Importing data into spreadsheets can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be. With just a few clicks, Google Sheets makes it simple to import CSV (comma-separated values) files into your spreadsheets. This allows you to easily import large datasets from other applications without manually copying and pasting all of the data.
In this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn what a CSV file is, why you should use it, and step-by-step instructions for importing your CSV data into a Google Sheet.
Whether you’re looking to analyze data from another program or combine information from multiple sources, importing CSV files into Google Sheets is an essential skill that will save you tons of time.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to import CSV into Google Sheets in just minutes without stress. Plus, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to get it done.
CSV File: What is it and Why Should You Import CSV Into Google Sheets
A CSV file, short for Comma Separated Values, is a straightforward text document primarily dedicated to housing data lists. Its versatility extends to facilitating data exchange between diverse applications and finding optimal applications in contact managers and databases.
CSV files provide a simple format for storing tabular data that can be easily imported into spreadsheets. At their core, CSV files are just plain text files that structure data in rows and columns, with comma delimiters separating the individual values.
This lightweight format can be generated by many different applications and databases, making it a handy interchange format between programs.
The portability and simplicity of CSV gives it some key advantages for importing data into Google Sheets. Here are some benefits CSV has over other file formats.
- CSV is compact, requiring very little disk space compared to other formats. This makes sharing and transferring data easy.
- The textual nature of CSV allows it to be viewed and edited in basic text editors when needed.
- CSV is a widespread format that has been adopted by countless apps and web services. Most data you want to analyze is likely exportable to CSV.
- Imported CSV data integrates seamlessly into Sheets, auto-populating cells correctly.
To provide you with better insight into what a CSV file is, here is what a typical structure of a contact list CSV file looks like:
Name, Gender, Address, Number, Email
By learning how to structure and import CSV files correctly, you can unlock the full potential of Google Sheets for your data analysis needs. This guide will walk through the entire process step-by-step. Follow along to gain better insight.
Beginner Guide on How to Import CSV Into Google Sheets
Now that you know what a CSV file is and why you might want to import CSV into Google Sheets, it’s time to guide you through the hands-on process of importing CSV into Google Sheets.
There are two main methods for importing a CSV file into Sheets. The first method we will cover is importing a CSV file directly from your computer. This involves navigating your local files and uploading the CSV file into Sheets.
The second method is importing a CSV file from Google Drive. This involves first uploading the CSV file to your Drive storage. Then, you can open Sheets and import that file stored in Drive.
Read on as we show you the step-by-step process of importing CSV files into Google Sheets using these methods.
How to Import Locally Stored CSV Files Into Google Sheets
Importing a CSV file saved locally on your computer into Google Sheets is straightforward. By following a few simple steps, you can quickly upload your CSV data and view it in a spreadsheet.
Here are the detailed steps to import a locally stored CSV file into Google Sheets:
Step 1: Open Google Sheets
To import CSV into Google Sheets, first go to sheets.google.com using your preferred browser. This will open the Google Sheets website. Once the website loads, you should see an interface that looks like this:
Step 2: Click on File Icon
Once the Google Sheets interface launches, you’ll see different options. However, since we are only interested in importing CSV files into Google Sheets, we will scroll down and select the file icon. This action will launch the file picker interface.
Step 3: Choose the Import Option
After clicking on the File icon, the Import file window will open.
In the Import file window, you will see these options to choose from:
- Recent – Import a recently used file
- My Drive – Import a file from Google Drive
- Shared with me – Import a file shared with you through Google Drive
- Starred – Import a starred or bookmarked file
- Computer – Import a file directly from your computer storage
- Upload – Upload and import a file from your computer
Since we want to import the CSV file saved on your computer, click the “Upload” option. This allows you to import the specific CSV file from your computer’s storage.
Clicking “Upload” here is important to be able to import the locally stored CSV file rather than importing from a cloud storage option.
Step 4: Click on Browse
After clicking “Upload” to import your CSV file, you will see a button that says “Browse” or “Drag file here.” Click on the “Browse” button.
This will open a window showing all the files saved on your computer. This is your computer’s local storage.
In the window, find the CSV file you want to import. Click on the CSV file to select it.
Clicking “Browse” and selecting your CSV file will get your file ready to upload into Google Sheets.
Note: The “Browse” button lets you navigate your computer’s files and choose the specific CSV file to import.
Step 5: Select the CSV file
Having clicked on the Browse button to import CSV into Google Sheets, you should be automatically redirected to your local storage. Here, you want to select the CSV file you want to import into Google Sheets.
Once you select the file, it should take a few seconds or minutes to upload, depending on the file size.
