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Quick Calcs ⚡️

We often get feedback that formulas are the most intimidating part of spreadsheets. I find them tedious at best, and can never remember the correct order of arguments for a SUMIF vs SUMIFS. But for better or worse, they have stood the test of time.

We’ve wanted to find a way to simplify formulas for a while, but we could never really figure out something that was simpler, still compatible, and widely understood. While building thousands of templates for our gallery, we had a realization that most of the formulas we all write are just simple summaries, groupings, and cleanup functions. So instead of trying to kill this formulas, we decided to just put them a few clicks away, right where you’d expect.

⚡ Introducing Quick Calcs: The most common formulas just a few clicks away

Analyze data like you’re building a flow chart. Drop in a CSV or copy over a table. Quickly group data, filter and summarize tables, build fully linked workflows, and clean up messy tables. The best part is that it all outputs in just your regular everyday normal spreadsheet formula cells… not a pivot table! Edit the formulas further, add more analysis, or just format and export. Read more here.

∑ Group and summarize tables

Grouping, summing, or counting a dataset by some column is one of the most common things we found ourselves doing. Not even the fastest Excel keyboard wizards like my cofounder Jason can write a SUMIF this fast.

Subset screen recording showing a grouping and summary operation

🔗 Build linked up workflows

For whatever reason, removing duplicates in other spreadsheets is a one time action. Any time you add more data, you need to rerun it. We just built a de-duper directly into our sheet. It will always be linked up, de-dupe once and be done!

Subset screen recording showing a table linking operation

✂️ Filter data with a new separately linked table

Want to only see debit card payments over $80? Create a new table with only those charges with a few clicks.

Subset screen recording showing a filter operation

🧹 Cleanup messy data

Need to capitalize something but have no idea what the formula is? Quickly cleanup messy data without needing to know.

Subset screen recording showing a cleanup operation

🔧 Other fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a number of clipboard issues across sheets and from other spreadsheet tools
  • Fixed an issue with typing in numbers with a % sign
  • Fixed an issue with deleting autofilled cells
  • Fixed an issue with losing the grid selection
  • Added placeholders before drawing grids and other canvas shapes
  • Fixed an issue with file titles being cutoff
  • Autofilled cells now also fill formatting
  • Linked rows and columns are now locked to prevent editing the cells
  • Added the option to hide the ABC 123 grid headers on tables
  • Added a remove duplicates option to all column and row references
Cover Image for Subset, faster 🚀

Subset, faster 🚀

We rebuilt our entire editor for better performance

This is the biggest update to Subset since December. It has completely changed how I use Subset, and I’m hoping you all can feel the difference as well!

You can expect significant improvements with any interaction in the editor. Everything from scrolling, arranging tables, selecting blocks and cells, alignment, grouping, cloning, and should feel more fluid.

More fluid zoom, selection, and drag

A demo of zooming around a subset canvas

Faster cloning, and alignment lines

Screenshot of cloning subset tables

Insert thousands of professionally built templates into the canvas

Being able to share and then insert a spreadsheet into your own is one of the earliest ideas behind Subset. Now you can open the template finder and insert a template directly into the canvas with one click.

A screenshot of subset templates

A new template gallery

We redesigned our template gallery. You can search, browse by categories and view what other members of the Subset team have created. Check out some of our team’s favorites here:

A screenshot of Subset's new template home page
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Better spreadsheet design

Formatting can be one of the most time consuming and least productive activities of building a spreadsheet. If you wanted to save time, you’d need to learn keyboard shortcuts. I’ve used Alt+HBO a million times. If you’re not a power user, then you’re definitely spending too much time on formatting and I feel your pain, or… your spreadsheet doesn’t look great.

We shouldn’t need to spend hours keeping our spreadsheets formatted! This is one of the reasons we built Subset. We wanted a spreadsheet that enables better design, by default. After working with spreadsheets for years, we developed an intuition for how they should look, feel, and work, and we’ve built thousands of these small decisions into Subset.

