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Import Web Data into Google Docs

I’ve been using Google Docs since long to create documents and spreadsheets but recently discovered that Google’s cloud-based Office suite provide us lot of other flexibilities.

A useful Google formula “ImportHTML” helps us to fetch tables and lists from an external web page into a Google Drive’s spreadsheet.

Create a spreadsheet inside Google Drive/Docs. Edit any of its cell to enter the formula/function as below.

=ImportHTML("http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bollywood_films_of_2012", "table", 2)

Now come out of the cell and Google Docs will import the second table from the mentioned Wiki page into your sheet.

The 1st parameter of the function ImportHTML is nothing but the Target URL, 2nd parameter allows us to select which format of data we wish to import. This can be table (for tabular format), list (for ordered list) etc. The 3rd parameter says which index/number/position of the desired format data on the page that needs to be imported. If we put 4 instead of 2 in the third parameter of the above formula, then Docs API will import the forth table from the web page.

importHTMLThe beauty of these magical functions may help us in tracking web page changes. This may be utilized for tracking price fluctuations for a product on any eCommerce portal.

Google Docs is inbuilt with such amazing wonderful functions e.g.  ImportFeed, ImportHTML and ImportXML.

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By Swatantra Kumar

Swatantra is an Open Source evangelist, a technologist and researcher. Professionally, he does software development, software architecture, server administration and project management. When he's not writing software, he enjoys building web entities and servers, reading about and working with new technologies, and trying to get his friends to make the move to open source software. He's written, co-written and published many articles in international journals, on various domains/topics including Open Source, Networks, Computer Organization, Mobile Technologies, and Business Intelligence. He made a proposal for an information management system at University level during graduation days.

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