Working with IMPORTRANGE data in Google Sheets can be a little tricky. It may feel at times that it does not play by the same rules as when you are building formulas with data in the same Google Sheet.
In this tutorial, we’ll go through two approaches to filtering and sorting your IMPORTRANGE data by using the FILTER and QUERY functions. We’ll run through some examples of each and look at some of their pros and cons.
Then, we’ll wrap things up with a walkthrough and example on how to build your very own dynamic data dropdown dashboard from IMPORTRANGE data that lets us look at a set of sales by any company from our imported data any sales rep that makes a sale to them.
I encourage you to play along with the examples. You can find a copy of the Google Sheet that we will be importing here:
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.
You’ve grabbed data from a source Google Sheet and used the IMPORTRANGE function to insert it into your destination sheet carefully selecting the range and sheet tab of the data that you want to display.
So you might be thinking, Great! I’ve managed to only display the content from my original Google Sheet that I want my users to see and hidden the rest from them.
While this may be the case if you are only providing ‘View’ or ‘Comment’ permission to a Google Sheet, I do have an ugly little surprise for you if you.
So basically, if you have other editors on your new sheet editing your document, they can access anything in the imported Google Sheet by copying the access granted IMPORTRANGE. All they need to do is change the Sheet tab and the range location.
One really amazing thing about Google Sheets is how easy it grab live data from one Google Sheet and import it into another. I’m not talking about a simple copy and paste job here. I am talking about real live data. Data that, when updated in the master sheet, will be reflected in the Google Sheet that you have imported the data to.
Everything starts with the IMPORTRANGE Google Sheets function.
But before we get started on the “How to’s,” you might be wondering why you might need to import live Google Sheet data from one sheet to another.
Or check out the table of contents to dive straight into what you need right now!