Google + Spreadsheet = Heaven !!!

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Well, maybe. If there is one feature I like about spreadsheets, it is that you can use formulas, have them lookup other static field/colums and have the spreadsheet engine fill down an entire column automatically by reference. We’ve all done this and marvelled at the simplicity of the concept. Another feature that I like is that you can modify portions of a spreadsheet and have it recalculate related field. Well, Google docs and spreadsheet has taken that concept to the next level. Imagine having active spreadsheets that update their fields using google data. In the above picture I lined up a bunch of Baseball players names and created two columns using the following “formulas”:

  • Date of Birth field: =GoogleLookup(A2 ; “Date Of Birth”)
  • RBI field: =GoogleLookup(A2 ; “RBI”)

then I used the copy function to copy the field, selected the rest of that column and did a paste. After google digested the data, all fields were automatically filled in using google lookups. Now the neat thing about this is that if the data changes, the appropriate spreadsheet field will automatically update. You can see the power of something like this in creating simple worksheets that keep track of stock prices, auction prices, etc. The basic syntax is in the format of =GoogleLookup(“entity”; “attribute”), where “entity” represents the name of the entity that you want to access, like Kuala Lumpur, Audrey Hepburn, or oxygen, and “attribute” is the type of information that you want to retrieve.

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