Google Sheets 101: complete guide to getting started with Google Sheets
July 19, 2023
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Google Sheets, the versatile and user-friendly spreadsheet program that forms an integral part of the Google Workspace. Whether you're a first-time user or simply want to refresh your knowledge, this post is designed to help you navigate and optimize this powerful tool.
<a href="#what-is-google" class="anchor-link">What is Google Sheets?</a> <a href="#key-features" class="anchor-link">Google Sheets key features</a> <a href="#how-is-google-used" class="anchor-link">How is Google Sheets is used</a> <a href="#getting-started" class="anchor-link">Getting started with Google Sheets</a>
<a href="#create-new-sheet" class="anchor-link">How to create a new Google Sheet</a>
<a href="#add-enter-data" class="anchor-link">How to add and enter data</a>
<a href="#search-data" class="anchor-link">Search for data</a>
Google Sheets is an online spreadsheet app that allows users to create, format, and work on spreadsheets simultaneously with their team. Its cloud-based nature allows real-time collaboration, making it an ideal choice for a variety of applications such as project management, data analysis, budgeting, and even planning events.
At first glance, Google Sheets may appear as a simple grid of cells. However, its true potential unfolds as you delve deeper. From basic data input to the application of formulas that perform automatic calculations, it allows a range of functions to efficiently process your data.
Google Sheets has several key features that make it a versatile and powerful tool for handling data. These features, combined with the fact that Google Sheets is free for personal use, make it an incredibly useful tool for anyone needing to work with data. Here are some of the main features that make Google sheets such a popular tool:
Multiple users can access and edit the same spreadsheet simultaneously, with changes reflected in real-time. This facilitates teamwork and ensures everyone has the most up-to-date version of the document.
As part of Google Workspace, Sheets is hosted in the cloud. This means you can access your spreadsheets from any device with an internet connection and don’t have to worry about losing your work.
Basic to Advanced Calculations
Google Sheets supports a wide array of formulas, from simple arithmetic calculations to complex functions. This allows for versatile data analysis.
Data Visualization Tools
Google Sheets comes with built-in tools to create charts and graphs, making it easier to visualize and present data.
This feature allows you to automatically apply formatting such as colors and fonts to cells based on the data they contain.
Import and Export Capabilities
Google Sheets is compatible with many file formats. You can import and export data to and from Excel, CSV, and other popular formats.
Integration with Google Workspace
Google Sheets is integrated with other Google Workspace applications like Google Docs and Google Slides, allowing for seamless data transfer and collaboration across platforms.
Google Sheets automatically saves your work and keeps a record of all changes made to a document, allowing users to view or revert to earlier versions.
Add-ons and Extensions
Google Sheets supports a variety of add-ons and extensions for enhanced functionality, from automating tasks to integrating with third-party services.
The find and replace function allows you to update or correct certain data throughout your Google Sheet quickly and efficiently. For example, if a product's name has changed or an error was made during data entry, this tool can correct all instances at once, saving you from the tedious task of manually searching and editing each one.
Press Ctrl + H or Command + Shift + H on a Mac to open the 'Find and replace' dialog box.
In the 'Find' field, type the text you want to find.
In the 'Replace with' field, type the text you want to use as the replacement.
Click 'Replace all' to replace all instances, or use 'Find' and 'Replace' to do it one at a time.
Alphabetizing your spreadsheet can help you digest data and find specific data points more easily.
Click on the arrow next to the lettered header column of the data you want to alphabetize.
In the drop-down menu, select "Sort sheet by column, A → Z" to sort in ascending order, or "Sort sheet by column, Z → A" for descending order.
Your data will now be alphabetized according to your chosen column. Remember that this will reorder all rows based on the alphabetized column, maintaining the relationship between data points in each row.
Freezing a row in Google Sheets keeps it visible at the top of the sheet when you scroll down. This is useful for keeping headers in view at all times. You can freeze as many rows as you like. Unfreezing rows returns them to their normal state, where they scroll up and out of view as you scroll down.
To freeze rows in your Google Sheet:
Look for the thick, light gray bar that's located right below the formula bar (where the letter for each column is displayed). It separates the row numbers and column letters.
Click and hold this gray bar, then drag it down. As you move it, you'll see a darker gray line appear, indicating which rows will be frozen.
Release the mouse when you've selected the number of rows you want to freeze.
These rows will now remain visible at the top as you scroll through your spreadsheet. To unfreeze, just click and drag the gray bar back up to the top.
You can do the same thing for columns by dragging the gray bar to horizontally to the right.
Splitting text into different columns can be particularly helpful if you have first and last names in a single column, and you need them separated so you can import them into a CRM or use just a first name as a variable in a mail merge. It's also useful if you have a comma-separated list of items or data and you want each item or datapoint to be in a separate column.
Select the cells with the text you want to split.
Click on "Data" in the top menu.
Select "Split text to columns..."
A separator menu will appear at the bottom of the sheet. Choose the correct separator for your data. In case of splitting first and last names, you'll likely want to choose "Space."
You'll also find common formatting options in the toolbar at the top of your spreadsheet.
The text in your selected cells will be split into separate columns based on the separator you chose.
Google Sheets has an offline mode that allows you to access and edit your spreadsheets without an internet connection. With offline mode enabled, you'll be able to view and edit your Google Sheet without an internet connection. Any changes you make in offline mode will sync automatically once you connect to the internet.
This does require installing a Google Chrome extension.
Google sheets is great for data collection and analysis, and can often serve as a basic contact list. However, customer relationships management tools (CRMs) offer tools and features that allow you to manage a more complex process like closing sales deals, hiring candidates for a job, or raising funds for a startup.
Some features that a CRM offers - and Google Sheets doesn't - include:
Spreadsheet view for tracking data about deals and opportunities
Email marketing tools like mail merge and email tracking
Fortunately, it's usually simple to import your data into a CRM if you've outgrown Google Sheets as a tracking tool. Many CRMs, like Streak, allow you to customize your pipelines and workflow to create and track the exact process you need.
Build your Google Sheets foundation with basic functions
Mastering the essential functionalities of Google Sheets, such as searching, formatting and collaborating empowers you to efficiently organize and analyze data with your team.
These skills not only streamline your workflows and boost accuracy but also foster seamless collaboration with others. With the power of Google Sheets in your hands, you can confidently navigate through your data, make informed decisions, and unlock the full potential of your spreadsheets.
So go ahead, dive in, and embrace the magic of Google Sheets in your own unique way!