What is Google Sheets?
Google Sheets is a web-based application that enables users to create, update, and modify spreadsheets, and share the data online in real time.
You’ll get the most functionality and versatility with Google Sheets, which is why it’s one of the most popular online spreadsheet programs. What sets this program apart from other spreadsheet apps is its ability to be used by multiple users simultaneously, as well as its instant messaging feature. Users can upload their documents straight from their computers or mobile devices, and they’ll automatically save changes thanks to the saving feature.
Since it’s easy to use and is included as part of the suite of web applications from Google Docs, Google Sheets is sometimes overlooked as a business-friendly option. However, the suite includes these other important applications: Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, etc.
Using Google Sheets, multiple users can collaborate on a spreadsheet while keeping track of changes across time. The idea behind this tool is that it encourages collaboration and helps everyone stay organized.
Microsoft Office Excel is a spreadsheet application that was developed by the people behind Microsoft Word. Here are some ways in which Google Sheets and Excel differ:
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use platform for Excel, Google Sheets is free. If you would like additional features and a premium service with spreadsheets, Office 365 is available.
Google Sheets is a cloud-based stats web application while Microsoft 365 can be accessed through the internet with a web browser.
One of the best ways to maximize the efficiency of the staff is to use Google Sheets for collaboration. This program is fully web-based, so there’s no need to install any software and you can work with employees around the world. Excel online lacks complete functionality, as it doesn’t have a native collaborative interface.
There are two main advantages of using Google Sheets. One is that it can store much more data than Excel, which means it can run more quickly and efficiently. The other is that with a simple and seamless data interface, you can process your data much easier.
Sheets aims to be the simplest, fastest spreadsheet that lets their users do just about anything. Excel has more features and functions for specialized purposes from spreadsheets that come with lots of colors to funnels and all the necessary formulas to make your product more interesting.
Excel is Microsoft’s flagship software application, so it makes sense that it integrates with other Microsoft applications. Google Sheets is a newer app, and thus less widely integrated with enterprise software.
Support. Google offers help articles, an interactive community forum, and an Excel-specific learning hub. Microsoft’s community forum is also available to help users of the spreadsheet software.
While Google Sheets takes collaboration to a whole new level, it lacks specialized functions that Excel provides. However, it provides enough core spreadsheet functions for nearly any project you could want to work on.
Do you need a tool that can store data, track performance metrics, and create dashboards and reports? Google Sheets is one of the best options out there.
It’s a great tool with a dizzying array of features and functionalities, but it can be hard to get your bearings in the beginning. If you’re finding yourself struggling to create reports or dashboards as quickly as you need, we’ve got some suggestions to help you out.
Are you starting to use Google Sheets for business? It’s easy, and Google has made it a little bit more convenient with this guide. We’ll be looking at some of the benefits of Google Sheets and reviewing some of the basics so you can get up to speed quickly and efficiently.
What is Google Sheets Used For?
If you’re looking for an efficient tool to organize large amounts of data, and across multiple platforms, look no further than Google Sheets. It’s part of the Google Workspace suite of products, which allows you to create custom reports, automate calculations and collaborate with others.
Why work with Google Sheets for marketing?
Marketing teams are still obsessed with data-driven decisions, which is why they must be comfortable looking at metrics like return on investment or cost per acquisition. Make sure to craft a suite of robust marketing tools that address your specific needs and set clear goals for the marketing team.
Tracking marketing efforts can be challenging. That’s where a spreadsheet can come in handy. With a well-organized spreadsheet, you’ll be able to quickly analyze robust data sets and make smarter, more informed decisions about your efforts.
Introduced by Microsoft in 1987, Excel has been the go-to tool for building spreadsheets for years. But when collaborative and cloud-based tool Google Sheets was introduced in 2012, many users switched over to this new (free!) resource.
Before we talk about the benefits of using Google Sheets for marketing purposes, let’s discuss more traditional methods (like using an Excel spreadsheet).
Google Sheets is a cloud-based spreadsheet that’s automatically saved, stored, and maintained. Because it’s online, you can access it from anywhere, while offline versions are available on your laptop or desktop computer.
