How to Hide a Row based on a Cell Value in Google Sheets with Filter or Google Apps Script.

Google Sheets, Google Apps Script

Sometimes, when you are working on a shared Google Sheet you might want to hide a row based on a cell value.

For example, perhaps we don’t want to see row information of orders that have been paid for. Take a look at my D&D miniatures wholesale orders sheet (image below). I know I don’t need to follow up the orders that have been paid, marked with a ‘Yes’ in column F, so I don’t want to see them on my sheet.

We want to hide the "Yes" - Google Sheets

We can hide these two ways:

  1. Create a filter.
  2. Google Apps Script onEdit() trigger.

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Google Apps Script – Copy and Paste Cells While Retaining Column Width in Google Sheets.

Google Apps Script

Have you ever copied and pasted something in Google Sheets only to be frustrated with the fact that it stubbornly refuses to paste the column widths? I mean, everything else is perfect, the formatting, the formulas the comments, they all were pasted across just fine. However, that dastardly column width just does not budge.

copied Google Sheet
When you want to copy and paste this…
Paste without column widths.
…but you get this.

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Google Apps Script – How to Alternate Colors in an Ordered List by Column Category. 

Google Apps Script and Google Sheets

Imagine that you have a Google Sheet that you have sorted by a certain column. You might be sorting by the surname of your sales team, class sections or regions. To make the sheet easier to read for your team, you want to alternate the background colors after each category in your sort column is complete.

The Example

I have the following list of numbers in column 1 and 2. I have sorted these numbers by my Grouping Column of planets in column 3. After each grouping, I have alternated the background color to make the transition easier to read.

Alternating color by section - Google Apps Script

The Code

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How to make multiple copies of a file with Python 3 and a file name list from an Excel sheet

Python 3, openPyXl, os,  shutil on Windows 10

The Problem

As an academic administrator, I have to prepare 70 empty grade report spreadsheets templates at the end of each academic quarter: one for each of my teachers. Each copy of the template sheet needs to be named with the teacher’s name and class number. Then the quarter, title and year is appended to the end. For example:

Stephen Hawking 404-23 Q3 Grades 2017.xlsx

The hard way would be copy and paste a file click the file and rename it, repeating the process 70 error-prone and mind wastingly dull times.  I could also get the teachers to rename the file, but…they are teachers, not administrators so…yeah…errors again.

Python 3 to the rescue:

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How to Check a User’s Home Directory for a Folder – Python 3

Python 3, OS, Example in Windows 10

If you are creating a program for a user where you want to store or use a file in the users home directory, it is not as easy as simply preparing a fixed file location like:

C:\Users\yagisanatode\

Because if another user on another computer tries to use your program they will start getting errors because their home directory might be something else like:

C:\Users\batman\

You can, however, get the users home directory by using Python’s os.path.expanduser method.

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How to Display an Entry in a Label – Tkinter Python 3

Python 3, Tkinter 8.6. GUI examples in Windows 10

Probably one of the most common things to do when using a Graphical User Interface (GUI) is to display something from an entry from the user.

Below is a simple example that allows the user to input text in a Tkinter Entry field and when they click “Enter” or use the <Return> or <Enter> button it will be displayed in a Tkinter Label.

The end result will look a little like this:

Display Entry in a Label in Tkinter with Python 3

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How to Center the Main Window on the Screen in Tkinter with Python 3

Python 3, Tkinter 8.6. GUI examples in Windows 10

When your first window loads in Tkinter it will generally appear slightly offset from the top left hand corner of the screen. This is a fairly counter intuitive location and most of the GUI driven programs that I run usually open at the center of the page or a little higher than center.

If you want a primer of window positioning, check out the following tutorial:

How Do I Change the Size and Position of the Main Window in Tkinter and Python 3

In Python 3, to put the main window in the center of the screen I use the following code:

Window Centered on the Screen in Tkinter with Python 3
Output in Windows 10

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How Do I Change the Size and Position of the Main Window in Tkinter and Python 3

Python 3, Tkinter 8.6. GUI examples in Windows 10

When you create your first window in Tkinter, you can set it’s starting size and position on the screen by using the geometry method.

When using this method, note that it only provides the window with the size and position when it is initialized. This means that the user can then change the size or the window and move it once it has first been put on the screen.

Initial Window Size

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How to Get Something from Google Sheets and Display it in the Sidebar in Google Apps Script

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 Googles 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.

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Google Apps Script – Iterating Through Ranges in Sheets the Right and Wrong Way

I was trying to rush out some Google Apps Script code to deal with a task on Google Sheets recently. Basically, I had to search through a heap of data and find certain values and do something too them.

My column was reaching across the page to something like Column BK and my rows were over 1000 deep. Running this code was taking forever!!!

My immediate instinct was:

What have I done wrong?

…and my instinct was right.

The Good and Bad Way to Search Through Code

So after looking at my code again, I discovered that for some reason I go it into my head that I should be searching each cell for the value I needed and then doing something with it.

Sounds logical right? It’s sorta what you are meant to do.

The problem is that I was calling the sever and asking for the range in each cell as I was looping through the entire document. This is super costly and inefficient in terms of time.

Google talks about this in their Google Apps Script Best Practice page under Batch Operations.

Also, if you do run a costly code like this, then you will get a little red light in your Script tool bar that represents your Execution Hints:

Google Apps Script Execution Hints

Clicking on Execution Hints and expanding the side bar with provide you with a far-too-deserving-polite dressing down about your slow and server costly code.

Method Range.getValue is heavily used

The Good

So instead of calling the server for each cell I need to get the full range of the data I am working on, search through it client-side to find what cells require modifying and then invoke the modifications.

Let’s look at a simple example:

Example

In this example I want to search through all the results over multiple quizzes and if there is a dash “-” or a zero “0” change the background accordingly.

Yeah! Yeah! I can do this with conditional formatting, but this is an example, damn it, Jim!!!

Below is a sample of the data I will use and here is the link.

Both Good and Bad examples have the same end result. The result should look like below:

First let’s set up the Google Apps Script code file by calling the user interface, sheet and range of data. (Lost? Create your first Apps Script)

Hopefully everything is self-explanatory here. We call the spreadsheet first and then look for the active sheet. Inside the active sheet we want the range of the data (rangeData) which will contain all the data in the range. We will use that data to get the last row and column number of the data. Finally we will call the server to get he range we want to work with (searchRange).

Once done, we will create our function, onOpen(). When it is called it will create a menu called Checker with the sub menu Bad Way and Good Way. This isn’t necessary, but it might be easier for you to physically test the difference in the slow method versus the fast (correct) one.

The Bad Way

As mentioned above in the Bad (slow) Way we call the server each time to look at what is in a cell.

As I loop across the columns and then the rows, I am using my search range to get the value of the cell in Line 25. This means I am contacting the server a total for 436 times. This significantly slows things down.

The Good Way

 

In the preferred approach I am taking the array that I created from searchRange.getValues() in Line 36  and searching through it before I make my calls to change the background when a dash or a zero occurs.

Why is this better?

I only make server call to collect the range data once. Then client-side (on my computer in this instance), I do all my searching before calling Google who collects all the changes in a cache until the loops are done before creating background colors all at once.

Super fast.

Speed comparison. 

Take a look at the speed differences over ten tests:

The Good Way is the clear winner. You can try it out for yourself if you have been playing along by going to <View><Execution Transcript> in the Script

Take Home

The take home from this is that, make as little calls to the server as possible. It significantly improves your speed.

The Full Code