Aug
24

Back to Basics: edit and comment on data, review the changes, print and download from Google Sheets. Even offline

We continue our "Back to Basics" journey by learning some peculiarities of editing Google spreadsheets. We'll start with some simple features like deleting and formatting the data and continue with fancier ones like leaving comments and notes, working offline, and quickly reviewing all the changes made in the file.

Not so long ago I've shed some light on the very basic features Google Sheets offers. I explained in detail how to create a table from scratch, share it and how to manage many files. (If you missed them, it may be a good time to check them out beforehand.)

Today I invite you to deepen your knowledge even more. Take some tea and have a seat - we continue with editing the documents :)

How to edit the tables in Google Sheets

Deleting the data

Okay, this option is as easy as you can imagine: select a cell or a range of cells and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

To delete formatting in Google Sheets, select the range of cells and go to Format > Clear formatting or press Ctrl + \ on your keyboard.

Ways of formatting in Google Sheets

  1. The main way to format the cells is using the toolbar. If you hover the cursor over an icon you'll see a tip explaining what it does. Google Sheets tool arsenal allows you to change the number format, the font, its size and colour, and cell alignment. If you have at least the slightest experience in working with tables, this won't be a problem at all:
    Formatting toolbar
  2. To continue, you can freeze the table header so that when you scroll it up and down you could always see the names of the columns. And rows for that matter. This helps a lot when working with a lot of data.

Let's suppose that we have a table with information on chocolate sales. We want the table to be as easy to read and understand as possible. To freeze the first row and column you can:

  • Go to View > Freeze and choose the number of rows and/or columns to freeze.
  • See that empty gray rectangle at the upper left corner of the spreadsheet where the column and row headers meet? Hover the cursor over its thick gray bar until the cursor changes to a hand. Then click, hold and drag this border line one row down. The same is used to freeze the columns.
    Freeze rows and columns in Google Sheets

Add, hide and "unhide" a sheet

Very often one sheet is not enough. So how do we add a few more?

At the very bottom of the browser window you can find the Add Sheet button. It looks like a plus (+) sign:
Add a sheet

Click it and one blank sheet is added to the workspace right away. Rename it by double-clicking on its tab and entering a new name.

One peculiar thing is that you can hide new sheets from other people. For that, right-click the sheet tab and choose to Hide sheet. Note that this context menu allows you to change the color of the tab, delete the sheet, copy or duplicate it:
Sheets context menu

Ok, we hid it. But how do we get it back?

Click the icon with four lines (All Sheets) to the left of the first sheet tab, find and click the hidden sheet. Or you just go to View > Hidden sheets in the Google Sheets menu:
Ways to unhide a sheet

The sheet is back to play and is ready to be edited and managed.

Track changes in Google Sheets

What happens if some mistakes were made when editing the table or, what is worse, some of the users deleted a piece of information by accident? Do we need to create copies of the documents every day?

The answer is no. With Google Sheets everything's much simpler and more secure. It saves the history of every change made to the file. To open it, go to File > See revision history or press Ctrl+ Alt + Shift + H on your keyboard:
See revision history

You'll see the list of changes, their details (date and time) and will be able to restore any revision point:
Revision history pane

Note.Be very attentive when browsing through the history since it includes not only the changes made to the active sheet, but also the changes to other sheets of the file.

After finding the lost data, press the Restore this revision button at the top of the window. Remember that it means that you may lose all the important changes that were made after this history point.

Resize your spreadsheet

One more question that may arise when editing the table - how do I resize it? Unfortunately, it's not possible to resize a table in Google Sheets. But since we're working in the browser, we can use its built-in option.

To do that, we have the traditionally used shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + "+" (plus on the numpad) to zoom in.
  • Ctrl + "-" (minus on the numpad) to zoom out.

Also, you can switch to the full screen mode in View > Full Screen. To undo the resizing and show controls press Esc.

How to use and edit Google spreadsheet offline

Many believe that the main disadvantage of Google Sheets lies in the inability to use it offline since the files are saved in the cloud. But it is a common misconception. You can work with the tables offline and save the changes to the cloud later, when the internet access is restored.

To use this functionality, you need to set the synchronization with Google Drive.

Add Google Docs extensions to Google Chrome (this will be suggested to you once you turn on the offline mode in Google Sheets):
Start working offline

If you're going to use a mobile device or a tablet, make sure to install all the applications for Google tables, docs and presentations as well as Google Drive.

