You have cleverly dug into Zapier’s formatting features and discovered that you can convert a string of characters into an accepted international phone number format. Great:

+1-555-555-5555

However, when you push that data into a column in a Google Sheet, you end up with something like:

-6664

Not ideal. What’s happening here is that the spreadsheet is doing what it was designed to do. It does the math on the data as if it were an equation, even if the column type is “Plain Text”. It would be really nice if spreadsheets would allow for a field type that just displayed the literal text, but it doesn’t, so we need to compensate.

The solution is fairly easy. Go into the Zap configuration where you select the phone number field. Then, add a single quote before the data field.

Google Sheets knows that if a cell’s text begins with a single quote that everything following is to be displayed as literal text. It’s even smart enough to know that if you copy the cell and paste it elsewhere, that the single quote isn’t included.

For the older rows already in the spreadsheet where the phone number isn’t showing up correctly, select the cell, and in the bar across the top add the single quote manually.