Create links to the first item of each group in Google Sheets

Imagine you have a Google Sheet tab containing a course worth of hundreds of students sorted into classes or groups. After each exam, quiz or assignment, your teacher for each class needs to enter in the grades.

To make life easier for your teachers, we want to create a summary page where we can click on their class and be navigated directly to their group.

We don’t want to have to manually create a link for each location so we are going to write a formula to do the work for us.

Now, the formula is a little complex. So first off, we will generate our list of classes and add a separate section start link for each one. Then we will combine the two together to generate a single formula that gets all the unique sections and provides a link for each one.

If you are playing along, you can grab a copy of the starter sheet here:


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Filtering IMPORTRANGE data in Google Sheets

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:


Click on the ‘Make a copy’ button to create your very own copy of the sales sheet. There are heaps of bonus formulas in there too along with a few fun Easter Eggs for the curios. 

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Google Sheets IMPORTRANGE: Prevent clever editors from accessing other ranges of your imported sheet

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 here:

And here is a link to the sample data that I am importing if you want to play along:

Template – Project Tasks (IMPORTRANGE)

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.


Are you sitting down? Are you comfortable? Do you have a support network nearby?

Let’s have a look at the IMPORTRANGE docs:

IMPORTRANGE editors can access other parts of the original Google Sheet - What to do
Click to Expand!

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.

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