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Workplace Software and Skills

15.6 Integrating Data from Other Programs into Google Workspace

Workplace Software and Skills15.6 Integrating Data from Other Programs into Google Workspace

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Integrate data from Google Sheets into a Google Doc
  • Integrate information from Microsoft programs into a Google program

You may wish to integrate data from a spreadsheet or other program into a Google Doc for the reasons we addressed earlier in this chapter. Linked data will update automatically, turning your Google Doc into a live document with the latest information. Or you might want to copy and paste data from other programs into Google Docs and match its style. You may also use Excel to make tables and graphs, and then import those into Google Sheets. Using these tools can improve the quality of the infographics in your document as well as help to convert your file into a more shareable, collaborative format.

Integrating Data from Google Sheets into a Google Doc

There are two ways to import Google Sheets tables into Google Docs. The first option is copy and paste, similar to the process we used in Excel and Word. To do this, go to the table you want to copy in Sheets and select the cells that are contained in it, as seen in Figure 15.62. Press Ctrl+C (Command+C on Mac) on the keyboard to copy it or use another copy method. Then go to the Docs file, place the cursor where you want the table to be pasted, and paste using Ctrl+V or another paste method. Immediately after pressing these keys, a Paste Table dialog box will appear, as seen in Figure 15.63, asking you if you want to link the table or paste a static table.

Google Sheets table is visible.
Figure 15.62 Select the cells from the Google Sheets file to be integrated into the Google Doc. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)
Paste table window has Link to spreadsheet option selected. It reads: Only editors can update the table. Collaborators can see a link to the source spreadsheet. Paste unlinked is also available.
Figure 15.63 Linking will update the table in the Google Doc when changes are made in the Sheets file. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Linked tables or graphs, as discussed earlier, will update automatically in your Doc when the data in the source sheet is updated. Remember, a static table will simply paste the content and will not update automatically. In our example, we chose to have our table linked, so we left the Link to Spreadsheet on, and chose Paste. In Figure 15.64, we can see the pasted table.

Column widths on a table have been adjusted to fit the information provided.
Figure 15.64 You may need to adjust column widths to give the table a professional appearance. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Linking data from Sheets is not always straightforward. When you edit the original source document—the Google Sheet—you need to make sure that the settings are correct in your Doc so that it will update properly. Let’s assume that we will add rows to the client order list (our Google Sheet) as shown in Figure 15.65. This means that the original Sheets table will grow three new rows; this will not immediately be updated in our Google Doc.

In a table, the last three rows are highlighted.
Figure 15.65 When you make changes to a linked table in a Google Doc, you need to take an extra step to make sure those changes are reflected in the Doc file. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)

The table has increased in size; therefore, we need to make sure that our Google Doc knows how large the table is supposed to be. To do this, go to the linked table in the Doc and hover over the Linked Table Options icon in the upper right of the table, as shown in Figure 15.66. Choose Change Range.

In a window, a link icon is indicated. Options include: Open source, Unlink, Change range, Match spreadsheet data and formatting, and Linked objects.
Figure 15.66 Use the Linked Table options to access the tools for the linked table. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

A dialog box will appear, and we see that the current range is A1 to G14, but we want it to be A1 to G23, as in Figure 15.67. Type the new range, select OK, and the table will be updated.

Linked cell range window displays an Excel icon and Sheet1!A1:G23 in bar.
Figure 15.67 If you add or remove cells from the Sheets table, you will need to update the cell references in Docs. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

If you are just updating information in existing cells, and not adding or deleting columns or rows, you will need to tell Google to update the table. For example, let’s say we made a mistake in row 2, and the quantity is supposed to be nine instead of fourteen (Figure 15.65). Change the quantity in the Sheets file, then go to the Doc file. Notice you now have a button at the top of the table that says Update, as Figure 15.68 shows. Select Update, and the table will now be updated with the revised information (Figure 15.69).

Table visible with Update button at the top indicated.
Figure 15.68 When you make changes that do not involve increasing or decreasing the size of the linked table, you will need to update the Google Doc. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)
All of the information in a table is selected.
Figure 15.69 Notice that the quantity of the first item changed from 14 to 9. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

To unlink the tables and graphs, simply select Unlink from the Linked Table options, and the table will become static, as Figure 15.70 shows.

All of the information in a spreadsheet is selected. Unlink is selected in an option window.
Figure 15.70 If you unlink a table in a Google Doc, it becomes static and will not be updated if changes are made in the Sheets file. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Google Docs also enables you to insert a chart or graph that exists in a Google Sheet directly into your Google Doc. A chart or graph that is linked in this way will automatically update when the contents of the Google Sheet update. Using the skills learned in previous chapters, let’s create a summary chart of Quantity Sold per product in your linked table. To incorporate this chart into the Google Doc, put your cursor at the point where you want the chart to be placed in the document. Next, go to the Insert menu and hover over the Chart command. This will open a drop-down menu; select From Sheets, as shown in Figure 15.71. This, in turn, will open a dialog box that shows your recent Sheets files.

