Section 2. Migrating from Excel to Google Spreadsheets


Section 2. Migrating from Excel to Google Spreadsheets

If you've decided to give Google Spreadsheets a spin, the first question (if you've used Excel at all in the past) is how to transfer your existing Excel spreadsheets to Google Spreadsheets. Fortunately, it's pretty easy.

As you'll learn in the "Importing a Spreadsheet from Excel" section of this document, it's easy to open your Excel spreadsheets from within Google Spreadsheets. All you have to do is click the File button and select the Open command, then select and upload the spreadsheet you want to import. In most cases, the Excel spreadsheet imports into Google Spreadsheets with only superficial formatting changes.

In some instances, however, Google Spreadsheets won't be able to import an Excel spreadsheet. You'll probably run into problems if you try to open a spreadsheet that has embedded charts or graphics, that include macros or pivot tables, or are overly large.

In some cases, these spreadsheets simply won't import; Google will give you a message saying that it couldn't open the file. In other cases, Google Spreadsheets will be able to open the file, but the non-Google features will be carved off. Even with fully compatible spreadsheets, it's not uncommon to find some formatting changes when you import into Google Spreadsheets; for example, the cell backgrounds might be one color in Excel and another in Google Spreadsheets. Full compatibility is just a dream at this point.

It's also possible to export from Google Spreadsheets back into Excel's XLS format. This lets you work on your spreadsheets online, for sharing and collaboration, but then go offline with an Excel file for more private or detailed work. Just click the File button and select Download as XLS; this downloads an XLS-format version of the spreadsheet file to your computer.



Section 3. Navigating the Google Spreadsheets Workspace

The Google Spreadsheets workspace looks a lot like every other PC-based spreadsheet application you've ever used. Whether you started with VisiCalc, 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, or Excel, you'll recognize the row-and-column grid you see when you first access Google Spreadsheets. Sure, the buttons or links for some specific operations might be in slightly different locations, but pretty much everything you expect to find is somewhere on the page.



Understanding Elements of the Workspace

Let's take a quick look at what's where in the Google Spreadsheets workspace. The first thing to note is that the workspace changes slightly, depending on which tab (Format, Sort, or Formulas) you select at the top of the page. You can view the three different tabs in Figures 6, 7, and 8; Table 2 details all the functionality of the various workspace elements.

Figure 6. Google SpreadsheetsFormat tab.


1 File button

2 Save button

3 New link

4 Open link

5 Title and info

6 Show/Hide Sharing Options

7 Format tab

8 Sort tab

9 Formulas tab

10 Cut

11 Copy

12 Paste

13 Undo

14 Redo

15 Column headings

16 Row numbers

17 Add Sheet

18 Choose different sheet

19 Reference area

20 Choose Format

21 Bold

22 Italic

23 Underline

24 Font Family

25 Font Size

26 Text Color

27 Background Color

28 Clear Format

29 Align

30 Insert

31 Delete

32 Wrap Text

33 Merge Across

Figure 7. Google SpreadsheetsSort tab.


1 File button

2 Save button

3 New link

4 Open link

5 Title and info

6 Show/Hide Sharing Options

7 Format tab

8 Sort tab

9 Formulas tab

10 Cut

11 Copy

12 Paste

13 Undo

14 Redo

15 Column headings

16 Row numbers

17 Add Sheet

18 Choose different sheet

19 Reference area

20 Freeze Rows

21 Sort A>Z

22 Sort Z>A

Figure 8. Google SpreadsheetsFormulas tab.


1 File button

2 Save button

3 New link

4 Open link

5 Title and info

6 Show/Hide Sharing Options

7 Format tab

8 Sort tab

9 Formulas tab

10 Cut

11 Copy

12 Paste

13 Undo

14 Redo

15 Column headings

16 Row numbers

17 Add Sheet

18 Choose different sheet

19 Reference area

20 Sum

21 Count

22 Average

23 Min

24 Max

25 Product

26 More formulas

Table 2. Elements of the Google Spreadsheets Workspace

Element

Tab

Description

File button

All

Lets you save, open, import, and export spreadsheet files

Save button

All

Saves the current spreadsheet

New link

All

Opens a new spreadsheet in a new browser window

Open link

All

Opens a previously saved spreadsheet, or uploads an XLS spreadsheet file stored on your computer

Spreadsheet title and info

All

Displays the title of the current spreadsheet, as well as when it was last saved (visible only when using a saved spreadsheet)

Share This Spreadsheet link

All

Saves the current spreadsheet and displays sharing options (visible only on newly createdthat is, unsavedspreadsheets)

Show/Hide Sharing Options link

All

Lets you invite other users to share or view the current spreadsheet (visible only when using a saved spreadsheet)

Format tab

All

Displays formatting controls

Sort tab

All

Displays sorting controls

Formulas tab

All

Displays formula controls

Cut button

All

Cuts the data in the selected cell(s)use when you want to move data to another location

Copy button

All

Copies the data in the selected cell(s)

Paste button

All

Pastes cut or copied data

Undo button

All

Undoes the most recent entry, edit, or operation

Redo button

All

Redoes an undone operation

Add Sheet button

All

Adds a new sheet to the current spreadsheet

Sheet 1, Sheet 2, etc.

All

Click to select different sheets within the current spreadsheet

Reference area

All

Displays the contents of the current celleither raw data or the formula behind the numbers

Choose Format button

Format

Selects a number, date, or plain text format for the selected cell(s)

Bold

Format

Bolds the contents of the selected cell(s)

Italic

Format

Italicizes the contents of the selected cell(s)

Underline

Format

Underlines the contents of the selected cell(s)

Font Family

Format

Applies a particular font (typeface) to the selected cell(s)

Font Size

Format

Changes the font size of the selected cell(s)

Text Color

Format

Changes the color of the contents of the selected cell(s)

Background Color

Format

Changes the background color of the selected cell(s)

Clear Format

Format

Clears all formatting from the selected cell(s)

Align button

Format

Changes the alignment (left, center, right, etc.) of the selected cell(s)

Insert button

Format

Inserts new rows or columns into the spreadsheet

Delete button

Format

Deletes rows or columns from the spreadsheet

Wrap Text

Format

When checked, wraps long text to additional lines within the selected cell(s)

Merge Across

Format

Merges adjacent cells into a single cell

Freeze Rows

Sort

When sorting, freezes the top row(s) of the spreadsheet as header rows

Sort Sheet by Selected Column: A > Z

Sort

Sorts the spreadsheet by the currently selected column, in alphabetical (or numerical) order

Sort Sheet by Selected Column: Z > Z

Sort

Sorts the spreadsheet by the currently selected column, in reverse alphabetical (or numerical) order

Reference area

Formulas

Displays the name of the selected cell

Sum

Formulas

Calculates the total of a group of cells

Count

Formulas

Counts the number of cells in a range that contain numeric values

Average

Formulas

Calculates the mean average of a group of numbers

Min

Formulas

Returns the minimum value in a range of cells

Max

Formulas

Returns the maximum value in a range of cells

Product

Formulas

Calculates the product of the specified valuesthat is, it multiplies all the values together

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Formulas

Displays all available Google Spreadsheets functions