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12 Microsoft Excel Alternatives to Use With Your Team

Microsoft Excel has long been one of the main go-to options for spreadsheets and mathematical functions. But with new solutions that offer additional features, it’s time to take a look at the other choices you have available to you.

Depending on what you use Excel for, there could be hundreds of Excel alternatives across the web. These are twelve of the best, and easiest to use, to check out for you & your team.

1. Toggl Plan

toggl plan timeline: excel alternative

Read: How Buzzfeed replaced their spreadsheets with Toggl Plan

Why You’ll Love It: Offering an innovative visual planning tool that is both powerful and easy to use, Toggl Plan is a great option if you’re looking for alternatives to Excel. The system allows you to replace spreadsheets as it helps manage workflow, track projects, organize tasks, as well as schedule meetings and other team assignments. It has a clear timeline that is color coded and provides simple sharing functions to keep everyone on the same page at all times.

Pros: The simple click-and-drag software makes project management processes a breeze from beginning to end.

Cons: You won’t find basic Excel functions like calculations. Instead, Toggl Plan would replace Excel if you’re using it for project / task / team planning, scheduling and other needs.

Price: Free for teams up to 5 people. Paid plans start at $8 per user per month.

2. Google Sheets

Why You’ll Love It: Along with being the world’s largest search engine, Google also offers its users a wide range of other types of software including spreadsheets. With Google Sheets, you’ll have essentially all the same functionality found on Excel while having the added benefits of keeping everything safe and secure in your Google Drive cloud account. Easily share, edit, and update whenever and wherever you need.

Pros: User-friendly and easy to learn, especially if you’ve already been using Microsoft Excel.

Cons: Some users would prefer that Google Sheets offer analytics and reporting features to get more extensive history and details about their spreadsheets.

Price: Free. Paid plans start at $5 per month for additional storage when it becomes necessary.

3. Zendesk Explore

Why You’ll Love It: Since it acquired BIME Analytics back in 2015, Zendesk has grown its analytics and reporting capabilities into something that could replace much of the functionality of Excel. Their clear and customizable Explore dashboard makes it easy to review data and create reports based on your company’s needs.

Pros: Sharing with your entire team is incredibly simple to ensure everyone can see the information and provide input.

Cons: With most of their features focused on CRM software, you may find the Excel-style functions are limited to basic analytics.

Price: Free for Lite features. Additional functions available starting at $9 per user per month.

4. Workzone

Why You’ll Love It: Mainly focused on marketing agencies and operations companies, Workzone is project management software that also doubles as one of the best Excel alternatives. It can be used for budget management needs such as time and expense tracking as well as for monitoring resources and milestones. Managed on the cloud, users will be able to access it from anywhere using a computer, tablet, or mobile device.

Pros: Often praised for its collaboration options, you’ll likely enjoy the ability to keep everyone in the loop automatically as opposed to consistently sending updated Excel spreadsheets.

Cons: Occasional issues come up with the calendar features being less than intuitive, making it necessary to keep an eye on dates to ensure they are correct.

Price: Free demo. The price varies based on the size of your team. As an example, a team of 15 will start at $24 per user per month.

5. Zoho Sheet

Why You’ll Love It: Following suit with Google, the team at Zoho has created a massive supply of applications to replace functions across a wide variety of needs. Among their apps, Zoho Sheet is their realization of an effective spreadsheet software. It’s a great place to organize, discuss, and analyze data with your team as you create graphs and charts.

Pros: A strong option for companies that need to manage a large amount of data all in one place, Zoho Sheet easily imports from other software to get you up and running quickly.

Cons: Sometimes, spreadsheets may need mild reformatting after importing from Excel and other alternatives.

Price: Free for teams up to 5 people. Paid plans start at $4 per user per month.

6. Sheetster

Why You’ll Love It: Able to view both XLS and XLSX formats, Sheetster is a web-based spreadsheet editor with nearly all the same features that you’d find in Microsoft Excel. Used most commonly as a JavaScript, it is generally meant for developers who want to use these functions in their web apps or other software. It can be incorporated into everything from a mobile application to a CMS like WordPress.

