Google Sheets is basically a cloud-based version of Microsoft Excel or spreadsheet applications in general, so it’d make sense that Sheets and Excel shares assets like alt codes, formatting, and so forth. Exporting a Google Sheets spredsheet should more or less result in a perfectly workable Excel file.
So let’s discuss how to export google sheets to excel. Is it viable to have an offline version of Google Sheets on hand? Is it a perfect conversion or are there some differences? Let’s find out!
How to Export Google Sheets to Excel
Step 1: Make a new spreadsheet or open an existing one for Excel importation purposes. I’ve opened an existing one I made recently.
If you don’t want to make a table from scratch, you can open any past projects or fill up the available templates by opening this link and clicking on “Template gallery” to choose from a set of different spreadsheet templates.
Make sure you’re signed in to Google.com or Gmail to access these templates. You can go for “To do list”, “Annual budget”, “Monthly budget”, “Google Finance Investment Tracker”, or “Schedule”, among many other choices.
Step 2: On the top-left corner of your Google Sheets GUI (graphical user interface), click on the “File” menu. Open that dropdown menu to access the “Download” submenu.
Select the “Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)” option among the options available (such as OpenDocument, PDF, Web page, or Tab-separated values).
You can also access the “Download” menu by right-clicking your Google Sheet and selecting the submenu from there.
Step 3: Depending on the settings of your browser, you’ll either be asked where you want to download the file or it will download automatically to the “Downloads” folder of your HDD.
According to my settings, Chrome proceeded to download the Google Sheets file into .xlsx format and saved it in my local “Downloads” folder.
Go to your “Downloads” folder (in “My PC” under “Downloads” usually) and double-click the file or select it then press “Enter” to open it on Microsoft Excel.
Step 4: Open the file on Excel to see the changes from the Google Sheets version. It should at first be in “Read-Only” mode that you can’t edit because of Excel’s safeguard against online-downloaded files, but you can easily opt out of it.
As you can see, our checkboxes weren’t imported even though the rest of the spreadsheet retained the rest of their formatting. That’s the main issue with importing Google Sheets files. Although it retains some of the formatting, other elements might get lost in conversion.
Step 5: Fix up what can be fixed up in the formatting. For example, Microsoft Excel has an altogether separate method of creating checkboxes compared to Google Sheet’s tick boxes using the “Developer” tab.
The rest can be easily formatted by selecting the text and changing the wrapping from “Clipped” to “Text wrap” to allow them to widen the cell dimensions automatically.
Step 6: Compare and contrast. How does your Excel version of your Google Sheets file differ from the original? Also be aware that when you do it the other way around—export .xlsx files to Google Sheets—the same lost formatting issues should also crop up.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Go to the “File” menu and select the “Downloads” submenu. Select “Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)” to download the file to your local “Downloads” folder (in Windows 10). You can then access the file to see how accurate or inaccurate the conversion is.
Expect some formatting to get lost in conversion. Certain elements present in Google Sheets will be absent in Excel and vice-versa because the two programs go about inserting certain elements—like checkboxes or tick boxes—quite differently.
- Ajay Anand, “How to connect Google Sheets to Excel“, YouTube, October 20, 2020
- Office Pros, “Export a Google Sheets File into Excel; Sheets File to Excel File“, YouTube, March 7, 2018
- Mahesh Makvana, “How to Convert a Google Sheet to Microsoft Excel“, How to Geek, November 9, 2021
- Melanie Weir, “How to convert your Google Sheets files into Excel files, and edit them in Microsoft Excel“, Business Insider, February 25, 2020
Google Sheet: make a copy