Google Sheets

Rather than finding currency conversion rates manually, you can import up-to-date and historical currency exchange rates using the GOOGLEFINANCE function in Google Sheets. Using these rates, you can convert any currency to another in your spreadsheet.

As the name suggests, the GOOGLEFINANCE function takes advantage of accurate financial data available from Google itself.

Real-Time Currency Conversion Using GOOGLEFINANCE

The GOOGLEFINANCE function is capable of pulling in current, real-time data about the financial markets. That includes exchange rates, which, when inserted into your spreadsheet using GOOGLEFINANCE, will update every 20 minutes.

The format for a GOOGLEFINANCE formula to find the current exchange rate is =GOOGLEFINANCE("Currency:USDGBP"), where you can replace USD and GBP with other suitable three-letter currency codes.

The GOOGLEFINANCE function in Google Sheets, providing a USD to GBP exchange rate

The example above shows the then-current USD to GBP rate. In the example above, the currency codes are used within the formula itself, but you can also refer to these separately.

To do that, type your currency codes in two individual cells (for instance, “USD” in cell A1 and “GBP” in cell B1).

In a third cell, type =GOOGLEFINANCE("Currency:"&A1&A2), replacing A1 and A2 with the appropriate cell references for your spreadsheet.

The GOOGLEFINANCE function in Google Sheets, showing various exchange rates

These rates above show the exchange rates listed in column A to column B. The GOOGLEFINANCE formula used in C2, for instance, shows the rate from U.S. Dollars to British Pounds.

This value (0.7691) shows one U.S. Dollar converted to British Pounds. To convert a larger currency figure, you can multiply the larger value against this rate.

For instance, to convert $100 to British Pounds, you would multiply that figure ($100) against the exchange rate value (0.7691), generated using the GOOGLEFINANCE function.

Various USD to GBP currency conversions in Google Sheets using the GOOGLEFINANCE function

The example above shows three different USD figures in column B converted to GBP. The GOOGLEFINANCE function is used in cells A3 to A5, returning the then-current USD to GBP rate.

By multiplying the USD figure in column B against the USD to GBP exchange rate in column A, the converted GBP amount is returned in column C.

RELATED: How to Multiply Numbers in Google Sheets

Finding Historical Currency Conversion Rates

The GOOGLEFINANCE function can also be used to provide historical exchange rates. It will list the rate at the end of each day, for a period specified by you. This could be for a single day, a week, a month, or longer.

To do this, click on an empty cell and type =GOOGLEFINANCE("Currency:USDGBP", "price", DATE(YYYY,MM,DD), DATE(YYYY,MM,DD), where the first nested DATE function is the start date, and the second DATE function is the end date.

Replace YYYY with the year, MM with the month, and DD with the day for both nested DATE functions. You’ll also need to replace the currency codes to match the currencies you’re looking to exchange.

A list of historical exchange rates shown in Google Sheets using the GOOGLEFINANCE function

If you only want to display a single date, you can use =GOOGLEFINANCE("Currency:USDGBP", "price", DATE(YYYY,MM,DD)) instead.

An historical exchange rate for a day shown in Google Sheets using the GOOGLEFINANCE function

Using other functions like TODAY in place of the DATE function, you can also have a rolling list. This means your list will update every day. You can display the last seven days, for instance.

To do that, you can use =GOOGLEFINANCE("Currency:USDGBP", "price", TODAY()-7, TODAY()).

A rolling list of currency exchange rates for the last seven days, shown in Google Sheets using the GOOGLEFINANCE function

The TODAY function is used as the end date, meaning your list always updates to show currency exchange rates (in this instance, from USD to GBP) for the past seven days.

If you wanted to do this over a longer (or shorter) period, simply change the number used with the first nested TODAY function from seven to another number.

Ben Stockton Ben Stockton
Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Cloudwards.net. He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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