Pros: Great for web development if you want to add it to your new website or other creation as a developer.

Cons: Without general coding knowledge, this option may not be easy to use for some people looking for a way to replace Excel.

Price: Free

7. Numbers (Mac)

Why You’ll Love It: If you’re an Apple user with a Mac, then Numbers is the ideal Excel alternative for you. It is nearly identical to its Microsoft counterpart when it comes to creating, editing, and managing spreadsheets. You can even use it across platforms meaning that you’ll be able to share your sheets with Windows users on your team.

Pros: For anyone who recently switched to Mac that previously used Excel on their PC, this is the perfect way to pick right back up where you left off.

Cons: Minor functionality differences from Excel that may require some research to learn.

Price: Starting at $9.99 per app depending on your operating system.

8. Redbooth

Why You’ll Love It: Joining the ranks of other project management applications on this list, Redbooth offers task organization, collaboration tools, and other functions. Users can manage members of their staff as they work on projects that are organized with columns that are customizable like Excel. Keep things organized on the cloud so everyone on your team can maintain the workflow.

Pros: Offers a simple interface that makes it easy to learn and even easier to use.

Cons: Though many types of software like this one have numerous integrations that can be used with it, the options for Redbooth are fairly limited.

Price: Free 14-day trial. Plans starting at $9 per user per month.

9. Scoro

Why You’ll Love It: While it is usually marketed as a project management platform, Scoro is another one of the main Excel alternatives worth considering. It is a business solution software with features that include financial management, time tracking, reporting, analytics, and more. While it lacks basic spreadsheet functionality, this program can be used in many other beneficial ways.

Pros: The software is highly adaptable to your specific industry as a means to make it fit your needs.

Cons: Onboarding can be difficult and it can take some time to learn how to use the software.

Price: Free 14-day trial. Plans starting at $26 per user per month.

10. Apache OpenOffice

Why You’ll Love It: The software for Apache OpenOffice is open source, which means it is free to use in a variety of ways. Users can apply it to their website, mobile app development, or simply integrate the software for basic spreadsheet needs. Dubbed a “productivity suite”, Apache can create equations, databases, multimedia presentations, a variety of diagrams, and even illustrations that can be rendered into 3D images.

Pros: Essentially provides all the same options as the full Microsoft Office package in one place for free.

Cons: It isn’t updated very often, which can occasionally lead to bugs and minor glitches in the software.

Price: Free

11. LibreOffice

Why You’ll Love It: LibreOffice is considered one of the top Excel alternatives and is powered by the team at OffiDocs. Similar to Apache OpenOffice, it uses open source software to view and edit spreadsheets from Microsoft platforms. You’ll find it has most of the same basic features found in Excel.

Pros: Similar layout to Microsoft that makes it easy to convert if you want to switch to this free alternative.

Cons: LibreOffice doesn’t have many of the formatting functions or high-level calculations that are offered in Excel and some of the other options on this list.

Price: Free

12. Spread32

Why You’ll Love It: If you’re on the hunt for the most basic of Excel alternatives, Spread32 could be just right for you. While it is less involved than most of the other options above, the software still has over 300 functions to provide the essentials many users require. While it doesn’t offer the colorful dashboards and other aesthetics of more contemporary apps, it will do what you need it to.

Pros: Spread32 is a simple, lightweight option that offers portability with its attached app of SpreadCE.

Cons: The software interface takes a while to learn because it has a different look and feel than Excel.

Price: Free

Which of These Excel Alternatives Will You Try?

From simple spreadsheets to complex project management applications, there are numerous Excel alternatives worth a try. Among the options mentioned above, you’re sure to find great software to replace it.

At the top of the list, Toggl Plan provides a great variety of features that will fill all of your time tracking, task management, and schedule planning needs. Learn more about our software and see how it will benefit your company.

The post 12 Microsoft Excel Alternatives to Use With Your Team appeared first on Toggl Blog.

