Thursday, July 29, 2010

How To Use GoogleLookup in Google Spreadsheets

Just like Microsoft Xl google Spreadsheets also has a lookup function. XL has the vlookup The V in VLOOKUP stands for vertical. Use VLOOKUP instead of HLOOKUP when your comparison values are located in a column to the left of the data that you want to find.

Google Spreadsheets are becoming more and more popular because it is so easy to use and you can open documents from Gmail directly into Google Spreadsheets. 

Here is a brief explanation on using this feature given by the Google Docs Blog

To use the GoogleLookup function, enter the following formula in the desired spreadsheet cell:

  • =GoogleLookup(“entity” ; “attribute”) where “entity” represents the name of the entity you want to access and “attribute” is the type of information that you want to retrieve.

For example, I want to know the atomic number of gold. In this case, gold is the entity while atomic number is the attribute. In the desired cell, I enter =GoogleLookup(“Gold” , “Atomic Number”). Be sure to include quotation marks around both the entity and the attribute.
The atomic number of gold, 79, then shows up in the cell in which the formula was entered.

After experimenting with one GoogleLookup formula, I’d like to apply the formula to a larger list of elements, and also get information on the atomic weight. Instead of typing the formula out like before, I want to click the cell of the first entity in my list, in this case it’s gold. Next, I want to reference the cell in which I name the attribute I’m looking up, in this case, atomic number. Then I want to freeze the appropriate rows and columns with the “$” symbol.
Freezing the appropriate row and column allows me to drag the formula across to the “Atomic Weight” column and down the other rows to apply the formula to all of the other entities. When I apply the formula to all of the other cells, the results will show.
Keep in mind that while the GoogleLookup function knows quite a bit, it doesn't know everything. Although not all of the formulas you try will work, we encourage you to experiment. When GoogleLookup isn't sure if an answer isn't the best one for your entry, you'll see a dialog box with a handful of possible answers that you can choose from. Just select the cell and click More Options... to select a different value.
Here are a few more examples of entities you can access using the GoogleLookup formula, and a few popular attributes:

  • Countries and Territories (like "Burkina Faso"): population, capital, largest city, gdp

  • U.S. States (like "Tennessee"): area, governor, nickname, flower

  • Rivers (like "Amazon River"): origin, length

  • Cities and Towns (like "Chicago"): state, mayor, elevation

  • Musicians (like "John Lennon"): date of birth, place of birth, nationality

  • Politicians (like "Anwar Al-Sadat"): date of birth, place of birth, nationality

  • Baseball Players (like "Wade Boggs"): games, at bats, earned run average, position

  • Chemical Compounds (like "Isopropyl Alcohol"): chemical formula, melting point, boiling point, density

  • Stars (like "Betelgeuse"): constellation, distance, mass, temperature

  • Planets (like "Saturn"): number of moons, length of day, distance from sun, atmosphere

  • Dinosaurs (like "Velociraptor"): height, weight, when it lived

  • Ships (like "USS Chesapeake"): length, displacement, complement, commissioned

  • Companies (like "Hewlett-Packard"): employees, ceo, ticker

Checkout the video below to see the GoogleLookup function in action and don't forget to give it a try to see what kind of facts you can find.

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