Is IMPORTRANGE not working? Learn how to fix it

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In this article we will go over the most common IMPORTRANGE errors and how to fix them. Every error will be grouped under the Google Sheets message displayed on your spreadsheet.

If you are trying to use IMPORTRANGE but it’s not working, then you’ve come to the right place. This function is a great way to transfer data between spreadsheets. However, it is quite fragile and can break easily.

If all these solutions aren’t enough, maybe you are asking IMPORTRANGE for too much. In that scenario we recommend using Sheetgo as a great alternative to transfer data between spreadsheets.

If you want, you can learn more about IMPORTRANGE before going over its errors.

Make your data work together


This is by far the most common error that arises when using this function. As we will see below it is usually caused by some issue with the spreadsheet you are trying to connect to.

Spreadsheet cannot be found

If this message pops there it usually means that the URL is wrong. The easiest way to fix this is to copy and paste the URL of the spreadsheet again.

You don’t have permissions to access that spreadsheet

The solution to this error is to just request access from the file owner. Until you get it there isn’t much you can do, so consider contacting them if they don’t answer your request.

All you need is view access for the function to copy the data. Keep in mind that after you get access the error message will not be fixed until you Allow access (see error below).

You need to connect these spreadsheets

If this message appears you have at least view permissions of the source spreadsheet but haven’t allowed access. When you click on the affected cell, the message box will include a button to Allow access and solve the problem.

There is no risk involved in doing this, all you are doing is allowing the spreadsheets to connect, nothing more. Keep in mind that these are files that you already have access to.

Unresolved sheet name ‘[name]’

You may be doing everything correctly but you probably forgot to add quotation marks around the range. This is counterintuitive for anybody familiar with Google where ranges aren’t usually expressed like this.

In this context, quotation marks are necessary because Sheets will interpret any range to be in the current spreadsheet. If you want to point to a range from another spreadsheet you need quotation marks.

Cannot find range or sheet for imported range

This message means you are trying to access a sheet that doesn’t exist in the source file. Remember that in this case a “sheet” is one of the many tabs that hold information within a spreadsheet.

This could be caused by:

  • The range has a typo. Most likely the sheet you are trying to reference is mispelled.
  • The sheet you are trying to access no longer exists.

Array result was not expanded because it would overwrite data

IMPORTRANGE is a self expanding function, it needs space to spread out all the information you are trying to import. If there is information in one of the cells it is trying to expand to, this message will show up.

Fortunately the error message will tell you the coordinates of the conflicting cell. All you have to do is erase any values within this problematic cell to solve the issue.


This is a less frequent error message than REF but it can be tricky to solve. This is particularly true if you are trying to import more data than the function can handle.

Formula parse error

This may be caused by many factors. But it is usually the result of a very simple mistake: forgetting to add quotation marks around the URL. This can cause the function to try and interpret parts of the URL as separate arguments.

Importrange result too large

This means that you are trying to import too much data. IMPORTRANGE can transfer a maximum of 50,000 cells, but this limit can be lower if cells contain a lot of information.

The only way to fix this is to trim your initial dataset. To achieve this we have a few recommendations:

  • Import just as much data as you need, not more.
  • If possible, process your data in your source spreadsheet, then import it.
  • Limit chains of IMPORTRANGE across multiple spreadsheets.

Sheetgo is the ultimate solution to your IMPORTRANGE errors

If you rely heavily on this function to manage your data, try out Sheetgo and stop fixing your spreadsheets.

Below are just some of the advantages of using Sheetgo instead of IMPORTRANGE for your data streams.



❌ Has a limit on the data you can transfer 

✔️ Transfer all the information you want

❌ Updates with every modification

✔️ Updates only when needed

❌ Doesn’t transfer formatting

✔️ Can transfer formatting

❌ Slows your spreadsheets down

✔️ Has little to no effect on performance

❌ Hard to troubleshoot

✔️ Easily identify problems

Our tool was born out of the need for an IMPORTRANGE alternative that was more robust and manageable. But over the past few years it has become so much more than that. Find out everything Sheetgo has to offer.

Connect your spreadsheets

Is IMPORTRANGE still not working?

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with IMPORTRANGE, so we might have missed some errors.

If none of these fixes worked, you can try to troubleshoot your problematic formula using AI.

Ready to streamline your spreadsheet data?

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