Step 6: Review the Uploaded CSV file
After importing the CSV file, as we showed you in the previous step, Google Sheets should instantly launch, displaying the content of the CSV file.
Here is what ours looks like:
Importing a CSV file from your computer into Google Sheets is very easy. Just follow the steps:
- Open Google Sheets
- Click the File icon
- Choose “Upload”
- Click “Browse” and pick your CSV file
- Click “Open.”
And that’s it – the CSV file will be imported into Sheets.
Pro tip: If you have any trouble getting your CSV file into Sheets, don’t worry. Just go over each step again carefully. You should have everything sorted.
Import CSV into Google Sheets Using Google Drive
Previously, we went over how to import a CSV file that is saved locally on your computer. This involves uploading the file directly into Google Sheets. However, another easy way to import CSV into Google Sheets is using Google Drive.
For this method, you will need to have the CSV file already saved in your Google Drive storage rather than on your local computer. Google Drive allows you to access files from any device through the cloud. This provides an alternative way to get your CSV data into Sheets.
In the next section, we will discuss how to import a CSV file into Google Sheets from Google Drive. The steps are very similar to importing from your computer. However, you will navigate Google Drive instead of your local files.
Just so you know, having your file stored in Drive can provide more flexibility for accessing and importing your CSV data into Sheets.
Now, let’s go through how to import a CSV file into Google Sheets using the Google Drive method.
Step 1: Open Google Drive
To import CSV into Google Sheets using Google Drive, you’ll first need to open your Google Drive. You can do so by visiting drive.google.com directly from your browser’s search bar.
This should take you directly to your Google Drive.
Step 2: Search for the CSV file
Assuming you already have your CSV file saved to Google Drive, all you need to do is click on the search bar in your Google Drive and search for the name you used to save the CSV file.
Step 3: Select CSV File
Once you find the CSV file you want to import to Google Sheets, click on it. This action will automatically launch Google Sheets, where you’ll be able to see the content of your CSV file.
Here is what our CSV file looks like after being imported from Google Drive.
Note: You can use either method to import CSV into Google Sheets – directly from your computer or from Google Drive. The steps are very similar, just accessing the file from different locations.
Choose whichever method is more convenient for you based on where your CSV file is currently saved. Importing from Drive may be easier if the file is already in your Google Drive account. But you can also upload the file from your computer’s storage if needed.
The important thing is that Google Sheets makes it simple to import CSV data from different sources.
How to Create a CSV File in Google Sheets
If you have read to this point, you should be able to import CSV into Google Sheets using any of the methods we showed you. However, today’s tutorial will not be complete if we don’t show you how to create CSV files.
So, we want to use this section to teach you how to create a CSV file in Google Sheets.
Just so you know, Google Sheets provides a simple way to create a CSV file from your spreadsheet data. Follow these steps to make your first CSV file in Google Sheets.
Step 1: Open Google Sheets
The first thing you want to do is open the spreadsheet housing the data you want to export as a CSV file.
Step 2: File > Download > Comma-separated values (.csv, current sheet)
After opening the Google Sheet you want to export as a CSV file, click on the File menu in the top left.
In the drop-down menu, scroll down and click on “Download”. A smaller menu will open. In this menu, click “Comma-separated values (.csv).”
This will download just the sheet as a CSV file.
The video below shows you how to create a CSV file in Google Sheets.
Note: Choosing the “Comma-separated values” option in the Download menu exports the spreadsheet as a CSV file type.
Step 3: Save CSV File
After choosing the CSV file format as your preferred download option, A pop-up will appear, prompting you to name the CSV file. Enter a name for the file. Finally, Choose where you want to save the exported CSV file.
That’s it. Your file should be instantly downloaded and saved to your preferred storage location.
Throughout this guide, we covered the ins and outs of importing CSV files into Google Sheets. To recap, here are some of the key points:
- CSV (comma-separated values) files allow you to store spreadsheet data in a simple format that can be imported into other programs.
- There are two main methods for importing a CSV file into Sheets – directly uploading from your computer or importing from Google Drive.
- Both options provide an easy way to get your CSV data into a Sheet for further use. Choose the method that works best based on where your file is stored.
- The import process involves just a few steps – open Sheets, navigate to the CSV file, select it, and import it into a sheet.
- You can also export Sheet data into a CSV file using the Download menu option. This creates a CSV version of your sheet to share or use in other apps.
- Importing CSV data allows you to view, edit, analyze, and collaborate on the information in Sheets. This provides powerful capabilities beyond just storing data in CSV format.
In summary, Google Sheets makes importing CSV files a seamless process. With just a few clicks, you can unlock additional value from your CSV data.