Efficiently Import Multiple CSV Files to Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jason Gong
June 6, 2024

Import multiple CSV files into Google Sheets efficiently with Apps Script.

By the way, we're Bardeen, we build a free AI Agent for doing repetitive tasks.

Since you're importing CSV files, you might love Bardeen's integration with Google Sheets. It automates CSV imports and other tasks, saving you time and effort.

Importing multiple CSV files into Google Sheets can be a time-consuming and repetitive task. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can streamline this process and save valuable time. In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you how to efficiently import multiple CSV files into Google Sheets, automate the process using Google Apps Script, and ensure data consistency across your spreadsheets.

Understanding CSV Files and Google Sheets

CSV (Comma-Separated Values) files are a simple and widely-used format for storing and transferring tabular data. They are plain text files where each line represents a record, and fields within records are separated by commas. This structure makes CSV files compatible with many spreadsheet applications, including Google Sheets.

Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet application that allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on spreadsheets. It supports various data types, such as:

  • Numbers (integers and decimals)
  • Dates and times
  • Text strings
  • Booleans (TRUE or FALSE)
  • Formulas

When you import a CSV file into Google Sheets, the data is automatically separated into cells based on the comma delimiters. This makes it easy to view, manipulate, and analyze your data using the powerful features of Google Sheets. For advanced analysis, you can bring AI into your spreadsheet with tools like GPT for Google Sheets.

Setting Up Google Drive for CSV Imports

Organizing your CSV files in Google Drive is crucial for streamlined access and efficient data management. By creating a well-structured folder system, you can easily locate and manage multiple CSV files for importing into Google Sheets. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to set up your Google Drive for CSV imports:

  1. Create a main folder for your CSV files by clicking the "New" button in Google Drive and selecting "Folder". Give it a descriptive name like "CSV Imports".
  2. Inside the main folder, create subfolders for different categories or projects. For example, you might have subfolders for "Sales Data", "Marketing Campaigns", or "Customer Feedback".
  3. Upload your CSV files into the appropriate subfolders. You can do this by dragging and dropping the files from your computer into the Google Drive folder or by using the "New" button and selecting "File upload".
  4. Ensure that your CSV files follow a consistent naming convention. This makes it easier to identify and sort files later on. For example, you could use a format like "YYYY-MM-DD_ProjectName_DataType.csv".
  5. If you need to collaborate with others on the CSV files, integrate Google Drive with other apps and share the main folder or specific subfolders with the relevant team members. Set the appropriate permissions (e.g., view, edit, or comment) based on their roles and responsibilities.

By following these steps, you'll have a well-organized Google Drive structure for storing and managing your CSV files. This setup will make it easier to locate the files you need when it's time to import them into Google Sheets for further analysis and manipulation.

Save even more time by using Bardeen to integrate Google Drive with other apps. Automate your workflows and focus on more important tasks.

Using Google Apps Script for Automation

Google Apps Script is a powerful tool that allows you to automate tasks within Google Workspace, including Google Sheets. By leveraging Apps Script, you can scrape data from websites, import CSV files, and save time and effort.

Here's a basic script that demonstrates how to import CSV files from Google Drive into Google Sheets:

function importCSVFromDrive() { var fileName = "data.csv"; var files = DriveApp.getFilesByName(fileName); if (files.hasNext()) { var file = files.next(); var csvData = Utilities.parseCsv(file.getBlob().getDataAsString()); var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getActiveSheet(); sheet.getRange(1, 1, csvData.length, csvData[0].length).setValues(csvData); } else { Logger.log("File not found: " + fileName); }}

Here's how the script works:

  1. The importCSVFromDrive() function is defined, which will be called to import the CSV file.
  2. The desired CSV file name is specified in the fileName variable.
  3. The script searches for files in Google Drive with the specified name using DriveApp.getFilesByName().
  4. If a file is found, the script retrieves the file using files.next().
  5. The CSV data is parsed into a 2D array using Utilities.parseCsv().
  6. The active sheet in the current Google Sheets spreadsheet is obtained using SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getActiveSheet().
  7. The CSV data is written to the sheet starting from cell A1 using sheet.getRange().setValues().
  8. If no file is found, an error message is logged using Logger.log().

