Collaboration is one of the salient features in Google Sheets. Users can easily share data with their colleagues, provided they have the access to do so. Sometimes, you may need to export data from a different spreadsheet in the same or different workbook. IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets can help you in this case.

Exporting and importing data from different sheets enables users to reduce the use of multiple tabs while working with data. By the looks of it, the IMPORTRANGE is a powerful function in Google Sheets that can seem pretty intimidating. However, the reality is starkly different from the actuality. You can also use multiple ways to reference a sheet from another Google Sheets file.

IMPORTRANGE Function Syntax

The IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets consists of two entities in double quotation marks.

=IMPORTRANGE(“spreadsheet_url”, “range_string”)

spreadsheet_url: This is the entire spreadsheet URL from which you wish to import data. You can also enter the workbook key instead of the entire link.

range_string: This is the range of data or the cell range that you want to import from a spreadsheet.

How To Use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 

The IMPORTRANGE function is simple to understand and execute. It can be executed in a couple of steps. This function helps users link spreadsheets. Let’s look at how we can use this function.

How To Use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets

1. Open the source and destination sheets in Google Chrome browser.
2. Select the cell and enter the IMPORTRANGE formula in the current sheet.
3. Press Enter key and click on Allow access to import data.

Note: These are the exact steps to use the IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets. Let’s take a look at each of these steps in detail with images.  

How To Use IMPORTRANGE Function

The basic way to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets is by inserting the entire link of the spreadsheet in the formula. You can also use the entire sheet key instead of the URL.

First and foremost, open the source spreadsheet and the destination spreadsheet in your Google Chrome browser.

In this example, we will import the data in the range of cells A1:A5 from source Sheet 13 to destination Sheet 14.

Sample sheet
Sample sheet

Then, select the cell in which you want to import data from the original spreadsheet. Enter the IMPORTRANGE function argument in quotes as given below.

Enter function IMPORTRANGE in Google sheets
Enter the IMPORTRANGE function

Sheet1!A1:A5 is the range string that defines the sheet name and the cells from which you wish to import the data. You can also enter a named range in the range string section for better comprehension. Make sure you insert the exclamation mark after entering the spreadsheet name.

Note that the range string component is represented in square brackets because it is optional. If you don’t provide this component, IMPORTRANGE will import the first sheet of the specified workbook by default.

Once you enter the formula, press the Return key and wait for some time until Google Sheets processes the formula. After the process is complete, you will see a #REF error in the cell. Hover over that cell range reference and click on the Allow access button to grant access.

Click on the Allow access button
Click on the Allow access button

Following this step, you will see the selected data from the source sheet appears in the target sheet.

View the result
View the result

That’s all about using the IMPORTRANGE function in Google spreadsheets. You can use this function to import data from different spreadsheets in the same or different workbook as per your requirements.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using The IMPORTRANGE In Google Sheets

Using the IMPORTRANGE function has its own set of benefits and disadvantages. To begin with, this function is easy to implement as you don’t need to download any data. Furthermore, it allows users to extract any specific data range from the source spreadsheets to the target spreadsheets. Data also updates in real-time when the spreadsheet is open.

On the flip side, the IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets can be difficult to organize if you use it multiple times. You might also lose track of where you have applied this function in your spreadsheet since there is no marker to denote its presence.

Also, the IMPORTRANGE function in Google spreadsheets allows you to import only the content of cells but not the format of individual cells. It’s also impossible to choose the data update frequency.


IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets is used to link spreadsheets from different or same workbooks. Pulling data from different worksheets becomes easier with this function. It seems to be a tedious task, but the IMPORTRANGE function is simple to understand and execute.  

When you use the IMPORTRANGE function, make sure there is enough empty cells to accommodate the data. You can also use the VLOOKUP function to pull data from the same or different spreadsheets.


What is IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets?

The Google Sheets IMPORTRANGE function is used to import or reference data from different spreadsheets.

Can Google Sheets pull data from another sheet?

Yes, you can reference data from a sheet in the same workbook or an external spreadsheet.

How do I use the IMPORTRANGE function?

Select a cell and enter the IMPORTRANGE formula. Press Enter key and click on Allow access to import data.