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  • Ankit Vora

Search & Analyze Big CSVs: No Database Required

You have a large CSV file. It's a lot of raw data separated by commas.

You wonder - “What do I do with it? How do I get my hands on the information I’m looking for?”


You have three options:

  • Use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets - Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets can both open and edit CSV files. The operative word here is "big", as both systems have their limits. If you’re using Microsoft Excel and try to load a big CSV, there are higher chances that Microsoft Excel will freeze, or your computer will crash. Similarly, if you are using Google Sheets and try to load a big CSV, your browser may end up crashing.

  • Create a Database - Databases are an excellent good way to analyze your CSV file. You can use a query language like SQL to explore data. However, setting up a database may be too complicated if you are just trying to view a single file. At the same time, if you’re not a technical person, then you may find using a database to analyze CSV files highly complicated.

  • Use Gigasheet - With Gigasheet, all you need to do is upload your CSV (you can even link to a cloud data source) and as soon as it’s processed – no matter what the CSV size is or how many rows and columns the CSV has - you can quickly look up the data that you have been looking forward to finding and further analyze the CSV.

What is Gigasheet? Well, let us to show you! Throughout this blog post, we’ll use Gigasheet to analyze a BIG CSV. We will be looking at a IMDB Movie Reviews CSV, which you can find in our Data Community, where we share files and share insights about public data sets.


Click HERE to open the file, no sign up required.

Here are the following are the sections that we’ll be covering:

  • How to Quickly Look Up Data in Gigasheet Using the Search Feature

  • How to Look Up Data in Gigasheet Using Filters

  • How to Group Your Data with Gigasheet

  • How to Use Gigasheet’s Pivot Mode to Group & Slice Your Data – Becoming a Spreadsheet Ninja!

We’re so excited to share this with you. Let’s dive in!


How to Quickly Look Up Data in Gigasheet Using the Search Feature

First, we logged in to Gigasheet. Haven’t signed up yet? Click HERE to do so. Upon logging in, we created a copy of the IMDB dataset we fetched from our Data Community.


However, it's really easy to import your own CSV file from your Gigasheet dashboard. To do that, click on “+ NEW” as displayed in the screenshot, and select “File Upload.”

Uploading a File to Gigasheet is Quick and Easy

You can drop the file in directly from your Desktop or browse your computer and select the file to Gigasheet. Or you can import from popular cloud storage sites such as Google Drive:

Gigasheet can also load data from popular Cloud Storage sites

As mentioned, we created a copy of the IMDB dataset which includes over seven million shows and movies - a BIG CSV. Here’s what the dataset looks like in Gigasheet:

The IMDB Data Set ready for exploration

Let’s look up a show called “The Arrival of a Train.” To do so, we’ll use the Search feature in Gigasheet. Just type in the term into the search box.

Searching the data for a movie title

As soon as we clicked on the search button, Gigasheet provided us with the results in mere seconds.

Search results highlighted within the data in Gigasheet

Well what if the results aren't on page 1? Let's search for “The Prince of Darkness" to see what happens. It's on Page 5.


A second search for a title in the IMDB movie set

And here are the results. Gigasheet automatically scrolls to the appropriate page when using the up and down arrows that appear in the search box.

Gigasheet automatically advances to the page of the data containing the search results

With Gigasheet’s search feature, you can find your data in mere seconds. Now, let’s try to find this entry using the Filters feature.


How to Look Up Data in Gigasheet Using Filters


Again – let’s try to find “The Prince of Darkness.” But this time, we’ll use the Filters feature.

Using Filters in Gigasheet to find data

We’ll apply the following filter:

Filtering for a specific movie title in Gigasheet

As soon as we click on “Apply,” we’ll get the following results:


Search shows the results in the data, but Filters show just the results

As simple as that! Filters removed every row except the term that we were interested in.


Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the Filters feature. Let’s say you want to look up short movies or TV shows. So, we’ll set the Genre = Short. Here’s what our filter will look like:

Filtering on a different term, with a larger result list

We still have over 150k entries upon applying this filter. 150,196 to be exact!


Over 150k results for this filter, so need to add a second condition to the filter

Now, let’s apply a second filter on top of this one, to narrow our results. Let’s say you want to find short movies or TV shows that started or were launched in 1900. So, we’ll add a filter for StartYear:

A filter with two conditions that both are applied to the results

Now we are down to a much more manageable list of 212 entries:

The IMDB data is filtered down to 212 entries using filters

You can add as many AND / OR conditions to filters to get your hands on the data that you want! You can also save filters for future use, making Gigasheet the best tool for filtering big CSV data!


What if we told you that you can also group your data by a specific column for better navigation? That’s right. We allow our users to group their data by column. Let’s have a look at how to do that.


How to Group Your Data with Gigasheet

Wondering how to group your data with Gigasheet? To do that, click on “Group.”

Using the Group function in Gigasheet to explore data

And then let’s group our data by Genres (we have multiple genres!). Groups take all of the entries in a column and roll up the data into a group for each value.


Adding a group to the data is easy in Gigasheet

Here’s what grouped data looks like:

IMDB data grouped by Genre in IMDB

As you can see, we have over 2,232 unique values that now show up as rows, vs the 7M we started with. Now, let’s say we want to look up movies or TV shows with “Crime, Drama” as the genre. We have over 36,337 entries.


Focusing in on the Crime,Drama results

Upon clicking on a group, the group will expand and show all of the movies or TV shows with the genre “Crime, Drama.”

By clicking a group, you can expand it to list out all the underlying data