Google Apps Script – How to make a Custom Function to Use in Google Sheets

Google Apps Script: Custom Functions, Google Sheets

Google Sheets has a vast library of functions (or formulas) you can use to get your Spreadsheet tasks done. However, there are some instances when you want a specific function that is not available in Google Sheets or wants to make a simplified version of some combined function to make life easier for your users. Fortunately, Google has your back with Google Apps Script.

Before we start, Google does a pretty great job explaining the basics of creating a custom function. However, when it comes to explaining how to add all that information that goes into a function when you type it into Sheets it is a bit vague.

Custom Function Decorators Google Apps Script

Let’s look at the creation process through a recent example I created:

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Google Sheets – Random Alphabetic, Random Alphanumeric and Random Alphanumeric + Character Custom Functions (Updated January 2022)

Google Sheets, Google Apps Script

I was working on a Spreadsheet in Google Sheets a few days ago and needed to generate some random codes for my users. To do this, I just used the RANDBETWEEN(start val, end val) function built into Google Sheets.

It goes a little like this. If I want to build a 5 digit random number I would:

RANDBETWEEN Google Sheets

But this got me wondering. Is there a function for random Alphabetic strings or Alphanumeric strings or Alphanumeric with Character strings. The answer?

via GIPHY

 

No…

So instead I decided to make a custom function with Google Apps Script to do this job for me…

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Google Apps Script – How to Find the Folder ID of a Non-Unique Folder Using File Path Names

Google Apps Script – DriveApp

sighisoara Google Apps Script Tutorial
This tutorial comes from a comfy spot in the centre of Sighisoara.

Well, that title is such a mouthful. So I think it needs some explaining…

I’ve recently come across a task that requires me to access a particular folder in a directory based on the information in a Google Sheet. This means:

  1. I don’t have the folder or the sub-folder ID.
  2. I can get the directory path information from information supplied in a Google Sheet.

Basically what I needed to do was create a Report maker and store it in the following directory path:

My Drive(root) >> Year >>  Quarter >> Unit+ "Report"

For example:

MyDrive >> 2018 >> Q4  >> Unit 4 Report

Boring!!!! Take me to the code!!!

The Problem

Unfortunately, I could not simply change the last folder name from say, Unit 4 Report to Q4 Unit 4 Report 2018 so it is easily searchable and unique. The other problem is that there are other Unit 4 Reports in other years and quarters so I did not want to accidentally call them instead of the exact one I wanted.

So, what to do..?

The Solution

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Google Apps Script – How to Create Folders in Directories with DriveApp

Google Apps Script – DriveApp

Well, it’s a rainy day here travelling in Romania, so time for a post.

coding in Romania
Relaxing in a cafe in Cluj Napoca, Romania on a Rainy. I love this country!!!

When creating a Google Apps Script’s I often find I am creating new folders and files in specific locations on Google Drive after, say, generating a report or something.

A Note on Folders in Google Drive

All files and folders in Google Drive are allocated a unique key that identifies them.

Google Drive Folder ID

The file location and all the data about the file are mapped to this ID. This means you can have as many folders or files with the same name even in the same directory without a duplicate error being thrown because they all have their own unique ID for their URL.

Getting Started

More often than not, I know the parent folder that I want to put my subfolders in. This means I can get the parent folder’s ID and use that as my starting point to add subfolders. To do this we use the DriveApp class.

Below are three useful functions for creating folders.

  • Simple – Create a folder under the Parent folder ID – Duplicates are not checked and there can be multiple subfolders with the same name but all have their own unique id.
  • Medium – Create a folder only if that folder name does not exist in the Parent folder – No folder is created if the folder already exists.
  • Hard-ish – Create a folder. If the name exists, add a counter to the name – If the file already exists then add a counter to the end of the file name.

All the functions will take two arguments: folderID – the unique id of the parent folder and folderName – the name you want to call your new folder.

The start() function will simply grab the two variables for the folderID and folderName and run the folder creation function. This is to simulate using the functions in your code.

Feel free to read what you need. I try and write these for a wide range of coding skill in mind.

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Google Apps Script – Getting Input Data From a Dialog Box in Google Sheets (Updated January 2022)

Google Apps Script, Jquery, Javascript, HTML

One of the weekly tasks in my day job as an academic administrator is to look at a number of ‘modules’ or courses that our college is running and complete some analysis and crosschecking. Each week the students complete a ‘unit’. However, during some quarters, not all modules are doing the same unit. Before I can run my code I need to determine what modules are running and what units we are up to for me to run my automated code.

To do this I created a dialogue box when the code is run from the add-on bar. In a few clicks, I can then choose the relevant modules and units and then run the selected code.

Let’s take a look at what the dialogue box looks like:

Dialog Form in Google Apps Script

Upon “Submit”, the dialogue box returns an array of objects of checked values from the radio buttons that can be used in the server-side Google Apps Script.

In this tutorial we will look at the following :

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