- What is Google Sheets?
- How to Use Google Sheets: The Basics
- How to Get Google Sheets?
- How to Create Your First Spreadsheet?
- How to Navigate Google Sheets?
- How to Format Cells?
- How to Filter & Sort Data Cells?
- How to Switch to and from Microsoft Excel?
- Google Sheets Formulas
- Google Sheets for Collaboration
- Google Sheets Shortcuts
- Extend Google Sheets’ Functionality
- How to Automate Your Processes on Top of Google Sheets?
Google Sheets is not only a powerful spreadsheet tool, but it's completely free to use. With an increasingly impressive list of tools, features, and add-ons, you can use Google Sheets to do practically anything: performing basic calculations or lookups, creating complex dashboards, or building custom apps using the API and the Google Apps Script add-on.
In this post, you will learn what Google Sheets is and how to use it. You will start with the basics you need to get started, including how to get Google Sheets, how to create your first spreadsheet, how to navigate google sheets, how to format cells, and how to switch to and from Microsoft Excel. Finally, you will learn about some of the more advanced features to help you get the most out of your data.
What is Google Sheets?
Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program included in the Google Docs Editors Suite, along with other free, web-based software like Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms, and Google Sites. While it offers similar functionality to Microsoft Excel, there are differences between the two regarding multiple aspects. To learn more about this topic, check out our post on the differences between Google Sheets and Excel.
How to Use Google Sheets: The Basics
Whether you’re completely new to spreadsheet software or you’re switching from another program, like Microsoft Excel, there are some things you need to know to get started.
How to Get Google Sheets?
The first thing you need to do is access Google Sheets. Since the program is web-based, you can access it from practically any device or browser, though Google Chrome allows you to use extra features, like working offline.
How to Create Your First Spreadsheet?
Now that you know how to access Google Sheets, it's time to create a spreadsheet. From the main page, you can create a blank spreadsheet, use a free Google Sheets template, or open an existing file.
How to Navigate Google Sheets?
Let's take a look at what’s on the spreadsheet editor and how to move around in it.
The toolbar provides quick access to frequently used features, including formatting.
How to Format Cells?
You can format cells by using the toolbar or by accessing the ‘Format’ menu. The screenshot below shows the wide range of number formats available.
To learn how to use more advanced formatting tools, check out our guide on How to Use Conditional Formatting in Google Sheets.
How to Filter & Sort Data Cells?
To quickly filter and sort your data, select one of the headers and go to Data > Create a filter.
Click on any of the filter symbols to quickly sort, filter, or search the column’s data.
To learn more about filtering data without affecting other users, check out this article on How to Create and Use Google Sheets Filter View.
How to Switch to and from Microsoft Excel?
Fortunately, it's easy to convert Microsoft Excel files to the Google Sheets format and vice versa. For step-by-step instructions on how to do this, see the articles below:
When sharing a Google Sheets spreadsheet Google usually tries to share the entire document. Here’s how to share only one tab instead.READ MORE
Google Sheets Formulas
To learn more about formulas in Google Sheets, check out our guide on 23 Must-Know Google Sheets Formulas.
- 1. Whether you use a built-in function or write your own formula, you always start with the equal sign.
- 2. For example, say you simply want to add one value to another. You can type the values directly into the formula:
- 3. Press ‘Enter’ to get the result.
- 4. However, you can also select the cells containing the values instead of typing them. This reduces the chances of errors and allows you to select the values quickly and avoid mistakes
- 5. However, by using built-in functions, you can easily perform calculations on multiple values at the same time. For example, you can use SUM to add a whole column of values, as shown below.
- 6. You can perform other operations just as quickly, like finding the average for the values we previously summed.
- 7. Finally, let’s get the count of values in our column.
- 8. That’s it. In just a few seconds, you have the sum, average, and count of the values in that column.
If you work with important data in Google Sheets, you probably want an extra layer of protection. Here's how you can password protect a Google SheetREAD MORE
Google Sheets for Collaboration
One of the benefits of using a web-based spreadsheet like Google Sheets is improved collaboration and sharing. You can share the spreadsheet or parts of it, manage permissions, make and respond to comments, and view all changes and their authors for all versions of the Google Sheet.
