Google Apps Script: Getting Selected Google Sheets Columns and Reducing them to a Unique Value Based on a Key Column

Google Apps Script, Google Sheets, getRangeList, 3D arrays

In a number of situations in my day-to-day work, I need to grab data from only Selected Columns in Google Sheets. Then using a selected column as a key, remove any duplicates in a similar way that a pivot table does.

I might want to use this information as part of a report or grab emails from a sheet and send custom emails to clients or staff.

I don’t always need all the data in each row, but I may need a lot of it. The two standard approaches would be to:

  1. Get all the data and then in Google Apps Script just select the relevant columns you need.
  2. Iterate through a list of columns you want to get ranges of and select each range individually making calls to your Google Sheet in each turn.

This might be useful for small data sets and, to be perfectly honest, I have used both these approaches in the past, but recently I stumbled across a method in the Google Apps Script Sheet Class called:


Now I think that the awesome gods of GAS may not have purposed this method with the thought in mind that it would be used for collecting range values. I kinda get the impression that it was more designed for applying formatting to the selected column ranges.

However, what I have found is that it seems to be pretty fast at collecting all the ranges and then, on the Google Apps Script end, getting their values.

The resulting values of using getRangeList() can be then pushed into a 3D array of columns with row values.

For those of you in a hurry, the code is below. We will move on to an example and explanation after. Feel free to reference what you need and discard the rest.

The Code

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Google Apps Script: Maintain Row Heights When Copying and Pasting Data in Google Sheets

Google Apps Script: getRowHeight, setRowHeight

Copying and pasting data while maintaining row heights and widths can be a frustrating business in Google Apps Script. You see, there is a difference in how to set column width and set row heights.

Let’s say we have already copied our data over with something like:


Google Apps Script provides us with a great set of enumerators for copying and pasting, the CopyPasteType.

To ensure that we maintain the same column width in our destination that was copied from our source, we need to run another copyTo() method of our sourceDataRange with the CopyPasteType.PASTE_COLUMN_WIDTHS. So all together it might look a little like this:

Okay, okay, a little extra work, but pretty straight forward. We get our column width in the end.

Now by this stage, you might be thinking, Yagi, why are you even blogging about this. Seems pretty straight forward, ya just gotta do the same with heights!

Nope. This is the point where we just have to remind ourselves that we love Google Apps Script for her flaws and all. Right? Right?!

For, I am sure, a very logical reason for the developers of Google Apps Script, copying and pasting the width has to be done row-by-row.

Here’s how you would do it the long way.

Scroll down to The Shortcut if you just want to copy and paste the functions into your code.

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Google Apps Script: How to Connect a Button to a Function in Google Sheets

Google Apps Script: UI, Google Sheets

Ever wanted to use a button in Google Sheets to execute a function in Google Apps Script? Well, guess what? The process is super easy.

  1. Write your function in Google Apps Script editor.
  2. Create an image or upload an image and add it to your Google Sheet.
  3. Right-click the image, select the ellipse and Assign script.
  4. Type in your function name.
  5. Click the button to test. You should be up and running.

The Example

Let’s look at a super easy example of connecting a button to a function.

Imagine we want to have a button that, when clicked, reads the selected cell and displays it as an alert.

We’ll start with the code first.

The Code

Line 1, sets the function, button(). Our first variable, ui, gets the User Interface class (getUi()). The second variable, cell, then calls the SpreadsheetApp service again all for the value of the currently selected cell.

Now that our variables are set, we call the ui class and send an alert on our screen. Inside the alert (Line 5) we add some text plus our cell value.

When the function is run, you will need to accept permissions for the first time. Then, you will see that whatever cell you clicked, the function will read that cell value and display it as an alert on your screen.

With the function complete, we’ll move over to create the button.

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Google Apps Script – When I add a value to a cell in a selected column, I want it to move to another Google Sheet

Google Apps Script: onEdit, Google Sheets

Sometimes you want to be able to automatically move a row from one sheet to another based on the value of a certain cell.