If you’ve ever spent too much time trying to format a spreadsheet, let us know and we’ll see if we can eliminate it!

Free net worth spreadsheet template on Subset

Here’s a few of our favorite small but big design improvements in Subset

  • Tables should have uniform names and clear outlines
  • Columns should always be named
  • Tabs shouldn’t hide information
  • Large tables shouldn’t to take up the entire screen
  • Coloring or resizing an entire row or column shouldn’t bleed into other tables
  • Borders should adapt to adding or removing rows
  • Moving data around on the screen shouldn’t break anything
  • Totals and other summary statistics should be clearly separated from any table data
  • Inputs to models should be clearly labeled and extracted instead of hard coded

A left toolbar navigator that shows your files

A refreshed sidebar

We moved files to a collapsible sidebar and moved the toolbar to the left side of the canvas. The goal is to get controls out of the way and allow you to focus more on your canvas and spreadsheets. Thank you to those who helped prototype designs for this! Let us know what you think.

Other fixes and improvements

  • Performance improvements with autofills, filters, and formulas
  • Fixed an issue with copying and pasting data from filter blocks
  • Fixed an issue with exporting blocks in sections
  • Fixed an issue with exporting block names that are too long
  • Fixed an issue with exporting .xlsx not returning values
  • Fixed an issue with multiple row and column selection via keyboard
  • Fixed a bug with an idle tab
  • Fixed an issue with dragging rows
  • Fixed an issue with converting a row to column headers
  • Fixed an issue with text alignment and underline
  • Fix an issue with the drop-zone for importing
  • Fixed an issue with deleting non-continuous rows and columns
  • Tooltips should disappear after clicking a button
  • Fixed an issue with shift + scroll and panning
  • Column names can now be formatted and can inherit cell formats
  • Improved the pixel clarity of sheets when zoomed in
  • Fixed a broken link in our community
  • Improvements in paste for HTML tables
  • Fixed an issue with the chart data dropdown
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Live Cursors

You will now see live cursors for anyone using subset live with you! This is in addition to showing which cell they’re selected in, as well as any block, with a colored outline.

Subset easy to use toolbar with preview

Improved Tooltips

Many of you have told us that you like our “minimal design” with our toolbar up top and our floating tooltips when you select a block. We like it too because it gives you more space on the canvas to actually do work. But we noticed, that sometimes for beginners, there isn’t enough context to know what each button does. This week we added images and descriptions into each of our icons upon hover to give a quick reminder of what each button does

Subset easy to use toolbar to quickly select color schemes for a graph

New Chart Color Options

Other fixes and improvements

  • Single click to update file title
  • Make filter operations persist after selecting
  • The file navigator stays open or closed between files
  • Aligned the top toolbar better with avatar bubbles
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Organize your Canvas with Sections

Sections, grouping, or some way to better organize the canvas has been one of the most common requests we’ve gotten so far, so we’re excited to release sections this week. Simply move any grid, chart, or text block into a section just by dragging it in.

Multiple spreadsheets with bubbles

Simplifying the editor experience

The other big change you’ll notice this week is a simpler UI for sorting, filtering, autofills, and other configurations. We originally had a lot of the UI in a panel on the right side of the canvas, but felt it was too disconnected from where the action was. We’ve redesigned how these menus work, and the ability to edit or configure them is right where they were created.

Other fixes and improvements

  • The footer row of a grid can now be fully hidden with a button
  • We’ve added the ability to screenshot your canvas with a click of the camera button
  • Released a new onboarding video
  • Fixed an issue with dates being formatted incorrectly by the $ button
  • Fixed an issue with autofills in import blocks
  • Fixed an issue with inserting rows breaking formula references
  • Made the hand tool button a toggle
  • Increased the size of the resize handle on grid dimensions
  • Fixed an issue with using formulas as the names of columns
  • Made it a single click to change the file name
  • Fixed an issue with swapping data sources in pie charts
  • Defaulting to editor mode instead of preview mode
  • Fixed an issue with row locking and inserting rows
  • Updated the export icons to be more consistent with other applications
Cover Image for Tell Better Stories with Connectors

Tell Better Stories with Connectors

Diagramming helps us make sense of how something complicated works.

