Convert Excel To Google Sheets - Here's How

Convert Excel To Google Sheets – Here’s How

If you are a Google Drive user and use Google Sheets for spreadsheets, you will inevitably have a situation where someone sends to an Excel file. In some cases you will want to just keep it as an XLS document and view/work with it that way. In other cases, you may want to convert Excel to Google Sheets. Here’s how.

If You Already Have The Excel File In Google Drive

If your Excel XLS is already in Google Drive, it is easy to convert it to Google Sheets.

First, right-click on the file in Google Drive.

Next, choose Open with and then choose Google Sheets.

Convert Excel To Google Sheets - Right click

Your spreadsheet will now be converted to Google Sheets.

Convert Excel To Google Sheets - Converted

Convert Excel To Google Sheets While Uploading

You can upload an Excel file and convert it to Google Sheets when you upload it.

To do that, go to the Google Sheets Home.

Then hit the Open file picker icon in the top-right corner.

Convert Excel To Google Sheets - Open Picker

Next, hit the Upload tab and drag your XLS file into the Upload section or hit Select a file from your computer and choose the Excel file you want to upload.

Convert Excel To Google Sheets - Upload

Your file will then be uploaded and converted to Google Sheets.

Automatically Convert Excel To Google Sheets When Uploading

You can make it so that Google Drive automatically converts your uploaded files to the appropriate Google Sheets or Docs format.

To do that, follow the instructions in my Convert Microsoft Office To Google Docs Using Google Drive (Or Don’t) article.

What You Can And Can Not Convert

Here is what Google Sheets will convert:

Spreadsheets: .xls (if newer than Microsoft® Office 95), .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlt, .xltx, .xltm .ods, .csv, .tsv, .txt, .tab

Here are the features that are not supported:

  • Password protected files
  • Macros (you can implement your macro in Apps Script)
  • Embedded charts in Word and PowerPoint files
  • Linked spreadsheets in Excel files

Have you ever run into any situations where Sheets wouldn’t convert an Excel spreadsheet properly? Let us know your experience in the comments.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 34 comments

DIANE SMITH - October 25, 2018 Reply

Well, that was a bust. My file uploaded but I can’t view it because it’s too large! Where does it say anything about file size limitations??
My crazy old PC holds the file safely but has decided to have Alzheimer’s so I can’t open it in Excel to reduce the size.
I just got handed a big disappointment.

Darya - October 25, 2018 Reply

Hi,

I converted an Excel to Google sheet, but whenever I try to edit it ( even on the copy version), it first freezes and then gives an error. Is there a way to fix that issue? It’s very important to document that I need. I can’t even copy and paste it.

Thanks.

Brian A Litz - July 2, 2018 Reply

I have a fairly complex workbook with 40 tabs and math and time functions on every sheet with a summary sheet at the end. I have converted this sheet without the time functions and don’t have a problem. Is it possible the workbook has become too complex for google sheets to convert?

Alwira Sheikh - June 11, 2018 Reply

on converting excel file to google spreadsheets pivot tables are missing. simply data is displayed in the sheets without any filters. How do I recover my pivot table?

tom - May 25, 2018 Reply

I’m trying to convert an excel document that is uploaded to Drive to Sheets but it tells me the file is too large. It is a simple spreadsheet but it has numerous pages to it with math that adds data from one sheet to the next. Is that type of document doomed? Thanks

    Davie - June 8, 2018 Reply

    I’m curious if you ever got yours to work? I have the same situation and it never seems to complete. It just spins and spins.

Charlize - May 16, 2018 Reply

Hi guys, I uploaded my excel sheet to google drive, if I preview it, it shows all my graphs correctly, in an excel format, And if I say ” Open With Google Sheet” it converts it, but it doesn’t display the graphs.

Any advise?

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Natalie M Villanueva - March 13, 2018 Reply

I have an excel sheet that someone created for me. It has a formula that uses “traffic lights”. I need it to keep track of students who take State’s tests and students who don’t show up and need to make-up. The problem is that I need to share it with the testing committee so that we all have access and edit. For this reason, we use google sheets. When I go to my drive and upload the excel file from my documents, the document gets converted to google sheets but I do not see the traffic light dots (yellow, green, red). I only see the numbers (1, 2,3) for each color code. Can someone please help me? Is there any way to fix this? I know that one is Microsoft and the other one is google, but I need a way to fix this. I don’t know how to create this formula using google sheets. I don’t know how. Someone helped me to create the excel sheet and that person does not know how to use google spreadsheets. Thank you!!!

