Spreadsheets have become an integral part of our lives. They have advanced so much over time that embracing them into our work makes more sense by the day. Their evolution manifested them from standalone desktop applications to cloud-based applications that can be accessed from any location and device. Google Sheets has been the front runner in this space. And true to its innovative spirit, it ports with many built-in features and functions that are very handy.
We will come across many situations where we may have to import data from other files. Google Sheets has a built-in formula that will help us accomplish this – IMPORTRANGE. While it serves its basic purpose, it is not as flexible and adaptive as we’d like it to be.
To begin with, the formula isn’t very user-friendly, especially for someone who is not as familiar with Google Sheets formulas. Also, if the source data range changes, we’ll have to manually adjust the formula to ensure we are not missing any of the source data. There is one other key aspect that the IMPORTRANGE formula misses. It brings in only the source data and completely omits the source formatting. Probably that works most of the times, but may not be the ideal scenario every time. We may want to retain the source formatting in some of the cases probably to maintain consistency with the look and feel. And unfortunately, we can’t achieve this with the tools that are already available within Google Sheets.
Solution: Use Sheetgo add-on to import data along with formatting
Sheetgo is built for the sole purpose of taking spreadsheet connectivity to the next level. Unlike the formulas, this is rather a very handy, user-friendly and intuitive tool that doesn’t require any advanced knowledge. Within a matter of a few seconds, we can accomplish actions such as importing, exporting, merging, appending and filtering data between multiple Google Sheets files. Also, the multitude of configuration capabilities makes it even more customizable. We can configure the conditions, filters, enable transfer formatting, and the frequency with which the data transfer can happen. As one can imagine, all of this is very difficult to achieve using the existing Google Sheets tools.
We have the option to transfer formatting with both the Import and Export functions of the Sheetgo add-on. We’ll illustrate this feature on the Import option, as it is very similar to the Export function as well.
On the file that we want the data imported to, start the Sheetgo add-on by navigating to ‘Add-ons‘> ‘Sheetgo’ > ‘Start’. On the Sheetgo sidebar that opens up within the Google Sheets interface, hover the mouse onto the green ‘+’ button. We’ll see the Import and Export options – click on the Import button to start creating the connection.
In the Data Source section, click on the ‘SELECT FILE(S)’ button. This lets us choose a file from Google Drive, or search for it if it isn’t readily visible. Pick the appropriate file, and consequently choose the sheet within the selected file which we need the data imported from.
Within the ‘Settings’ section, we may choose to tinker with any of the configuration options available. However, we are particularly interested in the Transfer formatting (Google Sheets only) sub-section. Checking the Enable transfer formatting box true will bring in source formatting along with the data. Please note that this feature works only with Google Sheets. Also, this may slow down the data transfer process a little bit.
Once done with the Settings, we may now click on the ‘SAVE CONNECTION’ button.
Congratulations! We established a link that lets us import filtered and formatted data from the source Google Sheets file. We’ll see this in the new sheet that Sheetgo would create for us in a few quick seconds. 🙂