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The Best Identity Theft Protection Services

Identity theft has gotten out of hand. In 2017, a record 16.7 million consumers were victims of identity theft.

It’s not a matter of if you’ll have your identity stolen, it’s a matter of when.

One option is to invest in identity theft protection.

Identity theft protection services include a range of products. Everything from basic  credit monitoring to identity restoration after it’s stolen. Here’s what to look for along with my recommendations for the best identity theft protection services.

The 3 Best Identity Theft Protection Services

Keep in mind that no identity theft protection service can completely prevent identity theft. However, some providers offer services that help you reclaim and repair your identity if your information is stolen.

Here are three of the best identity theft protection services to consider.

1. Lifelock Ultimate Plus

Due to its commercials, Lifelock is perhaps one of the most recognizable identity theft protection services on the market. The company’s “ultimate plus” plan offers comprehensive protection against identity theft.

Generally, this is a good plan for people who want widespread protection and who don’t plan to do any kind of identity theft monitoring on their own.

Pros:

Identity theft monitoring for all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion)
Legal fee reimbursement up to $1 million if your information is stolen
Up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement
Identity restoration support

Cons:

At $29.99 per month for the first year, Lifelock’s Ultimate Plus plan is one of the more expensive identity theft protection plans out there, especially when you consider that this is for single coverage only. If you want to add identity theft protection for a spouse, you’ll pay another $29.99 a month. There is an additional $5.99 a month charge per minor child on your account.
In October 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent refunds totaling $31 million to consumers who were Lifelock customers between 2012 and 2014. The money came as part of a $100 million settlement in which Lifelock was forced to pay fines and issue refunds based on the FTC’s findings that it “failed to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program to protect its customer data.”

Lifelock’s run-ins with the FTC gave me pause, I started to avoid them myself.  However, former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, whose then-office investigated Lifelock’s business practices, has said the company’s problems stemmed not from offering subpar service but from misrepresenting its services as “guaranteed” and airtight.

According to Cuccinelli, Lifelock didn’t necessarily deliver a flawed product. Rather, it advertised something that was impossible to deliver. As Cuccinelli stated, no company can claim to offer a fail proof protection against identity theft. “Such claims,” he said, “are ludicrous on the face.”

2. Identityforce UltraSecure

Identityforce’s UltraSecure plan is a more affordable option compared to other identity theft monitoring services.

For $17.95 a month, you get round the clock monitoring of your financial accounts, public records, and malware monitoring on Windows computer systems. You also get up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.

Pros:

Real time alerts for suspicious activity
Family plan available for just $24.90 per month. This covers two adults and any minor children in the household.
Identity theft restoration services from Certified Protection Experts available 24/7.
Excellent customer ratings at both Consumer Affairs and Trustpilot

Cons:

The UltraSecure plan does not include credit bureau monitoring. To receive monitoring for all three bureaus, you must upgrade to the UltraSecure+Credit plan, which is $23.95 per month.
Website offers popup discounts, including the UltraSecure plan for $18 a month, but it’s unclear how long that promotional price lasts.
Some online reviewers say it’s difficult to cancel once you sign up.

Overall, the Identityforce UltraSecure plan is a good bargain for people who want the peace of mind of identity theft protection.

3. ID Watchdog Platinum

The ID Watchdog Platinum identity theft protection plan offers credit monitoring for all three bureaus, as well as the ability to freeze and unfreeze your credit report.

Pros:

Affordable at $19.95 per month.
Daily credit score tracking for your Equifax credit report.
401K/HSA Stolen Funds Reimbursement up to $500K.
Many employers offer ID Watchdog identity theft monitoring to their employees as a job benefit. The website has a specific landing page where employees can enter their activation code to enroll in the plan.

Cons:

The credit report freeze feature only applies to your Equifax and TransUnion reports.
No computer security features, which means you’ll need to purchase separate malware protection for your desktop or laptop.

