Mastering Data Retrieval: How to Pull Data from Another Sheet in Google Sheets

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Pulling Data from Another Sheet in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this article, I, Tracy, will provide you with a clear and concise guide on how to pull data from another sheet in Google Sheets. As a tech expert who frequently encounters the need to organize and manipulate data in a spreadsheet, I understand the importance of doing this efficiently.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Google Sheets References

Before you dive into pulling data from another sheet, it’s important to understand how cell references work across different sheets within Google Sheets.

Single Cell Reference

To reference a single cell from another sheet, you use the following format:


For instance, if you want to reference cell A1 from a sheet named “SalesData,” the reference looks like this:


Range Reference

To reference a range, simply extend the cell address to cover the range you want:


e.g., To reference cells from A1 to A10 in “SalesData”:


Using Functions to Retrieve Data

Google Sheets provides multiple functions to retrieve data from another sheet. Here are some commonly used ones:


The IMPORTRANGE function is particularly useful for importing a range of cells from a completely different Google Sheets file.

=IMPORTRANGE("spreadsheet_url", "range_string")
Steps to use IMPORTRANGE:
  1. Get the URL of the spreadsheet you want to import data from.
  2. Identify the range of cells you want to pull data from in the format ‘sheetname’!range.
  3. Plug the URL and the range string into the IMPORTRANGE function in your current sheet.


Use VLOOKUP to search for a value in the first column of a vertical range and return a value in the same row from a specified column. HLOOKUP works similarly but searches the first row of a horizontal range.

=VLOOKUP(search_key, range, index, [is_sorted])
=HLOOKUP(search_key, range, index, [is_sorted])

QUERY Function

The QUERY function is powerful for complex search intents within Google Sheets, giving you the functionality similar to SQL queries.

=QUERY(data, query, [headers])

Practical Example

As an example, let’s say you have sales data in one sheet (“SalesData”) and want to pull all sales over $500 into your current sheet in Google Sheets.

Sales Data Amount
Transaction 1 $200
Transaction 2 $600
Transaction 3 $800

To accomplish this, you can use the QUERY function:

=QUERY('SalesData'!A:B, "SELECT A, B WHERE B > 500")

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When pulling data from another sheet, you may encounter various issues such as #REF! errors or permission requests for IMPORTRANGE. Ensure you have access to the sheet you’re trying to reference and that your range references are accurate.


Pulling data from another sheet in Google Sheets is a fundamental skill that can greatly enhance your data management capabilities. Whether you’re using basic cell references or advanced functions like IMPORTRANGE and QUERY, remember to pay attention to details like the correct sheet names and ranges. With these tips and examples, you should now be well-equipped to streamline your data management tasks in Google Sheets.


What if I need to pull data from multiple sheets?

If you need to pull data from multiple sheets, you can combine functions like IMPORTRANGE or QUERY with others like {} for arrays or use multiple formulas in different cells and then combine the data as needed.

Why am I seeing a #REF! error when trying to import range from another sheet?

This error typically occurs when the sheet name or cell range is incorrect. Double-check the references and ensure all names and ranges match exactly with their source.

How can I ensure my data remains updated when pulling from another sheet?

Google Sheets functions like IMPORTRANGE and QUERY automatically update when the source data changes. However, remember there might be a slight delay depending on your internet connection and the complexity of the function.