To learn more about collaboration and sharing in Google Sheets and protecting your spreadsheets by setting up the proper security permissions during the process, check out the guides below:
Google Sheets Sharing and Collaboration Guides
- How to Share Google Sheets
- How To Share Only One Tab in Google Sheets
- Google Sheets Collaboration: How-To, Tips & Tricks
- How to Make Google Sheets Editable (by Multiple Users)
- Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes
Google Sheets Security and Permissions Guides
- How to Password-Protect a Google Sheet
- How to Track Changes in Google Sheets
- Google Sheets Permissions: Edit, Comment, View
- How To View The Edit History in Google Sheets
- How To Hide And Unhide Tabs In Google Sheets
- How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets (Rows/Columns/Sheets)
Google Sheets Shortcuts
If you like to use shortcuts, you can access the list of Google Sheets keyboard shortcuts by going to Help > Keyboard shortcuts.
Extend Google Sheets’ Functionality
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you may be interested in extending Google Sheets’ functionality. Fortunately, Google Sheets provides advanced tools that allow you to build on its basic functionality.
To learn more about using Macros in Google Sheets, check out this post on Google Sheets Macros: Enable, Create & Use Them.
Google Apps Script
Google Sheets API
The Google Sheets API allows you to manipulate Sheets data from outside Google Sheets. You can manipulate it programmatically using your preferred programming language or through any app or platform that lets you connect to an API. This allows you to use your Google Sheets spreadsheets as databases. To learn more about this topic, read this article on Google Sheets API: What It Is and How to Use It.
Google Sheets Add-Ons & Integrations
In addition to all the tools already mentioned, you can always extend functionality further by adding any of the numerous add-ons available for Google Sheets.
For the top add-ons and integrations, check out our list of the 11 Must-Have Google Sheets Add-ons. Also, below, you can find guides on how to use some of the most popular Google Sheets add-ons.
- How to Use Supermetrics With Google Sheets
- How to Use CRYPTOFINANCE Add-On for Google Sheets
- How to Get Data From BigQuery to Google Sheets
- How To Use The Google Sheets Salesforce Connector
- How To Use Goal Seek in Google Sheets
How to Automate Your Processes on Top of Google Sheets?
Layer is an add-on that equips you with the tools to increase efficiency and data quality in your processes on top of Google Sheets. Share parts of your Google Sheets, monitor, review and approve changes, and sync data from different sources – all within seconds. See how it works.
Using Layer, you can:
- Share & Collaborate: Automate your data collection and validation through user controls.
- Automate & Schedule: Schedule recurring data collection and distribution tasks.
- Integrate & Sync: Connect to your tech stack and sync all your data in one place.
- Visualize & Report: Generate and share reports with real-time data and actionable decisions.
Limited Time Offer: Install the Layer Google Sheets Add-On today and Get Free Access to all the paid features, so you can start managing, automating, and scaling your processes on top of Google Sheets!
If you're looking for a spreadsheet program, Google Sheets is a great choice. It’s free, web-based for easier collaboration, features an increasingly long list of tools, features, functions, and add-ons, and it's easy to build on using Google Apps Script or the API. It's up to you whether you want to use it to perform simple calculations or build complex apps.
You now know what Google Sheets is and the basics to get you started: how to get Google Sheets, create a spreadsheet, navigate the interface, switch to and from Excel, format cells, and filter and sort data. You also know about some of its more advanced features like formulas, shortcuts, and collaboration.
You also know about features that can greatly extend the functionality of your spreadsheets, like the Google Sheets API, Google Apps Script, and numerous add-ons. To learn even more about Google Sheets, check out these in-depth guides below.
Google Sheets Data Import Guides
- How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet
- Linking Google Sheets: How to Reference Another Sheet
- How To Use IMPORTRANGE Function In Google Sheets
- How to Use IMPORTXML in Google Sheets (Examples)
- How to Use IMPORTHTML in Google Sheets
- How to Use IMPORTDATA in Google Sheets
- How to Import CSV to Google Sheets
- How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data
Google Sheets Data Editing Guides
- How To Merge Google Sheets (Manually & Automatically)
- How to Add a Checkbox in Google Sheets
- How to Add a Drop-Down List in Google Sheets
- How to Search in Google Sheets (Multiple Methods)
- How To Use SPARKLINE in Google Sheets (+ Examples)