The Example

One of the first things that come to mind, and I am sure it does for you dear reader, is when I took advantage of the Great Chicken Transformation back in, oh, 2019, I believe.

Folk kept turning into chickens, while other folk were wanting eggs. It just so happened that I had the farm to make it all happen.

First, though, I needed to keep a tab of every person I knew and if they turned into a chicken. If they did, then they were destined for the pen.

…Note to self: it may be late at night, but dam Yagi, your analogies are tight!

Google Sheets and Google Apps Script to the rescue.

So first off I set up a sheet named: Plague. Here I put all the people I knew, so I could watch em good and propper.

Next, I set up a sheet named Farm. These are for the people who turned into chickens. No harm in profiting from a few newly formed egg layers, right?

Whenever a new transformation occurs, I find the person on the Plague sheet and then select “Yes”  to say that they have turned into a chicken and will now be spending their days on the farm. Upon editing (onEdit) this cell to “Yes”, the row is copied and pasted to the Farm sheet.

Just like this:

move to another sheet onEdit Google Apps Script

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Google Apps Script – Create Custom Unique IDs in Google Sheets

Google Apps Script, Google Sheet

Sometimes something on the surface that sounds downright easy turns out to be quite a complex procedure. My recent experience in creating a Custom Unique ID in Google Sheets using Google Apps Script was a case in point.

In a previous version, I created a simple unique ID generator by taking advantage of JavaScript’s Date object.  It was a mere 41 lines of code. You can take a look at it here:

Google Apps Script – Adding a Unique ID in a Cell on Edit of an Adjacent Cell Using Time

Then curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know how to create a custom ID generator. My requirements were simple:

  • It needs to be able to take any size number format. For example, from 1003 to 100000000000003.
  • It needs to handle leading zeroes. For example 0000653.
  • It needs to be able to take optional leading and trailing letters. For example, AR1340203, 3000484030BSTN, ENT900848933IRE.
  • It needs to generate a unique ID based on the pattern provided by at least one ID in the ID Column of the Sheet.
  • It needs to be able to look through all the unsorted IDs in the ID column and find the next largest number that will become the new ID.
  • It needs to be able to create IDs on multiple sheets.
  • It needs to be customisable and easily reusable in other projects.

For this project, the code would not handle the following:

  • It won’t handle letters between numbers. For example, ERC1299374ER3900TT.
  • It won’t handle non-alphanumeric characters. For example, 13948%$&)
  • ID’s must be of the same length and the newly created ID must have the same length of characters as the previous ones. For example, A99C >>  A100C.

The Results

After an afternoon tinkering, the results turned out pretty good. Take a look at the demo below:

Custom Unique ID Google Sheets

The  Code

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Google Apps Script – Adding a Unique ID in a Cell on Edit of an Adjacent Cell Using Time

Google Apps Script, onEdit, Date, Google Sheets

Here is the scenario. You have a small business and you want to store your customers, products and sales information on separate Google sheets.

You’re probably going to have someone from your staff enter new customers, products are sales transactions.

We know if we get them to enter unique ID’s in manually that mistakes are going to get made. So how about we automate this process with unique ID’s based on date-timestamps.

uniqueID DateTimestamp Google Sheets

Why use a date-timestamp to create a unique ID?

Every year is unique. Every day, hour, minute, second and millisecond of that year creates a unique number. This mean that a new unique id will be create every millisecond for us.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Yagi! Just hold it one damn minute! You could  have multiple results each millisecond that would each be the same number!

Well, true if we were running a loop generating and publishnig our date-timestamp, we could have multiple numbers. However, we are generating this unique ID as an onEdit function when the user adds some information in Google Sheets to a cell and an adjacent cell  returns our unique number.

The user’s input and then the calls to and from the server to the Google Sheet will be sufficiently slow enough not to have a number generated multiple times a millisecond, so we are safe there.

We have the main idea of what we are planning, let’s move onto the example.

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