Many users turn to Google Sheets because it is free and easy to use. Microsoft is probably feeling Google’s influence because the latest version of Microsoft Edge interfaces with Microsoft 365and the dashboard is a bit like Google Drive.
With many users and even organizations turning to Google Sheets, you may need to import data from Google Sheets into Microsoft Power BI. The ability to do this has been around for almost a year, so learning how can be helpful. Fortunately, it’s easy.
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In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to import data from Google Sheets into Microsoft Power BI. We will also look at how to import Microsoft Excel data in Google Sheets and vice versa. I use Google Sheets in Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Power BI on a Windows 10 64-bit system. You can download the demo file for this lesson.
Upload an Excel file and save it as a Google Sheets file
Google Drive allows you to upload and save an Excel file without having to convert the .xlsx file to a Google Sheets file. After all, Google Drive is about storage, not size. If you later decide to save the .xlsx file as a .gsheet file, Google Sheets will not replace the Excel file. Instead, a new Google Sheets file will be created – you will get an .xlsx and .gsheet file in Google Drive.
For demonstration, let’s upload an Excel file to Google Drive and save it as a Google Sheets document:
1. Open your Google Drive.
2. Click the New button.
3. Choose Upload File from the drop-down list. You can also upload a map, which is useful, but we won’t do that right now.
4. Locate and select the Excel file you want to upload and click Open (Image A). You can use one of your Excel files or the demonstration file PBIGoogleSheets_ExcelDemo.xlsx after saving it locally.
5. In the resulting submenu, choose Open With, then select Google Sheets.
The file in Google Sheets is an editable Excel file. If you make changes to the file, Google will keep the .xlsx format. If you decide to convert the data to Google Sheets, click the File menu and then choose Save As Google Sheets (Figure B).
At this point you have two different files: one is an Excel file and the other is a Google Sheets file (Figure C). If you make changes to this file, Google will not save them to the .xlsx file and vice versa.
Now let’s see how to convert a Google sheet to an Excel sheet.
Convert a Google Sheets file to an Excel file
Converting a Google sheet to an Excel file is even easier because you can download and change the format at the same time. To demonstrate, let’s convert the Google sheet we just saved to Excel as follows:
1. Open the Google sheet.
2. Click the File menu and choose Download.
3. In the resulting submenu (Figure D), select Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).
Or right-click on the Google Sheets document and choose Download. Google Drive will download and convert the Google sheet to an Excel .xlsx file and you will save a click.
How to import a Google Sheets file into Power BI
The long way to get data into a Google Sheets file in Power BI is to save the file as an Excel file and then open that file in Power BI. That is no longer necessary. To get Google Sheets data into Power BI, all you need is the sheet’s URL in Google Drive. To demonstrate, let’s use the Google Sheets file from the previous section as follows:
1. Return to or open your Google Drive.
2. Find the Google Sheets file you want to use in Power BI.
3. Copy the URL of the sheet (Digits E) to the clipboard by selecting it and then pressing Ctrl + C.
4. Sign in to your Microsoft account and open Power BI as usual. When you apply this to your own work, open the .pbix file to which you want to add the Google Sheets data. If you currently have a .pbix file open, click the File tab and choose New to close the open file to avoid adding this sample data to a working file.
5. Click the Get Data tab.
6. From the drop-down list, choose More (Figure F).
7. In the resulting window, enter Google in the Search control.
8. In the list on the right, select Google Sheets (Figure G) and then click Connect. If prompted to allow a third party to communicate, click Connect.
9. Enter the URL in the clipboard (figure H) by pressing Ctrl + V.
10. Click OK.
11. If prompted to sign in to your Google account, do so.
As you can see in Figure Ithe Navigator displays all sheets in the Google Sheets document.
If you are using the demonstration data, just click the sales sheet and then click Load. If you are prompted to save any pending changes, click Apply changes. Power BI converts the data into tabular format (figure J).
You still have some work to do:
- Delete the first column, called Column 1. This is column A in the Google Sheets file.
- Align the Date column to the left.
- Apply currency format to the Amount column.
Now that the data is in Power BI, you can use it as you would any other data.
Getting Google Sheets data into Power BI isn’t much work. Simply copy the URL into Power BI, load the data, and start building visuals.