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Google bolsters spreadsheet app; adds first offline mode

Google bolsters spreadsheet app; adds first offline mode

Google rolled out an overhauled version of its Sheets spreadsheet app today, bringing more capabilities and offline mode to its suite of cloud-based productivity tools.

Some limits that were in place in the earlier version including a cap on the number of cells that could be copied and pasted, as well as a limit to the total number of cells possible in a given sheet have now been either removed or made less strict, according to an official blog post.

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Google also brought expanded function help for mathematics, including error highlighting and example functions. Code tweaks have been included to make calculations, scrolling and loading data much speedier than before, and other little improvements like automatic text wrapping for lengthy sentences have been added as well.

But the biggest change may be the inclusion of offline mode, which allows users to edit a spreadsheet without an Internet connection. Previously and unlike its Google Drive stable mates Docs and Slides Sheets couldn't be used without Internet access. Now, however, edits to Sheets made while offline can simply be synched automatically when the connection is restored. That's an important addition for users who need to be able to work while in transit, and could strengthen the case for using Google Drive in the enterprise.

The offline feature, however, won't work with spreadsheets created before you switch to the new version of Sheets, according to TIME tech blogger Harry McCracken, so those will have to be re-created after opting in via Drive settings.

Additionally, users who require protected sheets and ranges, *.ods import and export, some Apps Script functions and Gdata API support should hold off on trying out the new version of Sheets, as those are not yet enabled. Google says they're on the way, however.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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