A robot vacuum, representing a blog post about automating spreadsheets.
5 Ways You Can Automate Your Spreadsheets
A robot vacuum, representing a blog post about automating spreadsheets.

5 Ways You Can Automate Your Spreadsheets

Few software tools have the institutional heft that the humble spreadsheet does. They’re used for everything from budgeting to reporting by all sorts of organizations. And now that the two most popular spreadsheet tools are free to use — up to a point — it’s even more tempting to use a spreadsheet for just about anything. So why bother figuring out how to automate your spreadsheets?

All the manual work. Someone’s got to put data in. Someone’s got to keep it up to date. And it never ends. But when you automate your spreadsheets, you can make them that much more powerful. Here are five ways you can do that.

Why you should automate your spreadsheets

Sure, you could use macros and other tricks to make your spreadsheets behave. That can save you some time with manual work, copying and pasting data, and cleaning up exports. But with spreadsheet automation, you’re not only saving more time — you’re maximizing the relationship between your tools.

The right automation won’t just push data to your spreadsheet; it can also sync any changes to that data between your tools. That means less time spent on scheduled exports, better data fidelity across tools, and potentially unlocking completely new workflows.

Here’s how you make that happen.

Automate project management with spreadsheets

While the market’s full of project management tools, you might have found that none of them really work for your team. Maybe you prefer using spreadsheets because they’re more flexible and everyone’s using at least one spreadsheet tool. With the right template, you can turn any spreadsheet tool into a project management solution.

But what if there are bits of work scattered in multiple tools? If you don’t have a way to bring all that work into your spreadsheet, you’re just going to be running to find the data you need to make your project move forward.

With Unito, you can create an automated project management system in a spreadsheet tool. Something that automatically pulls data from multiple sources, keeps it up to date everywhere, and gives your teams what they need to succeed. Here’s how it’s done:

Automate your reporting spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are a natural choice for all sorts of reporting workflows. They’re purpose-made for crunching data and building databases. But what’s one of the worst parts of working with spreadsheets? Actually filling them out.

Now there are a number of ways you can streamline this part of your workflow. You can spread out the work across a whole team or do a little bit of it regularly instead of all at once. But if you want spreadsheets that won’t make you groan every time you open them, you need to automate them.

With a Unito flow, you can automate reports housed in spreadsheets from data creation to data management. Link a spreadsheet with a project management tool, for instance, and you’ll automatically get data from important tasks synced back to your report. You can do the same with all sorts of tools, whether they’re other reporting tools, version control tools, contact management tools, and more. Here’s what you can do:

Use a spreadsheet to track meetings

Meetings meetings meetings. Some days it seems like it’s all your doing. But even if you don’t want to think about them, there can be a huge benefit to tracking your meetings in a spreadsheet.

For one, meetings aren’t always kept in the same tool. Even though you’re using Google Calendar, the sales team might be on Outlook or some other tool. Imagine trying to keep track of who you’re supposed to be meeting with if you’re not even using the same tool.

Another great reason to combine spreadsheets and your calendar tools? Reporting. Imagine, for instance, that your manager announces they want to help the team reduce the amount of time they spend in meetings. The catch? You have to track all your meetings and create a report so your manager knows how to best make that happen. That’s enough manual work to make anyone groan.

With a Unito flow, you can automatically sync meetings from Google Calendar and Outlook back to your spreadsheet, whether that’s Google Sheets, Excel, Airtable, or even Notion. You’ll be able to sync guests, descriptions, start and end times, colors, and more.

Create an automated CRM spreadsheet

No matter the size of your business, you need a way to track your relationship with your customers. That way, you can get an early warning if any of them are thinking of discontinuing that relationship. You can also track potential customers in this system, and make sure your business is bringing in the revenue it needs to survive.

While you could spring for expensive CRM tools like Salesforce or Pipedrive, you can also run this whole process from a spreadsheet. Just collect the contact information you need, track how likely a prospect is to become a paying customer, and you’re good to go.

But if you want to automate the spreadsheet you use for your CRM, all you need to do is set up a Unito flow. With contacts from Google Contacts and Outlook automatically synced to your spreadsheet, you don’t have to do any extra work to build a single source of truth for your contacts and keep it up to date.

Create a single source of truth

Is your organization using a single spreadsheet tool? Or is your data spread out over multiple platforms? When a single business uses Airtable, Google Sheets, Excel, and any number of other tools, it can be tough to keep track of which spreadsheet is most up-to-date.

All these tools have simple export features, of course, but they’re usually manually triggered. That means someone actually needs to go in and pull data out before it can be put into other tools. That can lead to teams working with outdated data, not to mention all the manual work that goes into it.

If you’d rather have automated spreadsheets that get updated in the background whenever new data comes in — wherever it comes from — you can use a Unito flow to sync data from one spreadsheet tool to another, as well as any other tool in your stack.

Ready to get more out of your spreadsheets?

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