How to Use Google Sheets as a Database (Free Template)

Using Google Sheets as a database can be a powerful tool. You can use spreadsheets as databases in Google Sheets as a lightweight database for small to medium-sized projects, but it may lack for those bigger projects.

In this article, we will:

  • Cover the basics of using Google Sheets as a database
  • Provide examples of how it can be used in real-world scenarios
  • Discuss the reasons why one might choose to use a Google Sheet database
  • Provide a step-by-step guide on how to create a database in Google Sheets.

Read on to learn more.

Examples of Using Google Sheets as a Database

You can use Google Sheets as a database for a wide range of tasks, from tracking inventory for a small business to managing a personal budget. Here are some examples of using Google spreadsheets as a database:

Storing Customer Information for a Small Business

One use case for a Google spreadsheet database is to use the spreadsheet to store customer information, such as names, addresses, and contact information. This can be useful for tracking customer interactions, managing customer relationships, and analyzing customer data.

Tracking inventory for an e-commerce store

You can use a Google Sheets database to track inventory levels, product information, and sales data for an e-commerce store. This can be useful for monitoring stock levels, tracking sales trends, and analyzing product performance.

Managing a Personal Budget

Another Google Spreadsheet database example is when you’d use a spreadsheet as a database to track income and expenses, set financial goals, and monitor progress toward those goals. This can be useful for better understanding your spending habits and identifying areas where you can make improvements.

Why Use Google Sheets as a Database?

There are several reasons why you might choose to use Google Sheets as a database. We will cover them more in detail further on this article, but here’s a quick look:

  • Ease of use
  • Accessibility
  • Scalability
  • Integration With Other Google Apps

Should You Use Google Sheets as a Database?

There are pros and cons to using Google Sheets as a database. Let’s take a look at some of each.

Related: Spreadsheets vs. Database: What’s the Difference?

Limitations of Google Sheets as a Database

When it comes to using Google Sheets to create a database, it’s also important to understand its limitations. While it can handle small to medium-sized data sets, it may not be suitable for larger projects or those with more complex data needs.

For example, Google Sheets has a limit of 2 million cells per spreadsheet, which may not be enough for some large-scale projects. Additionally, Google Sheets doesn’t provide the same level of performance and scalability as a dedicated database management system.

Another limitation of using Google Sheets as a database is its lack of security features. Google Sheets is designed to be a collaboration tool, which means that by default, anyone with access to the spreadsheet can view and edit the data. To mitigate this, you can use Google’s built-in sharing and access controls to restrict who can view and edit the spreadsheet. However, these controls may not be sufficient for sensitive or confidential data.

Advantages of Google Sheets as a Database

Despite these limitations, using Google Sheets as a database can still be a useful solution in certain scenarios. Here’s why.

Easy to Manage

Google Sheets may be a good option if you need a simple way to track and organize data and don’t have a dedicated IT team to manage a more complex solution. Additionally, if you’re working on a small project or prototype, using Google Sheets can be a quick and easy way to get started without needing a more robust solution.

Easy Integration with Other Google Products

Another advantage of using Google Sheets as a database is its integration with other Google products. Google Sheets can be easily integrated with other Google apps, such as Google Forms and Google Apps Script, to create powerful and customizable database solutions.

For example, you can use Google Forms to collect data and automatically import it into your Google Sheets database. Similarly, you can use Google Apps Script to automate tasks and add custom functionality to your database. This can save a lot of time and effort compared to manually entering data or writing custom scripts to interact with a different type of database and using multiple complex tools to get a result that meets all your requirements.

Easy to Collaborate On

Among the list of advantages of using Google Sheets to database with is its ability to be easily shared and collaborated on with others. You can share the spreadsheet with specific individuals or make it publicly accessible, which makes it easy to work with others on the same database and allows multiple people to access and update the data simultaneously. This can be particularly useful for small businesses, teams, or projects that involve multiple contributors.

Overall, Google Sheets can be a valuable option for small to medium-sized projects or as a lightweight database solution. While it has its limitations, it can be a quick and easy way to get started with tracking and organizing data. And with the integration with other Google products and the ease of sharing and collaboration, it can be a good option. However, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and requirements before deciding to use Google Sheets as a database and whether it can meet those needs in the long term.

Using Google Sheets as a Database with Python

Using Google Sheets as a database with Python can be done using the Google Sheets API. The first step would be to enable the API and get the necessary credentials. Then, you can use a Python library such as gspread or pygsheets to interact with the Google Sheets API and read or write data to your spreadsheet. This allows you to automate tasks, schedule updates, and combine the power of python with the simplicity of Google Sheets. Additionally, you can also use the pandas library to work with the data in a dataframe and make data analysis and manipulation more efficient.

How to Make a Google Sheets Database: Step-by-Step

Now, let’s dive into how you can create a database using Google Sheets:

  1. Go to Google Sheets (Sheets.new) and create a new spreadsheet or open an existing one.
A blank Google Sheet
  1. Create the columns for your database, with the first row representing the field names. For example, if you are creating a database of customers, your field names might include “Name,” “Email,” “Phone Number,” and “Address.”
Adding titles to the sheet
  1. Input the data into the rows below the field names. Be sure to match the data with the appropriate field name. For example, enter a customer’s name in the “Name” column, their email in the “Email” column, and so on.
Content added to the database
  1. You can use the built-in sorting and filtering options to organize your data. For example, you can sort the data by name, email, or any other field. You can also use the filter option to only show specific rows that meet certain criteria.
Sort the database in Google Sheets
  1. To query the data in your spreadsheet like a database, you can use the QUERY function in Google Sheets. This function allows you to select specific rows based on certain criteria and perform calculations on the data.
Use QUERY to use Google Sheets as a database
  1. Now, you can add a search key to search for any specific item within the database. Using a dropdown combined with the VLOOKUP function will add a useful search key that will display data based on the item selected in the dropdown.

Data Validation Rule:

Add data validation

VLOOKUP function:

How to search a database with VLOOKUP
  1. Finally, you can share the spreadsheet with other people and give them editing or view-only access as needed. This allows multiple people to collaborate on the data and make updates as needed.
Collaborate by sharing the Google Sheets database

Google Sheets Database Template

Here is our free Google Sheets database template: Google Sheets Database Template

Additional Resources

Below are some of the additional features of Google Sheets that might be useful with a Google Sheets database:

Google Sheets Web Scraping: Using this feature, you can use Google Sheets as a scraper tool.

Import CSV into Google Sheets: If your data is in a CSV file, you can easily import it into your Google Sheets file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Connect Google Sheets to a Database?

It is possible to connect Google Sheets to a database using methods such as using Google Sheets API, a third-party connector, or writing a script to import data from the database.

Is Google Sheets Good as a Database?

Google Sheets can be used as a basic database. We do not recommend using it for large data sets as it has limitations in its performance compared to traditional databases.

Does Google Have a Database Program?

Google Sheets itself is not a database program, but it allows you to use a spreadsheet as a database to store and organize data in a way that resembles a simple database.

Conclusion

We have gathered that using Google Sheets as a database is an effective solution for small to medium-sized projects. We saw how It offers a wide range of features and functions that make it easy to organize and manipulate data, and it can be easily shared and collaborated on with others. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can set up and query a simple database in Google Sheets and start using it to track and analyze your data. As the complexity of your project grows, you can always move to more robust database solutions.

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Talha Faisal

Talha Faisal

Talha is a seasoned technical writer that specializes in Automation and SaaS. Google Sheets is central to his work, and he uses his writing to make Google Sheets easy to use for everyone.
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