How to Get LSE Real-Time Prices in Google Sheets

Learning how to obtain prices from the LSE market in Google Sheets is useful for when you need to create a financial portfolio and monitor it in real-time.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a stock exchange in the city of London, England, which is one of the oldest exchanges in the world. Trading in stocks is a hobby for many, while others invest in stocks as a way to plan for retirement. This is with the expectation that stocks will increase in value over time.

Stock prices, however, tend to fluctuate up and down with low predictability. They may change every hour or minute, with high-volume stocks changing as frequently as every second. This is due to a number of factors, ranging from general changes in the economy to a company’s reputation. As such, a tool to monitor stock prices is needed to gauge performance.

Google offers Google Finance as a way to view stock data, which includes charts that allow you to see company performance over time. This is good for viewing detailed information regarding a company’s stock performance. However, what if you want to view data from multiple companies simultaneously? A dedicated function in Google Sheets is a good option to consider as it allows you to import data directly from Google Finance. Being able to insert data into a spreadsheet also allows you to manipulate it in the way that you need.

This function is called the GOOGLEFINANCE function. It is a powerful function that allows you to get live and historical data, mutual fund data, and currency exchange rates. In this tutorial, we shall focus on how to use the GOOGLEFINANCE function to extract real-time data from LSE.

Now, let us get to know more about the GOOGLEFINANCE function!


The Anatomy of the GOOGLEFINANCE Function

So the syntax (the way we write) of the GOOGLEFINANCE function is as follows:

=GOOGLEFINANCE(ticker, [attribute], [start_date], [end_date|num_days], [intervals])

Let’s dissect this thing and understand what each of these terms means:

  • = the equal sign is just how we start any function in Google Sheets.
  • GOOGLEFINANCE() this is our GOOGLEFINANCE function. It fetches current or historical securities information from Google Finance.
  • ticker represents the ticker symbol for the security to consider. To achieve accurate results and prevent discrepancies, both the exchange symbol and ticker symbol must be used. If the exchange symbol is not specified, GOOGLEFINANCE will use its best judgment to choose for you.
  • attribute specifies the type of data to fetch about ticker from Google Finance. The square brackets ‘[]’ indicate that this is an optional parameter, but is required if a date is specified. By default, the function returns the “price” parameter. Available GOOGLEFINANCE attributes are different for real-time, historical, and mutual fund data.
  • start_date indicates the start date when fetching historical data. The square brackets ‘[]’ indicate that this is an optional parameter. When start_date is specified and end_date|num_days is not, only the single day’s data is returned.
  • end_date|num_days indicates the end date when fetching historical data. The square brackets ‘[]’ indicate that this is an optional parameter. Alternatively, the number of days from the start_date may be used.
  • interval specifies the frequency of returned data. The square brackets ‘[]’ indicate that this is an optional parameter. Values may be “daily” or “weekly”, alternatively, 1 or 7.


Some Notes About the GOOGLEFINANCE Function

To use the GOOGLEFINANCE function properly, some things should be noted:

  • All parameters must be enclosed in quotation marks or be references to cells containing text. Note: An exception is when parameters are specified as a number (interval of 1 or 7, end_date|num_days as the number of days).
  • Some attributes may not yield results for all symbols.
  • Quotes are not sourced from all markets and may be delayed up to 20 minutes.

As we will only be learning about extracting real-time data, details regarding historical and mutual fund data are not discussed. For more information about the GOOGLEFINANCE function, check the official GOOGLEFINANCE function guide from Google Docs Editor Help.



What is a Ticker Symbol

Looking at the syntax of the GOOGLEFINANCE function, only the ticker and attributeparameters are relevant to extract real-life data, with the ticker parameter being the most important part of the function. But what exactly are ticker symbols?

A ticker symbol or stock symbol is an abbreviated name used to uniquely identify traded securities such as stocks, shares, currency, etc. It may consist of letters, numbers, or a number of both. As stated above, both the exchange symbol and ticker symbol must be used to achieve accurate results.

