Dec 27, 2016

[TIP] How to use Google Spreadsheet for collaboration

Guide to Collaborative Editing With Google Spreadsheet

2016/12/27 by Charly Choi

I would like to introduce some of the essential things you need to know to collaborate with your team through Google Spreadsheet.

Sometimes you need to collaborate using Excel documents. There are too many limitations when trying to collaborate with team members using Excel or Excel Online in MS Office 365. MS Excel may not be suitable for collaborative document work with Excel documents.

Google Spreadsheet has important features for collaborating with team members. Understanding these features will enable you to maximize your work efficiency through collaboration among your team members.

Here is a good Business Case.

  • I am the sales manager with 5 members.
  • Share my Sales Report  with my members  and have them write their sales reports.
  • Some of the members are not familiar with spreadsheets. They can spoil things by not entering them well.
  • I should check all the records that members have edited or typed.
  • If someone in your group modifies or changes a sheet, I'll automatically be notified.
  • Members can edit or type in everything on the sheet, but some important data can only be viewed and can not be modified.
  • Some of the members can only view the sheet contents, can not be modified, and some sheets in the spreadsheet with sensitive information should not be visible to the members.
  • On the sheet, photos taken on the field should also be saved so that they can be shared among the members.
  • Once the Sales Report is complete, it should be posted on the Company's internal site as a graph chart so that it can be viewed by all employees.

    Protected Sheet and Range

If you need to collaborate with your team on a sheet you've created, you'll need to give them permission to edit. Spreadsheet documents may contain sensitive sheets or specific data that others should not tamper with. This data needs to be kept from being modified by other members.

Google Spreadsheet has a 'Protected Sheet and Range' feature. You can specify a range of cells for a particular sheet so that they can not modify this range.


 Hide Sheet

Some of your team members may not have permission to edit, but only view. Spreadsheets have sensitive sheets that the view authority can not see. Google Spreadsheet provides the ability to hide sheets. If you hide the selected sheet, users with view privileges will not be able to see the contents of that sheet.

hide sheet.gif

Data Validation

Collaborating members may accidentally enter data incorrectly. To prevent this, you can specify the allowable range of the input data, input only the specified list data, or input only the data of the specified date range. This prevents accidental input of unacceptable data. This feature is essential if you need to work collaboratively through collaborative editing.

Filter Views

In some cases, the members you are working on may need to arrange them in order for a particular column. When a member attempts to sort, the order of the data in the original is changed. To prevent this, you can sort the data of the desired column only by yourself without affecting the original data. In Google Spreadsheet, the Filter Views feature allows you to sort the columns you need only without affecting the original.

I recommend using the Filter Views feature if the members do not have any effect on the original data and each wants to sort and view the data.

Conditional formatting  

Members who share the sheet need to be able to view the data easily. Google Spreadsheet provides the ability to specify the background color for data (Cell, Row, Column) satisfying a certain condition through conditional formatting function.

Image Sharing

One of the most common features of collaborating with Spreadsheet documents is the ability to insert and share images on a sheet.

There are two ways to insert images into Google Spreadsheet.

1). You can upload images from your local PC via Menu -> Insert -> Image, or upload from Google Photo albums, Google Drive. However, you can not insert an image into a sheet cell.

image insert.gif

2). You can use Function - image () to insert an image into a specific cell. This way, you can insert an image into the cell. However, you can not upload images from my local PC, but only images that are public on the web

Notification Rules

Members who share a sheet can automatically receive notifications when they edit or enter data. Spreadsheet provides the ability to specify 'Notification rules'. You can use this feature to specify a notification rule.


You can communicate through comments in Spreadsheet between members who are co-editing. You can send 'comments' to members by specifying a specific cell. Members who receive comments can reply.

Chart Publishing

You can create a chart on the sheet or by using the ‘Explorer’ (bottom right of the sheet) function. Once the chart is created, you can publish it to the web or to your site. Charts published on the web will automatically change the charts published on the web when the data in the sheet source changes.


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