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How to Clean and Format Raw Data in Google Sheets

How to Clean and Format Raw Data in Google Sheets

Raw data often comes in various shapes and sizes, and transforming it into a usable format is a crucial step in the data preparation process.

Google Sheets provides a user-friendly platform for managing and manipulating data.

In this blog, I’ll walk you through some practical tips and tricks to make your data-cleaning process in Google Sheets a breeze.

Removing Duplicates

One common issue with raw data is the presence of duplicate entries.

Duplicate values can alter analyses and lead to inaccurate results. Google Sheets makes it easy to identify and eliminate duplicates.

Select the range of data, navigate to “Data” in the menu, and choose “Remove duplicates“. The tool will guide you through selecting the columns to check for duplicates and will clean up your dataset in no time

Split Text to Columns

Sometimes, raw data might be stored in a single column when it should be split into multiple columns for better analysis.

The “Text to Columns” feature in Google Sheets allows you to split data based on a specified delimiter.

This is particularly useful when dealing with addresses, names, or any data that needs to be separated for a more granular analysis.

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Data Validation

Ensuring data accuracy is essential for meaningful analysis.

Google Sheets’ data validation feature allows you to set rules for the type of data that can be entered into a cell. This prevents errors and ensures consistency.

For example, you can set rules for date formats, numerical ranges, or even create custom formulas to validate the data as it is entered.

Find and Replace

Cleaning data often involves identifying and correcting errors or inconsistencies.

The “Find and Replace” function in Google Sheets enables you to quickly locate specific values and replace them with the correct ones.

This is handy for correcting typos, standardizing naming conventions, or updating outdated information.

Text Functions

Google Sheets offers a variety of text functions that can be used to manipulate and clean up text data.

Functions like CONCATENATE, LEFT, RIGHT, and MID allow you to combine, extract, or modify text strings according to your specific requirements.

These functions are particularly useful for cleaning up messy datasets with inconsistent formatting.

Conditional Formatting

Highlighting data based on certain conditions can make patterns and trends more visible.

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Google Sheets’ conditional formatting feature lets you apply formatting styles to cells based on their values.

This is useful for identifying outliers, trends, or specific ranges within your dataset.

Pivot Tables

Once your data is cleaned and formatted, organizing it for analysis becomes crucial.

Creating a Pivot Table in Google Sheets

Google Sheets’ Pivot Tables are a powerful tool for summarizing and analyzing large datasets.

They allow you to reorganize and aggregate data, making it easier to draw insights and create visualizations.

Video Tutorial

See all how to use all of the above in this video tutorial.

To Summarize

The importance of clean and well-formatted data cannot be overstated.

It’s like one of those things that is so beautiful and yet it’s covered with all this dirt and dust.

In order to see its beauty, one has to clean it. So is raw data.

Cleaning and formatting raw data in Google Sheets is a fundamental step in the data analysis process.

Employing the features and techniques mentioned above can help you transform messy datasets into organized, accurate, and usable information.

By applying the power of Google Sheets, you’ll be better equipped to reveal valuable insights and make informed decisions based on your data.

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