Combine data from multiple sheets into one

This tutorial shows how to use the Combine Sheets add-on to join tables from multiple sheets together. Learn how to save the column order and initial formatting of combined tables and put the result where you decide. Have the united data pasted as values or get it as a formula in order to reflect all future changes made in original sheets.
Combine sheets based on their headers.

Before you start

Please bear in mind that Google Sheets limits the total number of possible cells in your file up to 5 million cells.

How to use the Combine Sheets add-on

Start Combine Sheets

Run the utility from the Google Sheets menu: Add-ons > Combine Sheets > Start.
Run the add-on from the Google Sheets menu.

Tip. You can also find Combine Sheets in the Merge & Combine group in the Power Tools add-on:
The Combine Sheets icon in Power Tools.

Step 1: Select the sheets to combine

On this step you choose the spreadsheets you want to combine:
Check the sheets you want to combine.

  1. Tick off the Sheets checkbox if you want to combine all spreadsheets from the tree view together.
  2. Press Add files from Drive to import and merge more files.
    Tip. If you don't remember the exact location of the file or simply don't want to browse from folder to folder, use the Search field at the top of the Import files from Drive window instead.

    Simply enter the word your spreadsheet name may contain, press Find, and the add-on will scan all Drive folders, including Shared with me, for both exact and partial name matches. You will see the list of these spreadsheets in the Combine Sheets tree view.

    Hover the mouse cursor over any spreadsheet, and you will see its location:
    Search for specific files all over your Google Drive using a part of its name.

    Tip. You can add a few files at a time. Just click their names to see them highlighted in light-blue. Click Add to work with these files or click on the names once again to cancel the choice:
    Add more sheets to bring them together.
  3. If you added the spreadsheet by mistake or simply no longer want to use it for merging, select it in the list and click the Exclude button.
  4. If some sheets have extra data, you can limit the range of interest. To do that, click All data next to the sheet name under the Ranges column and do one of the following:
    • Type the range.
    • Click the Select range icon and highlight the cells on the sheet manually.
    • Click the Select range icon, select any cell within your table, and press Auto select. This will automatically pick the entire table:
      Select the needed range manually.

When the sheets you want to work with are selected, click Next.

Step 2: Tweak extra options to combine spreadsheets into one

The add-on lets you personalize the way it's going to combine data:
Use additional options to merge sheets.

Choose how to transfer the data from the sheets

  • If your tables contain similar columns arranged in different ways, pick Consider table headers. This option lets the add-on combine worksheets based on their headers.
    Tip. This way you will avoid extra header rows before each table — only the data will be transferred.
  • Use a formula to combine sheets. This one will pull data using a specially created formula. The formula will auto-update records whenever they change in source sheets or if the number of rows and/or columns changes in original tables.
    Note. There are some peculiarities in the way formula combines data. We strongly suggest you go through them to understand what exactly you can expect from the formula.
    Tip. This is a beta feature at the moment: your feedback is eagerly anticipated and much appreciated!
  • If you want to save the original look of each table, check the box called Preserve formatting.
  • The last option, Separate the copied ranges by a blank row, will add an empty row between the tables so that you could easily find where one range ends and the next one begins.

Decide where to put the result

  • Select New spreadsheet to review the resulting table in a new file. Combine Sheets will create it automatically.
  • Use the New sheet option to place your output table to a new tab within the opened file.
  • In case you want to put the combined data to a particular place in a spreadsheet, tick off Custom location and enter or select the leftmost cell of the future joined table.

If you want to select other sheets or add a few more, click Back.

Press Combine to merge the data.

Get the result

As the final confirmation, you will see the message saying how many sheets have been combined. Your data will be collected together in a new place according to the options you selected.

Tip. If you choose to put the results to a new spreadsheet on Step2, the add-on will offer you a link to open the new file right away.
Get the result message saying how may tables were joined.

Combine several files with a formula

When you combine data from different files and choose to have the result as a formula, the add-on uses standard Google Sheets IMPORTRANGE to pull records together.

By default, for the function to work properly, you must grant it permissions to connect to other spreadsheets. Otherwise, you will see formula errors rather than the combined data.

Our add-on suggests the way of doing that correctly:

  1. Whenever IMPORTRANGE is used in the outcome formula, you will see a resulting message telling you how to connect the function to other files:
    The resulting message with instructions on how to connect the files.
  2. For your convenience, the add-on creates two sheets:
    • Combined data with your outcome formula.
    • Connect files to IMPORTRANGE where you are to grant all permissions.
    Tip. If you place the result to a new spreadsheet, click the Open new spreadsheet link to jump right to the Connect files tab. Run Combine Sheets first to enable our custom formula, then proceed with the steps below.

    If you place the result to the current file, the Connect files sheet will become active automatically.

