Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

How to Use Excel on Linux for Free

Linux users often face a challenge when it comes to using Microsoft Excel, as the software is primarily designed for Windows. However, there are ways to use Excel on Linux for free and explore alternative spreadsheet software options. In this article, we will dive into these solutions and make Linux more versatile in 2023.

Part 1: What Is Excel? (A Beginner’s Guide)

Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet application developed by Microsoft. It is widely used for various tasks such as data analysis, financial modeling, reporting, and more. Excel is part of the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software, which includes applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Key Features:

  • Grid-based interface for data entry and manipulation.
  • Formulas and functions for calculations.
  • Charts and graphs for data visualization.
  • Data analysis tools like pivot tables and filtering.
  • Data import/export capabilities.
  • Real-time collaboration through Microsoft 365.
  • Automation with macros and VBA scripting.


  • Available through Microsoft 365 subscription plans.
  • Standalone one-time purchase option.
  • Free online version called Excel Online with basic functionality.

Part 2: Is It Possible to Install Microsoft Excel on Linux?

Yes, it is possible to install Microsoft Excel on Linux. There are several options available:

  • Use compatibility layers like Wine or run a virtual machine with Windows to install Excel.
  • Utilize online versions of Excel through a web browser, such as Excel Online, which is compatible with Linux.

Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions, is known for its user-friendly interface, stability, and extensive community support. Ubuntu’s Software Center simplifies the installation of software packages, making it accessible even to Linux beginners.

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Part 3: Easiest Way to Use Microsoft Excel on Linux

If you want to access Microsoft Excel on Linux without dealing with compatibility issues or complex installations, using Microsoft Excel Online is a straightforward and convenient solution. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Ensure You Have an Internet Connection
Make sure you have a stable internet connection since Microsoft Excel Online is a web-based application.

Step 2: Open a Web Browser
Launch your preferred web browser on your Linux computer.

Step 3: Sign In or Create a Microsoft Account
To use Microsoft Excel Online, you’ll need a Microsoft account. If you already have one, sign in. If not, you can create a free Microsoft account by clicking “Sign Up” or “Create one” on the login page.

Step 4: Access Microsoft Excel Online
Once you’re signed in, go to the Microsoft Excel Online webpage by visiting the official Office website ( or directly through this link: Microsoft Excel Online.

Step 5: Start Using Excel Online
You’ll now have access to a simplified, web-based version of Microsoft Excel. You can create new Excel files, open existing ones from your OneDrive (if you use it), or upload Excel files from your local storage.


  • Works on any OS with a web browser.
  • No software installation required.
  • Automatic updates.
  • Allows real-time collaboration.
  • Free with a Microsoft account.


  • Requires an internet connection.
  • Limited features compared to the desktop version.
  • Limited storage for free accounts.

Part 4: How to Edit Excel on Linux for Free with WPS Office

If you’re looking to edit Excel files on Linux without the need for a Microsoft Office subscription, WPS Office is an excellent option. It’s a free, cross-platform office suite that includes a spreadsheet application similar to Excel. Here’s how to use WPS Office for editing Excel files on Linux:

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Advantages of WPS Office:

  1. File Compatibility: Works seamlessly with Microsoft Office formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx).
  2. PDF Editing: Edit PDFs directly within the suite, eliminating the need for separate PDF software.
  3. Free Templates: Access a variety of professionally designed templates at no cost.
  4. Cross-Platform: Available on Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, ensuring compatibility across devices.
  5. No Subscription Required: Offers a robust feature set without the need for a paid subscription, making it cost-effective.

In summary, WPS Office is a powerful and free alternative to Microsoft Office for editing Excel files on Linux. It offers excellent file compatibility, PDF editing capabilities, and a variety of free templates that can enhance your productivity without the need for a paid subscription.

Download and Install WPS Office:

  1. Visit the official WPS Office website for Linux by following this link: WPS Office Linux Download.
  2. Click the “Download” button on the website to initiate the download process.
  3. Choose the correct WPS Office version for your Ubuntu system.
  4. After the download is complete, locate the downloaded file in your “Downloads” folder.
  5. Right-click on the downloaded file and choose “Open With Software Install” from the context menu. This will open the Ubuntu Software Center.
  6. In the Ubuntu Software Center, click the “Install” button to begin the installation process.
  7. During the installation, you will be prompted to enter your administrator password for authentication.

Getting Started with WPS Spreadsheet:

  1. Launch WPS Office by clicking on “WPS Office ” and then the Spreadsheet icon.
  2. Select “Blank” to create a new spreadsheet or “Open” to open an existing file.
  3. WPS Spreadsheet supports Excel-compatible formulas. You can use common Excel functions like SUM, AVERAGE, IF, VLOOKUP, etc.
  4. To save your work, click on “Menu” and choose “Save” or “Save As.” You can save files in various formats, including XLSX (Excel format), so they can be easily shared with Excel users.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Wine, and how does it help run Excel on Linux?
A: Wine is a compatibility layer that lets some Windows apps, like Excel, run on Linux by translating Windows functions into Linux-compatible ones.

Q: Can I run Office 365 on a virtual machine?
A: Yes, you can run Office 365 on a virtual machine. Create a Windows 10 VM using software like VirtualBox, then install Office 365 within the VM.

Q: Can I collaborate on Excel documents with Windows or macOS users while using Linux?
A: Yes, you can collaborate on Excel documents with Windows or macOS users while using Linux. Use Excel Online or the desktop app, share files through cloud storage, and collaborate in real-time, regardless of the operating system.


In conclusion, this article provides a comprehensive guide on how to harness the power of Excel on Linux in 2023. It introduces various methods, emphasizing the use of Microsoft Excel Online for a hassle-free experience. Additionally, the article highlights the versatility of Ubuntu for Linux users.

Significantly, the article places a significant emphasis on WPS Office as a powerful and free alternative for editing Excel files on Linux. It outlines the advantages of WPS Office, including file compatibility, PDF editing capabilities, and access to a range of free templates. So why not give WPS Office a try and elevate your productivity on Linux today?