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How to Easily Catalog Your Home Library with Google Sheets

How to Easily Catalog Your Home Library with Google Sheets

Have you ever walked into a used book store, found a book that you love then wondered if you already had it on your bookshelf at home? This has happened to me too many times. Several years ago I tried to use apps to catalog my home library. But they never have the exact options that I like and one actually just quit working out of the blue. Hours of work imputing information about my books down the drain! I have needed a solution that is customized to me for practically forever but it wasn’t until about a week ago that it hit me: Google Sheets! It’s free, I can use it on my phone and my computer, and I can input the exact information that I want to use.

Lets Get Started

First, go to Google Drive to sign in to Google Drive with your Google account. You already have one of these if you have a Gmail account or a YouTube account but if you don’t have one then just create an account. It’s free!

Once you sign in, your screen should look something like this:
Google Drive


Now you need to click on the blue “New” button in the top left corner then click Google Sheets from the drop down menu.

Opening Google Sheets

How to Set Up Google Sheets for Your Home Library

First title your document. (My Books? Something more creative? Whatever you want!) Then start thinking of information about your books that you would like to keep track of. If you want to sort your books by the author then the title like me, then type “Author” into the first column of the first row and “Title” into the second column of the first row. Next, add the other categories that you want to use. Here are the categories that I decided to go with: Author, Title, Format, Origin, Read?, Rating 1-5, Topic, Most Recent Copyright, Date Acquired, and Notes.

Now go to “View” then “Freeze” then click on “1 row” as shown below. This will force the first row to stay at the top of your screen when you scroll down. I also centered and bolded the text in my first row.
Freeze First Row

Now You Can Enter Your Books!

This part is pretty self-explanatory. Just pull out your books and start entering information into the appropriate columns. However, if you want Sheets to sort by the authors’ last names then you will need to enter it as “Last, First.” For the same reason, you should move words like “the” to the end of the title: “Fellowship of the Ring, The.” Otherwise, Sheets will sort by the authors’ first names and put books like The Fellowship of the Ring with books that start with the letter T instead of F.

How to Alphabetize in Sheets

First, click on the rectangle to the left of the A column and above the 1 row. This will highlight your entire document. Now click on “Data” at the top of your screen followed by “Sort Range” on the drop down menu. You should see something like this:
Sort Range


Next, check on “Data has header row,” then click “+ Add another column.” It should look like this:
Sort Range

Finally, click “Sort” and Sheets does all of the work! You now have a perfectly sorted home library catalog.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I need to have my books listed on my phone. Fortunately, there is a Google Sheets app that is free on Google Play and on the App Store. Just download the app, sign in with the Google account that you used for this tutorial and you will see your document.

I have had so much fun using this system to catalog all of my books. If you try it out, then let me know down below. I would love to know how it goes and answer any of your questions! 🙂

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