What are the Big Differences?

What are the Big Differences?

Style and Structure

Excel is a cell-based tool that gives you complete access to each and every cell, while the Paxata model is more similar to that of a relational database in a modern, big-data world.  

Excel’s flexibility allows you to put any piece of information anywhere you want. Sometimes it's just easier to add some information above the main set of data or to use a scratchpad style of work by adding information in its own section off to the right of the main data. While this level of flexibility is great in a pinch, it often causes issues when you try to make the process repeatable.

In Paxata, all the data is in a dataset, which is a simple collection of rows and columns. In Paxata, you tend to work with a set of data at a time. Also, Paxata has more flexibility than a relational database when it comes to the data within a column. It's possible to mix string data with numeric data within a single column, which gives the user control over how to adjust the data.

Data and Processing

Excel keeps all the data in the same file that contains the logic to process that data. This makes it a more significant effort to update the data to contain the latest information.

Paxata is a platform that maintains data separately from the logic that manipulates the data. This means that as new data becomes available, Paxata will be able to take advantage of it without you needing to make changes.


Sharing is very easy in Excel; just copy the file and email it. The problem is that sharing is not the same thing as collaborating. Sharing means that some people may have the current data and logic, while others may not. When you share in Excel, it typically means that you will share both the data and the logic. If you don’t understand how to lock down the spreadsheet, you will allow other users to make changes to your logic, which results in many different variations of the spreadsheet without any controls of who has the master version.

With the simple security model in Paxata, you can choose to share the data, the logic, or both, without duplicating any of it. This means that all changes will occur once and anyone that has interest in it will always have the latest information. It also means that if you allow others to make changes to your project, that you will immediately see those changes without the need to make another copy.

More differences



Style and Structure

Completely Freeform, Cell based, No controls, No governance, Limited security

Rows and Columns with governance and security


On the desktop, limited by the power of your desktop

In memory on a cluster of servers

User Interface

Windows or Mac

Web based


Whatever your computer can handle up to 1 million rows



Very Limited, Manual

Automatic capture of all activities and datasets

Complex tasks


Point and Click

Data access


Many file and systems


Physically share the spreadsheet

Virtually share the data and projects

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