Google Spreadsheets (Sheets) Tips – Paul Chavez

Google is an easy, efficient way to store, organize, and analyze your data. Sheets is a tool that can be used very effectively when used properly. These tools will help you navigate your way through Sheets and will help you save time.

Inserting a Comment

There are three main ways to insert a comment into Google Spreadsheet.

1.  Select the cells that you wish to leave a comment on. Click on the “Insert” tab in the upper left corner. Once the drop down menu opens on the “Insert” tab, select the option labeled “Comment.” Proceed to enter your comment into the box that appears and left click “Comment” for it to be submitted. An alternate way to submit your comment is by pressing on your keyboard ctrl + enter.   insert-tab-1

2.  Select the cells that you wish to leave a comment on. Right click inside the cells selected and click “Insert Comment.” Proceed to insert your comment and click “Comment” for it to be submitted. An alternate way to submit your comment is by pressing on your keyboard ctrl + enter.Screenshot 2016-10-06 at 10.26.36 AM.png

3.Select the cells that you wish to leave a comment on. On your keyboard press Ctrl + Alt + M to insert a comment. Proceed to enter your comment into the box that appears and left click “Comment” for it to be submitted. An alternate way to submit your comment is by pressing on your keyboard ctrl + enter.


Using Borders


To insert a border on your spreadsheet, select the cells, click on the “Borders” symbol, and select the border you want to use. You can also change the color of the border and the border style once you click the “Borders” symbol. 


Changing Formats of Numbers

Changing formats gives you different ways to present data.


Select the “Format” tab on the access bar, click “Number”, and select the option you want from the list. If the format you want is not present, click the “More Formats” option to choose more options or create your own format.


Copying Box into Multiple Rows/Columns


This a pretty easy tool to use. Place your cursor in the bottom right corner of the box you wish to copy, the cursor should become a small symbol resembling an addition sign. Left click and hold, then drag your cursor into the rows/columns you wish to copy it into.


If you are having trouble keeping your data organized, then freezing might be for you. Freezing rows or columns is an effective way to use headers on your sheets. The freeze bars are located on the perimeter of the cell to the left of the “A” tab and above the “1” tab.


Formula Continuation Tip

If you have a minimum of 2 cells with a formula you would like to continue, you can easily continue that formula without having to keep typing it out. Select the cells with the formula you want to continue the formula from. Then, click and hold on the bottom right corner of the highlighted cells and drag to the cells you wish to continue with the formula.


More Information

If you would like to learn more about Google Sheets, go to Cole Davis’ Blog. He has created another blog about sheets, Google Sheets: Basic Functions. If you have any questions over this content or Sheets, you can contact me via email at: 


Paul Chavez – Student

Paul (@ChavezHelpDesk) is a senior at Ash Grove High School. He is involved in Student Help Desk and Beta Club. He is also on the football, basketball, and baseball teams. He is one of nine children in his family. In the future, Paul will be attending college at a college that is yet to be determined.


Google Sheets: Basic Functions – Cole Davis

 This is the second tutorial about Google Sheets by Cole Davis. For part one, click here.


Thanks to the prior tutorial, we now know how to enter raw data and format it. Now we can begin preforming calculations, such as finding the average score of tests, with our data. In order to do this, we need to start referencing cells and using things called functions. The functions we’ll use today include COUNTA, AVERAGE, and COUNTIF. We’ll also review some basic math operators.


Functions and mathematic formulas require us to specify the address or ‘name’ of the cells we want to manipulate. In order to do so, we need to learn how to refer to cells with the name Google Sheets automatically assigns them.

The yellow highlighted lines in the image below contain letters on the top and numbers down the side. These are used to give an address for each and every cell within the spreadsheet. The red lines are empty cells and the green line is the formula bar.

This concept of assigning an address to points on a grid based on the x axis (left to right) and y axis(up and down) axes might intimidate some, but it is no different than the board game Battleship. You have a grid and two labeled axes. Points on the grid are given a name based on where they intersect the two axes.

blank spreadsheet.png

Easy right?


Standard operators

These will be used for calculations on our spreadsheet.

Here are some examples of using cell references alongside math operators. Note how the cells referenced can be from anywhere on the spreadsheet.

IMPORTANT: Your formula must begin with an equals sign (=) so Google Sheets knows to make the selected cell the result of your formula.

In this video, I enter a number in some cells and use a mathematic formula to give a new cell the value of the sum of the two other cells. So, at first I enter ‘4’ in cell A1. Second, I enter ‘6’ in cell A2. I then select cell A3, go to the formula bar, and type ‘ = A1+A2 ‘. This sets the active cells value to the sum of A1 and A2 which in this case is ’10’. 


Now that we have an understanding of cell references, we can start incorporating functions. There are all sorts of handy functions that quicken the pace or your work. For example, the AVERAGE function automatically calculates the average (mean) of whatever cells you tell it to! Let’s see some specifics…

In the clip below I refer to a range of cells by using the colon ‘ : ‘. This allow you to include the cells between the two you specify. In the example, I refer to the cells B2 through D2.

In order to tell the function what cells you want to change, you must wrap your choosen cells within parenthesis. This step seems like just an extra step at first, but is necessary when more advanced formulas are to be applied.

Formula Used:  =AVERAGE(B2:D2) 

Those percentages were formatted strangely. Let’s fix that.

There are certain times where the format of your data improves the readability of your spreadsheet. Here is how you can change those percentages to a more familiar format.

Select your cell you want to re-format, click Format, Number, More Formats,  and then Custom number format.

Let’s calculate the rest of the averages.

I know what some of you must be thinking. “Do I have to write out that whole formula for each row? That seems like a major inconvenience that should be addressed.” But fear not, there is a simple (and really awesome) feature that automatically applies the formula to the cells you select. Here’s how to do it:

That’s right, all you have to do is hold down the mouse and grab the bottom-right corner of the result cell and drag down the remainder of the rows. By dragging down the corner and applying it, these formulas in the purple column are automatically generated by Sheets.


That would have taken forever.



This function returns a number that represents how many cells have text in them. This can be useful for counting how many students put their name on their paper.

In this example, there is some missing data. Since there is no data there, it isn’t counted.

Formula used:  =COUNTA(B2:D6)

 Now we have a count of our students.


This formula returns a number that represents the number of cells that meet a condition you set. In this example, the condition is “greater than 75”. So, Sheets goes through the range you specify and counts the number of cells with a value greater than 75.

Formula Used: =COUNTIF(B2:D6, “>75”)

Now we have a count of our tests with a score greater than 75.




Cole Davis (@Cole_Davis64) is a student at Ash Grove High who attends classes at OTC for Computer Information Science. He dabbles in 3D animation in his spare time, and likes to help people make the most out of their computers. It’s not uncommon to find him browsing spicy memes, or making some internet.