Changing a Column’s Data Type

  • Updated goes beyond text and numbers with support for over 25 rich data types. Each column has a defined data type that you can change at any time. You can override Column data types with cell and range-level data types. See our article on Changing Data Types for general information on changing data types, or articles on changing a cell's data types or ranges of cells, as needed.

Setting data types for your columns allows you to customize your sheets. For instance, create a bug tracker with columns for owner, priority, images of error messages, and more. Or utilize column data types when you are planning a new commercial for a new productassign due dates, attach pictures of whiteboard sessions, and relate worksheets of notes to your project plan.

How to Change a Column's Data Type

To change a column's data type, select the column you'd like to change, and either right-click on that column or click on the column options dropdown. From there, select Edit data type... An Update column dialog box will appear. You can also double-click on the column header, or select Data type from the Format menu to open the Update column dialog box.

The animation below demonstrates all four ways to navigate to the Update column dialog box.


From here, you can set the Column name, its Data Type, and the corresponding settings for each data type. The information tooltip will help explain each data type from the available options.

Different data types will have different possible settings, though all data types (except Automatic) allow you to restrict the data in that column to only data of that data type. For instance, restricting an Attachment column prevents users from typing text in addition to adding files.

Once complete, click Update to change the column data type.

Converting Between Data Types

When changing data types, converts data already in cells to the new data type. Please see our article on Converting Between Data Types for more insight into how data of one type converts to another.

Changing the Primary Column

The primary column is restricted to alphanumeric data types, a subset of all data types, as shown below.


Undoing Changes

Like most other changes in, you can undo a change in data type. To undo, either select Undo in the toolbar mceclip0.png or type Ctrl + Z (CMD + Z for Mac users). Undoing edits to a column's data type will restore the column to its previous data type.

Converting from one data type to another often results in changes to the underlying data. Check out our article on converting between data types for more insight, or check out all of the 25+ possible data types you can utilize in our Data Type articles.