Keeping spreadsheets up-to-date with fresh data can be tedious. You may find yourself manually refreshing your Google Sheets again and again to pull in new values. But what if your sheets could refresh themselves automatically? Setting up auto-refresh Google Sheets takes just minutes and ensures you always have the latest numbers and figures.
This beginner tutorial will explain how to configure auto refresh Google Sheets. Whether you’re monitoring stock data that changes minute-to-minute or displaying live exchange rates that update constantly, auto refresh keeps your sheets accurate.
We’ll walk through exactly how to make your spreadsheets refresh every minute, hourly, or at any interval you need. Soon, your financial models, data dashboards, and connected sheets will show real-time data without you lifting a finger. Let’s get started.
Copy Sample Sheet
If you want to follow along with this tutorial on how to auto refresh Google Sheets, copy our sample data below.
Auto Refresh Google Sheets Every Minute: Step-by-step
Having provided some background on what it entails to auto refresh Google Sheets, it’s time to get hands-on and show you the step-by-step process of auto-refreshing Google Sheets.
To demonstrate the entire process so you get the big picture of how it works, we will use the following sample data to show you how to auto refresh Google Sheets.
Using this currency conversion data we have put together, here are the steps you need to take to auto refresh Google Sheets.
Step 1: File > Settings
The first thing you need to do is open the settings for the Google Sheet file you want to enable auto-refreshing in.
To get to the settings:
- Open the Google Sheet file in your browser
- Click on the “File” menu option at the top
- Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu
This will open a pop-up window with settings for the current sheet. The settings are broken into General and Calculation.
Here is what it should look like:
Since our focus for today’s article is to activate auto refresh Google Sheets, we will focus on tweaking settings for the Calculation tab. We will show you how to do that in the next step.
Step 2: Calculation > Recalculation
After opening your Sheet’s settings window, the next step is adjusting the options for automatic refreshing.
Look for the “Calculation” tab in the settings sidebar and click on it. This section controls how and when the Sheet calculates and updates.
Under “Recalculation,” you’ll see some options:
- “On change and every minute” – This will refresh the Sheet one minute after you make a change and every minute after that.
- “On change and every hour” – This recalculates 1 hour after a change, then hourly.
For our purposes, choose the “On change and every minute” setting. This makes the Sheet refresh every single minute, which is the most frequent refresh rate available.
Step 3: Save Settings to Complete Setup
After adjusting the Spreadsheet settings to enable auto-refreshing every minute, the last thing you need to do is save your changes.
At the bottom of the Settings sidebar, click the green “Save Settings” button. This ensures that all the auto-refresh configurations you just made will be remembered and applied to the Sheet.
If you closed the Settings window without clicking Save Settings, none of those refresh rate changes would stick. Google Sheets would just discard them.
So it’s an important last click. When you hit Save Settings, Google Sheets will now remember that:
- You enabled the “On change and every minute” recalculation option
- You set up the project trigger to reload the Sheet every minute
And your Sheet’s new auto-refresh superpower will spring to life, forcing your spreadsheet data to refresh every 60 seconds on the dot.
In the previous steps, we set up the Google Sheet to refresh every 1 minute. But what if you don’t need refreshed data that often?
Luckily, you can easily customize the auto-refresh time frame to fit your needs.
Instead of every minute, you may want the Sheet to update once an hour. Here is how to change the refresh rate:
- Re-open the Sheet Settings sidebar
- Click back into the “Calculations” tab
- Under “Recalculation,” change the setting to “On change and every hour.”
This will make your connected Sheet reload itself every 60 minutes rather than every 60 seconds.
For even less frequent refreshing, Google Sheets also has other recalculation options you can tweak.
The key is to choose the auto-refresh increment that makes sense for your data and use case. An hourly refresh might be better suited for pulling in new weather forecasts or stock price end-of-day closes.
When Auto Refresh Might Not Be Ideal
Enabling automatic refreshing keeps your Google Sheet updated, but constant recalculating can slow down large sheets. So when should you think twice about it? Read on as we have highlighted a unique scenario.
Every refresh re-computes all the formulas in your Sheet. Simple sheets handle this easily. But it takes longer to process if you have thousands of cells with VLOOKUPS, extended logic chains, imported data, etc.
Over time, a frequently refreshing mega Sheet might start to lag, load slowly, or even crash. The heavier your existing formulas, the worse performance may become with auto-refresh on.
When to Exercise Caution
If your Sheet has any of the following, you may want to test auto refresh first before keeping it on permanently:
- 10,000+ formulated cells
- Complex formulas with nested functions
- Queries or data connections importing large data sets
- Lots of long conditional chains (IFS, NESTED IFS, etc)
Try enabling 1-minute recalculating for an hour and monitor if your Sheet slows down or displays errors. If all stays speedy, then keep it on. But if you notice issues, disable auto update and manually refresh when needed.
Auto refreshing your Google Sheets is a game changer for keeping your data accurate and up-to-date. By tweaking recalculation settings, your spreadsheets should automatically fetch the newest values on their own.
Whether you want to monitor fast-changing stock prices, display live FX rates, or pull data from databases, auto refresh has you covered. No more manually hitting that refresh icon hundreds of times a day.
Now that you know how to auto refresh Google Sheets, mix it into your financial models to enable real-time dataflows. Or create monitoring dashboards that always show the latest metrics without input from you.