Is there any alternatives to Excel and other spreadsheets software but where 'calculations' in every cell occur writing script using sort of programming languages instead of formulas? Asking this because working with huge formulas have it's own huge limitations and lack of readability. Again, I ask not about alternatives to excel to work with xls files but completely another approach to work with spreadsheets.

  • Use R, Python, Matlab/Octave or any computer algebra system. R (which I know best) has a command fix(mydata), where you can open a Excel-like GUI window with a gridview of your, data where you can fix things by editing single cells. Rowwise, columnwise calculations are done in R code (not in grid cells but in textfiles.)
    – knb
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 9:06
  • Python with Jupyter notebooks would be my suggestion.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 18:19
  • You might want to look into Lamda functions which is a feature of Excel that allows you to improve the readabilty of your formulas and avoid unecessary repetitions. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


Additionally, Excel allows you to create your own custom functions using VBA.

See documentation: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/create-custom-functions-in-excel-2f06c10b-3622-40d6-a1b2-b6748ae8231f

Libre Office Calc also supports user defined functions: https://ask.libreoffice.org/t/how-to-create-a-user-defined-function/34010/9

  • You can even put comments in your VBA to document what it does.
    – cybernard
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 17:54

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