Google Sheets Limits: What You NEED To Know

Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this guide, you will learn about the limits of Google Sheets for cells, columns, rows, APIs, file sizes and query limits.

Google Sheets Limitations Explained

Google Sheets has become a popular solution for data analysis for both individuals and businesses thanks to its convenience, ease of sharing, and functionality.

However, as powerful as Google Sheets is, the tool still comes with certain limitations.

Understanding these limits can help users assess whether Google Sheets is the right solution for them or if they need to find alternative solutions.

Know Your (Google Sheets) Limits

In this guide, we will go over the various limitations you may encounter when working with Google Sheets.

📍 What are Google Sheets limits? (Quick Answer)

  • Cell Limit: 10 million cells
  • Column Limit: 18278 columns
  • Row Limit: no row limit, depends if you’ve exceeded 10 million cell limit
  • API Limits (Read requests): 300 Per minute per project, 60 Per minute per user per project
  • API Limits (Write requests): 300 Per minute per project, 60 Per minute per user per project
  • File Size Limit: 100MB
  • Query Limit: no set limit but if it’s too complex your sheet will be very slow.

More detail…

Google Sheets Cell Limit

As Google Sheets becomes more widely used, the developers behind the popular online spreadsheet tool have increased the cell limit from 2 million to 5 million in 2019 and now to 10 million as of 2023.

This limit is shared among all Google Workspace customers regardless of their plan.

If the user tries to add another row or column that will push the number of cells above the limit of 10 million, Google Sheets will return an error pop-up saying that the limitation has been reached.

Do note that the cell limit counts for the entire sheet, not just per tab.

So, if your dataset is getting close to this number, you might want to break it up into multiple sheets.

You can also consider offloading less critical data to separate sheets and then use import functions (IMPORTRANGE) to reference them.

Google Sheets Column Limit

While Google Sheets has a hard upper limit of 10 million cells, you should also keep in mind that there is a column limit as well.

Each spreadsheet should have no more than 18278 columns..

While this is a generous number of allowable rows, if you’re getting close to the limit, consider restructuring your data.

You might want to break data into multiple sheets based on categories or time frames. Users can also take advantage of pivot tables to aggregate and represent a large amount of columnar data more compactly.

Google Sheets Row Limit

Google Sheets does not explicitly have a row limit, but the number of rows you can add to a sheet depends on whether or not the 10 million cell limit will be reached or not.

For example, given a spreadsheet with 250 columns and 40000 rows, adding another row will result in an error since the total number of columns will exceed 10 million.

However, if there are only 50 columns and 40000 rows, we’ll still be able to add more rows since the total number of rows is only 2 million.

Google Sheets API Limits

The Google Sheets API is a feature that allows developers to interact programmatically with Google Sheets.

Instead of manually entering data or manipulating sheets via the user interface, developers can use the API to automate these tasks.

The API is also essential if you need to integrate a third-party application with Google Sheets.

If you plan on using the Google Sheets API, you’ll need to consider the limitations you might reach when making requests.

For example, there are several default limitations that each new project is set to:

  • For read requests, each project has a limit of 300 requests per minute and 60 requests per minute per user.
  • Write requests also have a similar limitation.

If your script sends 400 requests in one minute, the additional 100 requests that exceed the quota will generate a 429: Too many requests HTTP status code response.

NOTE: Maximum Time Limit

Users should also take note of the Google Sheets API time limit of 180 seconds. When Google Sheets processes a request for more than 180 seconds, the request will return a timeout error.

Google Sheets File Size Limit

Google Sheets comes with a handy Import feature that allows you to add data from an external source.

You can access this feature by selecting File > Import.

If you have a file such as a CSV you would like to import to Google Sheets, you’ll need to consider whether the file does not exceed the file size limitations.

There is a limit of 100MB for files that contain data you want to import into your sheet.

If you try to import a file with a file size exceeding the limitation, Google Sheets will report that the file is too large to import and will ask you to remove rows or columns to lower the file size.

Google Sheets Query Limit

When working with Google Sheets, one of the powerful functions available to users is the QUERY function.

This built-in function allows users to make SQL-like queries on their data. However, like all features, there are certain inherent limits and considerations:

If the QUERY function is taking too long to return a result, your query may be too complex or return an output that is significantly large.

Consider optimizing the query to only return the exact data you need.

If you want to only return the first N results of the QUERY function, you can use the LIMIT keyword to return only the first N rows from the output.

For example, the query “SELECT A, B ORDER BY B DESC LIMIT 1000” sorts the values in columns A and B by B and only returns the first 1000 data points.

Summary

Google Sheets is such a powerful tool that caters to a wide range of use cases. However, being aware of its limitations can help users plan ahead for possible solutions as their data gets larger.

In case you missed it…

📍 What are Google Sheets limits? (Quick Answer)

  • Cell Limit: 10 million cells
  • Column Limit: 18278 columns
  • Row Limit: no row limit, depends if you’ve exceeded 10 million cell limit
  • API Limits (Read requests): 300 Per minute per project, 60 Per minute per user per project
  • API Limits (Write requests): 300 Per minute per project, 60 Per minute per user per project
  • File Size Limit: 100MB
  • Query Limit: no set limit but if it’s too complex your sheet will be very slow.

What’s Next?

Explore some of the other useful resources on Sheets for Marketers: