How to Use Google Sheets as a Database for Your Business Dashboards

DashboardFox - Integrate with Google Sheets

Over 900 million people use Google Sheets each month!

Did you know that you can use this free platform, too, as a database for your business dashboards?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about using Google Sheets for this purpose below.

What Is Google Sheets?

Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet app that is part of the Google Drive Suite. You can also access it as a desktop application on ChromeOS and a mobile app on Android, iOS, and Windows.

Google Sheets allows you to create and edit spreadsheets in your web browser without any special software required. Multiple people can work on the same spreadsheet simultaneously, too, and all changes are automatically saved.

Benefits of Using Google Sheets for Business Dashboards

There are lots of reasons to use Google Sheets for your business dashboards. The following are some of the most important ones to keep in mind:

Ease of Use

One of the greatest and most frequently cited benefits of using Google Sheets for business dashboards is the platform’s ease of use.

Google Sheets has a very intuitive design that even beginners can figure out relatively quickly.

It’s easy to familiarize yourself with Google Sheets if you’ve already used similar spreadsheet tools like Microsoft Excel. Its layout is similar to other Google Drive Suite products like Google Docs, so if you’ve used other Google tools, you can likely figure this one out without too much trouble.

Integrations to Fill in Data in Google Sheets

Don’t want to manually type in all your data to a new Google Sheet? You don’t have to. Google Sheets integrates with a variety of platforms, including the following:

  • Airtable
  • Asana
  • Calendly
  • Dropbox
  • HubSpot
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Quickbooks
  • Tableau
  • Trello
  • Xero

With these convenient integrations, it’s easier than ever to fill in data and complete your spreadsheets.

Google Sheets Customization

You can customize sheets according to your organization’s unique requirements and store them in the cloud for easy access. There are numerous customization features, including changing text color, chart background, hyperlinks, accents, and more.

If you don’t want to create a sheet from scratch, you can also use one of the platform’s many pre-made templates.


All products included in the Google Drive Suite, including Google Sheets, are known for their helpful collaboration features. When you use Google Sheets, you can easily leave comments, assign tasks, and use @mentions to get people’s attention. Many people can work on the same sheet at the same time, too, which allows for greater productivity and helps you meet deadlines sooner.


By automating time-consuming processes, you free yourself up to focus on other critical elements of managing your business.

The good news is that Google Sheets can automate a variety of tasks, from updating formulas to record consolidation. You can also use the Google Apps Script tool to add customized automation tools to your spreadsheets.

Google Sheets and Security

With Google Sheets, you can set up different levels of security to ensure only those who are supposed to have access to spreadsheets can view and edit them. With these security features, you don’t have to worry about any unauthorized individuals making changes to your sheets, leaving comments, etc.

Google Sheets is also protected with Google-grade encryption to protect your business records even when they are shared across the internet. You can enable two-step verification if you want additional security, too.


It doesn’t get much more affordable than free. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution that can help you manage your business dashboards, this is an excellent choice.

Keep in mind that even though it’s free, Google Sheets still comes with a wide range of features, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the special capabilities offered by other tools.

How to Get Data into Your Google Sheets

If you’ve decided to use Google Sheets for your business dashboards, you’re likely wondering what the best way is to get data into your spreadsheets.

You can transfer data to your Google Sheets using a few different methods. The three options discussed below are the most frequently used:

Manual Input

Many people manually input data into Google Sheets by simply copying and pasting it into the correct field. This option is more time-consuming, but it’s also very straightforward and easy for beginners to manage.

Integrations with Automated Tools

Google Sheets integrates with a variety of automation tools, including popular solutions like Zapier, Pabbly Connect, Make, and Segment, allowing you to transfer data from one platform to another.

Built-In Integrations

Google Sheets can also integrate with other solutions, including customer relationship management software, financial software-as-a-service tools, and website forms. With all these additional integrations, you can save a lot of time and start cleaning and working with your data sooner.

How to Structure Data for Consumption by BI Tools

Do you want to structure your data so you can use it with other business intelligence tools? If so, here are some helpful tips to remember:

  • Use raw data
  • Correctly name columns and sheets
  • Don’t leave blank columns
  • Don’t leave blank rows

It’s also useful to segment related data into multiple sheets or tabs in a workbook if there is a common field between them.

For example, say one sheet contains transaction data with a customer reference number or ID. In that case, you could also have a second sheet with all your customer data with that same identifier. Then, in the BI tool, they can be easily connected for more valuable reports.

Way to Automatically Clean Data

If you want to save yourself time and effort, it helps to clean up your data right away. Use these tips to automatically clean data so you don’t have to do it later when you’re trying to analyze the data with your preferred business intelligence tool:

Use Built-In Cleanup Tools

Google Sheets includes built-in tools, including Cleanup Suggestions and Column Stats, that work very well. These solutions are readily available and can help you organize, standardize, and clean your raw data before you analyze it.

Use the Apps Script Tool

The Apps Script tool can also help you clean up your data. You can use it to carry out a variety of functions, including the following:

  • Delete blank rows
  • Delete blank columns
  • Crop sheets to a specific data range
  • Fill in blank rows

If you don’t want to do these tasks manually, let the Apps Script tool do it for you.

Trim Whitespace

Tiny details — like having too much space before or after your data — can make a big difference when it comes to data management. For example, it can cause two data points to be treated as different values, even though they’re not — which will lead to flawed results when you try to summarize your data.

It also has a useful TRIM tool that will get rid of unwanted white space. You can also use the built-in data cleanup tool to achieve the same objective.

Remove Duplicates

Like whitespace, duplicate information can also interfere with workflows, documentation, and your data analysis processes. The built-in data cleanup tool includes an option to get rid of duplicates. If you notice them in your sheet and don’t want to manually remove them (or want to make sure you don’t miss any), the cleanup tool is a good alternative.

Include Formula Fields

Spend a few minutes including formula fields to calculate formulas in Google Sheets. If you do it now, you can save yourself time later when using a different business intelligence tool.

Convert Timestamps to Variants

Another way to save yourself time and avoid having to clean up your data later in your BI tool is to convert timestamps to variants like year, month, quarter, and sort fields. Converting this data now will help to prevent complications later when you’re trying to analyze it.

Ensure Correct Formatting

Check that all column formats are correct. Make sure that dates, numbers, and text all have the proper formats, too. Again, if you ensure you have the correct formatting when working with your Google Sheets, it will be easier to analyze and work with your data later.

How DashboardFox Can Help with Google Sheets

As we come to the end of this guide, it’s time to take a step back and consider how the right tool can make using Google Sheets as a database for your business dashboards not just possible, but also effective. This is where DashboardFox comes into play.

DashboardFox allows you to connect seamlessly to the API of Google Sheets. DashboardFox allows you to connect via APIkey to a share link of a Google Sheets, or you can take the time to setup a secure oAuth2 connection to the Google API and pull data more securely.

Once connected, you can schedule a fetch of the spreadsheet data on a regular basis. Each time DashboardFox fetches the data, it will safely store it in a database on your self-hosted server. And then DashboardFox can report from your Google Sheets data just like any other database source.

Make a change to your data in Google Sheets, a new, inserted, or updated row? On the next scheduled fetch, that data is stored in DashboardFox and all the reports and dashboards you have created are automatically updated.

Don’t just take our word for it! We encourage you to schedule a meeting with our team to learn more about how DashboardFox can revolutionize your data management. Better yet why not try one of our live demo sessions for free? It’s the perfect opportunity to see DashboardFox in action and understand how it can be tailored to your business needs.

Turn your Google Sheets into a powerful database for your business dashboard and let DashboardFox facilitate this process. Get started today!

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