The productivity tool’s new feature lets you integrate spreadsheets into word documents.
Quip has added a social version of Excel to its document collaboration tool as it moves to strengthen its offering in the face of stiff competition.
The startup app already features a stripped-down word processing tool that lets people ‘like’ others’ edits as well as comment on any changes, influenced by boss Bret Taylor’s past as CTO of Facebook.
The new feature, announced today, is a ‘social’ spreadsheet that users can easily create inside word documents, and it also shares the ability for people to ‘like’ and comment on figures in any created tables.
Taylor told CBR: "The grand vision here is the data inside spreadsheets shouldn’t be dropped inside a separate app. You can reference the data inside spreadsheets in the body of the document."
With the added ability to start conversations inside the word document in which the spreadsheet is embedded, that means users would not be hopping between multiple tools (potentially email, instant messenger, a word processor, a task manager, and spreadsheets) to do one job.
This also cuts out the hassle of juggling multiple file types, added Taylor.
As with Quip documents, Quip Spreadsheets are optimised for tablets and smartphones, while in the same way users can comment on individual paragraphs, users can comment on individual cells in spreadsheets.
People sharing documents with spreadsheets in them can revert or ‘like’ changes just as they can with the documents themselves, while Taylor said that with 400 functions, Quip Spreadsheets is not the basic version of Excel some may expect.
"That’s more [functionality] than Google Spreadsheets," he said. "It’s a pretty compelling experience. We’re very excited about going in the opposite direction of the legacy productivity suites. It’s a really integrated approach."
Microsoft’s Office 365 allows people to use Word and Excel on up to five tablets and up to five PCs or Macs on its Home subscription, but Taylor believes Quip has the upper hand because of the ability to include everything on one app.
Meanwhile, other collaboration tools like Huddle have scored some big enterprise wins, including children’s charity Barnardo’s, engineering consultancy WSP and tax advisors Grant Thornton.
But Taylor points to the functionality of Quip Spreadsheets, and acknowledges Quip is chasing a different customer to hardcore Excel users – while boasting 10,000 companies as customers of the app, more than half of whom are outside the US.
"I don’t think we will get financial kinds of companies to switch from Excel," he admitted. "It is a very sophisticated product. But there’s plenty of customers who use spreadsheets to get their jobs done and I fully believe this will be attractive to those customers.
"They need the power of spreadsheets but [a complex spreadsheet] is not the end goal."
He is aiming it at professionals who would use data in a spreadsheet in presentations and to support their research findings, rather than accountants and finance powerhouses for whom Excel is king.
Quip Spreadsheets can do much of the cell-by-cell maths that Excel does, with the added bonus of updating any figure in the word document when someone changes the corresponding figure present in the spreadsheet.
The company has also introduced ‘Integrations’, a tool that allows users to connect to hundreds of other products and apps like Twitter and Dropbox, getting messages about relevant activity on their accounts elsewhere when they add one such integration.
These messages can be added to a group chat or a document, and a whole team can share, interact, and discuss the messages together.
"We hope to be the number one collaboration tool within companies," said Taylor, adding the half dozen firms trialling the Spreadsheets tool have "loved it".
Quip Spreadsheets will be integrated into the overall Quip app, which is free to use for consumers and costs $12 per user per month for businesses.