For most of us, dealing with data is commonplace. And spreadsheet applications such as Google Sheets are a great means of working our way through these heaps of data sets. One of the challenges with data is that it has so many variations to it. So, we cannot treat it the same way, and accordingly, save these data set variants in different spreadsheet files. This was it becomes much easier to keep track and manage our data better. At times, however, there can be dependencies between these spreadsheets. For example, the overall customer incidents tracker of a company will feed upon the regional tracking data.

Solve the dependencies using IMPORTRANGE

The IMPORTRANGE formula is native to Google Sheets, that lets us import a range of cells from the specified sheet of the same or another Google Sheets file. We can use this to pull in the external information that we need, and therefore solve the problem. We not only segregate data but also can connect it using this formula. Unfortunately, this approach has its limitations. It is a little difficult to use this formula, especially for the beginners. It is static in nature, and can’t accommodate for ever-changing source data sets. Apart from these challenges, there is a more telling problem.

Consider a hardware tech support company that operates from multiple cities. They generate their own regional customer incident reports. Connecting each individual report to the central repository will take us a separate instance of IMPORTRANGE. Let’s say we have many more consolidations to make – like sales, product inventories, employee staffing etc. And suppose that we created the necessary connections to make all these use cases work. This will bring us obvious difficulties like managing and troubleshooting the rapidly growing connections. Combine that with the absence of a feature that lets us abstract of the way these dependent files are linked. It can get scary, really quickly!

A simpler and better alternative – Sheetgo

The Sheetgo add-on is built with the aim of making spreadsheet connections easily and in a user-friendly and intuitive manner. With Sheetgo, actions such as importing, exporting, merging, appending and filtering data are just a breeze. The configuration capability is very advanced – we can determine the conditions, filters, and the frequency with which the data transfer can happen. Please note there is no exporting capability with formulas yet!

Sheetgo easily addresses the challenge we discussed above. We can configure as many connections as required with Sheetgo Import functionality using its intuitive user interface. Regardless of the type of use case, accomplishing that with Sheetgo is much more effective.

Visualize the connections

With IMPORTRANGE the biggest pain point is the inability to visualize the way the files have been interconnected. Abstraction is very important to dig deeper and understand the underlying frameworks better. But here, we do not readily know how the data is flowing between these files. That almost feels like a blind spot. Sheetgo solves this problem with its coolest feature yet: the Network View.

With the connections we just created in Sheetgo, we can add them to a workflow. Once we do that, the Network View within Sheetgo visually demonstrates this workflow – so we can easily see the connections between the files. The arrows clearly depict the direction of the data flow. Therefore, we can easily differentiate between the source and destination files. This is a brilliant abstraction of the way data connections have been laid out to solve our use cases. So, now there is no grey area that we need to be worried about.

Example

Network View of IMPORTRANGE

As you can see in the image above, it is very clearly visualized how the different “Region # customer incidents” spreadsheets are connected to the “Database incidents” spreadsheet. This feature not only lets you see your Sheetgo connections but also registers all of your IMPORTRANGE connections. And from within the Web App, it is also made easy to make changes to the Workflow and never lose track of your data connections.

Example: Network View of IMPORTRANGE connections

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