We draw lines to communicate context and logic flow. Yet there's no easy way to do this with a spreadsheet, one of the most complicated things we deal with on a daily basis.

Drawing lines can answer the most common spreadsheet questions. Where is the data coming from? Why do these numbers change when I change this cell? Where are the inputs to this model? A single connection between two blocks can make everything clear.

This is one of the most obvious reasons for putting a spreadsheet on a canvas, so we felt we had to build it. There's a lot more to do here, but a simple connection is our first step. We're excited to see how you use it, and where you want us to take it.

Equity Compensation Spreadsheet Template

How it works: Click and drag from the blue connector to another block and a connector will be created. If you want to delete it, just click and press the trash icon or hit the delete key.

Other fixes and improvements

  • Zoom wheel on windows: We pushed a fix for Windows users, where the zoom wheel was not behaving as expected. Zooming with the wheel should be at more normal increments.
  • Column drag snapping: Adding new columns on a grid via dragging now snaps to make it more predictable when new columns are created, and we’ve reduced the latency between the mouse and grid while dragging.
Cover Image for Taming the Infinite Canvas

Taming the Infinite Canvas

We’re obsessed with making Subset’s spreadsheet feel endless, even when it doesn’t look like it is.

The spreadsheet was the original infinite canvas, and we want to preserve that feeling. But the Subset canvas can become cluttered by a big grid. Dealing with the spacing then breaks your flow, which is not a great experience.

We’ve been working on ways to handle the layout automatically, while still feeling endless, to keep you in flow. Below are some of the updates!

Adding rows to a spreadsheet with multiple sections

Preventing grids from overlapping

The beauty of Subset is that your data is separated into their own discrete blocks and you can see them all at once. This led to the natural problem of blocks colliding into one another when you increase the number of rows or columns. We’ve shipped a way to prevent them from overlapping.

Spreadsheet moving on an endless canvas

Snap to grid

We hesitated to introduce a "snap to grid" on Subset, but after some overwhelming feedback, we decided to ship it. Now your grids snap to the canvas. This should make alignment of grids easier.

Other updates

  • Defaulting to the editor on new file creation: We’ve received a bunch of good feedback on our preview mode, and now we no longer always default to preview. If you were creating a new file, the intent is be building, using the full the editor, and your editor view will reflect that.
  • File manager open by default: As individuals and teams have been using Subset for more than just one file, having the file navigator be default open so you can switch from file to file in one click.
Cover Image for Preview Mode

Preview Mode

If you’ve ever built a spreadsheet with a bit of complexity, you’ve probably experienced this feeling of accomplishment when it all ties together. You know how to use it precisely so that it doesn’t break because you’ve written every formula yourself. It may not be perfect, but you know this house inside and out, and you should be proud of it! 

Then you share it with someone, and suddenly it feels like a house of cards. Without any context on how it all works, we expect collaborators to perfectly dance around all the nuances. Inevitably, they add a single row and everything #REFs out.

They give up, ask you for help, and now you have to make a copy so they don’t do any permanent damage and walk through it live.

They obviously didn’t build it with you, but they still need to use it without breaking it. You want them to find it useful and appreciate this amazing spreadsheet you’ve built, without having to hand hold them through it all. That’s why we built Preview Mode — a simplified interface to focus on using the spreadsheet, not building it.

Preview Mode

Enable collaborators to use the file without needing to know how it all works! We’ve hid the toolbars, removed the row numbers, and added guardrails around accidentally breaking the sheet, so everyone can focus on their own changes.Whenever you do want to edit the structure, you can simply switch back into editor mode Will adding a row or column break some formula? You can lock blocks and prevent that from happening. Have a giant table with a bunch of complex calculations? Hide it from preview mode. We want you to be able to create powerful automated spreadsheets that you can share with others.

