Using Hyperlinks in Dialogs and Sidebars to open a URL in a new Tab with Google Apps Script

If you’ve landed on this page you’re probably wondering why your hyperlinks are not working in your Google Workspace dialogue (dialog for my U.S. friends) box or sidebar.

This affects all locations where you can build a sidebar or dialogue with Google Apps Scripts, Sheets, Docs, Slides and Forms.

You might even hit F12 in your browser to inspect the code and found this dreaded error:

Unsafe attempt to initiate navigation for frame with origin ‘’ from frame with URL ‘https://n-yyi3lctp…<<fileID>>…’. The frame attempting navigation of the top-level window is sandboxed, but the flag of ‘allow-top-navigation’ or ‘allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation’ is not set.

linking from a Google Workspace sidebar or dialog error Unsafe attempt to initiate navigation for frame

Why your Links aren’t working in your Google Workspace Dialogs and Sidebars

So what’s going on?

Dialogues and sidebars in Google Workspace are set in iframes. Essentially, this is a nested webpage on your main page. Take a look at the examples, below. I’m in Chrome here and I have selected the Developer Tools Element Selector (Ctrl + Shift + C for PC) and clicked on the Sidebar and Dialogue box respectively.

For the Sidebar.

Google Workspace Sidebars are in iframes

And for the dialogue box.

Google Workspace Dialogs are in iframes

When you create a simple HTML hyperlink in your anchor tag like this:

<a href="">Website</a>
You are asking the iframe to open a URL in its parent window, your Sheet, Doc, Slide or Form, and browsers generally don’t like to let you do this.

The Solution

The solution is really easy. Simply add target="_blank" to your anchor element:

<a href="" target="_blank">Website</a>
The target ‘_blank’  attribute will generally open the link in a new tab for most browsers. Note that a user may change their settings to open in a new window instead of a new tab.
Target ‘_blank’ implicitly adds the rel="noopener" behaviour on most browsers to prevent the destination link from tampering with the original source.

The video

Example Implementation

If you want to see an example implementation you can get your own copy of the sample Sheet with bound Apps Script from the link below:
Easter eggs, a bonus Google Sheet formula for linking images in a cell and a fun way to call object methods from a Ui method are all in the example sheet.
Once you made a copy of the Sheet, click on the ‘More’ custom menu item and select from the Sidebar or Dialogue box implementation to see it in action. You will have to Authorise the scopes the first time though.
To look at the code, go to Extensions > Apps Script.
Have fun!

If you have found the tutorial helpful, why not shout me a coffee ☕? I'd really appreciate it.

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Google Apps Script: Google Standard Color Palette Picker for Sidebar and Dialog Boxes in Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Slides (Updated Feb 2022)

Google Apps Script: Dev Tools, Color Picker, Side Bar, Custom Prompt, HtmlService, onOpen, Sidebar, Dialog Box

I wanted to update one of my free Google Add-on apps that works with colour. What I had is just the standard HTML color input element where the user selects from the palette and that hexadecimal colour code is returned to Google Apps Script to be used in the App. The problem is that it is really hard to get a good colour match between the palette and Google’s own colour range that is accessible from the fill or text colour buttons.

Take a look at the comparison between the HTML color input element and the Google Sheet background colour palette in the image below.

Color input vs google sheet palette colours

That’s not a user-friendly tool to match colours with the standard Google palette.

So in the back of my mind, I had always wanted to create a tool for a sidebar or dialogue box that would allow the user to easily access the standard colours or use the custom palette provided by the HTML color input.

After finding a bit of time in my recent summer break I came up with this.

Google Color array picker

And this is how it looks in action:

(Note: add-ons has been updated to Extensions)

Continue reading “Google Apps Script: Google Standard Color Palette Picker for Sidebar and Dialog Boxes in Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Slides (Updated Feb 2022)”

Google Apps Script – Disable Enable Submit Button in Sidebar

Google Apps Script, Javascript, Jquery, HTML

I was working on a Google Apps Script project lately in Google Sheets that set up parameters in a sidebar and then ran the process once the user clicked the “Submit” button. The problem was that the process was taking a while and that “Submit” Button was ripe to be clicked multiple times by the impatient user before the server-side code could even finish its operation.

To fix this I needed to disable the submit button once it had been clicked and then enable it again once the server-side process was complete. Here, I need to:

  1. Disable the button and get the data from the client-side Javascript inside my sidebar’s HTML file.
  2. Do something awesome with it server-side.
  3. Upon the completion of the server-side awesome, call back to the HTML file and enable the button again.

The Example

I have a very simple Google Sheets Side Bar with a “Submit” and “Cancel” button. When the “Submit” button is clicked it calls the function submittington (can he get any more creative? No. No he can’t).

This function then disables the “Submit” button sends a variable to the client-side and displays it stylishly in the sheet multiple times for the users viewing pleasure. After the function is executed, it calls back to the client-side submittington function and enables the button.

Behold!!! The example:

Disable Enable Button in Sidebar Google Apps Script

Continue reading “Google Apps Script – Disable Enable Submit Button in Sidebar”

How to Get Something from Google Sheets and Display it in the Sidebar in Google Apps Script (Updated January 2022)

Google Apps Script: SpreadsheetApp, getUI, HTMLservice, 

What if you want to get a value or a range from Google Sheets and show it in your sidebar using Google Apps Script?

First, you will need to get the value or range by using Google’s server-side script. Then you will have to display it client-side in your HTML document.

Documentation on getting the server-side and client-side talking nicely to each other is a little vague. Hopefully, this very basic tutorial will help clear things up.

In this tutorial, I will also be using Jquery.

Let’s get started.

Continue reading “How to Get Something from Google Sheets and Display it in the Sidebar in Google Apps Script (Updated January 2022)”

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