Merge data from two Google spreadsheets

The Merge Sheets add-on for Google Sheets brings the latest data from an additional sheet into your main table. Find and pull matching values, or add non-matching rows, if needed, in five simple steps.
Merge two tables in Google Sheets.

Before you start

This add-on cannot process two sheets from different files. If this is your case, just bring the sheets of interest into one file and you'll be able to continue.

We care about your data and suggest you always create backup copies of your spreadsheets. A special option of the add-on will do that for you if you select it.

How to use Merge Sheets

Start the add-on

To open the tool, go to Add-ons > Merge Sheets > Start:
Run the add-on from the Google Sheets menu.

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

  1. Access Merge & Combine from the corresponding Google Sheets menu:
    Merge & Combine in Power Tools.
  2. Click the Merge sheets icon on the Power Tools sidebar:
    The Merge Sheets icon in Power Tools.

Step 1: Select your main table

Your main table is the one that will be updated as the result of the data processing:
Select the sheet where you want to update records.
You can choose the sheet with your main table from the Select your main sheet drop-down list.

The add-on highlights the entire table in the sheet of interest by default. You can edit the range either by manually typing the address in the Select the range with your table field or by clicking the Select range icon. You will then see a corresponding dialog box that will let you pick the necessary cells:
Adjust the range in this pop-up window.

Tip. Click on the Auto select button to highlight the entire data range in your sheet back.

Don't forget the Create a backup copy of the sheet checkbox to keep the original table.

Click Next to go to the second step.

Step 2: Choose the lookup sheet

The lookup sheet is the table that contains the information you want to copy to your main sheet.

Tip. This table will not be modified in any way.

Select the sheet with the values to pull.
Choose the table using the Select the lookup sheet list with all available sheets.

Select the range with your table field will display the address of cells with your source data. You can edit it manually, change it by highlighting a different range in the lookup table, or use the Select range icon and alter the range in the corresponding pop-up window:
Adjust the range of the lookup table.

Tip. The Auto select button will automatically define the table range in the sheet for you.

Click Next to proceed to the third step, or edit the main table by going Back.

Step 3: Identify matching columns

Here you are to pick those columns that appear in your both tables (key columns). The add-on will compare these columns to identify the same (matching) records:
Identify matching columns.

Tip. The columns you select on this step will not be modified.
Note. If you tick off more than one column, a record will be considered the same if the values in all these columns match.

Identify key columns and their equivalents in the lookup table.

  1. To see column titles, check the Main table has headers and Lookup table has headers boxes respectively. If there are no headers in your tables, uncheck these boxes to display column names instead.
  2. The 1st row content fields will help you see the top values in the main table columns.
  3. The add-on can find complete row matches if you select all columns using the top checkbox.
  4. Make use of the Auto detect button to select all columns with the same headers in your tables.
    Tip. All such columns are marked in bold in the Main table columns list.
    Note. The option is available only when there are header rows in your tables.
  5. If you don't want to match empty cells, pick the option to Skip empty cells.
  6. Tick off Match case to consider the same records written in different text case as non-matching and update them with different data.
  7. Make sure you choose the lookup table columns to compare to the main table columns.

Click Next to go on to step 4.

Step 4: Pick columns to add or update in the main sheet

On this step, you are to decide what to do with other columns of the lookup table:
Choose the columns to add or update in the main sheet.

  1. Tick off the column of interest, click on the Action field and choose what to do with the column:
    • All columns selected as matching on step 3 are marked as Match with in light gray and are grouped at the top of the list by default.
    • The Update values in option will look up the same contents in matching columns and replace corresponding records in the columns you pick on this step:
      Update values in the main table.
    • Choose to Add a missing column to the end, and its values will be inserted for all matching records in a new column to the right of the original table:
      Add values to the end of the main table.
  2. Check this box to select all columns at once and add their values to the end of the original table. Uncheck back to unselect all columns if you don't want to add or update any.
  3. The Auto detect button will automatically pick the Update values in action for all remaining columns with the same headers.
    Note. The option is available only when there are header rows in your tables.
  4. If there are lots of columns, you can filter the list using the respective option in the Show columns drop-down list:
    Filter the list of columns you want to see on this step.

Click Next to follow to the last step.

Step 5: Tweak additional options

This step offers a set of additional options to match, update, or add values:
Choose the way to merge the data.

Add rows and columns

  • Add non-matching rows to the end of the main table. The add-on will insert the rows with key records that are present only in your lookup table. Thus, if you have any new records, you'll transfer them to the appropriate columns in the main table even if their order is different:
    Add non-matching rows to the end of the main table.
  • Add a status column. This one will show the changes made to the rows and mark them as Matching, Matching and updated, Non-matching, or New row.

Update cells

  • Update only empty and new cells in the main table. If you have blank cells in the column you are updating in your main table, keep all cells that already have records untouched. The existing values in the main table will not be overwritten:
    Update only empty and new cells in the main table.
  • To avoid copying empty cells from the lookup table, tick off the option Update only if cells from the lookup table contain data:
    Update only if cells from the lookup table contain data.

Highlight cells

  • If you already have some rows highlighted, you can remove their current filling using the option to Clear background color in the columns you are updating. Any existing background color in the column you selected to update will be removed.
  • You can see all cells that were changed in the main table by selecting the option Set background color of updated cells.
Tip. Click on the arrow next to this option to pick a hue from the list.

Place results to

  • The standard option would be to Update your main table. This way, the tool makes all changes to the same sheet that you chose on the first step.
  • Or have the tool Create a new spreadsheet and place the updated main sheet there.
    Tip. Once the add-on merges your data, it will provide you with the link to open the resulting spreadsheet right away.