  3. The Connect files tab will always contain the following:
    • the description of how to connect the sheets
    • the reminder to run Combine Sheets (which is unnecessary unless you put the result to a new spreadsheet where our own custom function must be enabled as well)
    • the list of all spreadsheets that must be accessed by the formula
    • the access status

    Just hover your mouse over the errors in the Access status column and press each Allow access button that will appear:
    You need to connect these sheets to IMPORTRANGE.

  4. As soon as you do that, the Access status will say Connected and the cells will turn green:
    When the IMPORTRANGE has all permissions.

Once all spreadsheets are connected, go to the Combined data tab and wait a bit till the result is loaded.

Formula limitations

Along with our own custom function, the resulting formula uses a couple of standard ones: QUERY and IMPORTRANGE. Here are some things you should know about the result returned by the formula:

  1. If you place the formula to a new spreadsheet, our custom function (COLUMN_LIST_CS) won't start working until you run Combine Sheets once. Since that file is newly created, this way you enable our custom function there.

    Do that before granting the IMPORTRANGE access and you won't have to reload the spreadsheet as well.

  2. The outcome formula doesn't include completely blank rows.
  3. If there are mixed data types (e.g. numbers and text) within a column, the QUERY function will return only the majority data type leaving the rest as empty cells.
  4. Google Sheets functions cannot process and take any objects (e.g. images, charts, conditional formatting, etc.) but values to a resulting table.
  5. If some columns are missing from one or more tables, as a result, you would normally expect to see empty cells in such columns:
    Empty cells in the result where the column was missing.
    However, QUERY makes us place strings of spaces into these cells tuning them into non-blanks. If you try and use COUNTA on such a column, the result will be misleading since COUNTA processes whitespaces as well.
  6. For the same reason, if on Step2 you don't choose the option Consider table headers, QUERY will add an entire extra column to the right of the resulting table. The column will not be empty — its cells will be filled with whitespaces and you won't be able to edit them.
  7. Due to the way Google Sheets processes formulas, the number of columns in the outcome table is always fixed. It means that new columns added to your source tables won't appear in the result — Google Sheets will not adjust the ranges.

    However, if you choose to put the formula to a new tab of the opened file rather than to a new spreadsheet, the result will include columns inserted in the middle of the original tables.

Responses

Hi
i would like to know whether if i buy the Sheet Combine addon for my company will it be applied for my entire Company domain or one user

please update

Reply

Hi, Khalid,
our subscription is account-based.
If the product is going to be used under different accounts at the same time, you need to have several subscriptions, so that there is one for each account.

Please email us to support@ablebits.com if you have any other licensing questions.

Reply

Thank you for your reply.

Is it transferable to another account may be after 3 month later if i need to give it to my other staff.

please send me a reply onto my email.

Khalid, I answered your question in email as requested.
Please check your Spam folder if you don't see in your Inbox.

Thank you.

Is there a way to refresh the data?

Reply

Thank you for your question, Jack.
I'm afraid there's no way to refresh the data automatically at the moment. You need to start the add-on each time you want to combine sheets.

However, since this is a common request, we are considering supporting triggers in the future.
I can't give you any timing yet but I can contact you back when/if the functionality is supported.
 
Please let me know if you have any other question.

Reply

Hi Natalia,

Is the automatic functions supported now?

Hi Chau,

I'm afraid we haven't come up with a way to automate the process for Combine Sheets yet.

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience.

Hi Chau,

I'd like to update you on your request and tell you that we've released a new version of our Combine Sheets add-on. Now you may join your data using a formula that will be connected to your original files. Hence, if you apply changes to your source sheets, they will be automatically reflected in the resulting table.

Check out the updated instructions above, I believe you'll find them helpful.

Hello Jack,

I am happy to inform you that we've just released an updated version of our Combine Sheets add-on with a new way to combine data – using a formula. The formula is always connected to your original files. This way, all changes made in the source sheets will be automatically reflected in the resulting table. We believe this will solve the problem of the add-on not being able to pull data automatically.

BTW, we've updated the manual above, check it out 😉

Reply
Paola Forero says:
March 5, 2019 at 4:40 am

Hi.

- When I merge several sheets, can they be organized by date?
- My sheets are connected to forms that continuously have new registrants, does the merge in only time or can it be permanent.
' I´d like to consolidate several sheets into one master sheet, and then complement the information in each row. Can that information be retrieved to the originals sheets?

Thank you!

Reply

Hi Paola,
Thank you for your questions.

