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Google Sheets’ wide variety of functions, features, and add-ons make it a great tool for manipulating and sharing data. If you use separate files or tabs for different calculations and data processes, you probably need to reuse some of the data in multiple files. Although copying and pasting is always an option, it’s not a very good one. If the source data is updated, you’ll have to copy and paste it again.

Fortunately, there are multiple methods available to link your data across multiple Sheets files. In this article, you will learn how to import data from another tab in the same Sheets file, as well as how to import data from a different Sheets file. One of the methods you will learn uses the IMPORTRANGE function, which you can learn about in more detail in our related article on how to use the IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets.

Linking Google Sheets How to Reference Another Sheet
Linking Google Sheets: How to Reference Another Sheet?

Sometimes you have to reference or merge data from multiple sheets or spreadsheets. Here's how to easily link multiple Google Sheets

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How Do I Import Data From Another Sheet in Google Sheets?

You can easily import data from one tab to another by linking the cells.

  1. 1. Open the spreadsheet containing the data you want to import.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Open Sheet
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Open Sheet
  1. 2. Click on the tab you want to import the data to. If you don’t already have one, click “+” to add a new tab.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet New Tab
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - New Tab
  1. 3. Choose an empty cell and type in the “=“ sign.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Add Equal Sign
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Add Equal Sign
  1. 4. Click on the tab with the data you want and select the first cell you want to import. You’ll see the reference to the tab and the cell added to the formula.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Select Cell from Other Tab
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Select Cell from Other Tab
  1. 5. Press “Enter” immediately after selecting the cell. You will be switched back to the tab with the formula, which now contains the imported cell.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Press Enter to Import
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Press Enter to Import
  1. 6. To expand the selection, click on the cell with the formula, then on the blue square on the bottom-right corner of the cell. Drag it to expand.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Expand Selection
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Expand Selection

Alternatively, you can type in the reference directly after the equal sign. For example, “=Sheet1!A1:A20” would import the first 20 rows of “Column A” from “Sheet1”.

How To Use IMPORTRANGE Function In Google Sheets?

Google Sheets allows you to import and link a specific range of cells from another spreadsheet. Here's how to use the IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets

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How To Use IMPORTRANGE Function In Google Sheets

How Do I Import Data From Another Sheet of a Different Document?

You can import data from one Google Sheet file to another by using the IMPORTRANGE function.

1. Open both the Sheets source file - containing the data you want - and the Sheets destination file - the one to which you want to import the data.

How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Open Both Sheets
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Open Both Sheets
  1. 2. In the destination file, click on the cell where you want to import the data and type in the IMPORTRANGE formula. Make sure that there are enough empty cells for the data you want to import.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet IMPORTRANGE Formula
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - IMPORTRANGE Formula
  1. 3. The first parameter is the URL of the source file, which you can copy from the address bar of that file.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Copy URL
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Copy URL
  1. 4. Add the URL, enclosed in quotation marks (“”), as the first parameter of the formula, then add a comma.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Add URL
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Add URL
  1. 5. The second parameter provides the range of cells to import and should also be enclosed in quotes (“”). If the source file has multiple tabs, you’ll need to specify the sheet first: “Sheet_name!Cell:range”. Once you’ve added the range, close the parenthesis and press “Enter”.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Add Range
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Add Range
  1. 6. You’ll see a “#REF!” error that can be resolved by clicking on “Allow access” to connect the files.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Allow Access
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Allow Access
  1. 7. That’s it! Your data has been imported to the destination file.
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet Data Imported
How to Import Data from Another Google Sheet - Data Imported

How to import data in Google Sheets with Layer?

Layer is an add-on that equips finance teams with the tools to increase efficiency and data quality in their FP&A 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.

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: Sign up today and get free access to Layer, including all the paid features, so you can start managing, automating, and scaling your FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets!

Conclusion

As you have seen, there are various ways to import data from one Google Sheet to another. This allows you to use a single source of data in Sheets that links to other Sheets files. You can update the source file, and the rest will be updated automatically. However, you may want to consider a tool like Layer, which seamlessly synchronizes your files across different formats and locations.

You now know how to import data from one tab to another within the same Sheets file, as well as how to import data from one Sheets file to another. You also know about a tool that allows you to synchronize and manage your data in multiple file formats. To learn more about importing and linking data in Sheets, check out our related articles.

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Aug 19 2022, Updated Sep 23 2022