By running this script, the specified CSV file will be automatically imported into the active Google Sheets spreadsheet. You can customize the script further to handle multiple files, specify the target sheet, or apply additional formatting to the imported data. For more advanced automation, consider adding AI to your spreadsheets.

Scheduling Regular Imports with Triggers

Triggers in Google Apps Script allow you to automate tasks by running a function based on a specific event or schedule. Time-driven triggers are particularly useful for importing CSV files into Google Sheets at regular intervals.

To set up a time-driven trigger for importing CSV files:

  1. Open your Google Apps Script project.
  2. Click on the "Triggers" icon (clock) in the left sidebar.
  3. Click on the "+ Add Trigger" button at the bottom right.
  4. Configure the trigger settings:
    • Choose which function to run (e.g., "importCSVFiles").
    • Select "Time-driven" as the event source.
    • Set the desired frequency (e.g., "Day timer", "Hour timer", "Week timer", or "Month timer").
    • Specify the time and day(s) for the trigger to run.
  5. Click "Save" to create the trigger.

Once the time-driven trigger is set up, the specified function will run automatically at the scheduled intervals. This means that your CSV files will be imported into Google Sheets on a regular basis without any manual intervention.

Keep in mind that time-driven triggers have some limitations:

  • They can only run as frequently as once per hour for consumer accounts (Google Workspace accounts may have different limits).
  • The specific time of execution may vary slightly from the scheduled time.
  • Triggers are subject to daily quotas and execution time limits.

By leveraging time-driven triggers, you can automate the process of importing CSV files into Google Sheets, ensuring that your data is always up to date and saving you valuable time and effort. For more advanced workflows, consider using tools that integrate Excel with other platforms.

Want to connect Microsoft Excel directly to your Google Sheets to automate imports? Try using Bardeen to save time on repetitive tasks.

Handling Data Consistency and Duplication

When importing multiple CSV files into Google Sheets, it's crucial to ensure data consistency and prevent duplication. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

  1. Establish a unique identifier for each record, such as an ID column or a combination of columns that uniquely identify a row. This will help detect and eliminate duplicates.
  2. Use the built-in "Remove Duplicates" feature in Google Sheets. Select the range of cells, click on "Data" in the menu, and choose "Remove duplicates." This will automatically remove any duplicate rows based on the selected columns.
  3. Implement data validation rules to ensure consistency in data formats, such as dates, numbers, or specific text patterns. Google Sheets allows you to set validation criteria for each column, preventing invalid or inconsistent data from being entered.
  4. Before importing a new CSV file, compare its data with the existing data in your Google Sheet. You can use functions like VLOOKUP or MATCH to check if a record already exists and decide whether to update or skip it.
  5. Create a separate sheet or column to track the source and timestamp of each imported CSV file. This will help you identify the origin of any inconsistencies or duplicates and make it easier to troubleshoot issues.

Here are some additional tips to maintain data consistency across multiple imports:

  • Standardize the structure and format of your CSV files before importing them. Ensure that column names, data types, and formats are consistent across all files.
  • Perform data cleansing and transformation steps before or after importing the CSV files. This may include removing whitespace, converting data types, or splitting columns based on specific delimiters.
  • Implement error handling and logging mechanisms in your import scripts or processes. This will help you identify and resolve any issues that may arise during the import, such as missing or invalid data.
  • Regularly audit and validate your Google Sheets data to ensure its accuracy and consistency. You can use functions like COUNTIF or SUMIF to check for anomalies or discrepancies in your data.

By following these strategies and tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of data inconsistency and duplication when importing multiple CSV files into Google Sheets. It's important to have a well-defined process and maintain discipline in data management to ensure the reliability and integrity of your data.

