Understanding Data Analysis Google Sheets: 2 Critical Components

Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Data Analysis Google Sheets

Data Analytics unearth powerful insights that help drive better business decisions. It has picked up steam in the last few years, with companies working in all kinds of fields investing millions into acquiring and analyzing data. The field that needed considerable coding knowledge to make sense of Big Data can now be mastered by people with zero experience in coding.

You can filter useful information from your spreadsheets by simply using the tools and functions available at your disposal. These tools are built into the digital applications that were used to create them.

In this blog, you will take a look at the different ways you can carry out Data Analysis on Google Sheets and the Data Analysis Google Sheets functions you can use for the same.    

Table of Contents

Introduction to Google Sheets

Google Sheets Logo
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Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program that is offered by Google as a part of their Google Docs Editor suite. This suite also includes Google Drawings, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google Docs, Google Keep, and Google Sites.

Google Sheets gives you the option to choose from a vast variety of schedules, budgets, and other pre-made spreadsheets that are designed to make your work that much better and your life easier.

Here are a few key features of Google Sheets:

  • In Google Sheets, all your changes are saved automatically as you type. You can use revision history to see old versions of the same spreadsheet. It is sorted by the people who made the change and date.
  • It also allows you to get instant insights with its Explore panel. It allows you to get an overview of data from a selection of pre-populated charts to informative summaries to choose from. The Explore panel also provides a list of suggested graphs that are representative of the data entered in the spreadsheet. You can pick from pie charts, pivot tables, and bar charts.
  • Google Sheets allows everyone to work together in the same spreadsheet at the same time. Google Sheets also allows you to discuss edits with other collaborators through its sidebar chat feature. You can make these changes in real-time and make suggestions on certain changes.
  • You can create, access, and edit your spreadsheets wherever you go- from your tablet, phone, or computer. Google Sheets also supports offline editing allowing users to edit the spreadsheet offline either on mobile apps or on their desktop. 
  • Google Sheets also allows you to support multiple spreadsheet file types and file formats. Any user can edit, open, export, or save document files and spreadsheets into Google Sheets. Some of the formats that can be viewed and converted to Google Sheets like xlsx, xls, xlt, ods, csv, tsv, and many more.

Understanding the Importance of Data Analysis in Google Sheets

Data Analysis utilizes complex statistical models and advanced computing techniques to extract patterns and trends from large datasets. Data Analytics primarily is used to make sense of data. You can collate and layout information in a spreadsheet, but by itself, a spreadsheet cannot help you understand the nuances of your data.

You need to use something to compare and filter through the data so that you can determine the areas of interest and draw meaningful actionable inferences from them. This is where functions come in. For instance, a quick look can give you an idea about the products in your company’s portfolio that have been selling well. But you need Data Analysis to find out which products are generating more profits and increasing their sales.

This is why you need Data Analysis in Google Sheets to make sense of your data and make data-driven decisions to improve efficiency and productivity thus boosting business growth in the process.

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Understanding Google Sheet Data Analysis Functions

This section covers the Google Sheet Data Analysis functions that can be used for Data Analysis in Google Sheets. These functions are as follows:

Data Analysis Google Sheets Functions: VLOOKUP

A major chunk of Data Analytics is scouring for information. The issue is not evident when you are dealing with a single sheet with a couple of dozen entries, but when you throw multiple spreadsheets with hundreds of lines of data into the mix, you need a more effective way of looking for data.

VLOOKUP deals with this issue. It means vertical lookup since it looks for a specific value in vertical columns. Therefore, to simplify the VLOOKUP operations, it is suggested that you use columns as fields.

The only setback for this function is that it needs an exact value. In case you are looking for an approximate match, it is suggested to keep VLOOKUP out of the mix.   

Data Analysis Google Sheets Functions: ABS

The ABS function is also known as the Absolute function and is equivalent to the modulo function. This means that it gives you the absolute value of a number, treating negative and positive numbers as equal.

So, if you use ABS on a bunch of cells containing a mix of numbers, you get a uniformly positive spread that varies only in the magnitude of each number, not polarity. This becomes essential when you are incorporating data from various columns into a complex calculation since an occasional negative value might throw a spanner into your results.    

Data Analysis Google Sheets Functions: INDEX AND MATCH

The MATCH function can look for cells containing an approximate value in the specified spreadsheet. It provides the relative position of the target cell within a particular range, which makes it essential in looking through sorted values.

The MATCH function works in tandem with the INDEX function, which allows it to work as a stand-in for the VLOOKUP function.

This is possible because INDEX relays the value of the cell whose index is specified while MATCH allows you to find the index of the value you need. By using both these functions you can look for values in an approximate throughout the spreadsheet, similar to the VLOOKUP function.

