Google Sheets is a handy tool for tabulating and working on data, especially since it's cross-platform and free to use. While it doesn't yet match the functionality of Microsoft Excel, it has been consistently picking up new features every month — from deduplication and trimming of whitespace to enhanced formatting tools. Today, the Sheets team announced three new data reporting tools that can help get you closer to a dashboard running only on Google Sheets.
Back in September, Microsoft teased an interesting new feature at its annual Ignite conference: Insert Data from Picture — a combination of OCR (optical character recognition) and AI (unicorn dust) that promises to convert pesky printed material into rows of editable Excel data (the office format of champions). Beta users of Excel for Android were supposed to get the feature "soon," which turned out to be five months later — it's now live, and works pretty well for a first iteration.
Google has announced a series of new features for Sheets today, including macro support and improvements to spreadsheet printing. While Google Sheets has long been perfectly capable of creating and handling basic or even moderately complex spreadsheets, it fails to fully replicate the functionality of Microsoft Excel, making it a nonstarter for most power users. For professional use cases, Excel still reigns supreme, and Google needs to address Sheets' shortcomings if it ever hopes to make it a viable alternative for professional customers.
If there's one place that Google Docs is a market leader, it's where it comes to collaboration. A web app was a natural place to build on the familiar commenting features from Microsoft Word and make them work in real time and without formal software requirements. On the other hand, we don't normally think about spreadsheets in those terms. With the latest updates to Sheets, though, Google is bringing comments to Android and the web.
I know I haven't even thought much about the need for this kind of feature in a spreadsheet app, but in hindsight it makes plenty of sense.
Google is keeping up its fast pace of updates to its office productivity apps, this time with meaningful improvements to both Slides and Sheets for Android. Building on existing presentation abilities, Slides gets notification forward/back toggles as well as an option to watch your audience while presenting to a Hangouts call. Sheets now gives Android users the option to easily edit charts, which were basically view-only previously.
Here's a before and after look at the lockscreen notification that Sheets displays while you present on a second screen/Hangouts call.
Without those toggles on the notification, you'll be forced to choose to either keep your phone unlocked while presenting or constantly enter your login password/fingerprint/etc.
Anyone who has to pore over data on a regular basis knows that it's a best practice to look at some graphs, run basic descriptive statistics, and just generally play around to make sure you aren't missing anything obvious and to assure yourself that there are no mistakes in data entry. This can get really repetitive and sometimes corners get cut. Google is trying to make it easier for you as they have automated the process in Sheets for Android and the web.
All you have to do in the Android app is tap "Explore" in the overflow menu. After that, you'll be presented with a series of charts with summary information to let you know what Google thought you would find interesting.
There's a pretty basic version of Microsoft Office available for Android in the Play Store, but you won't have much luck trying to install that on anything much larger than a Galaxy Note or Nexus 6. For tablets, the company has something different in the works, and it's now ready to give out tastes to Android users who are eager enough to sign up and get in line.
Google has rebuilt Sheets, the spreadsheet-related portion of its online office suite, and is making the new version available immediately. None of these changes directly affect the Android version of the app, but given that this is the desktop browser-based companion to what Google would consider the platform's best spreadsheet editor, it may be time to give the service another go if you aren't already a committed user. The new version of Sheets comes with a range of new features, including offline support. Now users can work offline and have their files automatically update after reconnecting.
The new Google Sheets can handle millions of cells spread across any number of rows and columns.