Chart is selected from Insert tab. Opens to options for Bar, Column, Line, Pie, and From Sheets (selected).
Figure 15.71 Although you can insert a chart directly into your Doc, as shown in the menu, sometimes it is more convenient to use an existing chart from a Sheet. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

You can also use the Search tool to find a specific file. Select the one that has the information you want in your chart—in our example, this file is called Sales Data (Figure 15.72). Click Select.

Insert chart window displays a Spreadsheets tab at the top. A Search option is available. Thumbnails of files display for selection. Select button at bottom.
Figure 15.72 From the window, choose the Sheets file where the charts or graphs are located. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

The next screen gives you a preview of the graph (Figure 15.73). If you have more than one chart or graph created in the Sheets file, as in this example, you will see all of them in the preview and can select the ones you want to include.

When you have selected the charts or graphs to include, choose Import. To ensure that the chart stays updated, tick the checkbox labeled Link to spreadsheet.

Import chart window displays Sales Data charts available for selection. Link to Spreadsheet is selected. Import button selected at bottom.
Figure 15.73 Click on any or all of the charts that you wish to insert into the Doc. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Again, if you want to update the chart to reflect changed values in the existing table, just click on the Update button. But if the number of rows or columns has changed, so that the table is no longer the same size, you will need to select the range for the linked table as we did previously. If there are no changes to the size of the table, but only changes in values in existing cells, you can use the Update button. Figure 15.74 shows the result of the integrated charts.

An inserted chart displays small squares at all corners and side middles for resizing.
Figure 15.74 You may need to resize and move the charts and graphs to fit the needs of the document you are creating. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Integrating Data from Microsoft Programs into a Google Program

To add data from Microsoft 365 (Office) apps to your Google Workspace programs, simply upload the files to Google Drive. Then you have the choice of keeping them as .docx (Word) or .xlsx (Excel) files or converting them to .gdocx (Google Doc) or .gxlsx (Google Sheets), respectively. To convert Microsoft files to Google files, you must open the document and manually choose to save it as a Google Doc or Sheet. When choosing this option, you may have to adjust some of the formatting of your Doc or Sheets, but generally, this is a straightforward approach to bringing files from Microsoft programs into Google.

Data from Microsoft Excel

You can integrate data from Excel into any of the Google applications. First, let’s discuss how to bring Excel information into a Google Doc. If your tables and graphs were created in Excel rather than in Sheets, you can use one of the copy-and-paste methods used when placing Excel tables into a Word file. Select the table, copy it using your preferred method, and then paste it into the Doc using either Paste or Paste Without Formatting (Figure 15.75). Notice that much of your Excel formatting is lost when you use the copy-and-paste method.

(a) All information in Excel table is selected. (b) Google Docs Edit tab selected. Options include: Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Paste without formatting (selected), Select all, Delete, and Find and replace.
Figure 15.75 (a) The table in Excel is formatted with shading and borders. (b) When copying into Google Docs, you have only two options. (Part a: Used with permission from Microsoft; Part b: Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)
Information pasted into Google Docs from Excel is in columns, but not sized appropriately.
Figure 15.76 The Paste option gives you the data in a table, but it is not formatted in the same way it was in Excel. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)
Information pasted into Google Docs from Excel is not in columns or sized appropriately.
Figure 15.77 The Paste Without Formatting option simply pastes the information as text, not in a tabular form. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

To ensure that the Excel data gets inserted into your Google Doc in a manner that is closer to what you have in Excel, you need to first upload the Excel file into your Google Drive and open it in Google Sheets.

First, upload the file into your Google Drive. Then, find the file in the Drive and right-click on it. Choose Open with Google Sheets, as in Figure 15.78. This will open the file using the Google Sheets app, but remember, it will not be saved as a Google Sheet until you manually choose to do so. After opening the file in Sheets, go to the File window menu and then choose Save as Google Sheets, as shown in Figure 15.79.

A file is selected in My Drive. A pane displays Open with (selected), which lists options for: Preview, AppSheet, CloudConvert, DocHub, Google Sheets (selected), Connect more apps, and Apps on your computer.
Figure 15.78 Opening your Excel file in Google Sheets preserves most of its formatting. (Google Drive is a trademark of Google LLC.)
File tab selected displays an option to Save as Google Sheets selected.
Figure 15.79 The file will be saved in your Drive as an Excel file unless you specifically save it as a Google Sheets file. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Another option is to import the Excel information into a new Sheets file. This too will preserve much of your formatting. However, if you have charts or graphs created in the Excel file that are not available in Google, the charts or graphs will not import. Only the data will be imported. Then you can create a chart from within Sheets. This is one limitation of Google: it does not have as many options for creating graphs and charts as you will find in Microsoft. Most of the graph and chart formats available in Google are very basic, such as simple line graphs and bar charts. You will not see some of the more advanced formats, such as the 3D options, as you do in Microsoft.

Additionally, when you import an Excel file into a Sheets file, you might notice that any links you established between that Excel file and another Excel file may not be preserved. If your Excel sheet contains formulas, make sure these are accurate once imported. Importing works well, but the result may need some editing to resolve compatibility issues. It is important to be aware of this limitation when importing Excel information into Sheets.

