I usually add several sheets to a single Google sheets file. There is always a separate sheet that extracts information from the other sheets (via REGEXEXTRACT etc).

sometimes this "summary" sheet has sensitive information in it that I don't want shared with everyone, and I would like to simply copy it and paste it into a different Google sheets file that's shared with a specific set of people. The problem is that if I simply make a copy and paste.. all the cells that references other cells get an error since they now reference cells that don't exist.. How do I handle this?

  • I'm downvoting this question as it doesn't show any research effort.
    – Rubén
    Oct 12, 2016 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


Short answer

To convert local references to external references use IMPORTRANGE


  1. First you have to get the spreadsheet key / file id or the URL to the original spreadsheet
  2. Wherever your sheet has a local reference that should be converted to an external reference, use IMPORTRANGE to convert it to an external reference






Try making refference using inditect:

transform this: =RegexExtract(Sheet1!A1) to this → =RegexExtract(indirect("Sheet1!A1"))

or better this → =RegexExtract(indirect(B1)) and paste the name of range in B2.

When you'll copy the sheet to other books, you'll be able to correct value in B2 to a new sheet refference.

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