It’s free! There are no expensive software fees at Google Sheets. It’s always 100% free.
For marketers, Google Sheets means quick and easy access to information. Your data will be accessible anywhere you go with a seamless experience across all your devices. In other words, users can work on their computer while editing spreadsheets simultaneously from a smartphone or tablet.
Google Sheets work well for personal and business spreadsheets with the addition of optional add-ins. These capabilities, such as new ranges and filters, help make a spreadsheet tool even more versatile and powerful.
Did you know that Google Sheets has many of the same capabilities as Excel? At its lowest pricing, it’s a more affordable option for spreadsheets. If you’re looking for an interactive tool with collaboration features, it’s also an excellent choice. Lastly, at its lowest price, it provides you less flexibility than Excel
Since Google Sheets is free for all Google users, it’s a great alternative to software like Excel. As for collaboration, you don’t have to save and send any versions of the document when changes are made, which makes it easier to work with than an Excel file. Lastly, because of its many integrations with other services, Google Sheets is more flexible than an independent software solution like Excel.
Common Google Sheets Terms to Know
Let’s learn about some of the language and terms used when referencing data within Google Sheets.
- Columns are vertical cells.
- In short, rows are horizontal cell sets.
- Cell: Cells are the single data point within a Google Sheet.
- Range: Range refers to a selection of cells across a column, row, or both.
As an Excel-like data visualization tool, the Google Sheet performs operations like calculating values and manipulating data in order to make your spreadsheets more efficient.
Formula is a function of mathematics that takes in variables and calculates a result.
How to Use Google Sheets
Here we’ll give insight into more advanced and complex Google Sheets strategies.
Understanding the Google Sheets Toolbar
Google Sheets make it easy to automate tasks and efficiency. First things first, you need to know where the toolbar icons are located in order to master them. In case you missed it, take a look at the image below for a quick reference guide of what each icon does.
How to Create a New Spreadsheet
When you’re ready to create a fresh new spreadsheet, all you need to do is click on the File > New menu. After that, click on “Spreadsheet”.
Create a new Google spreadsheet.
If you’re looking for something quick and easy, Excel is the way to go. If you want to work with an existing spreadsheet from Excel, however, you’ll need to import that data into your new Google Sheet.
After your file has been uploaded and automatically converted into a Google Sheet, it will be shown to all the editors for access.
Sharing and Protecting Your Data
Once you’ve made your Google Sheet public, you’ll want to think about how to protect it. Data is automatically saved so you don’t need to worry about that part. You can select who’s allowed to edit on your sheet, and if they allow others, you can also restrict them from editing certain cells within the sheet. You’ll also be able to get more in-depth access by granting different permission levels.
To share a file:
- Go to “File” > “Share” (or just click the blue Share button in the top right corner)
- Enter the email address of your preferred spreadsheet recipient.
- Assign permission levels (such as “View only” or “Can edit”)
- Click “Advanced” and select any additional privacy conditions needed
- To protect data:
- Navigate to “Data” > “Protected Sheets and Ranges”
- Choose “Range” or “Sheet” (to protect an entire sheet)
- Select the data you’d like to protect
- Click “Set Permissions”
If you choose to show an error warning, anyone who attempts to edit or customize editing permissions for any of your assigned co-authors will receive a notification.
Organizing Data in Google Sheets
With Google Sheets, you can have a ton of data at your fingertips. However, this makes it harder to find what you need – that’s when filtering comes in handy. You’ll be able to filter and see the data you want and hide what you don’t need to see on the giant list in your spreadsheet.
Whether you’re sharing a document or creating a table, you can keep specific rows and columns. This hide-away feature is important when you want to restrict views, when you want to filter out data, or when you need more control over the amount of information being shown. To hide a column, click the column header text and select “Hide Column.” When hiding a column, two arrows appear on the left and right sides of the hidden column. Click these arrows to preview the hidden column.
How do I unhide columns in Google Sheets?
