8 Google Sheets Tricks for Advanced Users

Google Sheets has a long list of advanced functions that can save you time and effort. From simple additions to data manipulation, these functions allow you to manipulate your spreadsheets in unique ways.

For example, using the VLOOKUP function allows you to look up information in one column and return it from another. This can be particularly useful when working with tables or lists.

Highlight and Copy

To highlight text with a mouse or keyboard, simply move your cursor to the beginning of what you want to duplicate. Press and hold the primary button on your mouse — typically, the left button. Then, continue to move your cursor over the text until you have highlighted it all. Once the highlighting has been completed, you’ll see a blue selection box appear around it. You can then right-click and select Copy from the resulting menu to duplicate the selected content and save it to your clipboard for use in another document.

Alternatively, you can also use the PROPER function to capitalize each word in a string of text or Regexextract to isolate certain strings (like an email address, path, or root domain) within a long string of words. For a more thorough explanation of these Google Sheets functions, check out CIFL’s more general Google Sheets Tools for Marketers post.

Another option is to use a Macro, which records a series of steps that you want Google Sheets to repeat on command. For example, if you work with the same data set each month, it might be worth learning how to record a Macro to speed up your workflow.


Whether you’re an Excel pro or new to Google Sheets, you can use Autofill to save time. This feature automatically copies values from a selected cell to adjacent cells when you click and drag the fill handle. It works great for a list of recurring items like days of the week or months of the year, and it’s especially useful if you have a lot of data to copy.

You can also use Autofill to create a group of recurring entries in a column or row. This makes it easier to find your entries later and can help you keep the data more organized.

Google Sheets has hundreds of functions that can help you analyze and process your data. Some of my favorites include the Vlookup and Index Match formulas, which make it easy to find information across multiple sheets and a large set of data. Another handy tool is the find and replace function, which lets you update a word or phrase throughout your spreadsheet quickly and easily.

Lock Header Row

Freezing rows or columns in Google Sheets improves navigation and increases accuracy while working with data. For example, freezing the first row enables you to maintain a visible reference point for column headers as you scroll down your data. This feature can be a lifesaver when collaborating with others and can help reduce mistakes by maintaining a clear view of important information.

You can also use the “Set editing warning” feature to prevent unauthorized or accidental changes in a range of cells or an entire Sheet. Highlight the cells or Sheet you want to protect, then click “Protect” in the side panel. Choose the options for displaying a warning and selecting whether users can edit the semi-locked cells or sheets.

If you need to unlock a locked cell or Sheet, click on it and select “Remove protection” in the side panel menu. This will remove any edits from the cells or Sheet and return them to its original state. Alternatively, you can change the formatting style for locked cells so that it is clearly displayed as uneditable (e.g., a light gray background).

Autoformat Cells

Google Sheets offers a range of formatting options to customize how your data is displayed. For example, you can format a cell to display text wrapped around numbers or use conditional formatting to highlight cells based on certain criteria.

The find and replace feature is a great tool for updating information throughout your spreadsheet in one go. If you need to change a product name or correct mistakes made during data entry, this can save time over manually searching and editing each individual instance.

You can also alphabetize your spreadsheet data to make it easier for you or other users to digest and read. This is useful for spreadsheets with large amounts of data that are hard to manage in a single view.

To apply the same style to a range of cells, select them and click Autoformat cells in the quick-access toolbar. Then, select the desired option and click OK. It will automatically apply the selected format to all the selected cells. This can save you lots of time when working with large data sets.

Remove Formulas

Like any other spreadsheet application, Google Sheets offers a variety of built-in formulas that allow you to do all sorts of data crunching tasks. However, most of these are meant to analyse blocks of data, which can be tricky to work with when you have multiple columns or rows of data to deal with.

Luckily, there are several keyboard shortcuts that will help you save time in this regard. For instance, you can use Ctrl + H (Command + H on Mac) to hide all the current formulas in a sheet. This will make them invisible to other users until you explicitly show them again.

Moreover, you can also use the Find & Replace tool to search for certain words or phrases and replace them with something else. This is especially useful if you’re working with a large data set, as it will help preserve memory and allow your computer to run faster. You can even find and replace text within formulas with this trick. Just enter the word or phrase you want to find next to Find, and the replacement text or phrase next to Replace with.

Lock Cells

When sharing spreadsheets with teammates, there will be instances when you need to restrict some of the data from being edited. Locking a cell or Sheet is a great way to keep information intact and prevent users from accidentally making changes that could alter calculations.

You can use the Sheets > Protect sheets and ranges option to set permissions for an entire sheet or a selected area of the sheet. You can also enable the Show a warning when editing this range option to display a prompt or warning message when a user tries to make changes in a protected cell or Sheet.

When you click Set permissions, you can customize who is allowed to edit the sheet or select from existing users. You can also set a description to describe why you’re locking the cells or sheet. This will give your team members a clear indication of why the cell or sheet is locked. You can also unlock the sheet by clicking Remove in the sidebar menu. When you unlock a Sheet, you will have the option to disable the Show a warning when editing this range feature.

Comment Cells

Whether you are a data analyst or project manager, Google Sheets is an incredibly powerful tool especially when combined with something like SheetMagic. By leveraging these advanced tricks, you can increase your productivity and make the most of this magical spreadsheet platform.

Comment cells are a great way to communicate with your teammates or coworkers, especially if you work on collaborative projects. They show up as red indicators in the corner of a cell and are only visible when you hover over them. You can also view all comments at once by clicking the Review tab, then selecting Show all comments.

Another cool feature of comment cells is that you can lock a range of cells and allow only certain users to edit them. This can be a powerful way to keep your spreadsheets private or maintain security and integrity for specific data sets. To lock a range, highlight it and select View more cell actions > Protect this cell. You can also share a link to your spreadsheet and limit the role of anyone who clicks it—view- or comment-only options are available.

Link Cells

Like Excel, Google Sheets has a variety of built-in formulas that accomplish a wide range of statistical and data manipulation tasks. However, there are some advanced tricks you can use to make your spreadsheets even more powerful.

One trick is to link cells. When you link a cell, the spreadsheet will automatically be focused on the specified cell range when you open the document. For example, if you have a “judgenames” range defined in a spreadsheet, whenever you open the file, it will be opened with a focus on the cell C1:C605.

Another advanced feature is to add dropdown lists to cells. This makes it easy for coworkers to enter numbers or words, eliminating the need to type them all manually.