How to Reference Another Sheet in Google Sheets: 3 Steps

Jason Gong
June 6, 2024

Type =SheetName!CellReference to reference another sheet in Google Sheets.

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Referencing data from another sheet in Google Sheets is a powerful feature that allows you to create dynamic, interconnected workbooks. By mastering sheet referencing, you can efficiently manage and analyze complex data sets across multiple sheets. In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the process of referencing cells, ranges, and using functions to pull data from other sheets, as well as advanced techniques like cross-sheet conditional formatting.

Understanding Sheet Referencing in Google Sheets

Sheet referencing in Google Sheets is the process of pulling data from one sheet into another within the same spreadsheet. This feature is crucial for managing complex data sets across multiple sheets, as it allows you to create dynamic, interconnected workbooks that automatically update when changes are made to the source data. For a more advanced experience, you can connect Google Sheets with other tools.

The basic syntax for referencing data from another sheet is: =SheetName!CellReference. For example, to reference cell A1 from a sheet named "Sales", you would use the formula =Sales!A1. If the sheet name contains spaces or special characters, you must enclose it in single quotes, like this: ='Sales Data'!A1.

Correct sheet naming is essential for ensuring formula accuracy when referencing data across sheets. Here are some best practices:

  • Use descriptive, concise names that reflect the content of each sheet
  • For automation, consider using tools to enrich data in Google Sheets
  • Avoid using special characters or spaces in sheet names whenever possible
  • If you must use spaces or special characters, remember to enclose the sheet name in single quotes within your formulas

By following these guidelines and understanding the basic syntax for sheet referencing, you'll be well on your way to creating powerful, dynamic Google Sheets workbooks that efficiently manage and analyze your data.

Using Cell References Across Sheets

To reference individual cells from another sheet within the same Google Sheets document, use the following syntax: =SheetName!CellReference. For example, to reference cell B3 from a sheet named "Data", you would use the formula =Data!B3. If the sheet name contains spaces or special characters, enclose it in single quotes, like this: ='Sheet Name'!B3.

Here's a step-by-step guide on referencing ranges across sheets:

  1. Select the cell where you want the referenced data to appear
  2. Type an equals sign (=) followed by the name of the sheet containing the data you want to reference
  3. Add an exclamation point (!) after the sheet name
  4. Enter the range of cells you want to reference, using the format StartCell:EndCell (e.g., A1:B5)
  5. Press Enter to complete the formula

Referencing ranges across sheets is useful for data analysis and manipulation, as it allows you to consolidate and summarize data from multiple sources in a single location. This can help you create dynamic reports and dashboards that automatically update when the source data changes. Add ChatGPT to Google Sheets to make data analysis even easier.

Use GPT for Google Sheets to streamline your data workflows and boost efficiency.

Be aware of these common pitfalls when referencing cells across sheets:

  • Referencing moved or deleted cells: If you move or delete a referenced cell, your formulas may return errors or incorrect values. To avoid this, use named ranges or absolute cell references ($A$1) when possible
  • Changing sheet names: If you rename a sheet that's referenced in formulas, those formulas will break. Make sure to update any formulas that reference the old sheet name

By understanding how to reference cells and ranges across sheets and being mindful of potential issues, you can create powerful, interconnected Google Sheets workbooks that efficiently manage and analyze your data.

Harnessing Functions with Cross-Sheet Data

Google Sheets offers several powerful functions that allow you to work with data across multiple sheets. Here's how to use some common functions to reference and manipulate cross-sheet data:

  • SUM: To sum values from another sheet, use the syntax =SUM(SheetName!CellRange). For example, =SUM(Sales!B2:B10) will add up the values in cells B2 through B10 on the "Sales" sheet.
  • VLOOKUP: This function searches for a specific value in one sheet and returns a corresponding value from another sheet. The syntax is =VLOOKUP(SearchValue, SheetName!SearchRange, ColumnIndex, [RangeLookup]). For instance, =VLOOKUP(A2, Products!A:B, 2, FALSE) will search for the value in cell A2 within the range A:B on the "Products" sheet and return the value from the second column of the matched row.
  • IMPORTRANGE: To reference data from a different Google Sheets file, use the IMPORTRANGE function with the syntax =IMPORTRANGE("SpreadsheetURL", "SheetName!CellRange"). Replace "SpreadsheetURL" with the URL of the source spreadsheet and "SheetName!CellRange" with the sheet name and cell range you want to import. Note that the source spreadsheet must be shared with you for this function to work.

