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Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel: Moving Data Between The Two

Updated: March 21, 2022

Let’s begin with a distinction between Google Sheets & Microsoft Excel:

Some people use only one or the other. Other people use both.

If a Google user who does not have Excel installed receives an Excel spreadsheet via email, the user can preview the spreadsheet within Gmail and then convert the spreadsheet to Google Sheets.

There are several ways to move spreadsheets and spreadsheet data between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. Here are examples of Google Excel information exchange.

How to Convert a Microsoft Excel File to Google Sheets

Here are the steps for converting an Excel file to Google Sheets:

1. Drag and drop an Excel spreadsheet from a local drive into a Google Drive folder.

Drag Excel Spreadsheet Onto Google Drive

2. Double click the Excel spreadsheet in Google Drive to open it. This will show the Excel spreadsheet in an editable mode.

View and Edit Excel in Google Drive

3. From the menus, select File > Save as Google Sheets.

Save Excel as Google Sheet

4. The spreadsheet has been converted and will now be a native Google Sheet.

Converted to Google Sheet

How to Convert a Google Sheets Spreadsheet to Microsoft Excel

If a spreadsheet is created in Google Sheets and it needs to be shared with an Excel-only user, the spreadsheet can be downloaded to a local drive as a .xlsx file. From the Google Sheets menu, select File > Download as > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).

Convert a Google Sheet to Excel

A Google Sheet can also be directly emailed as an attachment. In the Google Sheets menu, select File > Email as attachment…

In the send email lightbox, change the attachment type from PDF to Microsoft Excel.

Email Google Sheet as Excel Attachment

Copy/Paste a Range of Cells from Excel to Google Sheets

For a quick and dirty solution, a range of cells can be copied in Excel and then pasted into a Google Sheet. This works in the other direction as well.

This will be a text-only copy/paste. Formulas and formatting will not move from one to the other.

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