The Complete Guide to Smart Chips in Google Sheets

Smart Chips in Google Sheets allow us to add richer information to our Sheets, beyond the standard data contained in cells. They help us work more seamlessly by bringing information from external sources into our Sheets.

In this post and video, we take a comprehensive look at the smart chip feature. You’ll learn what they are, how to work with them, and see some example workflows to understand how they can enrich your Google Sheets workflows.

Table of Contents

Smart Chip Workflows in Google Sheets

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to work with smart chips, let’s see some use cases for smart chips to understand the benefits.

Enrich Your Contact Lists

Suppose a colleague sends you a list of client emails for a project you’re working on and they request you to find more information. We can do this quickly using people chips and data extraction:

Enrich Emails Workflow with Smart Chips in Google Sheets

Enhanced Stock Tracker

If you track financial data in your Sheets, then you’ll love the additional information that finance chips show you:

Stock Tracker with Smart Chips

Easy Directions to Client Offices

Suppose you keep a list of client addresses that you visit. Using place chips makes it easy to see these places in Google Maps without leaving your Sheet. You can also easily grab directions to any of these places:

Place Smart Chip in Google Sheets

How to Insert Smart Chips in Google Sheets

There are three ways to insert smart chips:

  1. Via the menu: Insert > Smart chips
  2. Insert Smart Chip from Menu
    Notes: rows removed for clarity
  3. Right click in a cell and select “Smart chips”
  4. Right Click Menu
    Note: rows removed for clarity
  5. Via the @-menu: Type “@” in a cell to open the Smart chips menu
  6. At Menu for Smart Chips in Google Sheets

Types of Smart Chips in Google Sheets

There are 10 chip types in Google Sheets, although only the first six are “smart” chips:

  1. People Chips
  2. File Chips
  3. Event Chips
  4. Place Chips
  5. Finance Chips
  6. YouTube Chips
  7. Rating Chips
  8. Dropdown Chips
  9. Date Chips
  10. Emoji Chips

Let’s look at each in more detail.

People Chips

We can convert names or emails into people chips.

People chips display extra information when we hover over them. We can extract this data from people chips with the extraction tool or formulas (see below).

People Smart Chip in Google Sheets

When we hover over a people chip they show information such as whether that person is typically available, in addition to the contact details and action buttons:

People Chips In Google Sheets

File Chips

We can convert file URLs or file names into file chips.

File chips display file metadata when we hover over them, which we can extract into our Sheet.

File Smart Chip

Event Chips

We can convert calendar event URLs or event names into event chips.

Event chips show extra information about the event when hovered over. We can extract this data into our Sheet.

Event Smart Chip in Google Sheets

Place Chips

We can convert place names, addresses, and locations into place chips, which show a map preview and access to directions.

Place Smart Chip

Finance Chips

We can convert names of Google Finance entities, like stocks, mutual funds, or currencies, into finance chips.

Finance chips show extra financial information about the entity.

Finance Smart Chip

YouTube Chips

We can convert YouTube links into YouTube chips, which show the video title, thumbnail, and partial description.

YouTube Chip in Google Sheets

Rating Chips

We can convert integers between 0 and 5 into rating chips.

Rating Chip in Google Sheets

When we click on a rating chip, we can change the rating from the dropdown menu:

Rating Chip menu

Dropdown Chips

Although these are not smart chips, they still have a “chip” format and they are accessible via the @-menu.

We can insert dropdown chips into cells, which are actually data validation rules. Read all about Google Sheets Drop-Down Menus.

Dropdown Smart Chip

Date Chips

We can quickly insert dates into Sheets with the date chip. Type “@” and a date keyword, e.g. “today” to open the date chip menu.

Pro tip: double-click a date to open the date picker.

Date Chip in Google Sheets

Emoji Chips

Love emojis? Emoji chips have got you covered.

Type “@emoji” into a cell to select the emoji chip menu:

Emoji Chip in Google Sheets

Click on “Emoji” to bring up the full emoji library:

Emoji Chip in Google Sheets

Fish ‘n chips

Wait, what? Just kidding, there’s no “fish ‘n chips” smart chip in Google Sheets!

But here’s a gratuitous photo of fish and chips for you instead:

Fish N Chips
Source: A. Gatilao on Flickr

Data Extraction with Smart Chips in Google Sheets

Method 1: Use the Extraction Tool

We can use the “Data Extractions” tool for file chips and event chips. You’ll see the option at the bottom of the chip window when you hover over the chip (see 1 in the image below).

