Coda for Google Sheets users

Coda for Google users

7 lessons, 48 minutes

In this section
In this guide, we'll cover everything that Google Sheets users need to know to get started with Coda. We’ll try to use familiar language and explain the Coda equivalents.

Is Coda the same as Google Sheets?

Nope! We have all worked hard to make spreadsheets fit our work, often merging cells and using excessive color-coded headings just to make sense of our data. With Coda, you can have tables and regular text on one surface to organize your thoughts and data more effectively.

How is Coda different?

Coda uses a relational database, as opposed to the cell-based spreadsheet that you may be used to in Google Sheets. In Coda, the row is the smallest value. Coda's tables allow you to create different views of your data without duplicating it. When you make changes to the original table, they automatically apply to all views, eliminating the need for multiple tabs of information.


  • Google/Coda: columns are a table's vertical elements, allowing you to store more information in your rows. Columns are generally “attributes” of those things (their gender, age, address, etc).
  • Coda: Allows you to change column types to add various attributes to your row data. You can change column types to some fun stuff like emoji reactions, AI generator, buttons, sliders, people, etc.
  • Google/Coda: Rows compose the horizontal elements of a table. Rows generally represent “things” (people, tasks, inventory items, places to visit, grocery list items, etc).
  • Coda: Rows hold all the good stuff and each row is a unique value. You’ll be able to create linked relations because of rows. Open up these rows to get an expanded view of all the data in that row. You can also access row data in the typing area (canvas) of your doc by using the @ symbol.
  • Google/Coda: The combination of functions, cells, rows, columns, and ranges used to obtain a specific result.
  • Coda: Used on an entire column and all rows will be impacted by the formula. You’ll be able to use the calculation builder or AI to bypass a lot of formulas.
  • Google: A built-in operation from the spreadsheet app you'll use to calculate cell, row, column, or range values, manipulate data, and more.
  • Coda: Using our Summary tool in the column settings allows you to do common functions and add a summary row at the bottom of a table or into the canvas. In the canvas, you can right-click the number to add filters to narrow down your data. It brings your data to life and highlights the most important information. While you're here try our calculation builder!
  • Google: n/a
  • Coda: A view is a mirror of a table that you can visualize however you want and display data in various ways and places. With views, you can change the format of your data from a table into a different structure such as cards or a calendar, and when you update it in one place it updates everywhere. Learn how to create and customize your views.

Finding the settings you’re used to from Google

We picked out some of the more common settings from Google Sheets and broke down where to find those in Coda.

Insert settings:

  • Row setting | Right-click on a table row
    • Commenting, Inserting, deleting, moving, duplicating
  • Column settings | Hover over column name, find, and click the small arrow next to it
    • Change column type, add calculation, insert, formatting, AI, summarize, etc.
  • Timelines, charts, calendars, and graphs | Hover to display “Options” at the top of the table (to the right of table title)
    • Change how the data is displayed by clicking on the view displays
  • Functions | Hover over column name, click, find, and click Summarize
    • Automatic math functions for an entire column.
    • Choose to “add to the canvas” for a clear visual or as a summary row at the bottom of the table.
    • If you add to the canvas, you can right-click on the value and adjust it, filter, etc. Move this wherever in your doc you’d like it.
  • Checkbox, toggles, emojis, chips, drawdowns, etc. | Hover over column name, find and click the small arrow next to it
    • Change the column type to display the data however you want.
    • In the column settings, find the column options to adjust the data and options.
  • Comments | Right-click on the value you want to comment on and select Add Comment
    • Learn and see more about comments in the top right of your doc, including suggest changes.

Format settings:

These can all be found in the column settings which can be found via the small down arrow next to the column name when you hover over the column title.
  • The column settings cover several features such as:
    • Freeze columns
    • Wrap text
    • Hide columns
    • Add description, etc.
  • Number formatting | Change column type to numbers then find “column options” in the column settings
    • Choose how to display your numbers, decimal places, and value for new rows
    • Check out Fill Values to get automatic calculations
  • Text formatting | Find/click on format or you can also highlight the text you want to adjust.
    • Change alignment, colors, headings, etc.
    • Expand certain settings within the text formatting to find bullet points, checkboxes, numbers, strikethrough, etc.
  • Conditional formatting | Find/click on format or go to table options

Data settings:

  • Sorting | column settings or table options
  • Filters | column settings or table options
    • Add a filter bar, set filter, or controls
  • Protecting sheet | Document settings in the gear icon look for Locking
  • Split text to column | column settings, open up formula builder

How to do common actions you’re used to:

  • Drag and autofill rows
    • Find the little blue dot and drag it down a column. AI will do the work for you.
    • You can also use the column options and try value for new rows or the fill value options and try the calculation builder to auto-populate what you need.
  • Pivot tables- try this instead
    • Use the Summarize feature and add data to your canvas. You can add lots and then try filtering what you need.
    • Try grouping clumps of similar items together, then add the summarize tool, then minimize your groups to only see the summary values.
    • Use a relational column and lean on that to summarize your data.
  • Combining two columns into one, like first name and last columns into full name.
    • Compose column type allows you to combine multiple columns and add text in-between if you’d like.
    • You can also use it for things like composing an email from the values of your row.
  • Adding formulas in a table
    • If you want to do things like change your text to lowercase (.lower()), get a user's picture from a people column (.picture()), extract month only from a date (.month()), etc. You will want to add an extra column and then add formula in the calculation builder. Then you’ll reference the column that has the data you want and add the formula you need. More on all of that here.
    • To find and replace data in tables you will use the substitute() formula.
  • Mail merge
  • Finding and deleting duplicates

Other table features we think you’ll love

  • Timeline (Gantt charts) and chart displays. Learn more.
  • Canvas column- take robust notes associated with a row. Great for note-taking. Learn more.
  • Buttons- add a button column to do things like add/modify rows or send Slack messages. Learn more.
  • Current user filter
    • Create personalized views for your team with only one table. Instead of making 30 separate subpages for them, why not add one that dynamically filters based on who you are?
  • AI- Ask AI to find action items in a new column or even summarize your entire table. Learn more.
  • Packs- integrate data from other tools like Salesforce, Snowflake, or Gmail to do it all in Coda.

How to start

You’ll start by adding a blank table, copying and pasting spreadsheets from another tool, or importing a CSV. To create a table from scratch or import, you’ll start by typing “/” in the canvas and type “table”. You’ll then see the option to create a blank table or import one. From there, you can rename the table title and the column name by simply clicking on the text you want to change. You can delete any of the columns and rows that appear and start adding your own. You’ll want to start exploring the wide variety of column types and settings available by hovering over each column title until the small down arrow appears. Click on that arrow. Click into the cell you want to type in, and you’re on your way!


Coda forms for Google users

Making forms in Coda

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