There are multiple ways to obtain the ticker symbol. One way is through a simple google search. Simply type out the company name supplemented by “stock price”. For example, looking up “apple stock price” on google gives the following result:

As you can see, the google search method already gives both the exchange symbol and ticker symbol (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Other ways include using tools like Yahoo Finance lookup and Google Finance. Looking up apple on Yahoo Finance, only the ticker symbol will appear beside the company name.

Similar to the google search, both the exchange symbol and the ticker symbol will show up on the Google Finance tool. These will show up at the search bar. The ticker symbol is also emphasized in a gray box.

Although results from google search are extracted from Google Finance, using the tool provides a faster way of obtaining the needed symbols. Even when just typing out the company name, a list is shown of possible companies and at different markets. Just note that the symbols that appear below the company name from the search list are arranged ticker symbol first followed by the exchange symbol. As such, they have to be reversed when inputted into the GOOGLEFINANCE function.

Using the Google Finance tool also acts as a way of determining if the GOOGLEFINANCE function can return data. Since quotes are not sourced from all markets, if a given company is listed down on Google Finance, you can be assured that a value will return. This is because the GOOGLEFINANCE function fetches data from this site.

Since we are interested in obtaining data from LSE, specifically, another useful tool for obtaining symbols for LSE is eoddata. Opening the link shows you a list of symbols for LSE, which are arranged and grouped alphabetically.

Take note that the symbols displayed are only the ticker symbol. It is important to input these symbols with the exchange symbol “LON”. The function will still work if only the ticker symbol is used; however, there may be instances where the same ticker symbol is used for different exchanges.

Looking at the search result from Google Finance earlier, apple is present in various exchanges. While not all exchanges use the same ticker symbol, the NASDAQ Stock Market and Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) do. GOOGLEFINANCE will use its best judgment to select where to obtain data from if the exchange symbol is not specified. This will not be an issue if you want to obtain from NASDAQ, but what if you need stock prices from BMV? Specifying the appropriate exchange symbol will eliminate this issue.

Now that we know what a ticker symbol is, and how to obtain it, let’s check out what kinds of real-time data we could obtain using the GOOGLEFINANCE function.


GOOGLEFINANCE Function Real-Time Data Attributes

The list below shows the available attributes that you could use for real-time data using the GOOGLEFINANCE function.

  • price – Real-time price quote, delayed by up to 20 minutes.
  • priceopen – The price as of market open.
  • high – The current day’s high price.
  • low – The current day’s low price.
  • volume – The current day’s trading volume.
  • marketcap – The market capitalization of the stock.
  • tradetime – The time of the last trade.
  • datadelay – How far delayed the real-time data is.
  • volumeavg – The average daily trading volume.
  • pe – The price/earnings ratio.
  • eps – The earnings per share.
  • high52 – The 52-week high price.
  • low52 – The 52-week low price.
  • change – The price change since the previous trading day’s close.
  • beta – The beta value.
  • changepct – The percentage change in price since the previous trading day’s close.
  • closeyest – The previous day’s closing price.
  • shares – The number of outstanding shares.
  • currency – The currency in which the security is priced. Currencies don’t have trading windows, so open, low, high, and volume won’t return for this argument.

Another useful attribute is “name”, which pulls the listed company name in Google Finance for the given ticker. This could act as a means for you to check if the GOOGLEFINANCE function has selected the company you want.


A Real Example of Using the GOOGLEFINANCE Function

Let’s look at an example to see how the data looks like from both Google Sheets using the GOOGLEFINANCE function and the Google Finance website. For this example, we shall be looking at BP PLC. The picture below shows all the data obtained using the GOOGLEFINANCE function.

As you can see, the GOOGLEFINANCE function will work even if the ticker or attribute is typed in or cell references are used. For the ticker parameter, not specifying the exchange symbol for the ticker symbol “BP” yielded different results as this ticker symbol is also used in other exchanges. Therefore, always include the exchange symbol to obtain the results you need.

Looking at the Google Finance website, you will first be greeted with a large chart showing how stock prices fluctuate over a period of time. Time intervals of 1 day, 5 days, 1 month, 6 months, year to date, 1 year, 5 years, or the whole lifespan of the company can be selected.

This section shows the company name, current price, price change, and percentage change for the day. Scrolling down also shows a Key stats section where most of the data the GOOGLEFINANCE function pulls. These include: high, low, marketcap, volumeavg, high52, low52, and closeyest.