Once you’ve located the column you want to reveal, simply hover over its header bar to show the arrow icon. Click this icon and a white box will appear. Click either arrow to reveal the column.
How to Freeze Rows and Columns
With freezing, you can keep your column labels within sight as you scroll. For example, if you label the first row with your columns, you can freeze the first row so it doesn’t get moved up if you scroll down.
To freeze a row, select “View” > “Freeze” > “1 row” (or up to X rows).google sheets hack: freeze row
How to Filter Data
Sometimes you’ll want to view all your data in a single column that fulfills a certain criterion. An easy way to do this is by applying a filter. Filters allow you to select a criteria and how that criteria applies to your data. You can filter Site Visits to show all values greater than 1000, or Filter Sheets for all cells that have the word “Cat”.
To set up a filter, select “Data” > “Create a Filter.” Once you’ve made your selection, click the funnel icon in the next column and choose to filter by condition, value, or alpha or numeric order. Your sheet will only display data that satisfy your criteria.
google sheets hack: creating filters
Learn about other filtering options below.
How to Setup and Use Google Sheets Offline
If you’re using Google Sheets offline and notice that the app is unavailable, there are steps you can take to remedy this situation.
Keep in mind:
You must be connected to the internet.
Visit Google.com and begin searching for product-related texts or videos.
In order to start using Google Docs Offline, you’ll need to install and set the extension up.
Take a moment to make sure your device has plenty of free space so you can save all your files.
From there, the next process is:
Open Chrome and make sure you’re signed in.
Go to drive.google.com/drive/settings.
In order to edit Google files offline, you’ll need to check the box that says “Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer.”
To work with files offline from a computer, install Backup and Sync.
Advanced Google Sheets Tips
Here are a ton of helpful tips to get you started with Google Sheets. If you’re not quite ready to jump in yet, that’s OK. These tips are still great to have on hand when you decide to use it professionally.
Conditional Formatting and Heatmaps
Conditional formatting is a feature that automatically applies formatting to cells based on a preset condition. For example, if the value entered is less than 100 you can apply red text.
When you see a color scale on a heatmap, imagine it’s an amount of points divided by their corresponding importance (values greater than the median will be shown as darker colors, while values less than the median will be shown as lighter colors). This helps you view values on a gradient and identify areas of concern that need your attention.
google sheets hack: creating conditional formatting
Array formulas are capable of performing multiple calculations at once, which can be very helpful in working with large amounts of data. Most formulas require you to perform each step independently (e.g. sum up the values in one row and add it to the value of the next row) but if you use arrays, that’s going to needlessly take a lot more time.
The macros feature allows you to record a series of steps that you’d like your spreadsheet to repeat on command. If, for instance, you work with different data sets each month, and want to manipulate those data sets in the same sequence every single time, then you can record a macro, and have Google do the work for you.
10 Must-Know Google Sheets Formulas
If you’re trying to find the answer to a question, or performing some data analysis, you can use formulas in Google Sheets for a quick and efficient solution. Here are a few commonly used formulas to help get you on your way.
This formula adds all values within a selected range.
This formula calculates the mean value of values within a range.
A grouped selection returns a filtered version, returning rows or columns which meet the specified conditions. This is helpful when what you’re looking for is something to segment by year, or month.
FILTER(range, condition1, [condition2])
The Find Formula. The following formula will return the position at which a string is found in an input or expression. The return value will be of type Variant and will contain the text associated with that position (a letter, character, string, or variant). This type of formula is case-sensitive and returns Variant values only.
FIND(search_for, text_to_search, [starting_at])
This formula returns a condition count across a range.
The merge function allows you to combine values of multiple cells into a single cell, such as combining first and last name.
=CONCATENATE(“Value1”, “ ”, “Value2”)
Vertical lookup is a formula that searches down the first column for a key, then returns the value of a specific cell at the bottom row found.
=VLOOKUP(search_key, range, index, [is_sorted]).
In less than a minute, learn how to do a VLOOKUP!
This formula will break up text around a specified character or string separating fragments into separate cells in the row. Use this formula when you want to separate first names from last names in a list of customers or prospects.
