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How to Automate Google Sheets

Google continues to make everyday life easier. The different apps such as Gmail, Docs, and sheets let one get their work done all from one place, with no hustle. If you’re looking to automate your Google Sheets, then you’ve come to the right page. This guide has all that you need to know about Google Sheets. There’s a lot one can gain from Google Sheets automation. Read on to get some of those insights.

What Is A Google Sheet?

A Google Sheet is a free web-based spreadsheet app that’s provided by Google within the Google Drive Service. Google Sheets are also available on the mobile app on Android, IOS, Windows, and BlackBerry. 

Google Sheets allows one to edit, organize, and analyze a wide range of data. It also allows for collaboration where multiple users can edit or format the same file in real-time. Any change made to a file can be tracked by reviewing the revision history. Some of Google Sheets’ key features are editing, exploring, offline editing, supported file formats, and integration with other Google products.

 Automating Google Sheets

There are several ways to automate Google Sheets; some require writing a code while others don’t. In this guide, we will focus on Google Sheets Macros and apps scripts. These are small programs one creates in Google sheets without writing a code. They record actions as you do them and automate repetitive actions. 

For example, if you use a specific format in your tables, you don’t have to re-do it every time. Macros record these formats and lets you apply them to your tables with the click of a button.

Macros help one save on time and get tons of work done. They also let you maintain accuracy and consistency as you key in your data. Additionally, they pave the way for one to explore Apps Script coding.

Automate Google Sheets by;

Step 1; Open Google Sheets

One start by opening a new Google sheet by typing a new sheet into their browsers to open a new sheet. Add any words or numbers into the first sell.

Step 2: Go to the menu section

In the menu section, tap on tools, and under tool, select Macros. Proceed by selecting ‘Record Macro.’

Step 3: Choose to reference style

There’re two choices here; Relative and Absolute references.

Relative References are used in formulae used in a different cell. They work based on where the cursor is during data recording. If one key in their data in cell A1 but re-run the Macro at C4, the Macro will record and apply that action in C4.

Absolute references apply specific actions when one is keying in new data in the exact range location.  Unlike Relative, if one selects A2:C4, the macros will always be used in those cells. 

Step 4; choose the formatting style

One can set the formatting style they want for their macros by making them bold, changing the color, etc.

Step 5; Save

 Once done with the formatting, referencing, and recoding the macros, click on SAVE. After that, proceed to name your Macro.

When running the recorded Macro for the first time, one has to permit it. This is for security purposes. Once you select the micro to use, click on continue.

Test if the Macro works as intended by selecting your intended Macro and adding some data to your sheets.

Once you get the result, you’re all set, and your Google Sheets is automated.

Step 6; Deleting Macros

If one no longer uses a recorded macro, they can remove it by clicking on the macros and selecting the remove option on the vertical dots.

Limitations of Google Sheets Macros

Since macros are found within Google Sheets, they can’t be used outside of it. They’re also not available on G Suite tools such as Slides.

Google Apps Script

Google Apps Scripts are another way to automate Google Sheets. Under this, there’re two main types; 

Bond scripts

Standalone scripts

Bond scripts are extensions of a file found on a Google app. They’re set to perform specific actions on the selected file.

Standalone scripts are the advanced version of macros intended to perform a range of functions. They’re not part of any Google app hence the name standalone. 

In Google Drive, these scripts appear alongside other files where each file contains JavaScript for a particular action. 

With Google, one can create these scripts for others to use. There’re numerous scripts found on the Add-ons menu in Docs that are converted into extensions. One can translate documents, add formulas, format tables and do much more with these scripts.

Step 1; Building the First Script

To build the first script, one can do this by typing sheets.google.com on their browser. Then under the Tools section, click on the Script Editor option.

This will open a blank script file. With this method, one can easily create a bond and standalone scripts while still using their Google Apps. It’s recommended to check out some google apps script tutorials to understand how the concept works.

Since one has opened a new sheet and the script editor, they’ll build bound scripts. As such, when it runs, it only affects a chosen file.

For standalone scripts, one visits script.google.com directly. 

Step 2; Naming the Script

In the case of bond scripts, the actions taken create a new untitled project. One can rename this to ‘Create Headers.’ After that, one can proceed to write the code.  These Google Apps Scripts have numerous JavaScripts with block codes engineered to perform a specific task. As such, not much is required as one can copy and use these scripts. 

Exploring the Power of Google Apps

MONTREAL, CANADA – APRIL 26, 2019: Google Docs logo and app on a home page. Google is an American multinational technology company that specializes on Internet services and products.

Keying in value on Google Sheets isn’t a difficult task. A variation would only arise if you used or create multiple sheets. One can read more about google apps script to learn what other functions they can accomplish with scripts.

What more one can do with Google Apps Scripts?

One can generate monthly reports on Gmail activities such as emails sent and received. 

One can also snooze emails from the inbox until a specified time. When the time comes, the emails will appear in the primary section.

One can monitor Google Docs and received alerts when they arise.

All the possibilities aren’t evident when one is starting. However, when the concept becomes familiar, new opportunities and capabilities will be present.

Why One Should Move To Google Sheets?

Collaboration

The most important benefit of google sheets is the ability to collaborate in a completely new way. The other alternative would be to use a master file that would be kept on a shared network folder, but google sheets have proven to work better. 

There are various modes of collaborating ranging from asynchronous to real-time simultaneous collaborative editing. Asynchronous is a situation where one works independently at different times in the same file. 

With asynchronous editing, one can use the comment feature to alert and assign people tasks, and in turn, they can mark those tasks as completed. 

Raw spreadsheet work is a vital aspect of the finance department. Finance officers use charts and presentations to present their financial information. Presentations are like Microsoft PowerPoint, but they are made in google slides. The link between slides and sheets works very well to ensure that tables and charts in your presentation are up to date by pressing the update button, which pulls up all the latest data of the underlying calculations. 

Linking Between Sheets In Different Files

Google sheets work by way of cloud productivity that makes link functionality more elegant. With google sheets, it’s actually possible to reference other workbooks in excel, but that tends to break once files are transferred from their original folders to other folder locations. The function element in the Google Sheets allows one to link seamlessly to other sheets files. And whether the file is moved or renamed, the stored information will always be linked. 

Work With Plugs

Most people still use PowerPoint and Excel because PowerPoint and Excel have many plugins which are absent in Google Sheet. Nevertheless, Google Sheets have a wide functionality known as Add-ons, which plays a similar role to the plugins in PowerPoint and excel. 

 Takeaway

Once one learns how to automate google sheets, they can get work done fast and conveniently. Automation allows one to focus on more productive actions to grow their business.  They can also align all their Google apps with automated Google sheets.

Google sheets are one of the most vital tools in the finance profession and the business world at large. They are the most useful instruments in the modern entrepreneurship world. They are also helpful in schools, hospitals, churches, and many other sectors, both private and public.

Creating bond or standalone scripts is more accessible as there’re JavaScripts in Google drive. 

Now that you’ve learned how to automate Google Sheets and their benefits, it’s time to take your organization to another level. Don’t be left behind as the world is moving digitally. 

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Anurag

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