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Computerized Investing > First Quarter 2011

Online Spreadsheet Programs

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

Spreadsheets are simple, yet powerful, investment analysis tools. In each issue of Computerized Investing, the Spreadsheet Corner introduces spreadsheet templates and utilities that individual investors may use in their investment analysis and tracking. Over the years, there have been many spreadsheet programs: AppleWorks, Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Excel and Quattro Pro, just to name a few. While a useful analytical tool, spreadsheet software can be a bit pricey. According to the Microsoft website, Excel retails for around $140.

With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies and faster Internet connections, there has been a trend in recent years toward online spreadsheets. These Web-based applications offer many of the features found with their software-based brethren at little or no cost. While typically not as powerful as software-based spreadsheet programs, online spreadsheets have the benefit of being accessible via a Web browser without the need to buy and install software. Furthermore, many online spreadsheets allow for multi-user collaboration, meaning that you can share your spreadsheet with other users, who can also collaborate in modifying and enhancing the spreadsheet. In this article, we cover some of the more full-featured online spreadsheets available today and discuss their functionality. To evaluate each service, we attempted to replicate the Simple Valuation Spreadsheet discussed in this issue’s Spreadsheet Corner article that begins on page 12.

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Discussion

SteveB from CA posted over 3 years ago:

Your article on online spreadsheet programs was informative. However, it seemed that you were implying that the primary reason for using online spreadsheets was that spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel were 'pricey'. You also referred to simple spreadsheets (online) vs "buy and install spreadsheet software" in your conclusion.

Although you referred to OpenOffice Calc in your article, I was surprised that you did not mention that OpenOffice, unlike Microsoft Office, is free software, and contains, in addition to a robust spreadsheet, a suite of other applications.


Vincent from MA posted over 3 years ago:

Looks like editgrid.com has been abandoned. No updates since September, 2009. All accounts are free. I'm surprised you missed that.


EE2go from NY posted over 3 years ago:

RE: Pricey spread sheets Try Open Office which has and excelent set of office tools and the price is $0.00 By simply downloading the suite. www.openoffice.org

The spreadsheet in ithis suite is for the most part compatible with Excell and other popular spreadsheets. Version 3.3 of open office has recently been relaeased.

This software is licensed under the GPL (Gnue Publice License.

Thanks for your comment Vincent this is an often overlooked method of lowering the cost of personal computing. :-)


JM from WY posted over 3 years ago:

A significant item missing from the previous replies is the element of cloud computing, which I believe is the primary bullet-point of the article. I have been an OO.o user for 12 years, exclusively for 8 years. I cannot have real-time collaboration in my OO.o docs without one of these (or others) Internet options available.

I don't think the goal of the article was to illustrate whether MS is pricey nor OO.o is "free". Instead, I believe the goal of the article is to illustrate that online spreadsheet applications are not as robust as their desktop-based peers, pricey or free.

In that respect, one could instigate a dollar-free, fairly robust, collaborative spreadsheet using one of these online sources and OO.o. It's pretty clear that these three online sites are compatible with both the pricey (MS) and inexpensive (OO.o) software. So name your desktop price, but if you want to go online for financial spreadsheets only, this article makes it pretty clear that EditGrid is your clear collaborative choice.


David from VA posted over 3 years ago:

I enjoyed the article very much but I can't find anywhere to download a blank valuation spreadsheet. Is this possible?


Jean from IL posted over 3 years ago:

You can use the spreadsheet linked in this article as if it is blank - just replace the cells highlighted in yellow and the other cells will be calculated for you. But if you want something you can download to your computer, go to this link in our Download Library: http://www.aaii.com/download-library/download?DL_ID=231 -Jean from AAII


Joesph from PA posted over 3 years ago:

I am new to investment analysis tools, but I would like to learn. I clicked on the EditGrid link above to view the spreadsheet. It looks like an informative layout of data.

How does one get the current and historical data details for each specific company to load into the spreadsheet without having to search the web and manually type in the data?

Is there a program or repository that will propagate/load all of the company stock financials data into the spreadsheet after one enters the company ticker symbol?

My IRA portfolio is currently with Fidelity and the stock analylsis details are not consistent with your spreadsheets.

Thanks for any enlightment you can offer.


Jw from UT posted over 3 years ago:

@Joesph -- Google docs allows you to import real time stock info easliy.... check out the GoogleFinance() functions... I have a google docs spreadhseet with all my positions and it updates in realtime... I can then link to those position in other "tabs" that do other things for me... google docs is pretty awesome


Roger from CA posted over 3 years ago:

I am concerned about security with an online spreadsheet. I did not notice any information on comments on this.


Thomas Walker from NJ posted 12 months ago:

EditGrid is closing down as of May, 2014.


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