  1. The add-on doesn't organize data by sheet dates; it considers only the order in which sheets appear in the add-on tree view. Thus, to solve the task, first, you need to rename and organize your sheets and then run the tool to combine them.
  2. When you run the add-on, it combines only the data currently presented on the sheets. Since the tool cannot be run automatically, you'll need to run it manually each time you want to have all new entries added as well.
  3. As for your last question, with "complementing the information in each row", I'm afraid it's not entirely clear. I kindly ask you to share an example spreadsheets with us (support@4-bits.com) with your source data and the result you expect to get. We'll look into the task and see if our software can help.

Thank you.

Reply

Does it do a one time combine or over real time as data keeps getting aded to the source

Reply
Katerina Bespalaya says:
November 26, 2019 at 7:16 pm

Hello Denzil,

I'm sorry, our add-on can't update the combined sheet automatically once the new data are added to the source sheets. You need to run the add-on each time you want to process the data. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Reply

Hello Denzil,

I just wanted to let you know that the new version of Combine Sheets we have just released can create links to source data so that your resulting table gets updated dynamically. You'll just need to choose the "Use a formula to combine sheets" option and your sheets will be joined using a formula that'll help you keep them up-to-date.

For more details, please look through the updated manual above or reach us at support@ablebits.com. Thank you!

Reply

Is there a way to refresh? I have 31 sheets that get changed daily.
Thanks

Reply

Hello Dave,

Thank you for your comment. Sorry, but it is not possible to automatically refresh the resulting table in the current version of the add-on. You'll have to start the tool each time you update your sheet.

However, this feature is in our developers' roadmap and if the functionality is supported, we'll be sure to post a comment in this thread.

Reply

Hello Dave,

I have an update for you 🙂 We've just released an updated version of our Combine Sheets that has a new way to combine data – using a formula. Since the formula is connected to your original files, all changes made in the source sheets will be automatically reflected in the resulting table.

I do hope you'll find this novelty helpful! If you have any questions/difficulties/suggestions, please share it with us by emailing at support@ablebits.com. Thank you!

Reply
Kerrie Townsend says:
April 14, 2020 at 7:27 pm

I am trying to combine serveral workbooks(150 different workbooks) each with 10 tabs in each workbook. I want to combine the -50 workbooks into one master workbook. The part I am having difficulty with is making sure each specific tab merged into the specific tab in the workbook.

Is this something I can do with combine sheets and if so how? Thanks for your help.

Reply

Hello Kerrie,

Thank you for your comment. You see, our Combine Sheets will simply join all the tables you select in one common sheet. So if you need to join only the particular tabs into one, check them all on the 1st step of the add-on and then repeat this procedure for the other tabs as well. Hope it will work for you.

Reply
Mark Richards says:
May 19, 2020 at 5:01 pm

I would like to combine data from two different sheets, each having different columns. I do have one common field (column) in both of the sheets. I would like the data from the two sheets to be combined into one row (record) in the results sheet using the common field (column) as the relational key. Can this be done?

Reply

Hello Mark,

I believe our other tool, Merge Sheets, will do exactly what you need. It matches and merges data from two spreadsheets based on a key column(s). The single add-on can be installed directly through Google Sheets via Add-ons -> Get add-ons or you can find it within our Power Tools. Please test this tool out to see if it suits your needs.

If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact us back.

Reply

My sheets have 2 rows as headers. Is there a way to designate a 2 row header when combining my sheets? Right now I am getting my second header row appearing each time a new sheet is combined.

Reply

Hello Keri,

Thank you for your question. Yes, the current version of the add-on joins tables by a one-row header. However, I have forwarded your request to our development team. They will discuss this feature and we'll be sure to let you know if/when it is available. Thank you.

Reply

Hi, Thank for your help.
I couldn't find the "Combine data" in add-on. So do I need to add this function at first?

Reply

Hi Wei,

Thank you for your message. Yes, you'll need to install our add-on from the Store first: https://gsuite.google.com/marketplace/app/combine_sheets/338552429820

Then you'll have 30 days of fully-functional trial to test the add-on and make sure it works for you.

Reply

Hello,
Are you still developing the auto refresh? Will it refresh daily now ?

Reply

Hello Hashim,

Thank you for your question. We are about to release an updated version of Combine Sheets with a new way to combine data – using a formula that will be connected to your original files. Hence, all changes made in the source sheets will be automatically reflected in the resulting table.

The update about to come, I'll update you in this comments thread once it is published. Thank you.

Reply

Hashim,

I'm glad to tell you that the updated version of our Combine Sheets add-on is available. Now your joined sheets will be updated dynamically. We believe this will solve the problem of the add-on not being able to pull data automatically.

I hope this feature will be useful, otherwise please do not hesitate to email us at support@ablebits.com. We'll be glad to help.

Reply

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If you have any questions or issues with this add-in, please feel free to post your concerns in the comments area. As soon as we answer, a notification message will be sent to your e-mail. If you do not want to share your thoughts in public, please contact us at support@ablebits.com.