Using these functions to reference cross-sheet data offers several benefits:

  1. Consolidate data from multiple sheets into a single location for easier analysis and reporting
  2. Create dynamic summaries that automatically update when the source data changes
  3. Establish relationships between data in different sheets to build more complex models and calculations

By leveraging the power of functions like SUM, VLOOKUP, and IMPORTRANGE, you can create more efficient and interconnected Google Sheets workbooks that make managing and analyzing your data a breeze. Additionally, you can scrape data from websites to integrate more diverse datasets.

Dynamic Data Management with IMPORTRANGE

The IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets is a powerful tool for syncing data across multiple spreadsheets. Here's a detailed tutorial on how to use it:

Syntax: =IMPORTRANGE("spreadsheet_url","range_string")

  • spreadsheet_url: The URL of the source spreadsheet, enclosed in quotation marks or referenced from a cell containing the URL.
  • range_string: The range of cells to import, in the format "SheetName!A1:B10" or "A1:B10" (if referring to the first sheet). Must be enclosed in quotation marks or referenced from a cell containing the range.


  1. Enter the function in a cell, providing the source spreadsheet URL and range.
  2. When first using IMPORTRANGE with a new source, you'll need to grant permission by clicking "Allow access" in the #REF! error message.
  3. Once access is granted, the data will be imported and automatically synced with the source.

Common issues and troubleshooting:

  • Access permissions: Ensure you have permission to access the source spreadsheet. If you don't own it, request access from the owner.
  • Data updates: IMPORTRANGE automatically updates every hour or when the receiving spreadsheet is opened. To force an update, make a minor edit to the IMPORTRANGE formula cell.

Best practices:

  • Limit the number of receiving sheets to reduce data transfer and improve performance.
  • Avoid chaining IMPORTRANGE functions across multiple sheets, as this can cause delays and circular references.
  • Condense and aggregate data in the source sheet before using IMPORTRANGE to minimize transferred data.

By mastering IMPORTRANGE, you can create dynamic, interconnected spreadsheets that efficiently manage and sync data across multiple files. To further optimize your workflows, consider using integrations with Excel for advanced data management.

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Advanced Techniques: Conditional Formatting Across Sheets

Conditional formatting is a powerful feature in Google Sheets that allows you to visually enhance data comprehension by applying formatting rules based on specific criteria. When working with data spread across multiple sheets, you can leverage conditional formatting to create dynamic, interactive dashboards and track performance more effectively.

To implement conditional formatting rules based on data from another sheet, you can use the INDIRECT function in combination with custom formulas. Here's how:

  1. Select the range of cells you want to apply the conditional formatting to in the current sheet.
  2. Go to Format > Conditional formatting in the menu.
  3. In the "Format cells if" dropdown, select "Custom formula is."
  4. Enter a custom formula using the INDIRECT function, like this: =MATCH(A1,INDIRECT("Sheet2!A:A"),0). This formula checks if the value in cell A1 of the current sheet matches any value in column A of Sheet2.
  5. Set your desired formatting style for cells that meet the criteria.
  6. Click "Done" to apply the conditional formatting rule.

You can create more complex conditional formatting rules by combining the INDIRECT function with other functions and operators, such as:

Some real-life scenarios where cross-sheet conditional formatting is particularly useful include:

  • Sales dashboard: Highlight top-performing products or regions based on data from a separate sales data sheet.
  • Project management: Color-code tasks based on their status (e.g., complete, in progress, overdue) from a master project sheet.
  • Inventory tracking: Automatically highlight low-stock items based on quantity thresholds in an inventory data sheet.

By mastering conditional formatting across sheets, you can create visually appealing and informative spreadsheets that help you make data-driven decisions more efficiently. For more tips, see our guide on automate enrichment and qualification.

Automate Your Google Sheets with Bardeen Playbooks

Referencing data from one Google Sheet to another is a crucial function that enhances the dynamic use of data across multiple sheets. While manual linking offers basic connectivity, automating Google Sheets with Bardeen introduces a higher level of efficiency and functionality. By automating tasks, users can save time, reduce errors, and streamline workflows, especially when dealing with large datasets or complex operations.

  1. Enrich contact information in a Google Sheet and create or update Salesforce contacts: This playbook automates the process of enriching contact data within Google Sheets and syncing it with Salesforce. Ideal for sales and marketing professionals looking to maintain up-to-date contact records.
  2. Enrich contacts using names and company information in Google Sheets: Leveraging, this playbook enriches contact details in Google Sheets based on names and company information, enhancing lead data for targeted outreach.
  3. Enrich and update leads from a Google Sheet, when new row is added [Beta]: Using an Always-On feature, this playbook monitors Google Sheets for new entries, enriching lead information with Apollo and updating the sheet, all automatically even if your machine is offline.
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