Coda - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Matthew Guay
Reviewed by Matthew Guay
Last updated May 3, 2018

Words alone aren’t enough when you need to sell your team on the benefits of a new product, show your team’s performance over the past quarter, and plan your team’s work for the next. They’re not enough when you’re writing data journalism that details your research with clear, number-backed facts. And they’re not enough when you’re just trying to get your thoughts written down and you need to crunch numbers and list ideas and think everything through visually.

So often that’s when we reach for another app. We keep our word processor or text editor open, with a spreadsheet or project management tool alongside. We write some ideas down, then switch windows to crunch numbers or visualize the project, then perhaps screenshot the results and add them back to our document.

Coda is building a better way. Its team noticed how often one app isn’t enough, how we typically need multiple tools to turn ideas and data into finished documents and reports. So they built a tool that’s part word processor, notes app, spreadsheet, database, and project management tool all in one.

At first glance it’s more similar to notes apps like OneNote or team writing apps like Quip than anything else. You’ll create new documents for each project—but in those documents, you can include as many sections organized into folders as you want, similar to OneNote’s notebooks with sections and sheets. Think of a document more like a manila folder filled with graphs and invoices and reports. In those document sections, you’ll find the standard word processor tools you’d expect. You can format text with headings, bold, or italics, add lists, invite others to collaborate on your documents, and include comments with feedback.

The power’s hidden under the red + button in the top left of the toolbar. Click that to add a table to your document—or import one Google Sheets, Excel, or Trello. Coda tables work a bit differently than your average spreadsheet and a bit more like a database. You’ll set the data type for each column—so if you want the first column in the first row to be plain text, every cell in the first column will be plain text. Same for formulas: you write formulas that work for the full column, not only one individual cell. There are unique field types, too—checkboxes, sliders, date/time pickers, and image fields. Formulas include the standard spreadsheet-style sum and average functions, along with logical functions that do something if something else is true, Google Maps functions that pull up a map of an address or GPS location, and charting functions that dynamically create charts from your data.

Then, you can visualize that data. Click the + button again to add a kanban board view of your data or a gantt chart of the time and details in your table. Or, type a formula anywhere in your text document to include a value or graph alongside your copy. That way, you can have the data on its own in a table, crunch the numbers you need, then incorporate the results directly in your writing. Change something in the table, and your copy will update as well. You can even type a simple formula anywhere in your document like =1+1 and Coda will show the final value in its place.

You might use it as a new take on a spreadsheet, or a collaborative writing app, or both. Either way, with Coda, you’ll be able to do it all from one app.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Coda Features

  • Write data driven reports with collaborative documents that include spreadsheet-like databases to build custom apps inside documents
  • Add formulas to columns and in-line within documents to calculate values for all your data together
  • Visualize data with kanban boards, gantt charts, and graphs
  • Include date pickers, sliders, checkboxes, and select-from-list controls in tables
  • Collaborate on documents with live collaboration, comments, and revision history
  • Build detailed documents with sections

Coda Pricing

  • Free in Beta

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Coda is a new type of document that blends the flexibility of documents, the power of spreadsheets, and the utility of apps into a single new canvas.