Switching to Sheets from Microsoft Excel

2. Sheets and Excel best practices

In this section:

2.1 Work with Excel files in Drive
2.2 Use Excel and Sheets together
2.3 Edit Excel files in Sheets
2.4 Import Excel data into Sheets
2.5 Convert Excel files to Sheets
2.6 Share a copy of a Sheets file in Excel format

2.1 Work with Excel files in Drive

" "

There are different ways to work with Microsoft Excel files. You can: 

  • Import Excel data into Sheets. Learn more
  • Convert Excel files to Sheets. Learn more
  • Edit Excel files in Drive without converting them. Learn more
  • Convert Sheets files to Excel or other formats. Learn more

Use Google Sheets to open Excel spreadsheets

2.2 Use Excel and Sheets together" "

If your team uses Microsoft® Excel® and Sheets, here are some best practices for when to use each product.

Convert existing Excel spreadsheets to Sheets if:

  • You need to collaborate or simultaneously edit with your team.
  • Your dataset is 5 million cells or fewer.

Continue working in your existing Excel spreadsheets if:

  • Your dataset is greater than 5 million cells.
  • You’re using the Hyperion add-on with Excel.
  • If you use rare chart types, such as 3D pyramid charts or pie-of-pie charts.

Collaborate using Google Sheets

2.3 Edit Excel files in Sheets" "

Open an Excel file from Drive and edit it in Sheets. Any changes you make are saved in the original Excel format. 

Chrome Browser only

  1. Make sure the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides extension is not installed:
    1. Open Chrome Browser and in the top-right corner, click MoreMoreand thenMore Toolsand thenExtensions.
    2. If you see the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides extension, click Remove.
  2. In Drive, double-click an Excel file.

    A preview of your file opens.

  3. At the top, click Open with Google Sheets.

You can now edit, share, view version history, collaborate in real-time with others, and more. All changes you make are saved to the original Microsoft Office file. 

2.4 Import Excel data into Sheets

" "

You can import data from an Excel file to a new (or existing) Sheets file. Your Excel file won’t be changed, even as you change the Sheets file.

  1. In Sheets, create a new or open an existing spreadsheet.
  2. Click Fileand thenImport.
  3. Choose the Excel file and click Select.
  4. Choose an import option:
    • Create new spreadsheet
    • Insert new sheet(s)
    • Replace spreadsheet
  5. Click Import data.
  6. If prompted, click Open now.

In Sheets, the Import option appears under File in the menu

2.5 Convert Excel files to Sheets

" "

Instead of importing data, you can convert an Excel file to Sheets and keep working on it in Sheets. Your Excel file won’t be changed.

  1. Open Driveand double-click an Excel file.

    A preview of your file opens.

  2. At the top, click Open with Google Sheets.
  3. Click Fileand thenSave as Google Sheets.

To automatically convert all future uploads of Office files to Google Sheets: 

  1. In Drive, at the top, click Settings Settingsand thenSettings.
  2. Next to Convert uploads, turn on Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format.

    Note: Previously uploaded files will not be converted.

In Drive, you’ll see the Excel file and the new Sheets file. You can keep the Excel file or delete it. If you keep the Excel file, to avoid confusion, you can rename it to something like [Archived] My doc.xls.

Tip: Use these icons to quickly differentiate Sheets and Excel files in Drive: 

SheetsSheets  ExcelExcel

Upload files to Drive

2.6 Share a copy of a Sheets file in Excel format

" "

You can work on a spreadsheet in Sheets and then send a copy by email as an Excel file (or a PDF).

  1. In Sheets, open the file.
  2. Click Fileand thenEmail as attachment.
  3. Under Attach as, choose Microsoft Excel.

  4. Enter the email address, subject, and message.
  5. (Optional) Check the Send a copy to myself box.
  6. Click Send.

You can also download a copy of the Sheets file in Excel, PDF, CSV, ODS, or other formats. 

  1. In Sheets, click Fileand thenDownload as.
  2. Select the file format you want to download.

Download a spreadsheet and open with another program

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?