[Expert Hours] Join us on March 20th: Maximize Time Off While Ensuring Legal Compliance Register Now

Table Of Contents

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Table Of Contents

Let’s be real: a spreadsheet is hands-down the most versatile creation since the invention of sliced bread. Millions of people use it every day to do everything from leave tracking to planning their grocery shopping. Hence, naturally, using a PTO tracker in Google Sheets is something that most HR teams around the world are already familiar with. 

Tracking leaves for an entire organization manually is no easy feat, but using a spreadsheet as a makeshift PTO tracker does indeed work as a low-cost method of tracking leaves for many companies. However, like everything else in this world, it comes with its pros and cons. 

How To Use a PTO Tracker in Google Sheets

Installing a template

Getting started with a PTO tracker in Google Sheets usually requires the installation of an Excel tracking template. You can download our template by clicking here or download any other template you prefer from the internet. If you’d like to start from scratch, you can also build and design a completely new PTO tracker according to the needs of your organization.

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets

Adding important leave data

Once you’ve installed a PTO tracker template or have made your own, you need to add certain components that will help you effectively track your leave data. A typical leave tracking template usually comprises of the following:

  • The day, month, and year of recorded leave
  • Blank spaces for the name of each employee
  • A column for their allotted days/leave allowance in either days or hours
  • Number of remaining hours or days in their leave allowance
  • Different color codes for each type of leave taken (for example red for vacation days, blue for sick leave, and so on)
  • Any national holidays

In addition to all this, you will also have to create formulas for specific columns. You can also make use of conditional formatting in Google Sheets to input formulas. Furthermore, changes to these code/color combinations will require you to update the conditional formatting in your spreadsheet file.

Updating information as necessary

Last, but not least, comes the crucial task of manually updating your PTO tracker with employee leave information. And this, perhaps, may even be the hardest part. You can put it this way: if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a PTO Tracker is worth a thousand headaches. 

While at first glance, manually entering your PTO information into a spreadsheet sounds like a simple process, it is far from it. Between the chaos of juggling daily responsibilities at work, getting leave requests, waiting for leave approval, or communicating via email, data often gets lost in translation. While many teams around the world are able to manage their leaves on a spreadsheet, it comes at the expense of losing countless hours getting leave information from their co-workers and then inputting that data into their PTO tracker.

Maintaining your PTO tracker

It’s important to note that while these spreadsheets are great for tracking leaves in small businesses, they may not fare as well in bigger organizations. Since these companies have more locations and employees, there will also be more data to track. After that, add in stuff like leave accruals, regional holidays, and different labor laws to the mix, and a spreadsheet won’t get you too far. 

Furthermore, each individual spreadsheet can only track leave data for a year. Updating a spreadsheet with leave data for consecutive years may lead your PTO tracker to become a messy, overcluttered, and unorganized resource. In order to prevent that from happening, you need to create a copy of the general PTO tracker in Google Sheets. After that, you’ll also have to manually update it every year to accurately reflect your organization’s leave data.

How Vacation Tracker can help

If the mere thought of updating and keeping track of a PTO tracker has you stressed, we’ve got just the solution you’ve been looking for. Say hello to Vacation Tracker — the ultimate leave management tool for more than 100,000 users worldwide.

With our tool, you can get rid of all the hassles that come with manual leave tracking. Automate your leave tracking efforts at a price that’s cheaper with a mocha latte with whipped cream on top. Want to know how? Let us show you.

Effortless leave request and approval

With our leave management tool, you can easily submit leave requests and get leave approval directly from your favorite collaboration tool. No longer will you have to deal with the mind-numbing pain of waiting for leave approval over having vacation requests lost over email mishaps.

It takes only a few clicks to request a leave of absence, specify the days and duration, and provide a reason if needed. We’ll take care of everything else. Easy peasy.

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets

Third-party integration

Vacation Tracker allows users to request and approve leaves all from the comfort of their workspace. Whether that’s Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Workspace, we’ve got you covered no matter where you work from.

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets


Our Wallchart featured is designed to help teams plan better by allowing Administrators and Approvers easily see when employees from their company work and when they’ll be off. Think everyone’s leave activities and holidays displayed in a sleek, visual way.

This feature is especially useful during project management and planning or identifying trends in employee leave patterns or even for ensuring that there are no conflicts in team members’ time off requests. How cool is that?

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets

Employee leave calendar

Keep track and plan ahead with the all-inclusive employee leave calendar. With this handy tool, you can view all upcoming leaves and holidays for users in your department or organization, and use that information to work smarter, not harder.

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets

Calendar integration

You can integrate your Vacation Tracker with Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook to get synchronized leave information across all platforms.

With your approved leave requests integrated with your calendar, you can worry less about forgetting leaves and more about choosing what to do with them. Whether it’s using a personalized calendar link, adding your approved leaves to your personal calendar, or syncing all leave activity with Vacation Tracker, we’ve got you covered when it comes to calendar integration. Learn more here. 

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets

Get notified 

It’s easy to keep track of who’s taking time off and when with Vacation Tracker’s tailored notifications. You can set up daily or weekly notifications and tailor them to the entire organization, to a specific department, or to a location.

A Handy Guide To Using a PTO Tracker In Google Sheets

All these features are just the tip of the iceberg in Vacation Tracker. Our users can also choose between our Core and Complete plans to supercharge their leave management efforts and completely eradicate any leave-tracking-related problem forever. Interested in learning more? Sign up for our free 7-day trial to experience the magic of Vacation Tracker! No credit card is required.

This is my company logo
Easy PTO tracking, right at your fingertips.

Automate leave policies, improve visibility and plan better

No credit card required. Instant set-up.

Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

Understanding Substitute Approvers in Vacation Tracker

Understanding Substitute Approvers in Vacation Tracker

Read more
Q1 2024 Product Updates

Q1 2024 Product Updates

Read more
How Vacation Tracker Compliments Your HR Software

How Vacation Tracker Compliments Your HR Software

Read more

Do you want to simplify PTO tracking?

Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn how Vacation Tracker can help you.

Request a demo