Finally, once you have imported the data into a Sheets file, you can integrate that information into a Doc if desired. This approach is likely to do a better job of retaining your formatting than the copy-and-paste method.

To begin importing Excel into Sheets, create a new blank worksheet in Sheets. Then, while in Sheets, go to the File window menu and choose Import (Figure 15.80). If the Excel sheet has already been uploaded to the Drive as an .xlsx document, you can get the Excel file from the My Drive tab, as seen in Figure 15.81. If the file is not in your Google Drive, choose the Upload tab to locate it. A new dialog box will appear, as shown in Figure 15.82, asking what you want to do next: create a new spreadsheet, insert a new sheet, or replace the spreadsheet. Select Replace Spreadsheet and then choose Import Data. This will move the entire contents of the Excel spreadsheet into the new Google Sheet you just created (Figure 15.83).

Sheets File tab selects Import from options listed.
Figure 15.80 Add the Excel file to your Google Drive to make importing easier. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)
Import file window displays tabs for: My Drive (selected), Shared with me, Recent and Upload (indicated). Thumbnails of files are visible for selection.
Figure 15.81 You will see your file in My Drive if the Excel file has already been uploaded into your Google Drive. (Google Drive is a trademark of Google LLC.)
Import file window displays File selections: Create new spreadsheet, Insert new sheet(s), Replace spreadsheet (selected), Replace current sheet, Append to current sheet, Replace data at selected cell. Import data button selected.
Figure 15.82 You can create a new spreadsheet in Sheets using imported Excel data. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)
Imported Excel data displayed in Sheets in columns and rows. Row 1 is blue backfilled with bold, centered text. Other cells are populated with data in regular, black font.
Figure 15.83 The data will be imported in Sheets with the same formatting as you had in the Excel file. (Google Sheets is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Another option for bringing Microsoft files into Google is to change your settings in Google Drive. As a word of caution, when you change your Google Workspace settings, you will change the settings for the entire Google Drive and all files that are stored in the Drive.

First, go to the Settings icon at the top right of your Drive (Figure 15.84).

Open pane displays: Settings (selected), Get Drive for desktop, and Keyboard shortcuts.
Figure 15.84 Access the settings in your Google Drive to edit how non-Google files are managed. (Google Drive is a trademark of Google LLC.)

In the General tab, go to the option that says Convert Uploads and check the box Convert uploads to Google Docs editor format. Tick on the checkbox as shown in Figure 15.85. Then click on Done. Again, be careful with changing these settings, however, since this will change the process for your whole Google Drive, and not just one file or folder.

General is selected in Settings. Convert uploads category displays selectable button for Convert uploads to Google Docs editor format.
Figure 15.85 Choosing to convert all uploads to Google Docs editor format will change the setting for all files that are uploaded into your Drive. (Google Drive is a trademark of Google LLC.)

Information from Microsoft Word

To import an entire Word document into Google Docs, follow the same steps that you used to import an Excel document into Google Sheets: you can either upload the file into Google Drive, then Open it in Google Docs (Figure 15.86); or, if the file is already in your Google Drive, right-click on the file and hover to Open with Google Docs. Again, the file will not be a Google Doc file right away; it will remain a Word file unless you deliberately choose to save it as a Google Doc. This is the same as the procedure for saving an Excel file as a Google Sheet.

Open with selected in options pane. Opens to selections for: Google Docs (selected), CloudConvert, and DocHub – PDF Sign and Edit.
Figure 15.86 For files that are in your Drive, you can choose to open them with Google Docs. But they will not be Docs files unless you then save them as a Google Docs file. (Google Drive is a trademark of Google LLC.)

If you want to bring in certain portions of a Word document into Google Docs, you can use the copy-and-paste method. For example, to bring just the title and this bulleted list from the report into a new Google Docs, you would first select and copy the information from Word (Figure 15.87). In the new Google Doc, you can either use Paste or Paste without formatting to insert the text. Figure 15.88 and Figure 15.89 show the difference between using these paste options.

All of the information in a Word document is selected for copying.
Figure 15.87 First, copy the information from the Word document that you want to paste into a Google Doc. (Used with permission from Microsoft)
Information copied into a Google Docs document from a Word document. Information has moved around a bit from original but looks mostly similar.
Figure 15.88 Even with the normal Paste tool, some of your formatting will be lost when you bring information from Word into Docs. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)
Information copied into Google Docs is displayed in plain text with only bulleting retained.
Figure 15.89 When you use the Paste without formatting tool, the information will be pasted as plain text and will not preserve any formatting, like font style or color. (Google Docs is a trademark of Google LLC.)

As with Sheets and Excel, there are some known compatibility issues between Docs and Word: The footer and header may not be shown the same, some blank pages may be added in Docs that were not in the Word version of the file, some fonts may not be recognized, the text may have alignment or indent issues, word-wrapped pictures in Word may be out of place, and line spacing may be a little off. You will need to experiment and use the programs consistently to get a better understanding of these compatibility issues and how they might affect your document.


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