Using Third-Party Tools for Enhanced Functionality

While Google Sheets provides a robust set of features for data management and analysis, third-party tools can further enhance its functionality and streamline the process of importing multiple CSV files. These tools offer additional capabilities and integrations that can save time and effort when working with large volumes of data from various sources.

Here are some popular third-party tools that can assist with importing multiple CSV files into Google Sheets:

  • Flatfile: Flatfile is a data onboarding platform that simplifies the process of importing and managing data from multiple sources. It provides an intuitive interface for mapping columns, validating data, and handling errors. Flatfile integrates seamlessly with Google Sheets, allowing users to import clean and structured data with minimal effort.
  • Csvbox: Csvbox is a CSV import tool specifically designed for web applications and APIs. It offers a user-friendly widget that can be embedded into your application, enabling users to upload and map CSV files to predefined data models. Csvbox handles data validation, error reporting, and supports various data destinations, including Google Sheets.
  • Coupler.io: Coupler.io is an integration platform that enables automated data imports from various sources into Google Sheets. It supports a wide range of applications, including databases, CRMs, and marketing platforms. With Coupler.io, you can schedule recurring imports, transform data before loading, and combine multiple sources into a single sheet.
Save time and automate repetitive tasks in Google Sheets with Bardeen's integrations. Connect Google Docs for seamless workflow automation.

When comparing the features and benefits of these tools, consider the following factors:

  • Ease of use: Look for tools with intuitive interfaces and minimal setup requirements, allowing users to import data without technical expertise.
  • Data validation and cleaning: Choose tools that offer robust data validation and cleaning capabilities to ensure the accuracy and consistency of imported data.
  • Customization options: Consider tools that provide flexibility in mapping columns, applying transformations, and handling specific data formats or requirements.
  • Integration with existing systems: Evaluate how well the tool integrates with your current tech stack and workflows, such as integrate Google Docs, APIs, databases, or other software you rely on.
  • Scalability and performance: Assess the tool's ability to handle large datasets and its impact on Google Sheets performance, especially when dealing with complex imports or frequent updates.
  • Security and compliance: Ensure that the tool meets your organization's security standards and complies with relevant data protection regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA.

By leveraging third-party tools, you can enhance the functionality of Google Sheets and streamline the process of importing multiple CSV files. These tools can save time, reduce errors, and enable more advanced data management and analysis capabilities, ultimately improving your productivity and decision-making processes.

Best Practices and Troubleshooting

When managing large CSV imports and maintaining spreadsheet performance, it's essential to follow best practices and be prepared for potential issues. Here are some tips to ensure smooth and efficient CSV imports into Google Sheets:

  • Organize your CSV files: Keep your CSV files well-structured and consistently formatted. Use clear and descriptive column headers, and ensure that each column contains data of the same type (e.g., text, numbers, dates).
  • Optimize file size: Large CSV files can slow down the import process and impact spreadsheet performance. Consider splitting large files into smaller, more manageable chunks or use data compression techniques to reduce file size.
  • Use data validation: Implement data validation rules in your Google Sheets to ensure data consistency and prevent errors. Set up validation criteria for each column, such as data type, range, or custom formulas, to catch and highlight any inconsistencies during the import process.
  • Avoid complex formulas: While formulas can be powerful tools for data manipulation, using complex or nested formulas can significantly impact spreadsheet performance, especially with large datasets. Aim to keep formulas simple and efficient, and consider using built-in functions or no-code automation tools for more advanced calculations.
  • Schedule imports during off-peak hours: If you're running regular CSV imports, consider scheduling them during off-peak hours to minimize the impact on spreadsheet performance and avoid disrupting other users who may be accessing the file simultaneously.