Data Analysis Google Sheets Functions: Macros

Macros are user-defined functions that can carry out all the actions available manually. Macros are primarily used to relegate any repetitive, large-scale task. Thus, Macros can help you minimize mistakes and free up time spent in managing the spreadsheet.

Macros can be created in two ways: by scripting it or recording it. Scripting macros need coding knowledge but give considerable control and power to the user. Recording Macros is the simplest way of creating a macro, however, it is somewhat limited.

In a blank sheet, you can start recording by going to Tools > Macros > Recording Macro. This gives you a dialog box that allows you to toggle between two options:

  • Relative Reference: It adjusts according to the position of the cursor. So, if you record your macro where you edit properties of the two cells to the left of your cursor, the macro will affect those cells with the same position relative to your cursor when called.
  • Absolute Reference: This type of reference stores the exact locations of the cells you edit, so every time you run the macro, the same cells will be affected. Therefore, this option is useful only for setting up the header row or title cells.   

Understanding Google Sheets Analytics Working

This section will cover the different visualizations you can use to analyze data in Google Sheets in a seamless fashion. This includes charts, pivot tables, etc. The different types of visualizations available are as follows:

Data Analysis Google Sheets Working: Adding Pivot Tables

Data Analysis Google Sheets Working: Pivot Tables
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You can add a pivot table in Google Sheets as follows:

  • First, highlight the data in your spreadsheet and click on Data > Pivot table. You will get a pivot table in a new sheet (or tab).
  • You can add values, filters, columns, and rows of data from the Pivot table editor.

Similar to charts, you also get the functionality of automatic pivot tables in Google Sheets. To include an automatic pivot table in Google Sheets you can carry out the following steps:

  • Click on the Explore button in the spreadsheet containing the source data.
  • You can either point to a pivot table and click on the Insert Pivot Table option or you can ask a question about your data under the Answers section. The results obtained might contain pivot tables. To include a pivot table here, you can point to it and click on the Insert Pivot Table option.

Data Analysis Google Sheets Working: Adding Charts

Charts in Google Sheets
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You can add charts in Google Sheets as follows:

  • In a given spreadsheet, pick the range of data that you want to create a chart for.
  • Next, click on Chart under the Insert option.
  • You can customize the chart by clicking on More > Edit Chart.

Google Sheets also provides you the functionality of automatic charts. It enables you to get charts and summaries of your data with just the click of a button in Google Sheets. To get automatic charts you can carry out the following steps:

  • Select the range of cells, rows, or columns in any given spreadsheet similar to the procedure for adding a simple chart. If you don’t pick a range of cells to analyze Google Sheets provides insights to you based on where your cursor is located.
  • At the bottom of the page, click on the Explore button.
  • Next, you need to choose an option from the following alternatives:
    • Click on Insert Chart after pointing to a chart.
    • You can ask a question about your data under the Answers section. The results can often include charts. Follow the previous step to add a chart.

Data Analysis Google Sheets Working: Adding Charts to Slides and Docs

Adding Charts to Slides and Docs
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To add a chart to Google Slides and Google Docs you can carry out the following steps:

  • In Google Sheets, select the chart in your spreadsheet that you wish to add to Google Slides or Google Docs.
  • Click on More > Copy Chart followed by pasting this chart in your desired destination.
  • You can choose to update the chart if the source data changes or you can keep Link to Spreadsheet selected. If the source data changes, you need to click on Update at the top of the chart. If you wish to keep the chart unlinked, select the Paste Unlinked option. 
  • Click Paste to finish this step.

Data Analysis Google Sheets Working: Functions in Excel and Sheets

Functions in Excel and Sheets
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Here are a few key functions available only in Google Sheets:

  • QUERY: This function allows you to run a Google Visualization API Query Language query across data.
  • SPARKLINE: This allows you to create a miniature chart in a single cell.
  • GOOGLETRANSLATE: This function allows you to translate text from one language to another.
  • GOOGLEFINANCE: This function allows you to get historical or current securities information from Google Finance.
  • IMPORTRANGE: This function allows you to import a range of cells from a given spreadsheet.
  • SORTN: SORTN returns a particular number of items in a data set after a sort operation.
  • FILTER: You can get a filtered version of the source range, returning only columns and rows that adhere to specific conditions. 


This blog talks about how you can carry out Data Analysis on Google Sheets in great detail. It covers a few key Google Sheets Data Analysis functions and how you can create different types of charts to help you with Data Visualizations. Extracting complex data from a diverse set of data sources can be a challenging task and this is where Hevo saves the day!

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Share your experience of learning about Data Analysis using Google Sheets. Tell us in the comments below!

Content Marketing Manager, Hevo Data

Amit is a Content Marketing Manager at Hevo Data. He enjoys writing about SaaS products and modern data platforms, having authored over 200 articles on these subjects.

No-code Data Pipeline For Google Sheets