Google Sheets and Collatebox: Collaboration first, spreadsheets second, or vice versa?

There are plenty of reasons why users might think that Collatebox aims to compete with Google Sheets. It does have functionality that resembles very closely to that of a spreadsheet, after all. And yes, you can store numbers, text, or any other data you can think of, right there online. It also has a very low learning curve, both for new Excel-savy users and (probably very few) people that have never encountered a spreadsheet before. But the chief raison d'etre of Collatebox is not calculation; it's collaboration.

Collaboration and sharing

Despite its real-time editing functionality, sharing options, and chat, Google Sheets is an Excel replacement rather than a collaboration tool. This notion gets quite obvious as soon as one tries to share a Google Sheets spreadsheet. There aren't many alternatives: members of a project team are assigned either “view” or “edit” permissions. Individual user's permissions can be specified for/on a single file, not within that file.

Collatebox fixes that, and more. You have surely encountered a situation where you had to share pieces of data from a spreadsheet, with the only solution being creation of multiple spreadsheets – one for each “view”. Collatebox allows for creating and updating views of the same file, meaning that you can fully restrict people access to certain rows/columns, while giving them “edit” rights on others.


Collatebox comes with several templates, such as Task Register, Expense Register, Leave Record, or Manage Contacts. These are all very purpose-specific, each almost a mini app on its own. Which is probably the reason for only eight of them being available at the moment. Google Sheets definitely has – and will probably retain - the advantage of quantity, whereas Collatebox will appeal more to those with specific applications in mind.

A Tale of Two Tools

As more and more templates are added, chances are that users will recognize the importance of avoiding the project manager's worst nightmares of multiple versions of files travelling to and fro among stakeholder inboxes, with everything having to be reviewed, checked and compiled manually so as to ensure consistency and incorporation of all changes in the final version...

In short: if you want to calculate, keep on using Google Sheets. If you want to collaborate, at least keep an eye on developments at