Google Sheets IMPORTRANGE: Looking up data with the VLOOKUP function

Note! This is part of a series on using IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets. If you don’t know how to use IMPORTRANGE or what it is, I encourage you to head back to the first tutorial.

When I first sat down to write this tutorial, I had a specific opinion that one approach to using VLOOKUP on IMPORTRANGE data was better than another. However, I wanted to be certain. I ran some basic tests comparing the two approaches to see how they both perform over large data sets, and you know what? I was surprised to find I couldn’t find a discernable difference in performance.

Next, I reached out to some of the other fellow Google Sheets nerds, who like to go way too far with software for all the wrong reasons, and they seemed to feel that those demi-gods of Google devs really understand the wayward predilections of their users and may have benevolently stored the IMPORTRANGE data locally in the sheet you have imported to.

Will we ever know for certain? Only ever perhaps in the lay of the tea leaves or roll of the bones. We can but only guess the ways of the Googler as they traverse the digital world in all their etheral glory.

What does this mean in short? There are two pretty solid ways to use VLOOKUP with IMPORTRANGE. I’ll cover both in this tutorial.

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My live Google Form response in Google Sheets won’t update in another Sheet Tab that references them. What do I do?

Google Sheets – Intermediate, Arrays, Form Data

Picture this. You have set up your Google Sheet and attached your Google Form data to it so you might get a tab that looks a little something like this:

Form Response Tab Google Sheets

You probably don’t want to mess with this tab because the Form is still live.

Instead, you decide to create a new Google Sheet tab that you want to automatically transfer all the data into, including the current form response data and any new form responses you might get.

The Common Mistake

A common, though mistaken, approach to this is to do a cell-by-cell transfer of data. For example, we would grab the first data cell of our “Form responses 1” Sheet tab and in a new sheet tab cell we would write:

We would then drag that cell across to the right to cover all the columns. Then all the way down to the bottom of the page to cover the current responses and any new responses added.

That might look a little like this:

Cell-by-cell display of data from another Sheet Tab

The problem

This looks like it might work, right? Let’s test it out by adding in a new form response. For me, it will be the 6th response and will appear on row 7 of the ‘Form  Responses 1’ sheet tab.

Continue reading “My live Google Form response in Google Sheets won’t update in another Sheet Tab that references them. What do I do?”