Moki - March 7, 2018 Reply

How can Automatically Convert Excel To Google Sheets When I save my Excel file from my email to google drive without upload !?
I don’t need to download and upload the file again to google drive to be considered as google sheet file.

    ae - April 7, 2018 Reply

    What???

    Robert Matheson - April 16, 2018 Reply

    Moki,
    I agree with you. converting back and forth takes time and slows down work production. Not all the employees understand converting or how or why it’s done. I would use one office software Microsoft Word or Excel and stop all the converting its a nightmare. You don’t need Google to save or retrieve files it can be done with Microsoft products and saves time.

    Robert

Edward - February 14, 2018 Reply

You all have been so helpful. thanks a million.

Barbara Duncan - February 11, 2018 Reply

When I try to convert, open or upload an excel file to google sheets, the only option I have is open with is Google Oauth 2.0 Playground. I don’t have an option to open with Google Sheets. I don’t know what Oauth 2.0 is or how I got it. When I read up on it, it seems to be a tool used by developers. How do I get rid of it and get plain old Google Sheets back as an option?

Bo Rutberg - January 24, 2018 Reply

I do not want to use google sheets for lot of reasons (macros, passwords, layout, law enforcement files etc). I therefore want people in my organisation to use Microsoft Excel locally on their computers. My problem is that people often goes on making the transformation unknowingly. The do not know what they do, and suddenly we have two files and people start working in different files.
Is there a way to turn off the possibility to make the transformation from Excel into a Google Sheet?

    Robert Matheson - April 16, 2018 Reply

    Dear Bo Rutbert,
    I agree with you. Google is just moving in on Microsoft territory copying their layout standards that have been around forever and they are not as good at office file computing and sharing as Microsoft. The cloud and Google are dangerous, keep your data local and safe away from the cloud. The only reason people are using Google is that it takes the place of a file server on the local network.

    The reason you have two files is the way the file is converted and saved by Google. When you use the Google drive or cloud it saves the file automatically with a Google extension on the file and you have to use it to get access thus you have two files. Google saves a file with its extension and Microsoft word saves a file as a .doc ending on the file name. So it is important that your people save all files with the correct extension on the end. (.doc or .xls,) To change it you have to open the file and resave it. Its all about saving with the correct ending on the file so everyone is the same.

    To answer your other question:
    If you want to stay local and stay away from Google and prying internet eyes assuming you have Microsoft software (excel, word, powerpoint) with a proper working network you can access any file on any other computer on the local network, its called peer to peer, and it is done by mapping a drive. Mapping the drive to another PC allows you to connect to another PCs hard drive to access their files and move them over to your PC as needed without google and the internet and it stays local. Mapping a drive is easy but you have to know how to write a map to connect to another PC on the network. The mapping equation can be stored on your PC and when you want to access another users computer to retrieve a file, all you do is click on the map with your mouse and you’re connected to see their files and you can retrieve it to your PC. It keeps security within your network and not on the internet for the world to see especially if they are sensitive in nature. It keeps documents secure within the local network and workplace. Hope this helps. Good Luck

    Robert Matheson
    rmatheson64@yahoo.com

    Robert Matheson - April 16, 2018 Reply

    Barbara,
    I would not say good ole Google sheets. I understand you like Google, but I’m not sure why. It causes problems in the office spending time converting back and forth from Word to Google and back. Waste of time and less work being done. Make everyone use Microsoft Word or Excel and forget sending your files to the cloud taking a chance that prying eyes are looking at your files can be a security nightmare. Good luck

    Robert

Jill - January 17, 2018 Reply

When I convert my excel sheet to google sheets the axis of my chart is incorrect. In excel the vertical axis is 0-100. When I convert it to google sheets it goes from 60-90. I double clicked on the axis to change the range while in google sheets but it does not work – it overlaps numbers.

    Robert Matheson - April 16, 2018 Reply

    You are having the issue because Google can’t copy Microsofts software exactly so they make changes to their product that are not as good and can say that it’s not the same as Microsoft and prevent copy write issues in a court of law, lawsuits etc.

