Google Sheets

Google Sheets Updates

Google Sheets mention · February 4, 2019

Why Google Sheets Should Be Your To-Do List

I use Google Sheets as my to do list. Feels good to get that off my chest. I've tried countless to do list apps—Trello, Reminders, Todoist, Asana, the list goes on—and the only one that hasn't either underwhelmed me or, worse, overwhelmed me is Google more
Google Sheets mention · January 10, 2019

Lessons Learned From an Entire Year of Time Tracking

'Tis the season for New Year's resolutions — convincing yourself to go to the gym every day, nailing down the title of that book you've always wanted to write, and forcibly cutting back on sweets until you just can't handle it anymore the second week of January. more
Google Sheets mention · December 10, 2018

How to Use Conditional Formatting in Google Sheets

Spreadsheets house massive amounts of data. You can use pivot tables to summarize that data, but what if you want to gain some insight just by glancing at your sheet? Conditional formatting in Google Sheets will give you that insight. Conditional formatting—which allows you to highlight cells that more
Google Sheets mention · November 16, 2018

Behind the Scenes of Pizza to the Polls

No one likes standing in line for hours, much less for a few minutes. When you're at the grocery store or the bank, you do it because you have to. But when it comes to voting, long lines can be the hurdle that prevents people from taking the more
Google Sheets mention · October 23, 2018

How to Use Zapier's Paths to Automate Decisions

How do you automate a decision? Actions are easy enough to automate, especially with Zapier. But a decision? Even a repetitive choice might, in turn, lead to other decisions. So how can you reduce the time you spend making the same decisions that lead to different outcomes? You use more
Google Sheets mention · September 18, 2018

How to Use Pivot Tables in Google Sheets

Spreadsheets offer powerful analysis capabilities, but sometimes it feels like they're missing that extra layer of insight. When there's a massive amount of data, it's tough to summarize or draw conclusions from a basic tabular spreadsheet view. Enter: the pivot table. Most Excel power users employ more
Google Sheets mention · September 12, 2018

How a Marketing Engineer at a Real Estate Brokerage Doubles Their Output

"We can accommodate unique client requests that, without Zapier, would have been totally unscalable."John Balladares, Marketing Engineer, Reside Real Estate If you're in business by yourself, you probably have a few tools you rely on that brought you to this point. Maybe it's a customer relationship more
Google Sheets mention · August 28, 2018

Ruler Analytics Uses Automation to Democratize Data with Customers

"As different problems arise, I often find Zapier has a solution."Ian Leadbetter, Directer, Ruler Analytics Data matters. It's how you can tell if your marketing campaigns pay off, and which ones offer the most return on your investment and where to focus next time. But if that more
Google Sheets mention · August 21, 2018

How to Remove Duplicates in Google Sheets

Let's say you have a list of email addresses that you collected through a form on your website. You want to know how many email addresses you received, but you're worried that someone may have filled out the form twice, which would inflate your numbers. When you' more
Vicky Volvovski
Reviewed by Vicky Volvovski
Last updated March 22, 2018

Before we had spreadsheet software, people spent hours calculating budgets or their company’s future earnings on paper. If they wanted to change a single number, they’d better have a big eraser. This, of course, was extremely manual and error-prone. In 1979, the first spreadsheet software was born. Then came Microsoft Excel, which became the gold standard in business tools. In 2007, Google launched Sheets and brought the spreadsheet into our browsers.

You can, of course, use Sheets for traditional number-crunching. If you’re trying to figure out the budget for your upcoming family vacation, Sheets will do the job. But it can also do so much more, like create beautiful and informative charts and graphs automatically, organize information captured in forms, or act as a CRM for your business.

If you’re familiar with Excel, you’ll understand Sheets quickly. The app uses much of the same terminology (cells, columns, rows, ranges, and so on), and also supports formulas. Google Sheets Formulas can be used to calculate numbers, manipulate data, and more. Want to know the average amount you’ve spent on groceries over the past three years? Use the AVERAGE function to find the answer quickly. Or maybe you’ve got one spreadsheet with product price and another spreadsheet with product inventory levels—you need to combine the two datasets based on a key identifier like product name, and don’t want to waste time looking up, copying, and pasting the information. You can use the VLOOKUP function to find information in one spreadsheet and put it in the right row in another.

In addition to the standard formulas, Sheets also has many unique functions that leverage Google’s other tools and only work because it's an online spreadsheet app. For example, you can use the GOOGLETRANSLATE function to translate text from one language to another. Or IMPORTFEED to import an RSS or ATOM feed right into your spreadsheet.

Or, you can let Google Sheets make sense of your data for you. Open the Explore tab in the lower right corner to see answers Google Sheets has found from your data and suggested graphs it thinks organize the data well. Make sure it's comparing the correct values—but often, the graphs and tips it recommends can be a helpful way to learn from your spreadsheet info.

If you need something beyond the available functions, you can use the Google Apps Script to build custom macros, or “add-ons,” that do whatever you want. With a little JavaScript, your add-on can highlight or automatically delete duplicate rows in a spreadsheet (all done within Sheets) or it can add contacts from a sheet to Google Contacts (creating automation between multiple Google Apps). Once you've built your add-on, you can publish it to the Google Sheets add-on store—or, check it first, as there may already be an add-on with the feature you want.

Perhaps Sheets' best feature is that it’s online—you don’t need to download any software to use it. All the data in your spreadsheets is saved automatically, so you never lose changes. You can download spreadsheets in Excel or PDF formats before shipping it to someone else. You can even download a Chrome add-on to open, edit, and save Excel files without needing to do any conversion. It also has apps for iOS and Android, so you can get work done anywhere.

If you need to collaborate or share information with a family member or coworker, all you need is their email. You can give view-only or editing permissions to your collaborators, and see their updates and changes in real time—no more sending documents back and forth and losing the most up-to-date version. You can even make a publish spreadsheet to let anyone help. When working on a spreadsheet together, you can add comments to specific cells or chat right within the document. All communication stays in the spreadsheet and never gets lost. Google Sheets saves every version of every change made so you can undo edits or archive versions of your document to see how things changed over time.

If you’re looking for a more productive way to crunch numbers, manipulate data, visualize information in charts and graphs, and efficiently collaborate with others, Sheets will work for you. It's a new take on the original spreadsheet that can help you work from anywhere, faster.

Learn more about Google Sheets with our guides to Google Sheets' advanced features:

Originally published November 9, 2015; updated March 22, 2018 with new screenshots and features including Explore pane.

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

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