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How to Convert Excel to Google Sheets

Microsoft Excel used to be your only option for spreadsheet software, but not anymore. You can move all of your Excel files to a digital format that is easy to use and updates in real-time, as well as being free to use. We’re talking about how to convert Excel to Google Sheets, and we have everything you need to know.

Google offers a number of great applications for free, including Google Sheets. While the applications are not as powerful as what you receive with the Microsoft options, when you don’t want to spend money on the program and only need basic features Google is the way to go.

Related Post: Google Sheets Vs. Excel: How They Differ, Strengths and Weaknesses

Google Sheets gives you several excellent features, so you need to know how to convert Excel to Google Sheets. Here is the answer.

How to Convert Excel to Google Sheets

Screen capture from Google Sheets

When looking at how to convert Excel to Google Sheets you thankfully don’t need a workaround or any special software. If you already have Google Sheets that’s all you’ll need to convert the Microsoft file to the Google file.

If you just received the Sheets file and are a native Excel user, it is easy to open up the application and to begin using the information.

Signing Up with Google Sheets

If you are a native Microsoft application user and you haven’t used it before this is the one mandate you have in order to convert Excel to Google Sheets.

Chances are you have a Google account (through Gmail or YouTube or something). If you don’t, go over to Gmail.com and create a free account. Once you have your Google account login head over to Google.com/sheets/about.

On the home page click “Go to Google Sheets.” This will instantly take you over to the Sheets application.

Screen capture of Google.com/sheets/about

If you’ve ever downloaded a Sheets or Excel file in the past to your Gmail account the information will automatically be displayed. You can select the file from the lower portion of your screen, or you can create a new sheet, produce a “To-Do List,” an annual budget, or select one of the other templates.

Converting Excel to Google Sheets with File in Google Drive

If you received the Excel file in your Gmail account, you’ll already have the file saved on your Google Drive (which is the cloud service Google has packaged in with its Google accounts).

With the file in your Google Drive you’ll want to click on the selection of dots in the upper right corner of your Google account window.

Now, choose “Google Drive.”

From here, select the Microsoft Excel file listed inside of your Google Drive account. A pop-up window will appear, asking what you want to open the file with.

Select “Google Sheets.” The spreadsheet will now convert over to the Sheets format.

Convert When You Upload

Now, you may not want to open Google Sheets and open the file just to convert it. Thankfully, Google allows you to instantly convert the file to Google Sheets without ever opening the file in the first place.

Head over to the Google Sheets home page, then click on the “Open File Picker” icon, which looks like a file folder and is located under your profile icon.

When the “Open a File” window opens choose “Upload,” then select the Microsoft Excel file you want to upload and convert.

Click “Open” and the file will now upload to your account and automatically convert over to Google Sheets.

File Formats You Can Convert (And Some You Can’t)

The majority of Microsoft Excel files can be converted without a problem, so when looking over the how to convert Excel to Google Sheets instructions, you’ll find it works with nearly all the files you have. The Excel file you can convert include:

.xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlt, .xltx, .xltm, lods, .csv, .tsv, .txt, .tab.

Now, there are a few files you cannot convert over to Microsoft Excel. First, if the file is password protected you won’t be able to convert it as Google does not have the right to access the Microsoft password-protected file.

Next, you can’t convert a Macros file, although you can upload the macro file into the Apps Script application and then convert it from there.

If you have any Excel charts embedded into PowerPoint or Word you can’t convert the information over to Google Sheets. You also can’t convert any sheets that are linked to your Excel file (such as a website linked within the file that then leads to an Internet saved spreadsheet. If you want to convert that file you must download it.

Exporting Sheets File Back to Excel

Screen capture of Microsoft Excel

After you have followed the how to convert Excel to Google Sheets instructions and have worked within Google Sheets to edit or tweak information, you may find the need to export the file back to Microsoft Excel for later use. It is a simple process that you can do as soon as you are done editing the file in Google Sheets.

Export the File as Excel

When you are in Google Sheets and you’re ready to export the file out for Microsoft use, click on the “File” button at the top of the application window, now choose “Download As” from the list of options appearing in the pull-down menu.

You will now be able to select the desired file format you want to export the file as. Select the .xlsx file format and click “OK.” The file will now export out to your computer in the selected Microsoft Excel format.

If you’d like, you can also export it as several other files, including PDF. The ability to save as Excel and to open Excel files within Google Sheets makes it possible to jump back and forth between the software. This way, no matter who you are working with or what application they are on, you will always be able to run and view the information whenever necessary.

Why Google Sheets?

Before you look into how to convert Excel to Google Sheets you may wonder why someone would use Google Sheets to begin with? Microsoft has long been the king of inner-office applications, so why would someone make the shift now?

Chances are, the person moving from Excel to Sheets didn’t become fed up with Excel. It very much is the most powerful and useful spreadsheet software out there (and it’s not all that close). However, not everyone needs powerful spreadsheet tools. They might not need all the insights and coding features. They may just need cells to help maintain information. When this is the case there’s no reason to purchase Microsoft Office, which is an expensive application suite to keep up to date.

Instead, it is better for the individual to use Google Sheets. Google Sheets is free to use, converts in and out of Excel files, and can do several things Microsoft can do. Plus, it can easily be uploaded to other Google applications and also emailed from Google Drive. So if you’re wondering why someone would use Google Sheets (or why you might want to give it a try), it’s because it’s free, and yet still a quality application.

A final benefit is you don’t need to install anything onto your computer if you don’t want to. It is possible to download the application to work offline, but if you’re looking to save hard drive space on your computer, Google Sheets is an excellent option.

Work with Others in Real Time

One of the best features Google brings to the table (and a major reason why individuals like to use Google Sheets) is because you can work with others in real time through the Google Drive application.

If you send someone the Google Sheets file and you both have it within a shared space, both of you will be able to view the file. Additionally, you’ll be able to see that the other individual is accessing the file at the same time. From there, you can make edits with them and adjust whatever is necessary. There may be times where you need to collaborate with someone through Microsoft Sheets and you don’t want to constantly download and email the attachment. With the combination of Google Drive and Google Sheets, you’ll never again need to do this.

Conclusion

A person working on his laptop
image source: pixabay.com

Microsoft Excel remains the king of all spreadsheet applications. However, Google Sheets does offer a number of useful features, not to mention it is free. Because of this, there are many people who are starting to make the switch from the Office program to the Google program. If you received an Excel file and need to either access it for the first time in Sheets, or you have never used Sheets before and you want to know how to open your own file in the software, these are the instructions you need to follow for how to convert Excel to Google Sheets. With this information, you’ll always be able to open an Excel file in Sheets whenever necessary, and then convert it back out should you want.

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