ENCODEURL: Google Sheets Formulas Explained

As a marketer, I love spreadsheets. I also love Google Sheets. And if you're reading this article, I imagine you do, too.

But let's face it: Google Sheets can be intimidating. There's a lot of functionality there that most of us don't know about, which can make it feel overwhelming. That's why I'm here to help you out.

In this article, I'm going to specifically focus on one area of Google Sheets that will really help you streamline your workflow: formulas. Specifically, I'm going to be talking about how to use the ENCODEURL formula.


If you've never heard of the ENCODEURL formula before, don't worry. Basically, what it does is take a URL and encode it into a format that can be used in a Google Sheets formula.

Why is this useful? Well, let's say you're trying to pull data from a website into your Google Sheet. One way to do that is by using the IMPORTXML formula. But for IMPORTXML to work, you need to input the URL of the website you're trying to pull data from.

Here's the catch, though: URLs can contain all sorts of special characters that can mess with the functionality of your formula. That's where ENCODEURL comes in. By encoding the URL using this formula, you can ensure that your IMPORTXML formula is working with a URL that's been formatted correctly.


So, how exactly do you use the ENCODEURL formula? It's actually incredibly simple. All you need to do is type out "=ENCODEURL(" and then paste in the URL you want to encode within the parentheses.

For example, let's say you want to pull data from the following website: https://www.example.com/search?query=google+sheets. You would input the following formula:

=IMPORTXML(ENCODEURL("https://www.example.com/search?query=google+sheets"), "//div[@class='result']")

As you can see, I've used the ENCODEURL formula to encode the URL and then used that encoded URL in my IMPORTXML formula.

Using ENCODEURL in Real Life

To give you a better idea of how you might use ENCODEURL in your day-to-day work, let me walk you through a real-life scenario.

Let's say you work for a footwear company and you're trying to keep tabs on your competitors' pricing. You've found a website that aggregates pricing information from a number of different retailers, and you want to pull that information into your Google Sheet so you can keep track of it over time.

Here are the steps you would take:

  1. Copy the URL of the page that contains the pricing information.
  2. Paste the URL into the ENCODEURL formula to encode it.
  3. Use the encoded URL in an IMPORTXML formula to pull in the pricing information you want.

Here's an example of what that formula might look like:

=IMPORTXML(ENCODEURL("https://www.example.com/pricing?product=shoes&brand=nike"), "//div[@class='price']")

With this formula, you're able to pull in pricing information from the example.com website and track it over time. And because you've encoded the URL using the ENCODEURL formula, you don't have to worry about any wonky characters messing up your formula.


So there you have it: ENCODEURL in a nutshell. While it may seem like a small piece of the puzzle, this formula can make a huge difference in your ability to work with data in Google Sheets. So next time you're struggling with a formula that involves a URL, consider giving ENCODEURL a try. You might just be surprised at how much easier it makes your life.

Happy spreadsheeting!

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