Get the results

Click Finish to merge Google spreadsheets and you'll see the number of inserted columns, added and updated rows:
Google Sheets - join tables.
You'll also get a link to open a new spreadsheet if you chose to place the result there instead of updating your main table.

How to work with scenarios

If you rely on Merge Sheets for Google Sheets to pull data from another tab for you, most likely you have to update lots of different sheets or even one and the same sheet often. In order to save your time on these operations, we introduced scenarios.

Note. This feature is currently unavailable in Power Tools. At the moment, you can access scenarios in single Merge Sheets only.

What is a scenario?

The scenario is a saved set of those options that you select in the add-on on each step.

You will have a chance to save the settings right after the add-on processes your data. Then, just run this scenario and the tool will start updating the info in your spreadsheet immediately.

Save the scenario

To create your scenario, click Save scenario in the result message once the add-on processes your data:
Save scenario in Merge Sheets.
You will see your future scenario outline with the options you've just used. Some of these settings can be adjusted to your convenient:

Adjust settings for your scenario in Merge Sheets.

  1. Name your scenario in a way to understand what it does and find it among other scenarios quickly.
  2. Choose your main and lookup sheets:
    • Pick [Selected sheet] and the add-on will treat your currently active sheet when running the scenario as the main one.
      Note. This option is available for the Main sheet only.
    • Choose specific sheets from the lists to always pull the data from the same lookup table and/or update the info in the same main table.
  3. Identify ranges to be processed in both main and lookup sheets:
    • Select [All data] to automatically detect the entire used ranges for work.
    • For the tool to handle the exact cells, simply enter the desired ranges of cells.
  4. Check if all other options you've just used are correct.
    Look through all additional settings for your scenario in Merge Sheets.

    Note. You cannot change these options. To modify them, please restart the add-on to pick the correct settings on steps 1-5.

Once everything's set, click Save and the scenario will be created.

Run your scenario

Pick the scenario to start under Add-ons > Merge Sheets > Run scenario…
Start the necessary scenario from the spreadsheet menu.
This will run the tool and start processing your data right away in accordance with all the settings.

In the end, you will get the result message saying what scenario has been used and what number of rows and columns has been found and modified.
Merge data in Google Sheets.

Manage scenarios

To edit your existing scenario, open it via Add-ons > Merge Sheets > View & manage scenario…
Edit scenarios in Merge Sheets.
You will see the familiar scenario outline. The editable fields are the same: name, sheets, and their data ranges.
Edit or delete scenarios in Merge Sheets.
Press Delete to remove the scenario forever, Save to keep the changes, and Run to start it right away with the new settings.

Responses

I'm trying to record a macro using Merge Sheets, but when I run the macro I get an error message "ReferenceError: "startMergeSheets" is not defined" ... any ideas?

Reply

Hi Jared,
Thank you for using our product and for your question. Unfortunately, there is still no way to include an add-on into the macro.

Reply

One of my columns has a number like 80. When I merge, the column turns into a date. What am I doing wrong?

Reply

Hello, Michelle,
Thank you for reporting this issue to us.

For us to be able to assist you better, please email us to support@ablebits.com with a more detailed description of your task. Please include the sample tables both main and lookup, so we could see the format of the data in both tables.

We'll look into the problem and do our best to help.
Thank you for your time!

Reply

Hi--The system is telling me that my activation code (just sent to me a couple of minutes ago) has expired. Please advise. Thank you, Leigh Moore

Reply

Hi, Leigh,

We've got your email and will reply to you there. Please look for a message from Ablebits support team in your Inbox.

Thank you.

Reply

I trialed the Merge function and it worked without fail. I purchased the product and now a simple merge of 40 rows of data repeatedly fails. The 2 columns in the main table and lookup tables contain First Name & Surname. I have checked that names in the main table exactly match the names in the lookup table. I have deleted and re-typed the names in new columns. I have removed and re-installed and re-activated the Powertool. After this data in one of the missing 4 rows was inserted. Is there some known issue?
Thank you.

Reply

Thank you for reporting this problem to us, Barb. So sorry you're having difficulties with our tool.

If it's not a big trouble for you, I kindly ask you to share your spreadsheet with us (gapps.ablebits@gmail.com) with your source data and the result you're getting/expect to get. Please don't worry if you have confidential information there, we never disclose the data we get from our customers and delete it as soon as the problem is resolved. Or you can replace any important information with some irrelevant data, just keep the format.

The screenshots of the options you select on each step of the wizard would also help.

We'll investigate the problem.
Thanks in advance for your responsiveness.

Reply
Stefan Boeters says:
February 8, 2019 at 10:00 pm

I would appreciate the option "not case sensitive" in the matching columns. (As you may guess, I have a main sheet which is all lower case and a lookup sheet that uses upper case letters.)

Reply

Hi Stefan,
thank you for using our product and for the feedback!
Yes, you are absolutely right, this option is really needed, and we are working on adding it to one of the next upgrades of the add-on!
Thank you.

Reply

I would like the option to save a Merge, and re-run the same settings. This way I could keep updating the spreadsheet as new information comes in.

Reply

Thank you for contacting us, Jennifer.
At the moment this feature is available for testing in our Remove duplicate rows only. We do consider implementing the same to Merge Sheets in one of the next versions, but I can't give you any timing. If you'd like, we can let you know when it's out for use.
Thank you for understanding.

Reply

My main sheet/data set I'm always adding rows to, it would be nice to be able to update the columns I'm pulling data from my database sheet without having to run the process again. otherwise, works as intended.. helpful.

Reply

Thank you for your feedback, Ryan.

Though it's technically impossible to run the add-on automatically or keep it running on the background, we plan to add scenarios to Merge Sheets as we did with Remove duplicate rows. If you'd like, we can email you when it's available.

Reply

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