Despite following best practices, you may still encounter issues during CSV imports. Here are some common troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check file format: Ensure that your CSV file is properly formatted and saved with the .csv extension. Open the file in a text editor to verify that the data is correctly separated by commas and that there are no extra spaces or special characters.
  2. Verify data consistency: Check that the data in your CSV file is consistent and matches the expected format for each column. Look for missing values, incorrect data types, or inconsistent formatting that may cause import errors.
  3. Review import settings: When importing the CSV file, double-check the import settings in Google Sheets, such as the separator type (comma or tab), encoding, and locale settings. Incorrect settings can lead to data being improperly parsed or formatted.
  4. Test with a smaller dataset: If you're experiencing issues with a large CSV file, try importing a smaller subset of the data to isolate the problem. This can help you identify any specific rows or columns causing the issue and make targeted fixes.
  5. Seek help from the community: If you're unable to resolve the issue on your own, don't hesitate to reach out to the Google Sheets community or seek assistance from online resources for Google Sheets. Many experienced users can provide guidance and suggest solutions based on their own experiences with CSV imports.

By following best practices and knowing how to troubleshoot common issues, you can ensure that your CSV imports into Google Sheets are efficient, reliable, and error-free. This will help you maintain data integrity and make the most of your spreadsheet's capabilities for data analysis and management.

Automate Google Sheets with Bardeen for Efficient Data Handling

Importing multiple CSV files into Google Sheets can be automated to save time and reduce manual errors. Bardeen offers multiple playbooks that can help with data import, organization, and enrichment directly within Google Sheets. Here are a few examples of how Bardeen can automate tasks related to managing CSV files in Google Sheets:

  1. Copy all Github issues to Google Sheets: Automatically import GitHub issues into Google Sheets, perfect for tracking bugs or feature requests across multiple projects.
  2. Copy records from SmartSuite to Google Sheets: Seamlessly transfer records from SmartSuite into a Google Sheets spreadsheet for enhanced data management and analysis.
  3. Get data from Crunchbase links and save the results to Google Sheets: Extract and organize crucial business information from Crunchbase directly into Google Sheets for market research or competitive analysis.

Utilizing these automations can significantly enhance your productivity, allowing you to focus on analyzing the data rather than spending time on manual imports. Get started by downloading the Bardeen app at Bardeen.ai/download.

Automate CSV Imports with Bardeen

Use Bardeen's AI Agent to automate CSV imports into Google Sheets and save time.

Get Bardeen free

Other answers for Google Sheets

Auto Color Code Cells in Google Sheets Guide 2024

Learn to automatically color code cells in Google Sheets using conditional formatting for better data visualization and analysis.

Read more
Disable Google Sheets Downloads: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to disable downloads in Google Sheets by adjusting share permissions and protecting sheets, enhancing data security.

Read more
Download Parts of Google Sheets Easily in 5 Steps

Learn how to download specific parts of Google Sheets using the sheet's GID for efficient data sharing and analysis. Streamline your workflow today.

Read more
Download Images & Charts from Google Sheets: A Guide

Learn how to download images and charts from Google Sheets directly or from a URL list to Google Drive, including step-by-step instructions.

Read more
Download Excel from Google Sheets in Simple Steps

Learn to download Excel from Google Sheets in a few steps, ensuring file compatibility and offline access. Perfect for Excel users.

Read more
Convert Date to Month Name in Google Sheets: 4 Easy Steps

Learn how to convert numeric dates to written months in Google Sheets using TEXT function, custom formatting, and more for enhanced data presentation.

Read more
how does bardeen work?

Your proactive teammate — doing the busywork to save you time

Integrate your apps and websites

Use data and events in one app to automate another. Bardeen supports an increasing library of powerful integrations.

Perform tasks & actions

Bardeen completes tasks in apps and websites you use for work, so you don't have to - filling forms, sending messages, or even crafting detailed reports.

Combine it all to create workflows

Workflows are a series of actions triggered by you or a change in a connected app. They automate repetitive tasks you normally perform manually - saving you time.

get bardeen

Don't just connect your apps, automate them.

200,000+ users and counting use Bardeen to eliminate repetitive tasks

Effortless setup
AI powered workflows
Free to use
Reading time
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies. View our Privacy Policy for more information.