How to Use TO TEXT Function in Google Sheets

How to Use TO_TEXT Function in Google Sheets - Sheetaki
How to Use TO_TEXT Function in Google Sheets – Sheetaki

The TO_TEXT function in Google Sheets turns a number into a text. 

The function helps you easily convert a series of a specific set of numbers into a text. 

Here are the things that you should keep in mind when working with the TO_TEXT function:

  • The function has only one argument, the value. 
  • The argument can be written as the actual value or reference cell.

Let’s check the example below. 

A Secretary needs to input all the employees’ data into the system. However, their system only accepts a text format. This means that she needs to type the employees’ date of birth manually.

Employee’s Name Date of Birth Result
Marjorie 09/29/1978
Karen 07/29/1988
Jessica 06/24/1990
Johnson 10/14/1975

The Secretary utilizes Google Sheets’ functions to convert birthdays to text quickly. First, she uses the IMPORTRANGE function to transfer the live data from one sheet to another. This way, any changes from the main sheet will also change the data in the second sheet.

Then, she uses the TO_TEXT function to quickly convert the birthdays, which are all in number format, into text. 

But before we convert the numbers, let us first learn how to write the function.

The Anatomy of the TO_TEXT Function

The syntax of the formula is shown below:


Next, we will learn the parts of the function.

  • = the equal sign starts the TO_TEXT function in Google Sheets.
  • TO_TEXT() is our TO_TEXT function. 
  • Value refers to the number that we need to convert into text.

A Real Example of Using TO_TEXT Function

Since we already have an overview of how the function works and how to write it, we will proceed in solving the problem.

The given data are as follows:

Employee’s Name Date of Birth Result
Marjorie 09/29/1978
Karen 07/29/1988
Jessica 06/24/1990
Johnson 10/14/1975

Transfer or copy and paste the data into a spreadsheet. After doing so, key in the formula under results.


After you input the formula, it should show results like this:



To generate the returning value, here’s how to do it. But before we jump into it, click on the link below and solve the problem with me.  

Are you ready? Let us start writing the TO_TEXT function and solve the problem with our guide below!

How to Use TO_TEXT Function in Google Sheets

  1. The first step is to key in all the data in the spreadsheet. This is to ensure that the data are correct and that you will not miss a single value. Otherwise, your returning value will yield an erroneous result.

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2. The second step is to tell Google Sheets that we are working on a function. We will do this by first adding the equal ‘=‘ sign. Just cancel it by hitting the ‘BACKSPACE’ key if a popup appears.

3. After that, ensure that the cells contain no other character but the equal ‘=‘ sign.

Note: When writing the function, the TO_TEXT(), we will include the open ‘(‘parenthesis only. 

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 4. Once done adding the function, we will start adding the value. There are two ways to add the value: selecting the reference value or adding the numbers manually.

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  1. Then, we will add the closing ‘)‘ parenthesis to complete the function.

Step-by-step guide - Sheetaki

  1. Once the TO_TEXT function is complete, we press the Enter key to get the results. As to the problem above, here are the results of each employees’ birthday.

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The reference value and the result may look different on the surface, but the result is a text format of the employees’ numeric birthday.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Google Sheets’ TO_TEXT function and TEXT function?

The TO_TEXT function turns the reference value’s numeric format into text, while the TEXT function gives you more flexibility in converting the numbers. It allows you to precisely convert the numerical value of the reference into a specific string. For example, the TEXT function can covert 07/30/2010 into July 30, 2010.

How to write the TO_TEXT function in Google Sheets?

The TO_TEXT function is written with one argument only. 



However, if the TO_TEXT function is combined with other Google Sheets functions like ARRAY, QUERY, and IMPORTRANGE functions, the formula becomes a little bit complicated for newbies. 

Say, if you need to convert a specific value inside a specific range. For ARRAYformula, it can be written as: 


When working with QUERYand IMPORTRANGE functions, the syntax of the function also changes. When all three are combined with the TO_TEXT function, the formula will look like this:

=ARRAYFORMULA(QUERY(TO_TEXT(IMPORTRANGE((SpreadsheetURL,RangeString)),”Select Col1 where Col1<>’ ‘ “))

Can the TO_TEXT work when combined with other Google Sheet functions?

Yes, TO_TEXT is known to work with IMPORTRANGE , ARRAY, and QUERYfunctions. When all these functions are combined, the syntax becomes a little bit complicated. Thus, you need to familiarize each functions’ syntax and its rules to ensure that each syntax will now mess with the other. 


Working with the TO_TEXT function is easy. It only gets complicated when you are a newbie working with a combination of functions like ARRAY, IMPORTRANGE , and QUERY. The TO_TEXT function can help you in special cases when you may need to convert a value into a text without messing with its format.

Just make sure to familiarize the rules of the TO_TEXT function, and it will save you when times come that you may need it. But do not confuse this function with TO_DATE and TEXT functions. Though they sound similar, their function is entirely different from the other. 


If you want to learn more about writing Google Sheets functions, you can check our website site for more Google Sheets functions. Also, make sure that you will not miss anything. Subscribe to our newsletter to get new updates. Lastly, comment below if you have questions or suggestions on what function we will cover next.


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