How to Use Smart Chips in Google Sheets

Smart Chips are dynamic previews of information inserted into Google Sheets cells. They can represent people, files, dates, events, and other items.

The added benefit of using Smart Chips is that you can extract extra data from them, such as an email address from a People Smart Chip or the creator of a YouTube video for a YouTube Smart Chip.

Different Types of Smart Chips

This table shows the different types of Chips, their appearance, and the additional data they can store.

TypeSourceAppearanceData Extractions
Preview information for a calendar event smart chipSummary
Start date
End date
Smart Chip preview of a File from Google DriveFile name
Creation Time
Last Modified By
Last Modified Time
Finance Smart Chip preview of security informationExtractions are not available.
Contact Smart Chip preview of Warren Buffet's contact informationName
Location Smart Chip sowing the New York Stock ExchangeLocation URL
YouTubeYouTubeYouTube Smart ChipVideo URL

How to Create Smart Chips

Using the @ Symbol

To quickly add Smart Chips in Google Sheets, simply type the “@” symbol followed by the chip’s content. For example, to insert a Place Smart Chip, you would type “@” followed by the location. As you type, a list of suggestions will appear. Select the desired chip to insert it into the cell.

The example above is a Place Chip. Start with the @ sign, then type the place’s name, which in this case is the New York Stock Exchange. After Google Sheets correctly auto-fills the place, press enter. Google Sheets converts the location into a Smart Chip. You can tell because Google Sheets places a grey pill-shaped background behind the text.

Now, if you hover the mouse over the Place Chip, you will get a preview of the location provided by Google Maps.

Location Chip showing the New York Stock Exchange
Place Chip Preview

These previews, unique to each type of Smart Chip, provide a glimpse of extra information available. In this case, the Google Sheets sidebar will provide directions once you give it a starting point.

Although a Place Chip adds extra functionality, it still allows the data to be used in other ways. For example, a list of starting and ending Place Chips would still work in our TripTally add-on for calculating driving distance and times.

⚠️ The YouTube Smart Chip is not available from the @ menu. To insert one, you must convert existing video URLs using the technique discussed below.

Convert Existing Data

Cells can also be converted to Smart Chips after the data is entered. However, you can only convert certain types of data. For example, an address must be a Google Maps link. Following is a list of data eligible for conversion to a Smart Chip.

Smart Chip TypeData
PeopleEmail address
FileGoogle Drive file link
EventGoogle Calendar event link
PlaceGoogle Maps link
FinanceGoogle Finance entity (i.e. ticker symbol)
YouTubeYouTube video link

Using Place Chips as an example, start with a Google Maps links. Go to, click on a location, and click the share button to get the link. The share button brings up a window with the link ready to be copied.

A link in Google Maps
Google Maps Link for Spreadsheet

Once you have these links in your spreadsheet, you can convert them to Place Chips by hovering over them with the mouse pointer and clicking “Chip.”

Button to convert a Maps link to a Smart Chip
Converting to a Smart Chip

Your Google Maps link is a now Place Chip instead of a plain text string.

A completed Place Chip in a spreadsheet cell
Completed Smart Chip

Benefits of Using Smart Chips

Smart Chips offer several benefits, including:

  • Increased accuracy: Smart Chips are a form of data validation. The Google Service only suggests valid matches as you type. For example, you won’t misspell the name of a contact if a Person Smart Chip matches it to an existing entry in Google Contacts.
  • Improved efficiency: Smart Chips store multiple points of data in one cell. It provides a cleaner interface with fewer columns.
  • Extended functionality: Smart Chips hold additional information that can be pulled from the Chip with special notation or the menus. Read more about data extraction.


Smart Chips are a powerful tool that can help you improve the accuracy, efficiency, and functionality of your work in Google Sheets. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to use them in your spreadsheets.

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