Excel and Sheets

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Read on to see seven key features compared between the two programs.

Split views

Excel's Split lets you see different areas of the same worksheet in one window at the same time.  You can scroll in each view independent of the other views.  No new windows are open.  The worksheet will have dividing lines showing the split which can be vertical, horizontal, or both.

split view
Excel worksheet with a split view. Note the selected cell showing twice.

Sheets - Nada!  No comparable option.

Video Explaining Differences

Use two windows

In Excel, you need to click New Window then Arrange All.  At this point, you choose if you want to see them arranged vertically or horizontally.  Each window gets its own set of scroll bars and the different views can be on separate worksheets within the workbook.  This is an advantage over Split which only works on one worksheet (tab) at a time.  However, the disadvantage is that it is a little more clunky to deal with two windows if you don't need them.

split view
Two windows looking at different worksheets in the same workbook

Sheets will allow you to see the same spreadsheet in two windows, but it is a work-around that is not obvious.  You have to open Google Sheets in an additional tab on your browser, move that tab into its own window, then line up the two windows next to each other.  Once you get this done, things work pretty well.  

Sheets in two browser windows
Sheets in two browser windows

Symbols

Microsoft has a robust set of special characters that can be used in your document.  You find them in the Insert ribbon under Symbols.

Excel's special characters
small portion of the special characters available inside Excel

If you are using Google Sheets though, you must use a workaround like this one.

Clear

Excel offers a function that, at first, seems redundant.  The Clear function enables a user to remove everything from selected cells.  Where this comes in handy is when a cell has multiple attributes that need to be removed.  If you are using a spreadsheet with just raw data, this may not matter.  But if you have cells with highlighting, custom borders, data in the cell, conditional formatting, etc, Clear All gets rid of everything in one click.

drop down menu for Excel's clear function
drop down menu for Excel's clear function

In Sheets, you would have to remove each attribute separately.  So, if there was a cell with yellow highlighting, iitalic font, and a number you would have to remove each item with separate clicks in Sheets.

Double bottom border

Different border types can help to further explain totals in a spreadsheet.  Using Excel, a user can show a subtotal, then a total by using a single and a double underline.

Excel's double underline
Excel offers the double underline which Sheets is missing

In Google Sheets, the double underline is not available. [Double underline is available now after a 2017 update]. This means that the user may have to rearrange the data to make the same point or do a work around.

Easier printing

You can customize the printing of an Excel worksheet just about any way you can think of.  You can use page break preview, you can set headers and footers, and move page breaks manually.

None of these options are available in Google Sheets. [Printing in Sheets was improved in an April 2018 update and now many of the options from Excel are available in Sheets.]

Filter by highlight

Excel introduced filtering by highlight in the 2007 version of its product.  If all of your important information has been highlighted, then it only makes sense that you may want to be able to quickly bring all of the information to the top of your spreadsheet.

Excel's sorty by cell color
Excel can sort by the color of a cell's highlighting

Apparently, the makers of Google Sheets do not agree!  As of this writing, there is no way that this can be done.