2 Fun and Useful Google Spreadsheet Tricks

SMS Text

If you like Excel, you probably love Google Docs – not because the latter is somehow superior in functionality (which it isn’t), but because it allows an SEO and marketer to use some awesome Excel features for web-based collaboration.

And besides that, there are also some really fun *extra* features inside – here are the two most of awesome of them:

1. Google Translate:

Google Spreadsheets can automatically detect language in a cell and translate it to your preferred language or default one. This function can turn particularly useful for international teams who use Google Docs as overseas collaboration tool.

Google translate supports over 40 languages, so you have plenty of freedom here.

Detect a Language

To detect a language, use the following function:


Detect language

Translate Any Cell

To translate any cell, use the following function:

=GoogleTranslate(“text”, “source language”,”target language”)

(You’ll need to use a valid ISO 639-1 language code for this function)

Google Translate function

You can leave out the target language and the function will automatically select the default language of your spreadsheet.

Do you need to translate the whole column? No problem! Just use the cell range instead of “text” value, e.g.:

=GoogleTranslate(A1:A5, “ru”)

Google Translate

2. Google Lookup

There is another interesting function that lets you quickly find out facts about things you are wondering about: GoogleLookup (only available in English). These facts may be any statistical / historical information you need quickly find out:

  • How many Internet users are there in Russia?
  • What’s the capital of Mongolia?
  • Which country is this city in?

The function looks as follows:

=GoogleLookup(“entity”; “attribute”)


  • “entity” = thing you need facts about;
  • “attribute” = what exactly you want to know about that thing.

For example, the entity is “Russia” and the attribute is “Internet Users”: how many Internet users are there in Russia? The cell will display the answer and let you click the data source link for details:

Google Lookup

Don’t expect too much from this function but it’s actually fun to play with. And it does prompt you to attempt to “explain” the machine what you need to know!

When GoogleLookup isn’t sure if an answer is the best one for your entry, you’ll see a dialog box with a handful of possible answers that you can choose from:

Google Lookup choose

Any other fun Google Spreadsheets tricks you are aware of! Please share them in the comments!

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
Ann Smarty
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Alyasha

    Goog,e ? Сегодня явно понеделник 🙂

    • Ann Smarty

      Sorry 🙂 I have scheduled the posts on the weekend actually (which makes it even worse).

      Thanks for the catch!

  • Alyasha

    It’s cool … I am notorious “typo”-er myself 🙂

  • Hotelier

    Anything available for geocoding?

  • Zippy Cart

    The language feature doesn’t do much for me (I’m in a small, English-only office), but that lookup function is sweet!

    On another note, when will Google roll out a translator option for the internet that will translate from poor internet spelling/grammar to normal English?

  • Oriental Rug Cleaning

    all around prettyness. thanks for sharing.

  • Ted

    cool tips, thanks

  • Aluminium Kozijnen

    Why Google only available in English language.. Can you explain that..