How to import CSV to Google Sheets automatically

Automatically Import CSV Data

Written by Valentine Schelstraete

Apr 14, 2017

The cloud has transformed the humble spreadsheet from a static and closed information storage and manipulation tool to a collaborative, real-time data machine. And Google Sheets has been leading this innovative front. When your data is stored in online spreadsheets, it’s now easy to manage and share information with others automatically. Sometimes, however, your data is stored elsewhere and you need to move it into spreadsheets. Here we’ll show you how to import CSV to Google Sheets automatically, eliminating a time-consuming manual task.

CSV (Comma Separated Values) files are tabular files with a very basic format, used to store raw data or move it between software programs. When it’s time to analyze, process, or share that data, you often need to import it to a spreadsheet.

Managing a lot of CSV data?

Here’s a typical scenario. You’re a manager working in Google Sheets but your colleagues in other departments use specialist software. They might be analysts working with statistical tools like Matlab or R. Or they could be accountants using finance programs. Not everyone in the company can access or use those tools, so your colleagues share information from these programs by downloading the data into CSV or TSV file format. Here’s how data is currently shared in the company:

  1. Colleagues send you CSV files via email.
  2. You download the files onto your computer.
  3. You import the downloaded CSV files to Google Sheets to prepare reports to share with other managers.

That’s a time-consuming process with potential communication delays. It also requires manual intervention every time. Instead, you can set up an automated workflow that does the work for you.

Automated CSV imports

An automated system has several advantages over manually exporting CSV to Google Sheets. It enables you to:

  • Save time — no copy-pasting, emails or manual work
  • Gather CSV data from colleagues automatically
  • Sync changes in the CSV file to Google Sheets
  • Improve business intelligence with accurate data

How to import CSV to Google Sheets

Step 1: Prepare your CSV files

To create an automated connection, your CSV files must be stored online in one of the main cloud storage platforms.

Are your files stored on your computer?

If you want to connect files that are stored locally (on your computer) you can set up an automated system to back up and sync files from your desktop to your online cloud storage service.

This enables you to create automated data flows using Sheetgo. It also keeps your files secure and allows you to access them from anywhere. Learn more.

Import CSV to Google Sheets: Configuration Process

Syncing your CSV files to a folder in your cloud storage eliminates the manual task of sending and opening CSV files as email attachments. It also automates the ritual of downloading and importing CSV to spreadsheets.

If you want to import data from your colleagues’ CSV file(s), they can simply drop them into a shared folder to which you have access.

Granting Access to the CSV File

In this example, my colleague is a baseball fan and they have shared a CSV file with me named “Major League Ball Players”.

CSV File: Major League Ball Players Sample Data

Step 2: Create a Sheetgo connection to automatically import CSV to Google Sheets

  • Install the Sheetgo add-on for Google Sheets by clicking on the button below.

When you install Sheetgo, a new Google Sheets file will open automatically. Give it an appropriate name (in this example: “Major League Ball – Analysis”).

To open the add-on go to Menu > Add-ons > Sheetgo > Start. This will open a sidebar on the right side of your sheet.

How to Import CSV Automatically: Example Google Sheet

Click on the green button +Import data.

Select the CSV file by clicking the Select source button. Your most recently updated files are visible by default. Search within your cloud storage or upload the file directly from your computer.

Select Files to Import Automatically

Under Settings, you can change the Connection name. In this example I have called the tab “SG_CSV_LeagueBall”.

Under Automatic updates, select how frequently you want the data to be updated. This is optional — you can update the connection manually by opening Sheetgo and clicking Update.

Click Save Connection to start the connection.

Sheetgo will now automatically import the data from your CSV file, creating a new tab in the destination Google Sheet. Note that Sheetgo copies the data into the spreadsheet, so the data in the original CSV file remains the same.

Major League Ball Analysis Sheet: Save Connections

That’s how to set up an automated CSV to Google Sheets connection.

If you’re handling a lot of CSV files, you can automate your work even further by using Sheetgo to Consolidate. This type of connection imports data from multiple CSV files (individually or stored in one folder) into a master sheet. Just experiment with the settings in the Sheetgo add-on.

Do you and your team also move data from Excel to Google Sheets? Learn how to save time and import filtered data from Excel files into Google Sheets automatically.

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