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How to Use Google Sheets TRANSPOSE Function (with Examples)

The Google Sheets TRANSPOSE function is a handy tool for manipulating data in your spreadsheets. With the TRANSPOSE function, you can quickly and easily convert vertical data into horizontal data or vice versa. This opens up many possibilities for data analysis and visualization in Google Sheets.

In this beginner’s guide, we will explore what exactly the TRANSPOSE function does, why you would want to use it, and how to apply it properly with examples. Whether you’re an absolute beginner with Google Sheets or have some experience but haven’t leveraged the TRANSPOSE function yet, this article will help you learn how to harness the power of this function.

The cool thing about the Google Sheets TRANSPOSE function is that it’s simple to use, even if you have yet to gain experience with formulas and functions in spreadsheets. 

In just a few steps, you can transpose the layout of your data with just one function. We’ll walk through several examples where the TRANSPOSE function shines and makes working with Google Sheets much smoother.

But before then, let’s understand what the translate function does.

Understanding What The Google Sheets Translate Function Does

The TRANSPOSE function in Google Sheets allows you to convert vertical data into horizontal data or vice versa. In other words, it flips or rotates your data by transposing rows to columns and columns to rows.

For example, if you have a vertical list of data with a column for name and a column for age, the TRANSPOSE function would allow you to quickly flip it so you have a horizontal row for each person, with their name and age next to each other. Or, you could go the opposite direction – taking horizontal rows of data and converting them into vertical columns.

This is extremely useful whenever you need to change the orientation of your data for analysis or visualization purposes. With just one simple function, you can pivot all of the data in a sheet or range. The TRANSPOSE function automatically handles transposing all the cells, even if you have hundreds or thousands of rows of data. This saves the tedious effort of manually trying to rearrange such large datasets.

So, in essence, the TRANSPOSE function in Google Sheets does precisely what the name implies – it transposes or flips your data from vertical orientation to horizontal, or vice versa. Learning this function is critical for efficiently manipulating your data in spreadsheets.

Understanding TRANSPOSE Function Syntax

The syntax, or formula structure, for the TRANSPOSE function is straightforward.

Here is the basic syntax:

In this syntax:

  • =: This equals sign indicates you are using a function formula
  • TRANSPOSE: This is the name of the function
  • (array_or_range):  This is where you specify the array or cell range that contains the data you want to transpose

For example, if your data were in cells A1:B10, your TRANSPOSE function would be:


You enter the function with the equals sign, then type “TRANSPOSE” to indicate you want to use that function, and then you specify the range in parentheses.

This will transpose all the vertical data within the range A1:B10 and convert it into horizontal data.

It’s that simple. The TRANSPOSE function syntax remains unchanged regardless of your data set’s size. All you do is specify the range you want to transpose, and Google Sheets handles the rest when you apply the function.

Two Ways to Transpose Data In Google Sheets

When working with data in Google Sheets, there are two main methods you can use to transpose it:

Using Paste Special

The first approach is to copy the data and then use the Paste Special feature to transpose it. You would copy the cells, select new cells to paste to, open the Paste Special menu, and choose “Transpose.” This will flip the copied data and paste it into the target location.

Using the TRANSPOSE function

The second way is to use Google Sheets’ TRANSPOSE function to transpose your data programmatically. As we learned in the syntax section, you would enter a formula like:


This function approach transposes the specified range, converting all columns into rows or vice versa.

While the Paste Special method provides a quick manual way to transpose through the Sheets interface, the TRANSPOSE function automates transposing large datasets instantly.

Now, let’s walk through examples of transposing data both ways in real spreadsheet scenarios.

Copy Sample Sheet

Want to follow along with today’s tutorial on the Google Sheets TRANSPOSE function? Copy our sample data below to follow the step-by-step process we will outline shortly.

Click Here to Copy This Sheet

How to Transpose Data Using The Paste Special Method

Having understood how the Google Sheets TRANSPOSE function works and the two different ways to transpose data in Google Sheets, it is time to get hands-on. 

This section will show you how to use the paste special method to transpose data in Google Sheets. 

And just before you feel intimidated, the entire process is seamless. 

Suppose you have the following dataset of student names and test scores in Google Sheets:

Here are the steps to transpose the data using the Paste special option. 

Step 1: Select Source Data

We first need to select the entire range, A1 through B5, that we want to transpose. This selects the cells that contain the source data you want to flip. It’s crucial to select the entire range you want transposed, both the name and score columns in this example.

Step 2: Copy Data

Copy the selected cells by pressing Ctrl + C on your keyboard or right-clicking and selecting copy. This copies the source data so we can paste it transposed in a new location.

Step 3: Select Destination Cell

Now that we have copied the source data we want to transpose, we must also choose an empty cell in our spreadsheet to paste the transposed data. For this example, we will go with cell E1. 

Step 4: Use Paste Special > Transpose

Having chosen a cell in your spreadsheet where you want the copied data transposed, let’s go ahead and use the paste special option. 

Start by right-clicking on cell E1. From the options presented, choose “Paste Special,” then select “Transpose.” This pastes the copied data oriented horizontally instead of vertically.

