Microsoft Excel Review 2024: Features, Pricing, Pros & Cons

Date:Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Microsoft Excel is one of the world's most popular spreadsheet programs, used by millions of businesses and individuals every day. It's been around for decades, and its features have only grown more powerful over time. In this Microsoft Excel review for 2024, we'll take a look at the latest features, pricing options, and pros and cons of the program.

We'll also explore what makes Excel so popular and why it's the go-to spreadsheet for many professionals. Whether you're a student or an entrepreneur, this review will help you decide if Microsoft Excel is right for your needs. So, let's dive in!


Microsoft Excel review 2024: Is MS Excel any good?

So, according to this Microsoft Excel review, this app is pretty good. Few think it’s truly the best, but fewer still rank it near the bottom of the spreadsheet scene. In this Excel 2021 review, we’ll dig into the tool’s features to help you determine whether it’s right for you.

It’s not uncommon to find Excel somewhere on a list of the best spreadsheet software, among other names, which might include its Alphabet counterpart, Google Sheets. It’s also quite commonly listed among the best project plan templates.


Microsoft Excel price

First of all, how much does Microsoft Excel cost? Let’s first review Microsoft Excel pricing:

Microsoft Excel plans

Monthly price

Annual price

Check current Microsoft Excel price

Microsoft 365 Personal

$6.99 per month

$69.99 per year


Microsoft 365 Family

$9.99 per month

$99.99 per year


Microsoft 365 Business Basic

$6 per user per month 

Discounted, check with vendor


Microsoft 365 Apps for business

$8.25 per user per month 

Discounted, check with vendor


Microsoft 365 Business Standard

$12.50 per user per month 

Discounted, check with vendor


Microsoft 365 Business Premium

$22 per user per month 

Discounted, check with vendor


Microsoft 365 F3

Annual subscriptions only

$8 per user per month billed annually 


Microsoft 365 E3

Annual subscriptions only

$36 per user per month billed annually 


Microsoft 365 E5

Annual subscriptions only

$57 per user per month billed annually 


Office 365 A1 for students

Free one-time purchase

Free one-time purchase


Office 365 A3 for students

Annual subscriptions only

$2.50 per user per month billed annually 


Office 365 A5 for students

Annual subscriptions only

$6 per user per month billed annually 


Office 365 A1 for teachers, faculty and staff

Free one-time purchase

Free one-time purchase


Office 365 A3 for teachers, faculty and staff

Annual subscriptions only

$3.25 per user per month billed annually 


Office 365 A5 for teachers, faculty and staff

Annual subscriptions only

$8 per user per month billed annually 


Where to buy Microsoft Excel at the best price

Let’s take a look at where to buy Microsoft Excel & get the cheapest deal on prices right now:



Check current price



Apple Mac App Store



Digital Zone Software



How much does Microsoft Excel cost for nonprofits?

Microsoft does indeed offer a version of 365 for free or at a discounted price to nonprofits and other charitable organizations.

For small-to-midsize nonprofits, you can get a free plan of Microsoft 365 Business Basic which is good for up to 300 users. 

There are also discounted prices for Business Standard and Business Premium plans for small and medium nonprofits, down to $3 and $5.50 per user per month billed annually, respectively, from $12.50 and $22 per user per month billed annually, respectively.  

Large nonprofits, presumably with more than 300 staff, can get a discounted version of the enterprise editions, such as Microsoft 365 E3 or Microsoft 365 E5. The prices are down from $36 and $57 per user per month billed annually, respectively, to just $9 and $22.80 per user per month billed annually, respectively.

Are there any Microsoft Excel coupon codes or promo discount vouchers?

There are indeed Microsoft 365 discount coupons and promotional vouchers to be found online. For example, Microsoft provides its own coupons through the e-commerce marketplace site Groupon, or through popular online magazines such as or

However, all coupons and vouchers should be double-checked with Microsoft to see if they are legitimate and still valid. 

Microsoft Excel free vs paid: what’s the difference?

If you want a free copy of Excel, it is only available with the Office 365 packages for education. There are basic plans free of charge for both students as well as teachers, faculty, and staff. The difference is mainly about what Office apps come along with Excel in the 365 package.

For example, in both cases, the free version comes with Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and OneNote, among others. What is missing from these plans in comparison to the paid plans are the apps Publisher and Access, both only functional with PCs. 

Other differences between the free and paid plans are found in areas like storage size for email, calendar, and scheduling. For example, the free plans get you a 50 GB mailbox, while paid plans get you 100 GBs. However, these details are less concerning Excel and more regarding other 365 apps. 

Finally, it is possible to use a free version of Excel online as well. You just need to create an account with Microsoft.


