Review – Simple tools to share datalist online

By | March 10, 2014

For many people, the spreadsheet is still one of the most popular low-end database applications. The tabular structure of rows and columns is easily understood and can easily be used as a way to view records and fields of a database. Plus, you can easily sort and filter your data using the appropriate Excel commands. From a SMB to enterprise, everyone’s first choice for spreadsheet is Excel. However, buying complete Microsoft Office suite for using Excel spreadsheet only would be a very costly decision.

20% of all small businesses run primarily on excel. Over 100 businesses of all nature including investment firms, marketers, sales teams, outsourcing development centers, bookkeeping firms, recruitment firms and other SMEs use excel/spreadsheets for work. But what is the first thing that a team does which is working jointly on a spreadsheet. They email it back and forth. It can be painful if one has to keep track of all the changes being made by the other team members. Luckily, there are few better alternatives in the form of online spreadsheet service providers with tools to make spreadsheet sharing a lot easier than just sending them as attachments at no or low cost.

  1. Google Docs :

Google Docs is one of the most used alternative to MS Excel online. It is actually similar to Office Suite but is free to use. However, one must be registered and signed in using Gmail account to use this service. It send email alerts when someone make changes in the spreadsheet. Though, do remember that there will be inconsistencies while working with columns and if you don’t want formulas to be tampered with, you have to lock the cells.

2.  Zoho Docs :

It is another powerful app to replace MS Excel and compete with Google Docs. Its interface is quite simple with, almost, all the features that you would be looking for in a spreadsheet. The only missing feature here is a built-in address book, which could be extremely useful for collaboration. Zoho Sheet won’t accept data pasted from an Excel spreadsheet, but it works very well for creating fresh documents.

Online datalist sharing

Online datalist sharing

3.  CollateBox :

If you don’t want the clutter of Office suite online and want to work and focus more on collection, collaboration and collation of data with your team, CollateBox provides an intuitive, secure, consistent, affordable and focused solution in the form of online spreadsheet SaaS application. With intuitive excel like interface, it is quite easy to jump in and start working on CollateBox. Creating different views of same growing list of data and sharing is just a click away. Best part about CollateBox is easy to import existing data by copy pasting and then the data list can grow organically by collecting and collating data. The features that you will miss coming from excel will be formulas and macro, other than that everything plus more is already there for you.

Summary

Some services give you more control over how they will notify when collaborators make changes. Others provide access to data through invite only. Some applications provide detailed reports and those are also configurable, while others provide common charts and reports out of the box. To get more collaboration feature in Google Docs, one has to use Box.net and it becomes tricky to manage and share spreadsheets across both the services. Some of the services are really expensive like QuickBase but then you have tons of templates and control over your reports. Other services like CollateBox are really cost effective and solves specific use case of spreadsheet sharing, data collection and collation among team with common excel features. They have a nice mix of features, charts, summaries, forms, auto validated data and many more options.