Lastly, a financial performance chart may be located, where quarterly or annual data may be seen. From the annual chart, the earnings per share (eps) value that GOOGLEFINANCE pulls may be located.

Now that we have learned all about the GOOGLEFINANCE function, let’s now move to a real-life scenario where real-time data from LSE is obtained.


How to Get LSE Real-Time Prices Using GOOGLEFINANCE Function

For the following scenario, the companies whose real-time stock data I want to pull are Directa Plus, Loungers, Hardide, UniVision Engineering, Zoteforams, and Orosur Mining.

  1. Using Google Finance, search for the ticker symbols of the companies whose stock data you want to pull. Input these values with the exchange symbol “LON” and a colon “:” before it.
  2. Create new columns corresponding to the kinds of data you wish to pull. For this example, I wish to obtain the complete name of the company (for verification), the stock’s current price, day range, previous close value, and percent change from this value.
  3. Insert a new row directly below the header row. In this row, type in the corresponding attribute parameter for the data you wish to pull.
  4. Simply click on any cell to make it the active cell. For this guide, I will be selecting C3, where I want to show my result.
  5. Next, simply type the equal sign ‘=’ to begin the function and then followed by the name of the function, which is our ‘googlefinance’ (or ’GOOGLEFINANCE’, whichever works). You should find that as you are typing, an auto-suggest box appears with the names of the functions that contain the text that you have typed. LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  6. The one we want is the GOOGLEFINANCE function, so make sure to click on the GOOGLEFINANCE function. Alternatively, you may select the function by pressing the arrow down keys then pressing Enter or Tab to use the function (the currently selected function will be highlighted in grey and have a brief description below). LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  7. Upon selecting a function, a large text box appears that gives details about the function and how to use the function. In some instances, a blue question mark will appear on the left side of the cell. If you want this text box to appear, simply click this question mark to show the large text box. Clicking on the arrow at the top right-hand corner will minimize the box while clicking on the x mark close the text box and the blue question mark will appear.LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  8. Now, let’s select the ticker parameter. For this cell, we want to pull data from Directa Plus. Type the “LON:DCTA” symbol enclosed with quotation marks. Note how values enclosed in quotation marks will be colored green.LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  9. Now, let’s select the attribute parameter. For this cell, we want to obtain the complete name of the company. First type a comma “,” to indicate that we have finished inputting the ticker parameter and would like to input the attribute parameter. Next, type out “name” enclosed with quotation marks. See how even before finishing the formula, a text box pops up showing the value the GOOGLEFINANCE function has obtained.LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  10. Press the Enter key to finish the formula. This process may be repeated for the rest of the values, but doing so would be time-consuming and inefficient. Therefore, let’s use relative cell references to make this task easier!
  11. After pressing the Enter key, we are now in cell C4. Repeat steps 5 and 6 to select the GOOGLEFINANCE function. This time, instead of typing out the ticker parameter for Loungers, let’s use cell references. Select Cell B4. This will highlight the selected cell while also inputting “B4” in the formula.LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  12. To convert this cell reference to a relative cell reference, press the F4 key three times. Doing so will change the “B4” value in the formula to “$B4”. This means that when the formula is copied, the function will always pull data from the B column, even when this formula is copied to other columns. Alternatively, you can also simply type a dollar sign “$” before the column you want to keep.LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  13. Now, let’s select the attribute parameter. Type a comma “,” then select cell C2. We also need to convert this cell reference to a relative cell reference where the row is kept constant instead of the column. Therefore, the dollar symbol must be before the number corresponding to the row. Press the F4 key two times. LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets
  14. Press the Enter key to finish the formula. Finally, simply copy the formula from cell C4 to the remaining cells to fill the table. Looking at cell F6, we can see that the correct values have been obtained through the use of relative cell references.LSE Real-Time Stock Prices in Google Sheets


We’re done! Expect some differences between the results that you obtain from the ones obtained in this tutorial. As stated earlier, this is due to stocks fluctuating in value. If you want to practice some more, make a copy of our spreadsheet and give it a try:


Or browse our other numerous Google Sheets formulas to create even more powerful formulas that can make your life much easier.


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