    Use and encourage all your fellow workers to use only one software file extension so that it is the same for all. Go back to Microsoft Word, Excel as the office standard. Google is not as good as Microsoft and their software documents extensions and conversions back and forth are a nightmare. If someone sends a file with a Google extension tell them to resend it and correct how they saved it before sending it to you. With one software it makes saving available for all. You don’t need google or the prying eyes of the internet to see files from your people. Google can be dangerous and a security nightmare.

    Robert Matheson

Christine - June 10, 2017 Reply

Is it possible to copy a row from google sheets and paste into an already created excel worksheet and match everything in that worksheet?

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palzor - May 23, 2017 Reply

I was trying to automate the process of converting the excel to google sheet using python. While doing a search over the internet I did not find a direct way to do it so I manage do to a workaround. My reports were in ssrs so I used SSIS to schedule a download of the report and used Python to convert the downloaded file into google sheet. I hope it may help someone.

https://devzoe.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/export-xls-to-google-sheet-using-ssis-and-python/

Andy - April 14, 2017 Reply

Hi,

I created drop down lists in a column for each cell and those selections have rules with the formula =$L2=”Sold” which will colour the row green when I select the Sold option in the drop down list for any cell in column L.

In Google Sheets when I select the Sold option in the drop down list I created to cells in column L, the rule to colour code highlights the row 12 down. So, if I hit sold in L2, L14 will highlight green. This doesn’t happen in the original. Can anyone help???

Altin - March 22, 2017 Reply

Cdata Software has developed The Google Sheets Excel Add-In, which is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from Google Spreadsheets, directly from Microsoft Excel. Use Excel to read, write, and update Google Sheets. Perfect for mass imports / exports / updates, data cleansing & de-duplication, Excel based data analysis, and more!
Here are some of my favorite features:

Easy import of data into Excel
Free for non-commercial use
Easy to save changes back*
Ability to filter and sort, not just a raw import
Establishes a live, refreshable connection, not just a static dump
Modify and delete records
Quickly export and backup data
Operate on data with Charts and Pivot Tables
The robust features of the Excel Add-In are easy to use, thanks to out-of-the-box functionality. You can install the Add-In, configure the connection to your data source, and, thanks to the point-and-click interface, immediately begin working with your data.

While the default options allow you to access and manipulate your data without writing any code, the Add-In is supported in macros/VBA functions. This gives you robust, granular control of your data on top of the generic queries possible through the Excel Add-In user interface.

For more information visit: https://www.cdata.com/drivers/gsheets/excel/

Joey L - March 20, 2017 Reply

I have used the above method however several charts in my spreadsheets are not converting to google sheets and displaying properly. Several pieces of information especially the axis information is not carrying over.

Lynnda - March 17, 2017 Reply

The directions were perfect and easy to follow, once I understood the following:
-knowing which page was the home page for google docs, and
-figuring out what the “open file picker” icon was. To find it, I hovered over various icons and found it in middle right (not top right) of my google docs home page.

Jeannine - March 13, 2017 Reply

Hi,

I’ve been using Google Sheets for quite some time, and always use the 1st method above with no problem. Suddenly it stopped working, and I get the error “Document cannot be converted”. When I go back to old files that were previously converted fine, they cannot be converted anymore either.

When trying the automatic conversion when uploaded, I get an upload failure.

Ever run into this?

Thanks.

Robert - February 22, 2017 Reply

There is another way. You don’t necessarily have to convert Excel to Google Sheets. You can also directly import the data from Excel into Google Sheets.

I described the process in this video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgAl9gjBlaQ&feature=youtu.be

Sigridur - February 17, 2017 Reply

Hello,

I already have an excel document on google docs but now I don’t need to share it anymore and would like to retrieve it to excel and work it from there.

I cannot find how to do that? Please help.

Best regards,
S. Birgisdottir

    Jonathan - March 30, 2017 Reply

    Open the sheet in Google Sheets.
    Click on File > Download as > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)
    Select where on your drive you want to open it.
    Open it with Excel.

      Jonathan - March 30, 2017 Reply

      Alternatively, right-mouse click on the file/s in Drive and select Download, and it will convert to XLSX and allow you to save it to your hard drive.

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