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TechHowTo: Google Sheets Basics for Teachers

Google Sheets is a wonderful tool for teachers for managing and organizing data and tracking student progress. In this video, we go over some of the most powerful and useful tools to help teachers in the classroom. You can follow along with our video tutorial with this Google Sheet. (In order to edit it, go to File > Make a Copy and save it to your Google Drive.)

Open a new blank sheet:

  1. In the Google Chrome browser, click on the address bar, type and hit enter.

  2. A new, blank Google Sheet will open.

Tips, tricks, and keyboard shortcuts for selecting cells, rows, and columns:

  • To select a single cell, simply click on it.

  • To select multiple, continuous cells: click on a cell, hold SHIFT, and then click on another cell. Google Sheet will select both cells as well as any and all cells in between across all rows and columns.

  • To select multiple, individual cells: click on a cell, hold CTRL or CMD, and then click on any additional cells you want to select.

  • To select a single row or column: click on either the letter or number of the column or row you want to select. This will select the entire row or column through the very end of the sheet.

  • To select multiple, continuous rows or columns: select any row or columns, hold SHIFT, and then select any other row or column. Google Sheets will select both rows/columns as well as any rows/columns in between.

  • To select multiple, individual rows or columns: click on a row or column, hold CTRL or CMD, then click on any additional rows or columns that you want to select.

NOTE: you cannot select a combination of rows and columns. You must select only rows or columns.

  • Select all cells/rows/columns that contain data: click on a cell, hold SHIFT + CTRL or CMD, and then hit one of the arrow keys in the direction of the data you want to select. Google Sheets will select all of the cells that contain data in that direction.

How to split data in a column:

  1. Select the column you want to split by clicking on the letter at the top of the column.

  2. Then go to Data > Split text to columns.

  3. Choose a Separator. This will tell Google Sheets where you want to split the data. In our example we chose Space because there is a single space in between the student’s first names and their last names

How to copy cell data from one cell to multiple cells:

  1. Select the cell(s) you want to copy.

  2. Hover over the blue square at the bottom right of the selection.

  3. Click and drag across any number of rows or columns to copy that data into those cells.

How to enter dates using Data Validation:

  1. Select the cells, rows, or columns that you want to contain date information.

  2. Go to Data > Data Validation

  3. In the Data Validation window, click on the drop-down menu and select Date.

  4. Click Save.

  5. Double-click on one of the cells to enter a date.

How to freeze rows and columns:

  1. Select the row(s) or column(s) that you want to freeze. Rows must be at the very top of the sheet, and columns must be at the leftmost part of the sheet.

  2. Go to View > Freeze and select the number of rows or columns you want to freeze.

  3. These rows and columns will now remain visible no matter how far you scroll in your sheet.

How to sort and organize data in a sheet:

You can sort a sheet using alphabetically or numerically by going to Data > Sort Sheet

You can also sort sheets more dynamically by using Filters.

  1. To create a Filter, select the row or column that is acting as a header for the rows/column that you want to filter.

  2. Go to Data > Create a Filter

  3. Click on the Filter icons that appear in the header you selected. You can sort the sheet by the contents of any selected row or column.



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