How to Create Google Spreadsheets (With Different Methods)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Spreadsheets are electronic documents that arrange data in rows and columns to aid organization, manipulation, and analysis. As a result, spreadsheet software is one of the most popular software in the workplace. Understanding how to create Google spreadsheets can increase your chances of success when applying for jobs requiring analysis and organization skills. In this article, we discuss what a Google spreadsheet is, and examine how to create one.

What is a Google spreadsheet?

Google spreadsheet refers to a spreadsheet software created by the company Google to organize and manipulate data. You can access the software by downloading Google Suites, which is a bundle of web applications. You can also download it into your mobile device, laptop, or access it directly via your browser. Google spreadsheet mirrors many functions of other popular spreadsheet software, making it easier to transition between them. Some of its impressive features include:

  • Google spreadsheet is free.

  • It's a web-based application, meaning you can access your files from any device or location.

  • It allows you to write your custom code and install external add-ons.

  • It's compatible with all operating systems

  • It integrates with other applications in the Google Suite, allowing you to share data seamlessly.

Related: Computer Literacy in the Workplace: What You Need to Know

How to create google spreadsheets

Here's an overview of how to create google spreadsheets:

1. Create a spreadsheet

Creating a google spreadsheet is a straightforward process. Due to its versatility, you can open Google sheets as a laptop, mobile, or web application. Remember that the mobile version has limited uses. To create a spreadsheet, launch your preferred Google spreadsheet application. Using the mobile application, you can click on the + icon and select between a blank spreadsheet or template. On a laptop, you can use any of these three methods:

  • You can open your Google drive, select the "New" option on the dashboard, and then click on "Google sheets."

  • You can also create a new spreadsheet from an existing one by clicking the "File" tab from the menubar and selecting "New."

  • You can open the Google spreadsheet laptop or web application directly and click on the + icon for a blank spreadsheet or any available templates.

2. Add data manually into the spreadsheet

The most common and straightforward approach is to select a cell and enter it manually. To select a cell, click on it. A blue box appears around the cell to show you've selected it. You can start typing any value you want, whether text, numbers, or formulas. After entering your value, you can press the enter key to move to the first cell in the next row or press the TAB key to move to your right in the same row.

You can also use the arrow key and the enter key to navigate any cell you want to use and select it. Similarly, you can move your mouse pointer to any cell and click to select it. You can also start typing immediately when you open the spreadsheet, but this function automatically enters data in the first cell to the left.

3. Use methods of adding data to a spreadsheet

Here's an overview of some other methods you can consider for adding data into a spreadsheet:

Copy and paste

"Copy and paste" is one of the most popular computer functions, and it's simple to use. You can copy text from anywhere and input it into your spreadsheet. To do that, hold and click the left mouse button and drag it over the content to select it. Then, right-click and select "copy" or press Ctrl and C at the same time. Once you've copied the text, you can return to your spreadsheet and select any cell. Then, right-click on it and press "paste" or press Ctrl and V at the same time to paste the text.

A potential challenge with using this problem is that Excel may not understand the data you're copying as spreadsheet content. As a result, it may paste all values into a single cell or retain the source formatting, which can hinder your work. To solve this, you can limit yourself to copying the data for one cell at a time. Alternatively, you can search for data in an HTML table. Google spreadsheet can easily understand this type of data, making it easy to copy and paste.

Import external files

You can also import existing spreadsheet files from external sources to use on Google spreadsheet. The most common file types to import are CSV, xlsx, and xls files. You can either import the external file to replace the current tab, create a new spreadsheet, or merge it with an existing spreadsheet. To import your data, click on the "file" tab, then select "import" and then "upload" to import files that you saved on your device. If the spreadsheet file is in your google drive, then you can select the "drive" option instead of "upload."

Related: 18 Data Analyst Skills for Success

Click and drag

This function allows copying the values from a cell into a range of cells. To do this, select a cell, then click on the dot at the bottom-right corner of the blue square around the selected cell and hold. Next, you can drag the blue square across as many cells as you want to select. Once you've dragged the outline across those cells, you can use this option to do any of the following:

  • Copy data from the initial cell into other selected cells, including its formatting.

  • Copy just formulas into the cells you selected.

  • Create a structured array of text.

4. Format your data

Formatting alters the look of your data to make it easier to read. As with other processing software, Google spreadsheet has various formatting options you can explore. For example, you can create a header row by freezing your first row. To do that, click on the "View" option, select "Freeze," then select "1 row". You can also select the dark grey bar beside the first column heading and drag it between rows one and two. Freezing the row ensures it remains static, even while you scroll through the spreadsheet.

You can make your header row bolder by changing the font style, size, text colour, or alignment. These options are available in your toolbar, which is the row of functions directly above your spreadsheet. You can also format the value of a cell so it presents data accurately. For example, if you notify Google spreadsheet that a cell contains currency, it automatically presents all values in the cell as a currency. Finally, you can select other formatting options like percentage, date, and time from the toolbar.

Related: Data Entry Skills and How to Improve Them

5. Include formulas

Formulas are functions that allow you to organize, analyze, and manipulate your data. Google spreadsheet has a range of built-in formulas and also allows you to create and code your formulas. Formulas allow you to automate complex calculations and link several data sets. Google spreadsheet uses many of the same formulas from other spreadsheet software, and they include:

  • SUM: This formula adds up the value in a specific range of cells. To use this function, enter "=SUM" into the cell where you want the result to appear and select the range of cells where you want it to apply.

  • AVERAGE: As its name implies, this function helps you find the mean value of a range of cells. To use this function, input "=AVERAGE" into the result cell and select the range of cells you want to calculate.

  • COUNT: The COUNT formula helps you determine the number of values in a range of cells. You can use this function by inputting "=COUNT" into your result cell and selecting a range of cells.

  • MAX: This formula automatically locates the highest value in a range of cells. It's useful for quickly making sense of large data sets.

  • MIN: The MIN formula helps you find the lowest value in a range of cells. To use it, input "=MIN" into the result cell and enter the range of cells you're analyzing.

  • Basic arithmetic: This isn't the name of a specific formula and refers to a range of mathematic operations you can perform on a spreadsheet without using formulas. To do this, you can enter the regular mathematical symbols into any cell.

Related: Advanced Excel Skills: Definitions and Examples

6. Save, protect, and share your data

Google spreadsheet saves your files automatically, meaning your data is mostly secure from accidental loss. One of the most impressive features of Google spreadsheet is that it allows you to sync workspaces with your colleagues. As a result, you and a colleague in a different location can work on the same spreadsheet. You can grant access to anyone by clicking "File," then "Share." Select the "Advanced" option and include all the emails you want to grant permission to the file.

In the "Advanced" tab, you can also access other functions to determine the extent of your privacy. For example, in the space where you enter the email address, a drop-down menu allows you to select their permissions. You can restrict a person to just viewing or to viewing and editing without being able to alter your privacy settings. You can also prevent readers from downloading, printing, or copying values from the Google spreadsheet, making it a secure spreadsheet software.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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