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How to Move from Excel to Google Sheets

Google Sheets is an increasingly popular alternative to the ubiquitous desktop spreadsheet program, Microsoft Excel. Here is how you can move from Excel to Google Spreadsheets, and why you should do so.

Uploading a .XLS or .XLSX Spreadsheet

Basic

Simply upload the Excel spreadsheet to Google Drive, open it with Google Sheets from Drive, and it will be automatically converted for you. You can start editing it in Sheets immediately.

Detailed

  1. Go to your drive. Login to your Google account (the same one used for Gmail, Google+, etc.) if prompted, or create one if you don’t have one yet.
  2. Navigate into the folder you want by double clicking on the folder names, or create a new folder by clicking the ‘New’ button in the top-left, then ‘Folder’.
  3. To upload your Excel spreadsheet, either:
    1. Find your spreadsheet in Windows, then click and drag it into the Google Drive page.
    2. OR Click the ‘New’ button in the top-left, then ‘File Upload’, find the location of your spreadsheet in the box that appears and double-click it.
  4. Right-click on the spreadsheet in Google Drive – it should have a green X next to it.
  5. Click Open with > Google Sheets. Your spreadsheet will be automatically converted to Google Sheets format and you will be able to edit it immediately.
  6. In Google Drive you will now see two copies of your spreadsheet – one with a green X next to it and one with a green sheet. You can delete the one with the green X (optional) and rename the other one to remove the ‘.xls’/’.xlsx’.
  7. Congratulations! You are now free of Excel’s worldly bounds and have ascended into the clouds!

Advantages

  • Unlike Excel, Google Sheets is free.
  • Because your Google Sheets are stored online on the cloud rather than on a local computer or server, you can access them from any computer and don’t need to back them up. Even if all your computers are destroyed in an office fire, your spreadsheets will be safe.
  • Two or more people can collaborate on a Google spreadsheet at once, with all collaborators able to see all the changes anyone else makes in real time.
  • Google Sheets is very similar in interface and functionality to Excel, and takes very little time to learn how to use.

Disadvantages

  • Google Spreadsheets requires an Internet connection to use.
  • Since it follows the cloud model rather than Excel’s desktop model, it requires a shift in thinking; rather than being confined to a single computer as they once were, your files are now stored on the cloud, and the computer you use to access them is now irrelevant.

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