Google Sheets is a powerful tool to have at your disposal. Here are five pro tips to level up your Google Sheets from the creator of the Better Sheets course.
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I’m Andrew, head of Better Sheets, the Google Sheets tutorial solution for small businesses that want to do more with less. Right now, Better Sheets is in the AppSumo store for just $19 and I wanted to give you a little preview of what it has to offer.
I’ve used my Google Sheets expertise to take a broadcast TV station from messy documents and data to running the entire organization on Sheets with my hand-written scripts.
My course features real-world examples to explain the use and function of built-in Google Sheets formulas – maybe even the most creative uses of Google Sheets you’ve ever seen. Now I’d like to show you five quick tips to make the most of this powerful tool.
For an upgraded edition of the guide below, click here!
It’s my hope that everyone who tries my tutorials will have a better software experience and start to love their new life as a Google Sheets guru.
5 Pro Tips to Use on Google Sheets Right Now
1. Create an Interactive To-Do List with IF() Formula
A good way to get your feet wet and get organized is with an interactive to-do list. You won’t just be ticking off items – the to-do list text itself will actually update to reflect completion. Let’s get started, and be sure to check out the video below for extra guidance!
First, insert a checkbox in the cell next to each of your To-Do Items.
Next to the checkbox, we’ll type: =IF(
In the first argument, type the cell with the checkbox, =IF(A1,
Then we’ll type the phrase we want to show when checked, which is =IF(A1, “Laundry Dropped Off”,
Then we’ll type the phrase to show when unchecked: =IF(A1, “Laundry Dropped Off”,”Drop off Laundry”)
Make sure to put the phrases in quotes with a comma between them, otherwise this will be a very sad to-do list that’s never completed.
After you’ve entered every field and chosen your completed phrases, when you click the checkbox, the text will update.
This video will guide you through step-by-step if you’re still having trouble:
2. Adjust the Colors
The initial font color and cell highlight color on Google Sheets is…fine. While it is useful, it’s also depressing after 8 hours. In fact, contrast that high can hurt your eyes.
So change the colors to something that’s more palatable. This simple step will improve your long-term Google Sheets experience, and you might even find yourself enjoying the feeling of opening up a fresh sheet.
Here’s what you need to remember: 4, Facebook, Facebook, Fate.
That’s exactly 4 things, and they will make all the difference.
First click on the font color from the menu bar, then find “Custom”. This is where the magic happens.
4 = Change text color to #444444
Then change the cell highlight color to #fbfbf8
In this case, “fb” means “Facebook” and “f8” means “fate”. So just remember the handy mnemonic: 444444, Facebook-Facebook Fate.
It’s a lot of f’s, but that just shows how effin’ awesome it is.
Video breakdown right here:
3. Make Your Lists Spicy Hot
A common task we do in Google Sheets is to make lists. And one way to make them look great is to use emojis as bullet points. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just adding emojis (though it should be). Here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to add some emoji spice to your lists.
- Right align the emojis.
- Add a space after the emoji.
- Left align the text you are bulleting.
- Increase the row height to give more white space.
- Center Vertical Align both the emoji and the text for even spacing
Check out my super cool emoji list right here:
4. Use Title Case for Google Sheets
First and foremost: OMG, title case exists in Google Sheets!
I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been searching for this option for years, but didn’t know the name for capitalizing every word in a sentence. So I was super excited to finally have that breakthrough moment recently. Now I’m sharing it with you (be excited!).
Title case isn’t the only way to describe the particular method of capitalizing headlines and headers, and in Microsoft Office you literally have to click on the option “capitalize each word.”
Not the case (zing!) for Google Sheets.
You simply enter Proper() with your selected cell or text in the parentheses, and boom.
There. I just saved you years of fruitless Google searches.
Here’s the video for all the cases and their calls in Sheets:
5. Change the Default Font from Awful Arial
Okay, it’s not actually called “Awful” Arial. But, like me, you’re tired of seeing this font over and over and over again. (Or you will be. Trust me.)
Changing the font is really simple.
Go to format > Theme.
Then click “Customize”.
And there it is. Change your font. Change the color. Change your position on the best Harry Potter book (obvs #4). Whatever.
Now your Sheet has a new default. Freedom.
One pitfall you might notice is that this changes the default for that sheet. But it doesn’t change the default for every sheet. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. This lets you set your theme every time you start a new sheet.
Personally, I have a little ritual when I start Sheets now. Set the default font, set the font color, set the highlight color.
It might seem nerdy, dorky, or geeky, but I’m enjoying my time in Google Sheets a lot more now. I’m betting you will, too, once you find your own happy place in default settings.
View my font and color ritual right here:
Takeaways and More Tips for Google Sheets
These 5 pro tips only scratch the surface of what you can do with Google Sheets. Once you get more comfortable with lists, font settings, and colors, then you’ll be itching to see what other cool things you can manage with the platform.
For a taste of what Better Sheets has to offer beyond these tips, consider the ability to make a Trello Board in Google Sheets without fussing with a SaaS CRM. Or a Bookmarklet that saves URLs right into a spreadsheet. Those two things alone will save you tons of time and money by offering a solution already at your fingertips.
Better Sheets is full of easy-to-follow tutorials that will have you more productive and efficient. It’s time to take advantage of Google Sheets and streamline your life.
And avoid the Arial font.