If you did everything exactly as we detailed above, the student name and test score data should be neatly arranged horizontally instead of stacked vertically. 

Here, check out what ours looks like: 

From everything we have covered so far, we are sure you’ll agree that transposing data using the Paste special method is pretty straightforward. 

Caveats of Paste Special Approach

When using the paste special transpose method, there are a couple of important caveats to note:

Formatting Does Not Carry Over

The cell formatting, like colors, borders, etc., does not get copied to the newly transposed data. So, you will need to reapply any formats manually.

Requires Repeating if Data Changes

This approach also only does a one-time transpose. If you edit or add to your original vertical data, the changes do not transpose over automatically. You’d have to redo the paste special steps to update it.

For a dynamic transpose that applies instantly as data changes, you would use the TRANSPOSE function instead, which we will cover next. But for a simple, quick, and manual transpose, paste special gets the job done.

How to Transpose Data in Google Sheets Using the TRANSPOSE Function

As the previous section shows, you can transpose data by manually copying cells and using paste special. However, this has to be repeated each time you make changes, which might make dealing with complex data a little tiring. 

Thankfully, you can use the Google Sheets TRANSPOSE function for a more automated approach. 

What’s unique about the TRANSPOSE function is that it takes a defined range and programmatically flips the data to the opposite orientation with just one formula. When the data is updated, it will continue transposing with no additional work.

Let’s look at how to transpose our student names and scores example using the TRANSPOSE function:

Step 1: Choose  A Blank Cell

The first thing you want to do is choose a blank cell in your spreadsheet. This is where you want the transposed data to be. For this example, we will go with cell E1. 

Step 2: Type the TRANSPOSE Formula

With the cell where you want the transposed date created selected, navigate to the formula bar and type in the following formula: 

Step 3: Press Enter

After typing the formula like we showed you above, all that is left to do is press the Enter button on your keyboard. When you do this, Google Sheets will automatically transpose the data in the referenced range to the selected area of your sheet. 

Here is what ours looks like: 

Things To Know About Google Sheets Transpose Function

Here are some things you should know about the Google Sheets transpose function. 

TRANSPOSE Automatically Resizes

The TRANSPOSE function automatically counts the number of rows and columns in your original vertical data and flips it to fill the same number horizontally. So, five rows would transpose to 5 columns. This is very convenient as you don’t have to adjust sizing manually.

Getting #REF Errors

If there is already existing data in the cells where TRANSPOSE tries to paste the new horizontal data, you will get errors. The function needs blank cells to do its job, so it shows #REF to indicate those cells are already filled. To fix this, delete any data already in the target paste area before using TRANSPOSE.

Must Delete All Transposed Data

Additionally, if you ever want to delete the transposed dataset, you need to remove the entire range. Attempting to delete only parts of the transposed data columns will result in errors, so removing it all at once is required, which will clear out the function’s output.

Frequently Asked Questions

My Transposed Data Is Showing A #Ref Error, What Do I Do?

This error occurs if there is already existing data in the cells that the TRANSPOSE function is trying to paste the newly transposed data into. Select and clear out those cells before applying the TRANSPOSE formula to avoid #REF errors.

When I Filtered Certain Rows In My Original Data, Some Rows Now Contain #Ref Errors After Transposing. Why Is That?

The TRANSPOSE function takes an entire contiguous range as input. If you filter out some in-between rows before transposing, it will cause errors in the output. Apply filters only after transposing to avoid this issue.

I Transposed A Large Dataset, And Now All My Numeric Data Is Formatted Differently And Wrapped Onto Multiple Text Lines, Why Did This Happen?

Google Sheets can sometimes struggle to set uniform number formatting when transposing extremely large ranges. Try selecting the entire transposed range and going to Format > Number > Plain Number to cleanly format it after using TRANSPOSE.

I Want My Horizontally Transposed Data To Update Automatically When I Edit The Original Vertical Range, How Can I Do That?

The TRANSPOSE function will dynamically pull from the vertical source data range in real time. Use its formula instead of copy/paste special to make the transposed data updateable on the fly with no extra effort.

Final Thoughts

Learning to transpose your data correctly unlocks more effective data analysis and presentation in Google Sheets.

The paste special transpose method provides a simple, hands-on way to manually flip your data. Though requiring repetition if the source data changes.

Meanwhile, leveraging Google Sheets’ powerful TRANSPOSE function automates transposing massive datasets instantly. And its formula continues pulling from the source data going forward automatically.

In summary, key takeaways include:

  • Use paste special to do one-time manual transposing for small datasets
  • The TRANSPOSE formula effortlessly handles large or dynamic ranges
  • Properly resizing columns/rows ahead of time prevents overflow issues
  • Transposed data may need reformatting and cleaning to polish the output

With both robust methods added to your Google Sheets skillset, pivoting and flipping your data to offer new perspectives is smooth and straightforward.

We hope today’s guide has helped you understand the basics of the Google Sheets TRANSPOSE function. If you need more clarification, please feel free to comment; we will be happy to respond.