Google Sheets Adds Offline Mode But Cuts Some Features

Google has rolled out a new version of its Sheets spreadsheet that adds offline mode, improves performance with larger spreadsheets and enables filtered views. The improvements are welcome, but some missing features might cause you to hold back on switching.

As well as introducing an offline mode, the new version offers contextual help and a range of new formulas. One simple change which is likely to appeal to a lot of people is that text will automatically flow from one cell to the next if the adjacent cell is empty, rather than automatically wrapping. (Microsoft’s rival Excel handles overflowing text in a similar way.)

The addition of offline mode is welcome, though it should be treated with caution; Docs already has offline support but I’ve found that syncing back to the online version can be unpredictably slow. Being able to launch separate filtered views of data makes sense when you’re collaborating with others.

To switch to the new version, you need to tick the ‘Try the new Google Sheets’ box under ‘Editing’ in Google Drive settings.

As the switch page warns you, a number of options haven’t yet been moved to the ‘new’ version, including spell check and protected sheets. Google is also killing off a number of features permanently, including the ‘Solve’ option which tries to predict optimum outcomes given a set of inputs.

Verdict? They’re all welcome improvements, but Sheets still doesn’t match Excel for features. That said, for basic operations, it’s still a very viable solution.

New Google Sheets: faster, more powerful, and works offline [Google Enterprise Blog]

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply