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How to link data from one spreadsheet to another

Here are two easy ways to pull data from another sheet in Excel or Google Sheets.

By Matthew Guay · December 21, 2022
Hero image with an icon of a spreadsheet, database, or list

You've got data in one sheet in your spreadsheet, and you want to use it in another sheet. You could copy it—but then you'd have to manually update the data in each spreadsheet every time the data changed. Who has that kind of time? Not to mention the risk you run of manually inputting incorrect data.

There's a better option: link your spreadsheet cells to keep the data consistent across sheets.

Here are two easy ways to copy data from another sheet in Excel (and the same trick works for Google Sheets, Numbers, and other popular spreadsheet apps).

Copy cells from one sheet to another with !

To copy data from one sheet to another, all you need to know is the source sheet's name and the name of the cell being copied. Then link them together with an exclamation mark.

  1. From Excel (or any spreadsheet app), open or create a new sheet.

  2. Select the cell you want to pull data into. 

  3. Type = immediately followed by the name of your source sheet, an exclamation mark, and the name of the cell being copied. For example, =Roster!A2

Here's a detailed example: 

Gif of an Excel workbook with two worksheets titled "Names" and "Roster." The Roster sheet has information populated in columns A-D for the categories "first name," "last name," "student number," and "email." An arrow points to the data in cell A2 which reads "Abed." A mouse clicks on the "Names" spreadsheet, selects cell A2, and inputs the function "=Roster!A2". The data "Abed" populates. The mouse clicks back to the "Roster" sheet and updates the data in cell A2 to read "George." The mouse again clicks on the "Names" sheet and the data in cell A2 has automatically changed to also read "George."

Let's say your source sheet's name is "Roster," and you need to copy the data from cell A2 into another sheet named "Names." In the "Names" sheet, click the desired cell, type =Roster!A2, and the data from cell A2 in the source sheet will populate.

Or, there's an easier option. 

  1. Type = in the cell where you want to reference data from other sheets.

  2. Toggle to the source sheet. 

  3. Click the cell being copied.

  4. Hit enter, and the function will automatically populate. 

Now, if you change the data in the original cell that was copied, the data will automatically update in every spreadsheet where that cell is referenced.

Need to calculate values using the data in your source cell? Simply type the rest of your function as normal. For example, if Names!B3 has the value 3, and you type =Names!B3*3, you'll get the result 9 in your new cell, just as you'd expect.

Connect sheets in different spreadsheets

Have data in two different spreadsheets that you want to copy to a new spreadsheet? The best option is to use Zapier's Microsoft Excel workflows (or Google Sheets workflows) to connect your sheets. With these Zaps (what we call our pre-built workflows), Zapier can watch for new or updated data in your source cells and automatically copy it over to your desired spreadsheet.

Copy new rows between Excel spreadsheets

Copy new rows between Excel spreadsheets
  • Microsoft Excel logo
  • Microsoft Excel logo
Microsoft Excel

Now, with your data linked, you can stop manually copying and pasting information—and get peace of mind knowing your data is up to date and consistent across every spreadsheet.

Related reading: 

This article was originally published in June 2017. The most recent update, with contributions from Jessica Lau, was in December 2022.

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