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December 13, 2013

Google Sheets Gets Powerful New Tools

Users have been asking for updates to Google Drive's spreadsheet tools, and it appears that Google listened to the biggest complaints that users had. The newest update to Google Sheets involves better tools, faster saving speed and documents that can finally be edited offline.

Google Drive is an excellent tool for keeping information available “in the cloud” for easy access, but many users of the Sheets program were frustrated that their documents could not be accessed offline. With the newest version of Sheets, this is no longer the case.

Busy work schedules often mean that people have to work in places without Internet connections, like during their commute or lunch meetings at a restaurant. Offline documents show the most recently updated version of the document before the Internet connection was lost, making it accessible anywhere. As soon as the connection is restored, the changes made by collaborators to a document are instantly merged together.

Of course, working offline is not the only change Google made to Sheets. For starters, there is no longer a limit on how many cells, columns or formulas in any single document. Copy and paste limits have also been removed, giving growing spreadsheet documents exactly as much room as they need.

Such large documents need better organization, and that's where Google's new filter tools come in. The filter tools allow users to sort a document as they see fit, without affecting how collaborators see the same document. One user can sort the document numerically while the others still see the document alphabetically, or by nearly any other sorting criteria.

Finally, for those who aren't so familiar with spreadsheet formulas, Sheets now includes a simpler help tool, that imbeds links into cells once formula commands are typed in. Once the right formulas are selected, the included error highlighting tool will point out any mistakes on the fly for easy editing. These forward-thinking tools set Sheets up to rival programs like Microsoft Excel, especially considering the fact that it comes free with a Google account.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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