Google Sheets is part of Google’s productivity suite of applications, linked with Google Drive. Sheets is the spreadsheet manager and joins the word processor, Docs, and the presentation application, Slides, in offering customers a free, online-based alternative to the more mainstream, established desktop productivity software. Indeed, it’s fair to say that Docs, Sheets and Slides have Microsoft Office squarely in their sights, especially considering that Google’s aim is to make working with Office format documents a seamless and painless process for customers. Essentially, you can work with a file in either Microsoft Office or Google Drive format without needing to worry about how to save the file back into your account. However, the above all written, Google’s productivity software is less sophisticated than the Microsoft competition. This is most obvious with Google Sheets, which is mostly because Microsoft Excel has grown into a very comprehensive spreadsheet manager application.
Google counter this by explaining that many users simply do not need all of Microsoft Excel’s functionality and because of this, Sheets works for these individuals. Some customers, it concedes, will need to use spreadsheets within Excel and here, Google is not trying to steal these customers. Instead, for the time being at least Google consider their productivity applications to be more co-existing with the (paid for) Microsoft Office documents. However, we have seen Google steadily improve their productivity applications over the last few months by rolling out improvements to the web based version first.
Google have today announced an improvement to the online Sheets application when it comes to publishing spreadsheets to the web. Previously, the “publish to the web” tool would export your work into a website format. This has been retained along with five new formats of comma separated values (.csv), tab separated values (.tsv), PDF document (.pdf), Microsoft Excel (.xlsx), and OpenDocument spreadsheet (.ods). This will simplify the process of sharing data with non-Google Drive users. When generating a file of this format, Google Sheets produces a URL, which when opened in a compatible browser, automatically downloads the spreadsheet in the chosen format – these five additional formats may not be embedded as the website version can be. The command is accessed in the same way – from the spreadsheet, select “File,” the “Publish to the web..” and pick the file format.