Toolbar to quickly format column as percentages

A toolbar closer to the action

The other big change you’ll notice this week is that we changed how the toolbars look. We’ve moved them closer to where you’re working. Formatting toolbars are now above the block you’re currently editing, instead of always at the very top of your screen. We also simplified the block creation toolbar to only show you icons for things you can add to the canvas.

Cover Image for A Home for your Analysis

A Home for your Analysis

Individual files and spreadsheets often feel too ephemeral. We get lost in an endless list of sheets and files, and forget why we ever even created that one credit card expense tracker 3 years ago. If we had just remembered to keep it up to date, maybe we’d have actually stuck to our budget that year.

This is why Subset now shows you all the files in your own workspace right inside the canvas. We want you to have all the context you need and be able to quickly jump between files. The next time you open up your credit card charges, you’ll remember you already did all the hard work putting one together last year.

We’ll be releasing a bunch of improvements to this in the coming weeks. Nested folders, reordering, favorites, duplicating files, and team workspaces, but we’re so excited about this small but big change that we wanted to ship it today.

We think this navigator gives Subset a feeling of more permanence, a home for your analysis. Spreadsheets don’t need to be one-off tools that we forget about, or always end up starting from scratch. We want you to create your own toolkit, and be able to reuse them later. Keep all these trackers, calculators, and reporting tools in a place you’ll remember.

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More Canvas

We’re working on an entirely new toolbar with the goal of putting the buttons closer to where your mouse actually is when you’ve selected something, stay tuned for that!

Importing a XLS with multiple tabs into Subset

Importing .xlsx files

You can drag a xlsx file directly onto the canvas. Each sheet will appear as a new block.

Selecting multiple blocks on Subset's canvas

More canvas-like node selection

The multi-select tool is now default enabled. You can now click and drag to select multiple grids. You can toggle to use the hand tool, which can be used for panning.

Paste Transpose Example in Subset using Shortcuts

Copy and paste columns

Full columns and rows can now be copied and pasted. If you’re a full spreadsheet-nerd like some of us, you can see above that we built a new way to paste transpose between columns and rows. If you tried that in Sheets or Excel you would probably be surprised at what happens. We pushed a big performance update on copy and paste as well. Cells with formats will now paste ~10x faster than before.

Other fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug where the editor would timeout after some inactivity
  • We’ve removed the max column width, so feel free to make them as wide as you’d like
  • Fixed a bug where renaming a file wouldn’t show up to shared users
  • Fixed a bug where the MATCH formula wouldn’t work with an empty row
  • Fixed an issue where selecting a grid wouldn’t bring it to the front of the canvas
  • When you upload a file, the block will now become that filename
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Summary Footers

This week we shipped a highly requested feature — summary footers! In addition, we pushed a big performance update. Formula calculation should complete 10-100x faster than before, especially when working off imported data. We’re continuing to push performance updates this month, so let us know if what you’re working on is lagging. Check out more updates below!

How to add a grid to Subset Spreadsheet

Right click anywhere to create a block

Importing a CSV into Subset

Drag CSVs directly onto the canvas

Cover Image for Sharing Subsets

Sharing Subsets

If they don’t have an account, they will get an email prompting them to create one. You still have the option to make a subset public, so anyone can join via a link whether or not they have an account. We’ll be adding more permissions like “can view” and “can comment” soon!

Subset logged in home screen with create new file button

A more organized file navigator

Any file you view will now show up in your recents as well as shared with you, in addition to all your personal files and saved subsets.

Selecting a graph in Subset editor

Improved charts

The chart config menu will now stay open while editing your chart’s data. You can also format your x axis labels by updating your cell formats.