If we click on this link, it opens the data extraction tool in the sidebar. Here we can select the data we want to extract, as well as modify our cell references (see 2 in the image below).

When we’re ready, we can click “Extract” to extract this data into our Sheet (see 3 in the image below).

Data Extraction Tool Smat Chips in Google Sheets

Method 2: Syntax Extraction

We can use a formula-style notation to extract the data, which is quicker and more convenient than the data tool.

To extract information from a smart chip, point to the smart chip cell and add a “.” to the cell reference. This opens the data extract options for that smart chip type, from where we can choose the information we’re after.

For example, here are the options for an event smart chip:

Event Smart Chip Data Extract Syntax

Double brackets are used for data extracts with a space in the syntax e.g. start date

=A1.[start date]

but they are not required for single word syntax e.g. url

=A1.url

Data Extraction Options for People Chips

We can extract the following information from people chips:

  • name
  • email
  • phone*
  • title*
  • location*

* only available to Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Education Standard, and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade users.

The information comes from a person’s domain profile.

To extract the data, type the cell reference followed by a period “.”, followed by the datatype. For example:

=A2.location

People Smart Chip Data Extraction

Data Extraction Options for File Chips

We can extract the following information from file chips:

  • url
  • [file name]
  • [mime type]
  • owner*
  • [creation time]*
  • [last modified by]*
  • [last modified time]*

* only available to Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Education Standard, and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade users.

File Chip Data Extraction

Data Extraction Options for Event Chips

We can extract the following information from event chips:

  • summary
  • url
  • description*
  • [start date]*
  • [end date]*
  • organizer*
  • attendees*
  • location*

* only available to Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Education Standard, and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade users.

Event Chip Data Extraction

Data Extraction Options for Place Chips

We can extract the following information from place chips:

  • url

Data Extraction Options for YouTube Chips

We can extract the following information from YouTube chips:

  • url

Advanced Smart Chip Features

Multiple Smart Chips in a Cell

We can insert multiple smart chips into a single cell, by typing “@” to enter each smart chip. We can add commas (or any delimiter) to separate the smart chips but this is optional.

Multiple Smart Chips in Google Sheets

Range Inputs

We can apply any of the data extraction syntax formulas to ranges as well as individual cells. For example, here is how we can extract the file types from a range of files in A2:A4:

=A2:A4.[file type]

Using a range of cells inside smart chip in Google Sheets

Chaining Syntax

Suppose we extract the owner name from a file smart chip. We can chain any of the people data extract syntax to this to drill down further into that person’s information.

=B4.owner.email

Chaining Smart Chips in Google Sheets

Use within Formulas

We can reference smart chip data extracts in our formulas.

I.e. just as A1 is valid in a formula, so too is A1.email (assuming A1 contains a people chip).

In the following example, we extract the file type from a range of files and use this inside the QUERY function:

=QUERY(A2:A8.[mime type], "select Col1, count(Col1) group by Col1 order by count(Col1) desc label Col1 'File Type', count(Col1) 'Count'")

The QUERY function generates a summary table that counts the number of each file type:

Nest Smart Chips Within Formulas

Smart Chip Formatting

Unfortunately, we can’t change the color of the grey pill box. But we can still format the cell in the same way as any other cell. So we can change the background color, the font color, the font size, the font type, etc.

With some styling, we can make the smart chips look great in our Sheets:

Formatted Smart Chips

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Sheet shared with people chips?

No, not automatically.

However, you’re prompted to share the Sheet with that person, should you wish to:

People Chip Access Notification

Is there Apps Script support?

Whilst the people API is accessible through Apps Script using the Advanced Service, these smart chips are not available in the Spreadsheet Service yet.

There are some other, limited ways to interact with smart chips via Apps Script: adding items to the @ menu in Docs add-ons, and previewing links.

What happens if my email is not valid?

If the cell does not contain an email or the email is not valid, then you’ll see an error message if you try to convert it to a people chip:

People Chip Error Message

Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Smart Chips in Google Sheets”

  1. I’d love to find a way to force the chip to only have the width of the text (or worst case, the width of the widest option for the text)

    But it seems to always take the width of the column it’s in, making for messy looking sheets sometimes.

    Is there a way around this?

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