Google Sheets Gets Performance Boost, Offline Access

Google this week gave its Sheets program a performance boost, support for larger spreadsheets, and a new offline function.

?wmode=transparent”Whether you’re crunching big data or tracking your family budget, you don’t want to waste time waiting for files to load or re-doing edits that were lost because your Internet connection dropped,” Zach Lloyd, a Google software engineer, said in a blog post.

Housed within the Google Drive suite, Sheets has dropped “many” size and complexity limits and now supports millions of cells, as well as faster scrolling, loading, and calculation times. Don’t be discouraged by those endless pages of data, though. Using the new filter function, you can temporarily hide unwanted content while continuing to work on the spreadsheet.

And, if your shared sheet is too cluttered with everyone else’s data, simply build a personal filter, which will be visible only to you and will not disrupt other users’ views.

For those working on more intricate data sets, Lloyd promised that “whether you’re new to formulas or a whiz at running complex functions, it’s now easier to set up and perform calculations,” thanks to the new syntax highlights and other editing features.

Additionally, text now automatically flows into empty adjacent cells, eliminating the need for manual merging.

Google isn’t finished yet, though. All of these functions are also available offline, saving users the frustration of dealing with a spotty Wi-Fi connection, or even worse, no Internet availability. You can now make edits to Sheets from 40,000 feet in an airplane or in a secluded cabin in the woods. Once you re-connect to the Web, all edits will automatically sync.

To start using the new spreadsheets, check the “Try the new Google Sheets” box in your Google Drive settings. Google regulars who have used Docs or Slides offline before should already be set up for offline Sheets editing. Everyone else, however, can follow the search giant’s one-time instructions.

The company will tweak the system over the coming months, adding missing features like protected sheets, notification rules, spell check, and API support. “So if you rely on any of them, you may want to wait a little longer before opting in,” Lloyd said.

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