=SPLIT(text, delimiter, [split_by_each])
When you need to change text that’s already on a digital document, there are two ways you can do so. You could either delete the existing text and redo it, or you could use our formula to create new text on top of the old text.
=SUBSTITUTE(text_to_search, search_for, replace_with, [occurrence_number])
Best formula ever! This formulas edits text within a cell to title case so you don’t have to do it manually.
More formulas you can use in Google Sheets can be found in their list of functions. Search for the right one using the search tool on the list of functions.
Google Sheets Functions & Skills You Should Know
How to Create a Pivot Table
- Select the cells with source data you want to use in your pivot table. Note: Each column will need a header.
- In the menu at the top, click “Data” > “Pivot table.” Click the pivot table sheet (if it’s not already open).
- In the side panel, next to “Rows” or “Columns,” click “Add” and then choose a value. Note: Sometimes you will see recommended pivot tables based on the data you’ve selected. To add a pivot table, under “Suggested,” select a pivot table.
- In the side panel, next to “Values,” click “Add”, then choose the value you want to see over your rows or columns. You can change how your data is listed, sorted, summarized, or filtered.
- Next to what you want to change, click the down arrow.
How to Remove Duplicates
- Select the cell in which you’d like to remove the duplicated info.
- Enter the function =UNIQUE(
- Select the cells you would like to pull data from
- Close the parentheses. Your function should look something like this: =UNIQUE(A:A)
How to Create a Drop-Down List
- Next to “Criteria,” choose an option:
- Click “Data” > “Data validation”.
- Select the cell or cells in which you want to create a drop-down list. List from a range: Choose the cells that will be included in the list.
- List of items: Enter items, separated by commas and no spaces.
- The cells will have a down arrow. To remove the arrow, uncheck “Display in-cell button to show list”.
- If you enter data in a cell that doesn’t match an item on the list, you’ll see a warning. If you want people to only enter items from the list, choose “Reject input” next to “On invalid data”.
- Click “Save”. The cells will show a drop-down list. To change the color of a cell based on the option, use conditional formatting (refer to section above).
How to Make a Graph
- Select the cells you want to include in your chart. To label your chart, add a header row or column.
- Click “Insert” > “Chart”.
- In the side panel, click “Data” > under “Chart type,” choose a chart.
- To edit your chart, click “Customize.”
How to Merge Cells
- Highlight or select a range of cells.
- Right-click on the highlighted cells and select “Format Cells”.
- Click the “Merge” button in the toolbar, then select the merge option you need.
If you need assistance when it comes to Google Sheets, the quickest way to get started is by using the free Cheat Sheet. It explains the basics, like how to create a workbook tab and view data in a spreadsheet.
- Working with rows, columns and cells
- Sharing/collaborating with your spreadsheet
- Saving and protecting your information
- Utilizing key functions
You can access the Tips Library to learn more about using these features and others on Google Sheets.
Where to find the best Google Sheets templates
It’s easier to use a pre-existing Google spreadsheet than it is to spend hours building one from scratch. Find an existing spreadsheet that could be useful for your marketing efforts, customize the template and incorporate it into your own project, or even share it as is if you find it helpful and inspiring.
HubSpot’s extensive library of Google Sheets templates is a goldmine for any professional looking for assistance with a spreadsheet quickly. In this library, you’ll find templates for any type of document that you might need, including business budgeting spreadsheets, expense reports, marketing dashboards, and more. You can customize the fields to plug in your own data and make it your own. This option is perfect if you’re looking for an individual template!
You can easily find quality templates by visiting the HubSpot website. The template kits below contain Google Sheets templates designed to help a highly-functioning marketing team.
Struggling to find the next big idea? Try these templates to jumpstart your spreadsheet creation process. It’s free, and designed by digital marketers just like you.
Fill out one email and we’ll send you a marketing budget template for free. The flexible templates will help you stay organized and make sure your marketing dollars are spent effectively.
Want to publish your content with no worries? These free editorial calendar templates will help you plan a publication schedule, and they sync with Google Calendar so that no post goes unpublished or accidentally passed over.
