How to Use Google Sheets to Reference Data From Another Sheet

Easily import data from other tabs and spreadsheets

Before you can use Google Sheets to reference data from another sheet, you need to determine where that source data is coming from. If the data is in another tab inside the same spreadsheet, you only need to use a simple sheet reference to reference data from other sheets. If the data is in an entirely different Google Sheets file, you need to use a special spreadsheet key to pull data from another sheet.

Use Google Sheets to Pull Cell Data From Another Sheet

The most common reason people want to pull data from another sheet in Google Sheets is because those other tables are usually lookup tables.

For example, you might have one sheet that holds all of the products you sell along with their UPC code and unit price, while another sheet may contain a log of your sales. To calculate the total sale, you'll need to pull pricing data from the product sheet.

Here's how to do this:

  1. In the original sheet where you want to pull data into, place your cursor in the cell where you'd like the data to go.

    Placing cursor in destination cell
  2. Type = (the equal sign) into the cell. Select the second sheet and, then, the cell that contains the data you want to bring into the original sheet.

    Selecting sheet where data comes from
  3. Press Enter finish. This will bring the cell data you selected into the first spreadsheet.

    Data transferred to original sheet

    The final formula in this case is =Sheet2!C2. 'Sheet2' is the name of the sheet where the data comes from. This method is good for referencing individual cell data from a different spreadsheet into an original one.

Looking up Data From Another Google Sheets Spreadsheet

The method above works well to pull individual cell data from one sheet into another, but what if you want to look up data from the other sheet?

You can do this using the VLOOKUP function in Google Sheets.

  1. In the original sheet where you want to pull data into, place your cursor in the cell where you'd like the data to go, then type =VLOOKUP( into the cell. Formula syntax help will appear.

    VLOOKUP formula syntax help in Google Sheets
  2. For the search_key, select the cell in the original sheet you want to use as the lookup.

  3. Type a comma (,) and switch to the sheet you want to pull data from. For range, select the entire range of cells you want to use as the lookup table.

    Selecting the lookup_table in Google Sheets
  4. Type a comma (,) again, and for the index, type the number of the column that contains the data you want to retrieve from the second spreadsheet.

    Selecting index in Google Sheets
  5. Finally, type ,FALSE). This finishes the formula with a parameter that says the data in the other sheet isn't sorted. If the data is sorted, then you'd make this TRUE.

    Setting sorted in VLOOKUP function to false
  6. Press Enter and you'll see that the resulting Unit Price comes from the appropriate data cell from the other spreadsheet. Fill in the rest of the cells using this same formula.

    Table filled in with data from another sheet
  7. This should fill out all of the correct data values, pulled in from the other spreadsheet, into the original sheet.

Pull Cell Data From a Different Spreadsheet File

While all of the formulas above work well for pulling data from another spreadsheet tab in the same Google Sheets file, you can also reference data from a different spreadsheet file.

To pull in data from another Google Sheets file, you need to use the IMPORTRANGE formula.

  1. Before you can use the IMPORTRANGE formula, you'll need the URL link to the Google Sheets file where you want to reference data. Highlight and copy the URL link to the end of the long code before the last forward slash (/) in the URL.

    Copying spreadsheet link in Google Sheets
  2. In the original sheet where you want to pull data to, place the cursor in the destination cell and type:

    =IMPORTRANGE("https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eZvD_NAv_kPTr5pxjibFKqzma168MwhDpcQI0tMcP64".

    Be sure to replace the URL in this formula with the URL you want to reference.

    Entering spreadsheet_url into IMPORTRANGE function
  3. Type comma (,) again, then type the name of the sheet and the cell you want to get data from. In this example you'd type: =IMPORTRANGE("https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eZvD_NAv_kPTr5pxjibFKqzma168MwhDpcQI0tMcP64","Sheet1!C2").

    Entering cell data in IMPORTRANGE function
  4. Press Enter. You'll see that the data from the other Sheets spreadsheet file is pulled into this spreadsheet.

    Imported data into a Google Sheets spreadsheet

You can use this same IMPORTRANGE function inside a VLOOKUP function to perform the same lookup method described in the previous section. This allows you to perform a VLOOKUP using data from another Google Sheets file.