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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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