7 Google Sheets Features to Boost Your Productivity


Saving time, performing tasks easily, working efficiently, and maximizing output are all parts of productivity. With these several Google Sheets features, you can boost your productivity and work more effectively on your spreadsheets.

1. Calculations Without Formulas

Like viewing calculations in Microsoft Excel’s status bar, you can quickly see the sum, average, minimum, or maximum of a group of cells in Google Sheets. This gives you an easy way to see calculations without adding formulas that you may not need in your sheet.

RELATED: How to See Basic Calculations Without Formulas in Google Sheets

Select the cells you want to calculate. You can select a row, column, array, random cells, or a combination.

Look down to the bottom right corner of the sheet next to Explore. You’ll see the sum of your selected cells.

Sum of selected cells in Sheets

Select the box containing the sum and choose another calculation or simply view them all.

Bottom calculations in Google Sheets

In addition to the mentioned basic calculations, you can see the number of cells selected and the number of selected cells that contain numbers.

2. Column Stats for Fast Analysis

Maybe you have a particular column in your sheet you’d like to analyze. You might want more than basic calculations for things like frequency or distribution. You can use the Column Stats feature.

To open the feature, select a column and then do one of the following:

  • Right-click and pick “Column Stats.”
  • Click the arrow next to the column letter and pick “Column Stats.”
  • Go to Data > Column Stats in the menu.

Column Stats in the Data menu

When the Column Stats sidebar opens, enjoy a nice snapshot of the data in your column. View a count or distribution chart, frequency table, and totals for rows, empty cells, unique values, and calculations.

Column Stats in Google Sheets

To change columns, use the arrows at the top of the sidebar. To ignore rows, such as column headers, use the plus and minus buttons.

Change columns or remove rows

3. Explore for Suggestions, Actions, and Charts

If you’d like more information about your entire sheet rather than just a column, you can do a quick analysis with the Explore feature.

RELATED: How to Build Instant Charts with Google Sheets’ Explore Feature

On any sheet in your workbook, simply click “Explore” on the bottom right. If you want details for a specific range of cells, select them first. You’ll then see tons of details in the Explore sidebar.

Explore for cells

View quick calculations at the top (for selected cells), ask a question about your data or use a suggestion, apply formatting, or insert a graph.

Explore for a sheet

For an easy way to see sheet details, get specific information, or add a chart, check out Explore.

4. Data Validation for Restricting Entries

There’s nothing worse than incorrect data in your sheet. With the Data Validation feature, you can restrict entries with rules for text, dates, numbers, and even email addresses.

Choose the cell or range where you want to add the validation. Then, go to the Data tab and pick “Data Validation.”

Data Validation in the Data menu

In the pop-up window, confirm the cell or range, add the criteria, choose the action for invalid data, and optionally show help text. Hit “Save” and then give your validation a test.

Data Validation types

Whether you require a number between 10 and 100, a date after January 1, 2022, or a valid URL, data validation in Google Sheets can make sure you get what you need.

5. Drop-down Lists for Easy Data Entry

Another handy tool for data entry is a drop-down list. You can use the above data validation feature to create a drop-down list of options for you or your team to pick from.

RELATED: How to Create a Drop-Down List in Google Sheets

Select the cell where you want the list and go to Data > Data Validation. You can choose from a range of cells that contains the list items or enter them yourself. So, pick either “List From a Range” or “List of Items” and then add the cell range or items.

Data Validation for a list

Complete the remaining fields for invalid data and appearance as you wish and click “Save.”

From then on, you or those you’re sharing the sheet with can simply pick an entry from the list. You can also create a dependent drop-down list in Google Sheets for more advanced list options.

Drop-down list in Google Sheets

6. Filter Views for Saving Filters

Filters give you terrific ways to narrow down the data you’re viewing or analyzing. So, if you find yourself constantly filtering the same way, you can save it using Filter Views.

Filter your data as you normally would. Then, use the Filter Views arrow in the toolbar or Data > Filter Views in the menu. Choose “Save as Filter View.”

Save a filter view option

When the black border appears around your sheet, give your filter view a Name on the top left. You can then close the view using the X on the top right.

Name for a filter view

To access the view anytime, use the Filter Views arrow in the toolbar or go to Data > Filter Views in the menu and choose the Filter View name.

Saved filter views

That view appears for you to see your filtered data. Click the X to close the view when you finish.

You can also create a Filter View from scratch, make edits to one, and more. Check out our detailed how-to on the feature for more details.

RELATED: Filter Google Sheets Data without Changing What Collaborators See

7. Notifications for Workbook Changes

While you can review the version history of a workbook to see what your collaborators have changed, why not just receive a notification if and when changes are made? You can set up email alerts for exactly that.

Open your workbook and select Tools > Notification Rules in the menu. Pick “Add Another Notification Rule” in the pop-up window.

Notification Rules in the Tools menu

You can then choose how the notifications work. You can receive an email when any changes are made or when a user submits a connected form. Then, you can get the email immediately or a wrap-up each day.

Notification Rules setup box

Select “Save” and then “Done” when you finish. Moving forward, just check your inbox for Google Sheets changes instead of spending time reviewing the version history to see if changes were made.

Hopefully at least one of these Google Sheets features help you or your team improve your productivity.

RELATED: 9 Basic Google Sheets Functions You Should Know

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