Email Marketing Planning Template: With this tool, you can find the best time of year to run your email campaigns to maximize performance and ROI.
2. Google Template Gallery
This free Google Sheets add-on offers a ton of different templates for use within Google Sheets. There’s no need to download an outside document or make a copy from an unreliable source, because these templates are all in one place. In this tool, you can do everything from managing projects to keeping time. The only downside is that the thumbnails are quite small and difficult to look at when making your selection.
While Template.net does not focus on marketing-specific templates, it has enough for marketers to track their campaigns’ ROI. Try out these templates from the Google Sheets library, such as this social media marketing budget template. It’s easy to tweak a sample and get the perfect suite of information you need.
Out of all these resources, this one is the most unique. Why? The templates don’t just contain a generic data set that needs to be manually linked to third-party services. Blockspring’s templates are connected with third-party services so you can have the data automatically appear in your spreadsheet without any extra work on your part.
How can you get content ideas on a topic without having to actually use Moz or Bing? By using our “Get content ideas on a topic using ‘Skyscraper’ analysis” template. All you have to do is put your topic into the appropriate box and the spreadsheet will populates itself with content ideas.
Blockspring’s templates are easy to implement and work right out of the box. Download their Blockspring add-on onto Google Sheets, then follow an easy-to-follow installation guide for a hassle-free experience.
We’ve put together a few roundups of some great templates we think you’ll like, including Google Sheets templates that are customized for your business. Check them out!
With all the template options available, there’s no wonder you might not have found what you were looking for. Here are a few resources for finding the perfect one for your specific needs: Google Sheets Templates Kit HubSpot Template Library
Buffer provides templates for Google Sheets that help your audience stay on track and measure progress with their marketing efforts. For example, this post includes a range of “report card” style templates that can help you track your social media performance in different channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others.
When it comes to planning a blog post, is it really that easy? Yes! In fact, you can create a spreadsheet with a schedule of your blog posts. You also have access to our official templates on Google Sheets, which includes project schedules and other helpful tools.
The Best Google Sheets Add-Ons
You want to boost your efficiency in Google Sheets? Add-ons are the perfect way to do this. Here are a few suggestions:
Did you ever wish you could track the paid search and social advertising ROAS for your website? Pulling all that data into one spreadsheet is incredibly powerful. Retain your data and set it free with a beautiful, professional-grade reporting dashboard from $29/month.
Google Apps Script
Google Apps Scripts is an extension for Google Sheets that allows you to create, edit, and view sheets through the integration with other Google apps. It’s recommended for advanced users and developers. You can find more information on our scripts in the documentation here.
With SharePoint Connector, you can use any business app with Excel and quickly transfer data between Excel, local databases, Salesforce, and Google Sheets. One simple step is all it takes to sync data between these apps seamlessly.
XLMiner Analysis ToolPak
Statistical analysis can be complicated, time-consuming work. Sometimes you might need an add-on that gives you a lot of extra functionality. With the Analysis ToolPak from Excel, now you can do things like statistical analysis in Google Sheets conveniently with this tool.
Power Tools Add-On for Google Sheets
With this spreadsheet tool, you can delete duplicates and search for specific values. You can also compare two similar spreadsheets, which is highly useful if you’re working off of multiple similar spreadsheets. This powerful tool starts at $30/year.
With SuperMetrics, we create a business reporting system for effective marketing. Not only does SuperMetrics turn a large amount of data into a more digestible format, it also has the ability to automatically refresh so there’s no need to manually pull in the data when you want to see the latest summary of your performance.
Targeted email lists are an important part of growing your business. With the help of this add-on, you’ll be able to create and collect emails from LinkedIn that make your job as a salesperson much easier. Keep in mind that this needs to be connected with another tool for its features to work well.
Google Sheets is a Must-Have for Every Team
Google Sheets is quickly becoming a staple tool in marketing efforts. With its advanced features, it can help you improve your decisions and drive lasting success for your brand. From more efficient tracking of metrics to easier collaboration with your team, there’s no having to search for this tool.