When Google Sheets was first made available to the public, it could only handle 2 million cells. Later in 2019, Google increased the limit to 5 million cells. But to support the increasing size of databases that users work with today, in March 2022, Google again increased the cells its spreadsheet can handle.
At present, Google Sheets can process spreadsheets with 10 million cells. But the real questions are: How well Google Sheets can keep up when you throw 10 million cells of data at it? Are there ways to work around these limits?
Looking for Excel's row limits? Check out this post.
Curious about Airtable's limits? Read more here.
The jump from 2 million cells to 10 million is enormous, but still, it is far behind the 17 billion cells limit of popular MS Excel. But that is not all. If you work with large CSV and JSON files and plan to switch to Google Sheets, a 10 million cell limit is not the only limitation to consider.
• Google Sheets can process 18,278 columns.
• The upper limit for rows is 40,000.
• A Google Sheet workbook can have 200 sheets.
• A single Google Sheet cell can store 50,000 characters. Google Sheets removes any cell with more than 50,000 characters when converting an MS Excel spreadsheet to Google Sheets.
Even though the 10 million cells limit in Google Sheets is an improvement over the initial limit of 2 million cells, it is by no means ideal for the ever-increasing databases that analysts and developers deal with daily. Here are some issues you will encounter while working with 10 million cells worth of data in Google Sheets:
As you reach the 10 million rows threshold, processing such large amounts of data stresses Google Sheets and your computer.
As a result, Google Sheets takes way longer to update information in each cell. Often it gives an error and blocks further editing before it can process changes.
When Google Sheets processes 10 million cells of data, it cannot keep up with the new updates you make to your spreadsheets.
Some of Google Sheet’s in-built features, like formatting, formulae, filters, etc., and add-on programs, may render unusable due to long loading times.
Apart from longer load times and unusable features, processing large datasets can cause Google Sheets to freeze. Under heavy loads, you may even experience crashes. Freezes and crashes directly affect your efficiency while working with big data.
At the same time, if you have a slow internet connection, Google Sheets may even fail to save the changes you made in the session that crashed.
There are no workarounds to bypass the 10 million cells limit in Google Sheets. However, if you work with files that store data in less than 10 million cells, you can reduce the number of cells inside a spreadsheet.
But why reduce the number of cells?
Even if a cell is empty, Google Sheets still has to render it and check if it has any information. So, it counts even the blank cells in its cell limit. If you want to avoid reaching the threshold, remove these empty cells from your spreadsheet.
This workaround should help you avoid the 10 million rows threshold. However, if you regularly work with files with 10 million or more cells, it is time to look for alternatives.
Many computer and web applications can process data and present it in tabular forms. But they either have limitations regarding the file formats they support or the number of rows and columns they can process. However, it becomes much easier to find the perfect replacement if we look at why people turn to Google Sheets.
Considering the points above, only one web application gives Google Sheets a run for its money – Gigasheet. And It checks all the boxes above!
Let us go over some of the best features of Gigasheet and understand the advantages of using it over Google Sheets:
Gigasheet was created to eliminate the constraints of rows and columns a spreadsheet application can process. With Gigasheet, you can quickly process files with not millions but billions of rows.
Gigasheet is a web-based spreadsheet application tailored for snappy data analysis. In contrast, Google Sheets is more of a general-use app meant for lightweight data analysis. Also, you do not have to be an expert in working with a database. It does not require users to write lines of code to analyze data. Just upload your file, and Gigasheet will present it in tabular form. Also, you can easily create filters, apply formulae, and group rows and columns for better usability.
Often people have to work with data files stored in different locations apart from local storage. Sourcing files from a remote storage and importing them to a spreadsheet tool is not always a straightforward process. But with Gigasheet, you can upload a file from your local storage as well as cloud storage in just a few clicks.
Also, Gigasheet provides connectors for third-party business software. You can directly upload big data files using these connectors from software like Salesforce, Mixpanel, SFTP, Freshsales, PostgreSQL, and more.
Google Sheets is a very compelling spreadsheet application, in some cases, even a better alternative to the likes of MS Excel. However, it still struggles to process data as it reaches closer to its 10 million row limits.
And you do not want to go through cycles of crashes and rebooting your device just to process a spreadsheet. So, turn to Gigasheet and leave the rows and columns constraint in the rearview.
Gigasheet is a free-to-use online data science spreadsheet application that requires no coding knowledge or a database to process and visualize data.