How to better manage your IMPORTRANGE connections?
We deal with a lot of data in our daily lives and usually manage that with spreadsheet applications such as Google Sheets. It makes sense to use a separate spreadsheet for each individual purpose. Because for one thing, we can’t store everything on one file. For another, doing so helps us manage our data better. However, we’ll come across scenarios where we may need to fetch information from other files. For example, you may need to bring in the Sales data of a region into the overall Sales Report. Let us find out what the best ways are in managing big piles of data.
Primary solution – IMPORTRANGE
The solution native to spreadsheet applications is to use the IMPORTRANGE formula. It lets us import a range of cells from the specified sheet of another Google Sheets file. While that serves our purpose of fetching the data from another file, it has its own limitations. For starters, we need to manually type in the formula that needs the parameters like the source URL, sheet name and the range. For the uninformed that can be a little challenging. And then there is this chance of the source data expanding out of the initial cell range that was imported. If that happens, we’d be still looking at the old dataset. Therefore, the IMPORTRANGE formula is not as dynamic as we would want it to be.
Let us extrapolate this a little further. Consider an organization that has multiple regions from which we need sales figures. We could simply use as many IMPORTRANGE connections. But, imagine the amount of overhead it entails given the dynamic nature of the source data sets. Analyzing any fallout gets very challenging because we don’t have the means to visualize the data flow. Another limitation is that the IMPORTRANGE doesn’t work with other spreadsheet application files (like .xlsx, .xls) within Google Drive.
Alternative solution – Sheetgo
Sheetgo is a tool for Google Sheets that is designed to take the connectivity of spreadsheets to another level. Sheetgo lets us easily import, export, merge, append and filter data from one spreadsheet to another. We can even configure our Google Sheets to transfer data with predefined conditions and filters. Not just that, it also lets us define the frequency with which these automatic data transfers happen – hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.
Unlike the formulas, Sheetgo is a highly intuitive tool, so we inherently know what we are doing. It visually guides us at every step of the way, and we get to decide upon the connection parameters on the fly. The challenge we discussed above can easily be accomplished with Sheetgo. Instead of IMPORTRANGE, we configure the as many connections as required with Sheetgo Import functionality using its rather handy user interface.
And here’s the best part about creating the connections between Google Sheets files with Sheetgo. With all the connections we just created, we can add that to the workflow. And Sheetgo demonstrates this workflow visually – where we can easily see how the files are interconnected with each other. This ensures more overview of your data connections and a strong dynamic which allows us to change huge amounts of spreadsheets by only changing one manually. Read more about the visualization of your workflow in the following blog post.
Example: Visual interpretation of your Workflow connections with Sheetgo’s Network View
If you want to know more about how to manage your connections in a spreadsheet-based Workflow, try out Sheetgo by clicking the button below.