Other fixes, improvements, and updates

  • Fixed a bug where the right clicking the top left corner of the grid would crash the editor
  • Clicking on any part of a chart now properly selects the chart
  • Fixed an issue with importing CSVs with formatted columns
  • Improved styling of the share modal
  • Fixed a bug where cloning a subset would result in two different names
  • Added an info section to the view dropdown menu
  • Fixed a bug where filtering breaks when columns have formatting
  • The onboarding tutorial closes when exiting the editor
  • Charts now inherit number formatting from their source grids
  • Fixed a bug where after selecting a block title, resizing stopped working
  • Fixed an issue with how ranges display in the formula bar
  • Moving the cursor down or right, at the edge of a grid, while holding shift will now create new rows or columns
  • Autofill down and across CMD/CTRL + D or R now works for full row and column selections
  • Filter blocks will now expand to their full size whenever a filter changes
  • Filter blocks should now also not affect their source data when dragging to resize
  • Performance fix: reduced the time to create a new file and clone a subset
  • You can now type TRUE and FALSE directly into formulas without needing quotes
  • Fixed resizing the width of the last column in a grid
  • We’ve locked cells inside of filter blocks to make it more clear that they can only be edited inside the filter block’s source
  • Fixed an issue with the export option in the settings dropdown menu
  • Column header names will now show up in csv exports
  • We’ve added a loading indicator to uploading a file from the home screen
Cover Image for Filter and Sort Block References

Filter and Sort Block References

You can now sort and filter block references. This can be really helpful for data manipulation tasks like removing duplicates, summarizing data, and more…

Other fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug with trimming blocks
  • Fixed a bug on deleting a grid
  • Added a shortcut for deleting and adding columns
  • Each new file now loads with an empty grid
  • now redirects to your recent files page if you're logged in
  • Fixed dragging to add rows when a block has a reference or is dynamic
  • Fixed the scaling on drag handles when zoomed in or out
Cover Image for  Splitting Grids and Naming Columns

Splitting Grids and Naming Columns

Formatting a spreadsheet row header

Naming columns

If you ever start typing out names of columns in row 1 or any row, but then realize you want them to be the name of each column you can use this shortcut to quickly update the column names.

Split a spreadsheet in Subset

Splitting Grids

You can now split grids into smaller grids. We've found this to be really useful for adding structure organically over time to your sheets. Deciding where to put data ahead of time can be challenging, but this allows you to type everything out, and then start to split it up into blocks where the data is more aligned or grouped together.

Other fixes and improvements

  • Added a note to check spam folder on email confirmation
  • Added a shortcut key for adding and deleting rows
  • Fixed a text formatting issue on column formats
  • Fixed a bug with the input box of the row and column dimensions
  • Added a menu to create an account for anonymous subset viewers
  • Added back filter icons
  • Fixed a bug in block references causing them not to show up
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Drag to Add Rows

This was one of our most requested features. We debated the design for a while before deciding on the current behavior.

You can drag to add and remove rows freely, unless there is data in that row or column. In that case, you can still make the grid smaller but the rows do not get deleted. Check out the demo below

A gif showing how to resize a spreadsheet in Subset

Other fixes and improvements

  • We launched a new simpler and cleaner onboarding flow
  • Fixed a bug in paste translate
  • Made some improvements to the onboarding subset to show off named columns
Cover Image for Adding Rows Automatically

Adding Rows Automatically

Rows now automatically get added when typing into the last row of a grid

How to easily add new rows in Subset spreadsheet grids

Other fixes and improvements

  • An improved list view in recent files
  • Updated tutorial video in the docs
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Column Formatting

Every column can retain number formats, filled colors, and font colors. You can also add borders to the left and right of the column.

A gif that reformats a coumn into dollars and adds new amounts in the same column as rows

Other fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that would crash subset when a dropdown menu opened
  • Fixed an issue with selecting all cells in a grid
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We've re-launched Subset with a brand new calc-engine and realtime multiplayer!

You can now share Subsets with anyone simply by sending them a public link.

A welcome screen on Subset with multiple spreadsheet grids

Let us know what you think!