How to Insert Google Sheets in Google Docs (that Updates Automatically)

While Google Sheets are great when you have to maintain a record or work with data, but in many cases, your final work may involve presenting this data in Google Docs or Google Slides.

You can always insert the data from Google Sheets in a Google Doc as a static table, but then you have to update it manually whenever the data changes.

Thankfully, there is a way to insert Google Sheets in Google Docs in such a way that it automatically updates when you change the data in Google Sheets (a linked data set).

In this Google Sheets tutorial, I will show you how to insert a table from Google Sheets into a Google Docs file and how you can keep these linked.

Inserting a Live (Linked) Google Sheets Range in Google Docs

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below in the Google Sheets and you want to insert the table in this sheet in Google Docs. And of course, we want this to be linked so if I change anything in the table, it automatically changes in the Google Docs.

Data from Google Sheets to insert into Google Docs

Below are the steps to insert Google Sheets range in Google Docs:

  1. Select the range in Google Sheets that you want to insert in Google Docs
  2. Copy it (use Control + C or right-click and then click on Copy)Copy the data in Google Sheets
  3. Open the Google Docs document in which you want to insert the table
  4. Place the cursor where you want to get the data (table)
  5. Paste the data (Control + V or right-click and then click on Paste). This would open the ‘Paste Table’ dialog boxClick on Paste in Google Docs
  6. In the Paste Table dialog box, make sure the ‘Link to Spreadsheet’ option is checked.Click on Link to Spreadsheet
  7. Click on Paste

The above steps would insert the Google Sheets table in the Google Docs document.

Since this table is connected to the original data in Google Sheets, when you make any changes in the source data in Google Sheets, you will be able to update this table and reflect the changes in the copied table as well.

And remember that the data doesn’t get updated is not real-time. You will have to manually update the table by clicking the update button (covered in the next section).

There are two things you need to know when using this technique:

  1. The copied data in Google Docs is connected/linked to the original data but it doesn’t get updated in real-time. It, however, gives you an option to update the data with a single click
  2. This works only when both the Google Sheets and Google Docs document are in the same account (or have been shared with full-access). If you try to copy data from Google Sheets from one account into Google Docs from some other account, it will not show you the Paste Table dialog box. It will simply paste it as regular unlinked data.

Updating the Data (with a Single Click)

When you change any data in the original range in Google Sheets (that has been copied and inserted in the Google Docs), you will see an option to update the table in Google Docs (only appears when you select any cell in the table).

Update button in the table

The Update button appears only when there has been a change in the Google Sheets data. And to apply that change and make it visible in the Google Docs, you need to click on the ‘Update’ button.

Apart from the change in the value in the cells, you can also bring the formatting from Google Sheets into Google Docs.

For example, if I manually change the color of a few cells in the original data in the Google Sheets, I will see the Update button in Google Docs. And when I click on it, it will bring the formatting the spreadsheet data into Google Docs.

Update to show formatting in the table

Note that while you can update the data to reflect the color of the cell, the border of the table is not linked. Also, you can also use conditional formatting on the Google Sheets data and it will be reflected in the data in Google Docs (I find this super cool!).

Updating Data When More Rows are Added

When you insert the data from Google Sheets into a Google Docs document, it is only linked to that specific range.

For example, in our example, we have inserted the range A1:E7 from Google Sheets into the Google Docs.

But what if I add a new row to the dataset (at the end of the dataset or somewhere in the middle).

Unfortunately, you will not be able to update the data when you add new rows in the dataset (deleting rows is fine and will be accounted for).

So if you add new rows, you need to update the range so that it now refers to the new range that has the added rows.

Below are the steps to change the linked range in Google Docs:

  1. Click anywhere in the table in Google Docs
  2. Click on the ‘Linked Table Option’ (the icon at the top-right part of the table)
  3. Click on Change RangeClick on Change range to expand the table range in Google Docs
  4. Specify the new range hereSpecify the new range here

While this works great, if you’re working with dynamic data that is likely to change, it’s best to first create a named range and then use this named range to insert the table from Google Sheets into Google Docs.

This way, when you add rows/columns in the dataset, the named range expands to account for these newly added rows/columns.

For this to work, you need to create a named range in Google Sheets, and then copy the data from there to Google Docs. This way, your table will be linked to the named range and update when you update the named range.

You can also change the range and select a named range in the ‘Linked cell range’ dialog box. It lists all the named ranges that you have in the linked Google Sheets.

Select from Named Range in Google Sheets

In case you create a named range later (after you have added Google Sheets data in the Goole Docs document), you can always change the linked range. Simply click on the ‘Linked Table Option’ (the icon at the top-right part of the table) and click on the ‘Change Range’ option. It will show you the named range in the dialog box.

Unlink the Google Sheets Data

If you want to unlink the data from Google Sheets (that is now in Google Docs), you can easily do that as well.

Just click anywhere in the table that you have inserted, click on the ‘Linked table options’ icon and then click on Unlink.

Click on Unlink to remove the link with Google Sheets

This will instantly break the link and you will have a static table on the page.

Note: In case you want to insert Google Sheets document as an object or as a link (so that when the user clicks on it, it opens this Google Sheets, you can do that clicking on the Share (green button) at the top-right and getting a shareable link.

So these are the ways you can Google Sheets cells/range into a Google Docs document.

Hope you found this tutorial useful!

Other Google Sheets tutorials you may find useful:



Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel Expert.

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