Changing a Cell’s Data Type allows you to change the data type of individual cells in addition to whole columns and ranges.

Specifying the data type of a cell is a good way to format the data in a cell. You can use unique data types like the phone, dates, or attachment data types to add certain types of data to your cells.

You may want to edit a cell to a different data type than the column it is in. For instance, in a column of number cells, you may want to feature a number from another workbook and include a related row lookup to display the number from a cell in another workbook. Cells can have different data types than the columns they are a part of, provided that column does not have strict data validation

How to Change a Cell's Data Type

Begin by selecting the cell for which you want to change the data type. Right click on the cell and select "Edit data type..." from the dropdown.

Or, select the Edit data type button from the right hand side of the toolbar. Note that the icon will change depending on the cell's current data type.


Either option will open the Edit data type for [cell] dialog, where you can select the cell's new data type from the "Type" field dropdown. supports over 25 data types, each with their own configuration options. For more details, take a look at our Introduction to Data Types article and the accompanying articles on each data type.

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

Once you've specified the cell's new data types and configured it to your needs, click the blue Update button in the bottom right corner of the dialog and the cell will update to reflect the new data type.

Undoing Changes

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


Restrictions on Changing a Cell's Data Type

Changing a Cell in the Primary Column

Cells in the primary column are restricted to alphanumeric data types. If you change the data type of a cell in the primary column, the data types available in the Edit data type dialog will be restricted to those only. If necessary, you can designate a different column as the primary column.

Changing a Cell in a Strict Range

Cells that are already part of a range of Strict cells can still be changed. When changing the data type of a cell in a strict range, will warn you and ask you to confirm the change in a popup message. Click the blue Ok button in the lower right corner of the popup to confirm and proceed.

Changing a Cell in a Strict Column

Cells in Strict columns cannot be changed without first changing the column. When attempting to change the data type of a cell in a strict column, will inform you of the restriction in a popup message. Before changing the cell, you must edit the column's data type settings and turn off "Strict".

Converting Between Data Types

When changing data types, you may convert existing data to the new data type. For more information on how data of one type converts to another, see our article on Converting the Data Type of Existing Data.

Learn more about working with data types in our Introduction to Data Types, or read on to find out more about Converting the Data Type of Existing Data and Data Validation with Strict Columns and Cells.