February 14, 2024
Written By
Rand Owens
Founding team member at Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin) and passionate about all things Marketing, RevOps, and Go-To-Market. VP of Marketing @ Polymer Search.

How to Import Data Into Google Sheets

Importing data is one of the first steps for creating a Google Sheets dashboard.

How you set up your data imports play a crucial role in the quality and reliability of your dashboard, so you need to pay close attention to your import setup.

In this chapter, we’ll walk you through the various steps and methods of importing data into Google Sheets.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

  • How to import data into Google Sheets
  • Why import live data into Google Sheets
  • Input data manually into Google Sheets
  • Import files into Google Sheets
  • Use Google Sheets import functions
  • Import data with Google Forms
  • Use Google Sheets import tools and add ons
  • Pros and cons of importing data into Google Sheets
  • Turn your Google Sheets data into stunning visualizations and dashboards
  • Start importing data into Google Sheets

How to import data into Google Sheets

The steps and methods for importing data into Google Sheets will differ depending on your data sources, workflows, and tools you’re using. 

You can pull data into Google Sheets using manual methods, through Excel and CSV files, IMPORT functions, Google Forms, import tools, and data connectors

Whatever method or tool you prefer, choose one that streamlines your data importing into Google Sheets so you can work with your data seamlessly. 

Why import live data into Google Sheets?

There are several reasons to import live data into your Google spreadsheet, including:

  • Real-time updates. Importing live data into Google Sheets allows you to see the most up-to-date information in your spreadsheets without manually updating your data.
  • Improved accuracy. Automatically importing data into Google Sheets reduces the chances of manual errors and ensures better data accuracy.
  • Increased efficiency. Automatic data imports into Google Sheets save time and effort compared to manually entering the data into your spreadsheet.
  • Integration with other tools. Google Sheets integrates with various tools and services, allowing you to fetch data from multiple sources, including databases, APIs, and web pages.
  • Collaboration and sharing. Google Sheets allows multiple users to access and edit a spreadsheet, making it a valuable tool for collaboration and sharing data.

Input data manually into Google Sheets

Traditionally, you can get data into Google Sheets through these methods:

  • Copy and paste is the age-old method of copying data from your sources, such as from another spreadsheet or document, and pasting it on Google Sheets cells. 
  • Manual data entry is typing information into your blank spreadsheet.

Manual data input is sometimes necessary, but you should opt for more efficient data-importing methods to speed up your workflows. 

Import files into Google Sheets

Import data from other spreadsheet programs and files through the following: 

Comma-Separated Values or CSV 

You can import CSV into Google Sheets and save data in a tabular format. 

The most common way to do this is to save or export data from your source as a CSV file. Then, download the file and open it with Google Sheets.   

Microsoft Excel

Import data from Excel files to your new or existing Google Sheets document by clicking the File tab on the top menu and selecting Import. 

Then, import Excel into Google Sheets by selecting the XLSX file from your Google Drive. You can also upload an Excel document and import the file’s data into Google Sheets. 

After selecting your Excel file, you should start seeing the data populating your spreadsheet. 

Use Google Sheets Import functions

Use import data Google Sheets functions to import external data into your spreadsheet quickly. 

For example, the Google Sheets IMPORTDATA function =IMPORTDATA(URL) allows you to easily pull a CSV and Tab-Separated Values (TSV) file into Google Sheets using the URL where the file is located. 

Start by copying the URL with publicly accessible CSV or TSV files. 

Open a new spreadsheet or the Google sheet where you want to place the data.

In a blank cell, type the formula below and paste the URL you copied in the appropriate parameter.

Our example looks like this:


The IMPORTDATA function should retrieve your CSV data in seconds. 

Other Google Sheets functions that let you pull data from external sources include the following:

  • The IMPORTHTML Google Sheets function =IMPORT(url, query, index) fetches data from tables or lists from HTML pages into Sheets. It’s a quick and easy way to import data into Google Sheets from a website. 
  • The IMPORTXML Google Sheets function =IMPORTXML(url, xpath_query) imports data from various structured data types, such as HTML, XML, TSV, CSV, and RSS and ATOM XML feeds. 
  • IMPORTFEED =IMPORTFEED(url, query, headers, num_items) pulls data from an RSS or ATOM feed into your Google spreadsheet. 
  • The IMPORTRANGE Google Sheets function =IMPORTRANGE(spreadsheet_key, range_string) retrieves a range of cells from a specific spreadsheet within Google Sheets. 

Choose the appropriate Google Sheets function to retrieve the data you want seamlessly.

Import data with Google Forms

Analyze your Google Forms data by sending it to Google Sheets.

First, open your form with the data you wish to import. Click the Responses tab at the top and select the Link to Sheets option. 

The Link to Sheets option sends your form responses to a Google spreadsheet. 

Create a new spreadsheet or choose an existing one to send your Google Form responses to, and click Create.  