Microsoft Excel overview: what is Microsoft Excel & what is Microsoft Excel used for?

In brief, Microsoft Excel is used for creating spreadsheets, databases, and workbooks, allowing you to turn that numerical table data into charts and graphs, as well as for deeper data analytical insights like forecasting and pattern recognition.

In other words, it’s one of the most popular spreadsheet software alongside Google Sheets, Apache OpenOffice, Zoho Sheet, Airtable, and many others.

We believe it’s mostly similar to Google Sheets, so if you're looking for a replacement, consider this tool. You can learn more about the differences and similarities between these two tools in our Google Sheets vs Excel comparison.


Microsoft Excel features list

The main features of Microsoft Excel are:

  • Spreadsheets and tables

  • Shortcuts and Macros

  • Charts and graphs

  • Templates

  • Forecasting

  • Collaboration

  • Analog to digital conversion

  • Power BI integration

1. Spreadsheets and tables

Everyone knows that Excel is a data visualization spreadsheet application, much like Google Sheets. You can make a simple table in an instant, a spreadsheet or worksheet with more complicated data and formatting, or a database or workbook which consists of a series of interconnected tables and spreadsheets.

The benefits of Excel spreadsheets and databases are advanced data analysis, for which there are many useful tools. You can filter down and calculate using tables, which helps sort data. There are drop-down lists to help group data points. 

Excel also has a flash-fill option. For even more advanced data analysis across your workbooks, you get conditional formatting and data validation. 

2. Shortcuts and Macros

Shortcuts are combinations of keys that can perform a larger action, like ‘control c’ instead of using the mouse to select ‘copy.’ Microsoft allows Excel users to program their own shortcuts, making them official macros.

It is possible to use VBA or visual basics for application functionality to create macros. There is a VB editor for just this job. Some popular Excel macros include hiding or unhiding all active worksheets, unmerging or merging all cells, sorting data into single or multiple columns, and inserting new data sets after other rows in the same section. VLOOKUP can be one example of a very common macro for looking for specific data in large data sets across rows and columns.

3. Charts and graphs

Excel is one of the original Microsoft Office apps spreadsheet programs, along with Microsoft Word for writing, among others. It has always been regarded as a powerful tool for data visualization, whereby tables and spreadsheets and workbooks can be turned into visuals like charts and graphs. This is ideal for when large amounts of data need clear and striking visuals to be quickly grasped.

Some of the most common Excel charts are column charts with rising bars, or bar charts with horizontal ones; there are also line charts and combo charts. You got pie graphs, doughnut graphs, treemaps, and Pareto charts, too, among others.

4. Sparklines and pivot tables

As an extension of the previous section, which discusses charts and graphs, here are two special examples that deserve mention on their own. Excel sparklines are very advantageous tools to be used with worksheets, charts, and graphs. They have crystalized charts inside larger data sets. They are drawn with simple lines and give instant clarity on major data trends.

The word Pivottable, as one word, was a trademarked word by Microsoft as they pioneered this tool. Today it is just known as pivot tables as they are so common. Like sparklines, pivot tables are a quick summary of large data sets whose meaning can be understood with ease.  

5. Templates

Staring down an empty table and waiting to organize your columns, rows, and color scheme before turning it into a data-rich worksheet is daunting. This is where Excel templates can be a great time-saving feature. Excel offers a huge library of premium templates.

Some nice template categories examples include lists, budgets, loan calculators, Gantt charts, employee timetables, weekly or monthly schedule planners, sales leads trackers, and balance sheets. What’s more, you can customize, save and share templates, as well as import other templates into Excel.

6. Forecasting

You can use Microsoft Excel to make data forecasts with relative ease of use compared to fancy trend forecasting SaaS. If you create a worksheet with historical data, then Excel can automatically create a second worksheet that uses that historical data going forward to show you predicted figures based on past ones. 

This is great for budgeting, sales trend forecasts, weather statistics, and more. And, as you add to your past data, you can have your forecasts updated in real time.

7. Collaboration

Like most cloud-based SaaS today, files saved in Excel, Word, or PowerPoint are easily shareable. Excel files stored this way are often used for work, streamlining team collaboration on worksheets and workbooks.

You can also set permission levels and roles, such as editors who can do anything or only for suggesting or viewing. All the latest copies are saved in real-time, and past versions are also accessible. 

Note this may not be the case with the one-time purchase desktop versions, although there are methods using OneDrive.

8. Analog to digital conversion

Here’s a new Microsoft Excel feature that is really useful. When you have the Excel app for Android or Apple iOS devices like the iPhone, you can use a camera tool to take a picture of analog data and digitize it.

