Google Spreadsheet or Google Doc ? The Ongoing Conundrum

I’m writing out loud here as it seems every time I set up a Google Doc (MS Word equivalent, but online) I wish I’d set up a spreadsheet instead and vice versa.

Memo to self: When does A DOC VS. SPREADSHEET make sense?

When Docs are good:

  • Hyperlink intensive tables. Why? In spreadsheets linking text  requires a sort of coding format: =hyperlink(“”;”search the web”) Whereas in a Google doc it’s a menu-driven option to link text (ala Word).
  • Tables within a largely text document
  • When you want a document to be a quick reference for someone who is more familiar with Word than Excel (for which adding links as mentioned above would require them to ping you for tech support)

When Spreadsheets are good:

  • Easy column resorting is desirable.
  • You’re calculating totals.
  • You want to drag and drop rows to rearrange data.
  • The data entails serious crunching and organizing.
  • You’re not hyperlinking much of the text.

My latest experiment is going to be using a spreadsheet to flowchart processes –> which I anticipate will result in a blog post called “Using Visio / Omnigraffle versus Powerpoint / Keynote for flow charting.” (But wait, there’s more…having just discovered some Google apps that might be the ticket.)


When you accidentally set up a Google spreadsheet and want to get the info into a Google Doc:

I found copy and paste didn’t work…no matter how many times I tried.

  1. File > Download As the Google spreadsheet to Excel
  2. Copy the cells from Excel
  3. Paste into the Google Doc
  4. Enjoy reformatting over coffee

When you accidentally do the reverse the same process only different is a good approach: Download the Google Doc to Word, then copy and table and paste it into the Google Spreadsheet.


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