One more piece of advice - before going to the places free from the internet, sign in to your Google account and open those files and applications that you plan to use, for example, during the flight. Leave the applications open so that you won't have to sign in to the account, which will be impossible without the internet. You'll be able to start working with the files immediately.

When working in autonomous mode, you'll see a special icon at the top of the screen - a lightning in the circle. When going back online, all the changes will be saved immediately and the icon will disappear. This allows working with Google Sheets at almost any time and any place despite the Internet access and without losing the data.

Note. You can only create, view and edit the tables and other documents when working offline. You won't be able to move the tables, rename them, change permissions and perform other actions connected with Google Drive.

Comments and notes in Google Sheets

As you may know, MS Excel offers adding notes to the cells. With Google Sheets you can add not only notes, but also comments. Let's see how it works.

To add a note, place the cursor into the cell and choose one of the following:

  • Right-click the cell and choose Insert note.
  • Go to Insert > Note on Google Sheets menu.
  • Press Shift + F12.

To add a comment, place the cursor into the cell as well and choose one of the following:

  • Right-click the cell and choose Insert comment.
  • Go to Insert > Comment on Google Sheets menu.
  • Use the Ctrl + Alt + M.

A little triangle in the upper right corner of the cell will hint that there's either a note or a comment added to the cell. Besides, you'll see the number of cells with commentaries on the spreadsheet name tab:
Comments and notes in Google Sheets

What is the difference between notes and commentaries? The link to the commentary can be sent to a colleague who edits the file with you. He or she will be able to reply to it:
Get the link to the comment

Every comment can be replied directly within the table and every user who has access to it will get a notification about new comments and replies.

To delete the comment, press the Resolve button. It means that the questions discussed are resolved but their history will remain. If you press the Comments button at the upper right corner of the table, you'll see all the comments and will be able to re-open the resolved ones.

There, you can also adjust the notification settings by clicking the Notifications link. Choose whether you want to be notified about every comment, only yours, or none of them at all.

Print and download your Google spreadsheets

Now that you've learnt how to create, add and edit the spreadsheets, you need to know how to print or save them to your machine.

To print the data, use the Google Sheets menu: File > Print, or just use the standard shortcut: Ctrl+P. Then follow the steps on the screen, choose the printing options and get your physical copy.

To save the table as a file to your machine, go to File > Download as and choose the needed file type:
Save the file to your PC

I believe that the formats offered are enough for almost every user's need.

All these basic features you've learnt contribute to the daily work with tables. Make your files look nice and presentable, share them with others and work offline - it's all possible with Google Sheets. Just don't be afraid of exploring new features and give them a try. Trust me, at the end of the day you will wonder why you hadn't used this service before.

You may also be interested in:

One Response to "Back to Basics: edit and comment on data, review the changes, print and download from Google Sheets. Even offline"

  1. mohd hasan says:

    how to make the tables in google sheet can edit with mobil without access or sign in or use drive for mobil

Post a comment



Unfortunately, due to the volume of comments received we cannot guarantee that we will be able to give you a timely response. When posting a question, please be very clear and concise. We thank you for understanding!
Excel add-ins and Outlook tools - Ablebits.com
Ultimate Suite for Excel Professionals
 
 
60+ professional tools for Excel 2016-2007 to do your daily work
Incredible product, even better tech support…AbleBits totally delivers!
Deborah Bryant
Anyone who works with Excel is sure to find their work made easier
Jackie Lee
The best spent money on software I've ever spent!
Patrick Raugh
Ablebits is a fantastic product - easy to use and so efficient.
Debra Celmer
Excel is at its best now
Annie C.
I don't know how to thank you enough for your Excel add-ins
Jennifer Morningstar
Anybody who experiences it, is bound to love it!
Kumar Nepa
AbleBits suite has really helped me when I was in a crunch!
Nelda Fink
I have enjoyed every bit of it and time am using it
Christian Onyekachi Nwosu
It's the best $100 we've ever spent!
Mike Cavanagh
I love the program, and I can't imagine using Excel without it!
Robert Madsen
One word… WOW!
Dave Brown
Love the products!
David Johnston
It is like having an expert at my shoulder helping me…
Linda Shakespeare
Your software really helps make my job easier
Jeannie C.
Thanks for a terrific product that is worth every single cent!
Dianne Young
I love your product
Brad Gibson
Awesome!!!
Sheila Blanchard