How to use People Chips in Google Sheets

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Google has added a new feature to Sheets that might make power users happy. People Chips are a way to quickly add contacts to a cell and even view details about them. Jack Wallen shows you how.

Drawing based on Google Sheet: shows the 5 steps, 1. Enter data, 2. Select cells, 3. Insert chart, 4. Adjust setup, 5. Customize display -- with arrows pointing from each item to the corresponding section of the Google Sheet.

Illustration: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

Sometimes Google isn’t so great at naming new features. But even with awkward names, those new additions can come in handy. Such is the case with People Chips, which has been added to Google Sheets. 

What are People Chips? Don’t worry, they aren’t potato chips in the shape of faces. People Chips are a way to connect cells in a spreadsheet to contacts. 

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This is very similar to the new Smart Chip feature found in Google Docs, which allows you to select from various bits of content from a drop-down when you type the @ symbol. The content includes people, meeting notes, files, lists, media, dates and formatting. 

Google Sheets, however, limits what you can add to a cell to contacts. With People Chips you can add individuals or groups. Once you’ve added a contact to a cell, you can then hover over the name to reveal their details. One thing to know about People Chips is that they do not serve as a way to notify users. That’s not the purpose of this feature. Instead, it’s a way to add contacts and be able to quickly view their salient information. 

I would assume, at some point Google will be adding more features to People Chips. To add a People Chip to Google Sheets click on the cell to house the contact and type the @ symbol. A new drop-down will appear where you can select from your most-used contacts. If you don’t see the contact listed, type out the name or the email address of the contact in question and it will appear in blue. If you don’t have a contact for that email address, it will remain an email address as regular text in the cell. If you want to be able to add a new contact as a People Chip, you must add the new name/email address via the Contacts app. 

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This isn’t a deal-breaking or deal-making feature. But for those who’d like to be able to more easily add contacts to Sheets cells and be able to view more information for those contacts, People Chips might find its way into being a feature you regularly depend on.

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