacing the previous version entirely each time, I’m guessing that the potential to track changes becomes a very different matter.

    Anyway, it still seems more useful than not for collaborative projects.