Creating Unique Ranges from 2D Arrays in Google Apps Script

Google Apps Script, Google Sheets, Javascript 

If you have ever done any work in Google Sheets you might have come across the incredibly useful UNIQUE function. This function can take a single row or multiple rows and generate a list of unique cell values.

UNIQUE demo Google Sheets

Sometime you might have a use case where you need to replicate the UNIQUE functionality in Google Apps Script. Maybe you are drawing in data from another source like an API, BigQuery or a database, or presenting your unique data in another format.

Whatever the case, knowing how to to create a unique array from a 1-dimensional array or a 2-dimensional array is an important part of your toolkit as a coding goat 🐐. This tutorial will look at how to create this with modern Javascript that is incorporated into the Google Apps Script language. And of course, we’ll focus our tutorial more on a Google Apps Script because that’s kinda our thing.

We’ll start off with a very basic example of creating a unique array from a 1-dimensional array in our code:

UNIQUE Array generated from a 1d array in GAS

…and then build ourselves up to a final example by grabbing multi-column range of Google Sheet data from which we create a unique list and then display the total sum corresponding to each unique cell value in each of our associated unique columns. Something like this:

UNIQUE 2-Array of multiple columns with result set in GAS
Click to Expand!

As we go through our examples I’ll display the runtime the entire code. Runtime is not a perfect indicator of the performance of the script there are other factors that will influence the runtime, but it will do for our purposes. I think you will be surprised by how fast these scripts run.

Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at the sample data…

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Google Apps Script: How to Add and Remove Editors to a Google Sheet based on Sheet Data

Google Apps Script, Google Sheets, Javascript

Have you ever wanted to have a Google Sheet available for only those users who need to edit and then once they are done, take their edit permissions away to maintain the integrity of the sheet?

I know that I have come across these conditions a number of times in the past. Maybe you have a task list that you want to send your team each time a task is allocated to them. Once they let you know that they are done, by say, entering a set of values or checking a task complete box on the row they need to work on, you want to be able to remove their edit permissions from your sheet.

In this post, we have created a Google Apps Script that will add and remove editors to a Google Sheet based on the spreadsheet’s data. More specifically, this script will:

  • Grab the users name and email in each row along with whether or not they have complete the task or if the Google Sheet has been shared and sent to the user.
  • Share the assigned user to the Google Sheet.
  • Send an email to the user. A separate Google Sheet tab is added to the sheet so an administrator can add their custom email message.
  • Automatically check a reference column of checkboxes indicating that the assigned user has been shared as an editor on the Google Sheet and an email has been sent to them.
  • Once the task has been complete the user check the “Edit Complete” checkbox in their assigned row.
  • Either automatically each day or when the Google Sheets administrator clicks the button,  each user who has completed all assigned tasks is removed from having edit permissions to the Google Sheet.

The best way to probably understand this script is through an example…

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Google Apps Script: 3 Google Sheets Custom Functions to Allocate Items from a Column and Spread Them Out into a New Column N Times

Google Apps Script, Google Sheets, Javascript: Spread operator, fill, new Array, forEach, isArray, flat, every, slice, length, typeOf

Imagine if you have a set of data, say, Cat, Dog, Goat and you want to create a new column where each item is repeated 3 times.

Spread by number google sheets

Essentially what we are doing here is spreading out our original list of numbers in multiples of 3.

What if we wanted to specify how many times each item will be spread out into our new column? For example, maybe we want cat to repeat 2 times, dog to repeat 4 times and goat to repeat 3 times. Something like this:

Spread by value google sheets

Finally, what if we want to evenly assign our list of cat, dog and goat to another list? Imagine we have a bunch of people wanting to pet an animal. We need to evenly assign our animals to the list of people.

Spread by range google sheets

There is no real easy approach to do these things with the standard Google Sheets Formulas (Known as Functions in Google Sheets). Fortunately, we can create custom functions with Google Apps Script to do the job.

In this post, I will go over the 3 custom functions that I created to solve these three problems. I’ll then provide a quick-use guide if you just want to dive in and get started using them. Finally, I go over some of the interesting parts of the Google Apps Script code for those of you who wish to learn more about creating your own custom functions.

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Google Apps Script: Get Google Doc Text Based on Reference Characters

Google Apps Script: Google Docs, Document App. Javascript: Spread syntax, Set, IndexOf, Substring

So here is the scenario, imagine you have a big Google Doc. You want to get a list of information from the document that you have noticed are between two sets of characters. Maybe something like this:

  1. You want to grab all the quoted text in a story and you know that the quoted test is between two sets of quotation marks: “ ”.
  2. You want to grab citations or asides inside different braces, for example, [],{} or ().
  3. You are making a mail merger and you want to grab a specific list of words that the user put in that is to be substituted based on special character identifiers, for example, {{name}}, {{phone}}.
  4. You want to grab all the websites in a Google doc and you know they start will start with https:// and with .gov .

This tutorial provides a simple how-to do this.  Perhaps the code is exactly what you need for your project. We’ve set it up in a way that is easy to implement in your own project.

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