In other words, if you have an old piece of paper that has a printed table or worksheet on it, you take a photo, and Microsoft translates those printed graphemes into digital numbers on a new Excel spreadsheet.

9. Power BI integration

This one is not a feature that is going to be available to everyone, but if you do leverage Power BI with your Excel, you can take advantage of much more in-depth insights into your data. BI stands for business intelligence, and it's like analytics for experts.

You can also see which users are connected to Power BI by accessing an activity log. There is automated reporting and other automations like one-click data refreshing, better grid flexibility, enhanced self-service data visualization, multiple workbooks in a single view, and superior modeling and predicting capabilities.


Microsoft Excel pros and cons

Here are the pros and cons of Excel:

Microsoft Excel advantages

The first benefit of Microsoft Excel is its familiarity and ease of use. Anyone can start using this spreadsheet software instantly, and a lot of the formatting is intuitive if you’ve had any spreadsheet formatting experience. 

The next pro to using MS Excel is its ability to turn numbers and stats into aesthetically pleasing graphs and charts. 

Some consider it a great advantage of using Excel that it is part of the larger Microsoft 365 suite of apps, like OneDrive for storage, as well as being a member of the greater Windows family of technology. This is especially true of PC fans, or if you use Android devices or Microsoft hardware like the Surface.

Microsoft Excel has a wide range of prices based on which 365 package you get, and this is good news for people on a budget or for those companies who want to spend more for added functionality.

Microsoft Excel disadvantages

Some might say that the first drawback of Excel is that the look and feel are very old school, and when your display tends to bore you, it can be a drag on your work productivity.

The next con to using 365 Excel is that many small teams and small businesses that work according to the laws of agile project management are not too keen on Excel, finding it a bit sluggish in its ability for quick adaptation.

Another disadvantage is that Microsoft Excel does not give the user very much control over their own data security. Compiled with this issue is the vulnerability your workbooks are to human errors and the exponential consequences of those getting embedded into the core data.

Finally, some people just have a bias against Microsoft and all things this brand represents. There’s no fixing that.


Microsoft Excel complaints & praise (Microsoft Excel reviews from real customers)

Enough of our own judgments, what does the online community of users and critics have to say? The common positive reviews of Microsoft Excel praise its pricing points, its simplicity, and the fact that everyone already knows a bit about the software. 

Other user reviews that are favorable point out some key features, like the digitization of printed analog data. Of course, many people give good marks to Excel’s template library and its chart options.

Now it’s time to mention some negative Microsoft Excel reviews. User reviews that are not too pleased with Excel often complain about the fickleness of the data when it comes to a misplaced digit or a wrongly-input formula. 

More negative reviews of Excel go on about its less-than-perfect ability to cooperate with other SaaS or systems that are not part of the Microsoft-Windows umbrella. For example, using Excel on an Apple device like a Mac or iPhone has been known to be buggy.

Luckily, there’s a spreadsheet software for iOS users: Numbers. It’s similar to Excel, but they also differ in many areas. If you want to learn more about the similarities and differences between these two, check our comprehensive Excel vs Numbers comparison.

Review of Microsoft Excel support

All Excel support is part of greater Microsoft 365 customer service. It has so-so user reviews. What you get is the following. 

Home editions get an online help form and a community forum.

Meanwhile, the Business edition also includes a customer portal where you can sign in for additional support, and admins have a toll-free number to call, but for the US only.


Is Excel worth it? Our conclusion

And so, is Microsoft Excel worth it? The answer is yes if you want spreadsheet software that you can quickly use with little onboarding and at a reasonable cost. 

As for Microsoft Excel alternatives, many of them are similar enough, though there are always differences. If you prefer Microsoft Excel to another app, that’s ultimately up to you! 

Our final Microsoft Excel rating

Our overall rating of Microsoft Excel is 3.5 out of 5.


Microsoft Excel FAQs

What is Microsoft Excel particularly well suited for?

Microsoft Excel is very suitable for startups and small businesses to create tables and spreadsheets to organize their bookkeeping and accounting in a simple manner. It is suited for students, teachers, and faculty to keep track of important academic-related information. Excel is also appropriate as a personal organizer.

Is Excel worth learning?

Yes, it is well worth learning how to use Excel from Microsoft 365, formerly known as Microsoft Office. If you learn the shortcuts, macros, and more advanced Excel formatting options, you will be able to create databases and charts quicker and with more ease of use. 

Is there anywhere I can see an Excel demo?

You can always get a free trial of Microsoft Excel which is in some ways just as good as a demo, or even better. There are also training video tutorials produced by Microsoft to get a better understanding of how some of the basic and more advanced features function.

Vendor links