Learn several techniques for deleting blank rows in your data. Depending on your situation, find the one that works best for your spreadsheet.
This post is meant to accompany the instructions 🎥this video.
Let’s say you had several spreadsheets saved in Google Drive, and we wanted to combine them into one spreadsheet; how would we do this?
The first thing to note is that the data must have matching headers. They don’t have to be in the same order across all spreadsheets, but they need to match. We can combine the data in a static way or make sure that it’s dynamic by auto-inserting the formulas.
In our case, we are going to combine three spreadsheets that contain lists of companies. Here’s a look at one of the sheets to better understand what we’re working with.
There are two other similar sheets – Australian companies & USA companies. Now let’s combine them.
These are the steps to follow when combining the data is a one-time operation that doesn’t need to update when any of the sheets changes:
After a few seconds, a new sheet within the spreadsheet will appear with the combined data.
If we need the combined data to be dynamic, Power Tools can automatically insert the formulas we need. To do this, follow the steps we used in the previous example but, this time, make sure that the box labeled “Use a formula to combine sheets” is checked.
Upon combining, the sheet containing combined data will appear with errors since no user has granted permissions yet. (Remember we need to give access when using IMPORTRANGE). An extra sheet will appear, and we can then grant permissions there. That should correct the errors.
Since we’re using formulas, any changes to the source files will reflect on the combined sheet.
You may be looking for AutoSum in Google Sheets, but you won’t find it in the built-in menus.
Traditionally in Microsoft Excel, you would sum, multiply or divide values in a range by keying in the respective function and then specifying the range. You would add the total number of units In the following dataset by applying the formula, “=SUM(D2:D10)“.
However, as demonstrated in 📺this video, Excel provides a built-in intelligent function that automatically detects the range we wish to sum, known as AutoSum. If we place the cursor on cell D11 and click on AutoSum, Excel will figure out on its own that we intend to sum the range, D2:D10.
Could we do the same in Google Sheets? Well, it’s not as impressive as in Excel. Instead of auto-detecting the range, Google Sheets merely inserts the specified function without the range.
We could solve this problem using a third-party add-on known as Power Tools.
To install Power Tools, click on this link.
After you install Power Tools, you can launch it via Add-ons > Power Tools > Start.
Now that we have the plugin installed, we can repeat the AutoSum operation we did in Excel. To achieve this, click on the cell that needs to add up the total. In our case, we want to get the Units total, so the cell is D11. Now that you have selected the units, head over to the sidebar and click on the AutoSum icon, Σ (not to be confused with the red-underlined Σ). Next, click on SUM in the drop-down that appears. After clicking, the total automatically appears in the cell we selected.
Things to note:
You can have complete control over the look and feel of the numbers in your spreadsheet by using custom number formatting in Google Sheets. You can follow this example by starting with this template.
This article will walk you through the process of customizing the appearance of the numbers in your spreadsheet. Accordingly, it will teach you how to control your numbers’ visual presentation with currency signs, arrows, and more. Changing the look is called Custom Number Formatting. To have a comprehensive understanding of Custom Number Formatting, see this video from the Prolific Oaktree Youtube Channel.
Besides the default look, which presents your data in the black font color, you can infuse some level of creativity in your presentation by assigning different font colors to enhance the message of your presentation. For instance, you may want to present debits in red and credits in green.
Take a look at the image below.
The data in red have a minus sign (-) before each, which indicates negative, hence, the use of red. On the other hand, the data in green is positive.
Changing the number formatting allows you to change the look, but the values of each cell will not change. It only gives it a different appearance through the color assigned to individual rows of data.
The procedure is simple; locate your menu bar at the top of your spreadsheet and select Format>Number.
After the number format menu appears, you will notice that there is a preset format for the display of your data. If that is what you want, you do not need to change anything. Just click on it, and you have your option activated.
However, if you want to give the data in each of the cells on your spreadsheet a custom look, you need to dig deeper. We will walk through how to get that done.
Read here for Conditional Formatting an Entire Row.
The way your spreadsheet looks is up to you. Therefore, if you are not satisfied with the general format, this is how you can change it.
A dialogue box will pop up for you to choose the syntax:
The syntaxes are below:
0; -0; “-“; “not a number”
Formats a positive number with 0
Formats a negative number with -0
Shows zero as a dash (“-“).
Shows a non-number as “not a number.” Anything in quotes in programming as a syntax remains as it is. The quotes signify that it is a string variable. The semicolon is to separate the columns.
If you intend to format a long number such as “$8,000,000,” you would use the “$#,##0.00” syntax. If you don’t intend to include the decimal points, enter “$#,##” and click the “Apply” option. Voila!
To insert a currency sign before your number, the sign should precede the numbers in the syntax dialogue box such as we have below:
$* 0.00 – positive
$* – 0.00 – negative
The asterisk (*) gives space between the number and the currency sign. The two zeroes after the decimal force the display of tenths and hundredths.
As earlier stated, you can give colors to your numbers for easy understanding.
To achieve customized color for your data, type the following syntax:
0[Green]; -0[Red]; ‘-‘[Black]
NOTE: The name of the color for each number format will come after each of the numbers in parentheses. Make sure you enclose the color for each cell in square brackets (Check the image below).
For the image below, the name for positive numbers is GREEN. Negative numbers are assigned RED. Zero will appear in BLACK.
Adding special characters to your presentation can make your Google Sheet easier to understand.
To achieve this
#,##0[Green]▲; ‘-#,##[Red]▼’; ‘-‘[Black];”Not a number”
The result is what we have below.
In conclusion, the techniques shown in the article will help you to tell the story of your data in the most compelling way possible.
When using Google Sheets, often times you can find yourself wanting to pull data from one table into another. However, these two tables don’t always have the same types of data in the same order. As long as there is at least one value in common, you can use a few tricks to bring data from different tables together into one combined table.
See this YouTube video for a walkthrough of the steps.
We will go over how to do this using several relatively basic steps and ending with the super-useful VLOOKUP formula. VLOOKUP typically looks to the right (we’ll get there), but we can also trick the function and have it look to the left.
In September 2022, Google Released the XLOOKUP function. It is an easier to use and more flexible alternative to VLOOKUP.