I wrote about this in 2013. Since then, Google Drive has changed its look, and possibly also adjusted how it works. It’s still better to get your data into a Google Spreadsheet than to upload an Excel file. The reason is that only computers and devices that have Excel installed can work with an Excel file. But any computer or device with a browser can work with a Google spreadsheet.
We’ll start with an existing Excel spreadsheet that we’ve saved as a file; we won’t be using Excel during this process.
Send your web browser to Google’s My Drive. In the left sidebar, click New. A floating menu appears. Click Google Sheets.
The Import File page appears. Open your computer’s file manager in another window. (OSX; Finder. Windows; WinExplorer.) Navigate to the file, click and hold it, and drag it into the browser’s “Import File” window.
For me, the resulting spreadsheet held the Excel data but was still named “Untitled Spreadsheet.” I changed its title. Later I noticed that I had two copies of the spreadsheet in Google; the one I uploaded early in this process (bad) and the one I created, replaced data in and renamed (good). The problem with the bad one is that, if I open it, I see a screenprint-like image of a spreadsheet, not a grid-and-text image that I can change. That’s an Excel spreadsheet, and Google can’t work with that kind of file.