4 Ways to Import Data from a Website into Google Sheets

Data plays a crucial role in decision-making and analysis. Whether you’re a business analyst, researcher, or anyone dealing with large datasets, the ability to efficiently import online data into your spreadsheet is invaluable.

If you’re using Google Sheets for data analysis, you may already know that copying and pasting data from websites is not efficient. In most cases, despite your efforts, the spreadsheet ends up with incorrect formatting.

Fortunately, there are several effective methods to import data from a website into Google Sheets.

1. IMPORTDATA

You can utilize the IMPORTDATA function to easily import data from online CSV or TSV files. This is the simplest way to import online data into Google Sheets as it requires minimal setup.

=IMPORTDATA(URL, delimeter, locale)

The IMPORTDATA function automatically fetches and imports data into your spreadsheet. In the syntax, the URL represents the file address, the delimiter is the character used to parse the data in the file, and the locale is the specific language that IMPORTDATA should use.

The last two arguments, delimiter and locale, are optional. If left blank, IMPORTDATA will examine the data and automatically infer these arguments. In most cases, it is best to leave these two arguments empty.

For example, the formula below retrieves data from the specified CSV file:

Since the delimiter and locale arguments are left blank, IMPORTDATA automatically searches and assumes their values. Note that this function works with CSV and TSV files, not web pages. If you input the URL of a web page into IMPORTDATA, it may not return the expected data or could result in an error.

2. IMPORTHTML

You can use the IMPORTHTML function to import data from tables and lists on a webpage. This function is a practical alternative to IMPORTDATA as it allows you to import data tables from webpages without requiring a CSV file.

=IMPORTHTML(URL, query_type, index)

In the syntax, the URL represents the web address, query_type specifies whether it is a table or a list, and index refers to the number of the table or list on the webpage.

For example, you can use IMPORTHTML to import a table from a Wikipedia article:

=IMPORTHTML("https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Germany", "table", 8)

In this formula, IMPORTHTML goes to the specified URL, retrieves the data, and outputs the 8th table.

3. IMPORTXML

The IMPORTXML function retrieves data from XML and HTML pages. The syntax of this function is as follows:

=IMPORTXML(URL, xpath_query)

In this syntax, the URL represents the web address, and xpath_query is the XPath query that specifies the nodes you want to import. A prerequisite for using IMPORTXML in Google Sheets is to have a basic understanding of what XML is and how you can navigate XML files using XPath queries.

For example, the formula below outputs an XML table containing the names and descriptions of various types of trees:

=IMPORTXML("https://www.w3schools.com/xml/plant_catalog.xml", "CATALOG/PLANT")

In this formula, IMPORTXML retrieves data from an XML file and then outputs the PLANT nodes that are children of the CATALOG node. Since the locale parameter is left blank, IMPORTXML uses the language of the XML file.

Note: Due to the potentially messy nature of web URLs, it is recommended to input the URL into a separate cell and refer to that cell in your formula.

With the knowledge of necessary HTML tags and XPath queries, you can accomplish much more with IMPORTXML. For example, the formula below extracts all H2 headings in an article:

=IMPORTXML(B2, "//*/h2")

4. Using Google Sheets add-ons to import data

In addition to the built-in features, Google Sheets also supports third-party add-ons that expand the capabilities of importing data online. These add-ons provide a convenient way to import data from online sources and enhance the functionality of spreadsheets.

The main advantage of these add-ons is that they allow access to authenticated resources. Each add-on is best suited for different types and sources of data. Therefore, choosing the appropriate Google Sheets add-on for data import depends on the type and origin of your data.

Here is a selection of notable add-ons that support data import in Google Sheets:

  • Coefficient: Coefficient is a user-friendly Google Sheets add-on designed to help you fetch data from websites without the need for coding. Through its interface, you can select specific data components to import and enjoy real-time updates. Coefficient supports business systems such as Salesforce, Hubspot, Google Analytics, Redshift, Looker, Tableau, MySQL, and more.
  • Coupler.io: Coupler.io is another excellent add-on that simplifies data import into Google Sheets. In addition to importing data from various sources, Coupler.io allows you to schedule automatic imports to update your spreadsheets. Coupler.io seamlessly works with Google Analytics, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, Xero, Airtable, Trello, and more.
  • Awesome Table: Beyond data import, Awesome Table also enables you to customize and transform data to enhance your data analysis capabilities. Awesome Table allows you to select the data you want to import through intuitive data filters and schedule automatic refreshes. It works with QuickBooks, Xero, HubSpot, Airtable, Notion, YouTube, and more.

By leveraging these Google Sheets add-ons, you can import your data without the need for lengthy formulas or knowledge of XML. The additional features, such as data transformation and scheduled imports, further enhance the efficiency of your workflow.

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