New form responses should automatically populate your selected spreadsheet. 

The sample spreadsheet below is linked to a Google form. 

You can also use the IMPORTRANGE function to quickly get data from your Google Form to Google Sheets. 

Combine the IMPORTRANGE and QUERY functions to filter the most critical data before feeding them into your dashboards. 

This way, you get the imported data you want to track and visualize easily without sorting through raw data.

Use Google Forms to gather large amounts of data and connect it to Google Sheets for easy management and analysis. 

Harness the combined power of Google Forms and Sheets to streamline your data flows, analyses, reporting, and dashboarding. 

Use Google Sheets Import tools and add ons

The easiest and fastest way to pull data from other systems and platforms into Google Sheets is to use import tools. 

Many import tools and data connectors work as a Google Sheets add-on you can install and use within or from Sheets. 

The best import tools can automatically pull data into your spreadsheet, saving you from manual, time-consuming work and making your data importing more efficient. 

Some popular tools and add-ons to Import Google Sheets data include the following. 

Google Sheets API

Connect your Google sheet to external APIs and pull data from the API into Sheets using Google Apps Script.  

To illustrate an example, let’s call the Numbers API from a short sample program and request a simple math fact.  

Follow these steps:

  • Open a blank sheet and name it Number API
  • Click on Extensions on the top Google Sheets menu and select Apps Script.
  • In the new Apps Script window, name your project and replace the code in the Code.gs file with this:
  • Click Save, then the Run button at the top to run the function. 
  • Authorize the script when prompted. 
  • You’ll see the results below the Execution log. 
  • Change the URL in your code to get other information.
  • Get the results into your spreadsheet by adding these lines of code (lines seven to nine) below your existing code. 
  • Rerun function and re-authorize. The random data you requested should now appear on your Google spreadsheet. 

The downside to using Google Apps Script to import data is that it requires coding knowledge, which non-technical users might not have.

Pros and cons of importing data into Google Sheets

Importing data into Google Sheets has a myriad of benefits; however, it also has its drawbacks.

Below are the pros and cons of importing data into Google Sheets:


  • Ease of use. Google Sheets is a user-friendly platform that allows you to import data from various sources quickly and easily.
  • Allows real-time collaboration. You and your team members can work on the same document simultaneously, making Google Sheets an excellent tool for team collaboration.
  • Centralizes data. Importing data into Google Sheets helps you create a centralized location for all data for easy access and analysis.
  • It lets you validate data. Google Sheets offers data validation options, which helps you ensure that your imported data is accurate and error-free.
  • Offers data formatting options. Google Sheets’ robust formatting tools allow you to format imported data quickly to make it more readable and useful.


  • Data security risks. Importing sensitive data into Google Sheets could create security risks, especially if you don’t secure or share your files properly.
  • Data size limitations. The amount of data you can import and store in Google Sheets is limited. You might need other tools if you work with large data sets.
  • Data quality. Imported data may contain errors, duplicates, or inconsistencies that could affect your analysis or reporting accuracy.
  • Compatibility issues. Importing data from some sources into Sheets can require additional software or tools to ensure proper data formatting or manipulation.
  • Data privacy. Data imported into Google Sheets could be subject to privacy regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA, which could limit the ways in which you use and store data. 

Turn your Google Sheets data into stunning visualizations and dashboards

Polymer is a powerful yet easy-to-use Business Intelligence (BI) tool with essential features for seamless data manipulation, analysis, reporting, and visualization. 

It allows you to create data visualizations and dashboards without the time-consuming and complicated technical setups.

It’s also easy to Import your Google Sheets data into Polymer.

Create a free account in Polymer, click the Add Source button, and select your connectors (Google Sheets in this example).

Choose the Google spreadsheet and the specific sheet with your data, and the app instantly imports the file into your Polymer workspace.  

From there, you can uncover insights, build reports, and generate graphs and charts with a few clicks. 

The Polymer App allows you to filter and search your data interactively, create visualizations, and quickly uncover patterns and insights. 

You can add collaborators and upload data from other sources directly to Polymer. 

Start importing data into Google Sheets

Importing data into Google Sheets can be a powerful yet simple way to consolidate information from various sources and streamline your data analysis. 

Whether you're working with a simple CSV file, or complex spreadsheets and databases, the methods outlined in this guide can easily help you import your data into Google Sheets.

If you want to automate your data importing and take your visualizations, reporting, and dashboarding to the next level, check out Polymer

Polymer is Business Intelligence (BI) made easy, with no complicated setup or steep learning curves. With Polymer, you can connect to your data sources, build beautiful reports, and share your insights quickly and easily. 

Polymer helps you get the most out of your data, whether you’re in marketing, sales, operations, or e-commerce. Create powerful visualizations, ask any question about your dataset, and unlock valuable insights in minutes. Our customers love Polymer for its automation and easy setup — it truly changes the game. Try Polymer for free and start seeing results instantly.

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