ID Watchdog’s website isn’t as comprehensive as those of other identity theft protection services. The company is also owned by Equifax, so keep that in mind when shopping around.

Understanding Your Options: Different Kinds of Identity Theft Protection

Identity theft protection services can vary widely. Companies typically offer three kinds of products: monitoring your accounts and credit files, alerting you to suspicious activity, and helping you recover if identity theft occurs.

Monitoring

Account monitoring is the most standard feature identity theft protection services offer. This service is designed to detect new accounts as they’re opened, so you can make sure no one is using your information fraudulently.

Not all identity theft protection services monitor your credit reports, and some only monitor one credit bureau. If this is important to you, make sure that the monitoring of your service is as broad as possible.

Alerts

Many identity theft protection services combine alerts with account monitoring. Specifically, they will automatically notify you whenever someone opens an account in your name.

Recovery

Recovery can mean a couple different things. First, the majority of identity theft protection services offer insurance that covers attorney’s fees and other costs associated with getting fraudulent accounts shut down and reclaiming your identity.

Some identity theft protection services also offer a separate recovery option that gives you a dedicated recovery representation who works one on one with you to clean up the mess of identity theft if it happens. This service is usually an additional fee.

Tips to Consider Before Investing in Identity Theft Protection

If you’re considering paying for identity theft protection, there are two main things to keep in mind.

1. No Company Can Guarantee to Stop Identity Theft

The reality is that no business can give you a blanket guarantee that you won’t be a victim of identity theft. To put it another way, police officers can deter criminals by patrolling the streets, but they can’t stop all crime.

This is where companies like Lifelock have run into trouble. No matter how secure or robust a company’s account monitoring is, there is still a risk that an enterprising thief will hack your account or steal your financial information.

However, this doesn’t mean you should forego identity theft protection. Most homeowners know that having locks on their doors won’t necessarily stop a determined burglar, but it’s better to lock your front door than leave it wide open.

2. You Can Monitor Your Accounts on Your Own

Identity theft protection and account monitoring is convenient, but the companies that offer it aren’t doing anything you can’t do on your own.

For example, you can monitor your credit reports for free. Under federal law, you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus every 12 months.

You can also monitor your credit score for free using the Discover Scorecard, which doesn’t require you to be a Discover cardholder to use the free service.

However, identity theft protection services typically conduct routine monitoring across all your accounts, which lets you know any time someone opens a new account in your name. If you’re only checking your credit report once every 12 months, you could miss a new account.

For many people, the peace of mind that comes with constant monitoring is worth the monthly cost of paying for an identity theft protection service.

How to Choose The Best Identity Theft Protection

As you look for an identity theft protection service, there are a few points you should keep in mind.

It helps to compare and contrast certain things about each company, including what services they offer, how much they charge, and what their customers have to say about them.

1. Is Monitoring a Key Feature?

Some folks won’t need any help monitoring their credit report.

There’s enough free ways to get it that checking it once a month is pretty easy these days. If you check your report often, you don’t need to pay someone else to do it for you.

I don’t fall into that category. I check my own report maybe once a year.

In my case, monitoring has a much bigger benefit.

If you’re like me, get an identity service that has real-time alerts (or close to it) across all the credit bureaus.

2. Are You Protecting an Entire Family?

Individuals can expect to pay $15-35/month for the identity protection service.

Things get expensive you have a whole family and have to pay for each person on your plan. If you have a family and want to protect everyone, pay close attention to how much the total cost will be.

In most cases, you should get an identity protection service that has a family plan.

3. Check the Fine Print on Stolen Fund Reimbursements

Getting your credit report cleaned up is one thing, recovering your entire retirement savings is another.

The worst case scenario is having your key accounts emptied. It could take decades to recover from something like that. This is the type of scenario that I focus on when purchasing insurance or protection services. I need to know that I can depend on something when I really need it.

Definitely read the fine print for getting stolen funds reimbursed and get a plan that covers your liquid net worth (cash, stocks, bonds, etc).

The Best Identity Theft Protection Services is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

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