How to convert an Excel File to Google Sheets

Excel Files to Google Sheets

Written by Valentine Schelstraete

May 14, 2020

Spreadsheets are a versatile tool for both personal and professional use. People can use them for anything, from mass financial accounting to something simple like personal to-do lists. People usually associate spreadsheets with Microsoft Excel, for some they are almost synonymous. But over the years, Google Sheets has quietly stood up next to Excel as a powerful and versatile spreadsheet tool. Google Sheets operates similarly to Excel but integrates with Google’s G Suite apps, which makes it a preferable option for many people.

Many people in business use Google Sheets add-ons for their abilities to boost their business practices and enable them to complete advanced tasks, even if they have little technical knowledge. If you use Google Sheets, at some point you will have to convert Excel files to Google Sheets. Or maybe you’ve decided to make the full jump from Microsoft Excel to Google Sheets and need to migrate all of your files.

People commonly ask how to migrate Excel files to Google Sheets. Needing to manually copy and paste is the common fear for busy users. There are many ways to convert your files. For the sake of simplicity, I will just cover the two best options today. One easy way is to do a complete migration, to fully convert them to new files. Another option is to maintain Excel and Google Sheets working together for a sort of staged migration.

What You Need to Know

There are benefits and limitations involved with both options. A complete migration might be great for someone who receives a one-off Excel file from a colleague or client, to convert a template, or when making a complete switch from Microsoft Office to G Suite.

A staging migration could be a better option for people or companies that work with both Excel and Sheets. You would be surprised by how common this is! Companies have many moving parts, and often receive data or reports from external sources. Even if your company is fully onboard with Google Sheets, there is a good chance you will have to maintain a relationship with Excel!

Complete Migration

To completely migrate an Excel document to Sheets pretty easy. Simply upload the document to your Google Drive, Then click the file, and choose to open it with Sheets. This will convert it to a Google Sheet!

However, a complete migration does have its limitations. This will be a quick and easy process for simple spreadsheets and raw data. However, more advanced Excel users may find that problems arise when they try to migrate files using this method. Here are the main issues that users encounter during a complete migration:

  • Macros will not be converted: this means that users will need to rewrite all of their Macros using Google Apps Script. This might not affect advanced users too much, but could be quite painstaking non-technical people or extremely tedious for people with a lot of files to migrate.
  • References between linked files will not be migrated: uh-oh. This means a lot of #REF errors. These references must all be remade using the Import Range Formula. Check out our guide to using Import Range with instructions and tips to get you started.
  • Some Excel formats are not compatible to be directly migrated: in this case, the user must copy and paste the data and reconstruct the entire Excel file in Google Sheets. Yup, sounds tedious to me too.
Staging Migration

Some users will prefer this option if they use Macros a lot, or if they want to work simultaneously with Excel and Sheets. The steps are pretty simple.

First, you will need to install the Google Drive File Stream. This will enable you to automatically synchronize Excel files with Google Sheets.

Then you can connect your files using Sheetgo. Install the Sheetgo add-on for Google Sheets by clicking on the button below.

Sheetgo add-on

Please read this blog post to know how to automatically import Excel data into Google Sheets.

You can continue using Macros within Excel sheets, and the data will be automatically sent to your Google Sheets file. The data will be stored and updated in both places. Schedule regular updates as often as necessary to maintain integrity between your spreadsheets. You can maintain complex Excel files, and transfer part or all of the data you want to work on in Google Sheets. This is also a great way to share data with Google users who do not use Excel.

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