Google Sheets’ new formatting feature has Excel switchers excited

May 15, 2024
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Google has now added a way to create easily formatted tables in Sheets with one click, something Excel has had for years. Now, if you have a block of data that you’d like to quickly turn into its own little island of filters and sorting rules, that’s fully possible (or will be soon, depending on where you are in Google’s rollout queue). Hooray!

As a person who’s maintained a shared budget spreadsheet in Google Sheets for about a decade and who would have loved not to have to create all of my filters and sort piece by piece, I’m excited. And judging by a little cursory searching, I’m not alone — people have been asking for self-contained tables like this for years.

Look at that sick table.
GIF: Google

What Google has created here looks a little bit like the AI-generated tables from its I/O developer conference this week but perhaps a little more power user-focused, and you don’t need its Gemini integration. If the new feature has hit your account already, you can try it by selecting a block of data and clicking Format > Convert to table.

Once you’ve done that, Sheets will automatically create filters for each column and add visual separators for your rows, so you don’t have to manually select every other row and turn it gray. The change also comes with automatically formatted column types, filters, and easier drop-down menu creation.

It’ll also add a table menu so you can create specific combinations of filters for the whole table or adjust the range of data it covers. Google says this update also includes a new kind of view option labeled “Create group by view” that lets you put data in groups separated by their column filters — so if you have a filter for priority level, you can group records by priority one, priority two, priority three, and so on. There are also table templates tuned for “everyday tasks like project management, inventory management, event planning and more.”

The new tables feature hasn’t hit everyone yet. As is typical for Google, it will be rolling out gradually. Some will have it by May 30th, and everyone else should have it by June 6th.

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