How To Build An Automated ConvertKit Report In Google Sheets Using Apps Script

In this post, you’ll learn how to build an automated ConvertKit Report tool in Google Sheets.

Every morning I have this report waiting for me in my inbox:

Automated Daily Dashboard Email

Opening the PDF attachment shows me the key growth metrics for my email list:

ConvertKit Email List Analysis Report

There’s also a link in the email to go direct to the Google Sheet, in case I want to ever make changes.

In this post you’ll see how to:

  • Set up this template for yourself
  • Connect to the ConvertKit API with Apps Script
  • Retrieve list data into your Sheet
  • Make projections about list growth
  • Create a report that is emailed to you daily

Continue reading How To Build An Automated ConvertKit Report In Google Sheets Using Apps Script

Repeatable Task: To Script Or Not To Script, That Is The Question


This post was inspired by a question from a reader, who recently asked:

“When should I go to the trouble of writing a script versus doing the quick and easy approach?”

This is absolutely a valid question that you should ask before diving into your code editor.

Let’s create a framework for answering this question.

Question 1: Is It A Repeatable Task?

If you’re debating whether to create a script to automate a task, or simply do the task manually, the crucial question to ask is:

1) Is it a repeatable task?

If you answer YES, then ask yourself: 

2) Do I have time right now to write a script or record a macro?

If you answer YES to this, then ask yourself: 

3) Do I know how to do it?

If you answer YES, then go for it!

If you answer NO to any of those questions, it’s probably going to be quicker and easier to do it the usual (manual) way.

But I encourage you to learn a little Apps Script on the side, so you can answer YES next time!

Here’s a flow chart to help you:


Question 2: How Long Does It Take?

The next crucial question to ask is: how long does it take to do the task?

The time it takes to do the task manually is how much time you’ll save each time if you can simply click a button to run a script.

So, if the answer is “the task takes lots of time”, then you should definitely consider automation.

Over the long run, it’s beneficial to turn repeatable tasks into automated scripts so the task can be done with a few button clicks.

Upfront Cost

Of course, there’s an upfront cost in the additional time it takes to record a macro or write a script. It will take longer than just doing the task manually.

Consider the following chart showing the time taken for a particular task:


The first time – when you write the script to do a task automatically – takes longer than doing it manually, but subsequent tasks are much, much quicker.

Eventually, the cumulative time doing the task manually will far surpass the cumulative time of using the script (assuming it doesn’t require any major updates).

Once the macro or script has been created, it takes minimal time (and effort) to perform future tasks, so the cumulative time effectively flat lines.

However, that manual process always takes about the same amount of time, so the cumulative time keeps increasing in a linear fashion…up, up, and up.

Repeatable Task versus Manual process

There’s an inflection point where the script starts saving you time. And it’s probably sooner than you think.

Consider a 30-minute repeatable task that you automate. Assuming it takes you 2 hours to create the script the first time, that’s only 4 repetitions until you “break-even” on time.

XKCD has a helpful matrix to show you how much time you should allow to automate a task:

Automation Matrix

Question 3: How Complex Is The Repeatable Task?

Don’t underestimate the time it takes to automate a task.

Sometimes automation looks more like this:

Automation gone wrong
(Source XKCD)

And you find yourself in this situation:

The best way to avoid this is to automate tasks that take a long time but are relatively simple.

For example, a set of data transformations is a good contender. An approvals pipeline involving 3 different people is not a good contender because the process is likely to be complex.

Benefits Of Automating A Repeatable Task

Saving Time

Years ago, I faced a dilemma:

Each month the client would send me their data. It took me a couple of hours to wrangle that data into the correct format, with formulas and pivot tables, so I could use it to update the dashboard.

Realizing this was a tedious and repeatable task, I wrote a script to automate the data transformation steps.

Now I click a button and it automatically does the task.

This frees me up to work on higher-value tasks, like thinking strategically about what insights the data shows or how to improve the model.

Avoiding Mistakes

When you keep doing a repeatable task manually, you stop learning. When you stop learning, you stop being engaged with the work.

After the 3rd or 4th repeat, you’re running on autopilot. You lose focus, get distracted, and make mistakes.

A script never gets bored, distracted, or tired!

Radio Buttons in Google Sheets: Only One Checkbox Checked

In this article, we’ll see how to make checkboxes in Google Sheets behave like radio buttons. In other words, we’ll ensure that only one can be checked at a time.

Since it’s impossible to create true radio buttons with checkboxes and formulas alone (although we can mimic radio button behavior with formulas), we use Apps Script to uncheck boxes as required.

Here are the radio buttons in Google Sheets in action:

Radio Button In Google Sheets

You can see that when I check a new checkbox, any other checkboxes on that row are unchecked.

It takes a split second: you can see the row turns orange when the checked checkbox count is briefly 2, but this is simply the script working in the background.

Let’s see how to implement this with Apps Script.

Continue reading Radio Buttons in Google Sheets: Only One Checkbox Checked

Google Apps Script: A Beginner’s Guide

What is Google Apps Script?

Google Apps Script is a cloud-based scripting language for extending the functionality of Google Apps and building lightweight cloud-based applications.

It means you write small programs with Apps Script to extend the standard features of Google Workspace Apps. It’s great for filling in the gaps in your workflows.

With Apps Script, you can do cool stuff like automating repeatable tasks, creating documents, emailing people automatically and connecting your Google Sheets to other services you use.

Writing your first Google Script

In this Google Sheets script tutorial, we’re going to write a script that is bound to our Google Sheet. This is called a container-bound script.

(If you’re looking for more advanced examples and tutorials, check out the full list of Apps Script articles on my homepage.)

Hello World in Google Apps Script

Let’s write our first, extremely basic program, the classic “Hello world” program beloved of computer teaching departments the world over.

Begin by creating a new Google Sheet.

Then click the menu: Extensions > Apps Script

This will open a new tab in your browser, which is the Google Apps Script editor window:

Google Apps Script Editor

By default, it’ll open with a single Google Script file ( and a default code block, myFunction():

function myFunction() {

In the code window, between the curly braces after the function myFunction() syntax, write the following line of code so you have this in your code window:

function myFunction() {
  Browser.msgBox("Hello World!");

Your code window should now look like this:

Hello World Apps Script

Google Apps Script Authorization

Google Scripts have robust security protections to reduce risk from unverified apps, so we go through the authorization workflow when we first authorize our own apps.

When you hit the run button for the first time, you will be prompted to authorize the app to run:

Google Apps Script Authorization

Clicking Review Permissions pops up another window in turn, showing what permissions your app needs to run. In this instance the app wants to view and manage your spreadsheets in Google Drive, so click Allow (otherwise your script won’t be able to interact with your spreadsheet or do anything):

Google Apps Script Access

❗️When your first run your apps script, you may see the “app isn’t verified” screen and warnings about whether you want to continue.

In our case, since we are the creator of the app, we know it’s safe so we do want to continue. Furthermore, the apps script projects in this post are not intended to be published publicly for other users, so we don’t need to submit it to Google for review (although if you want to do that, here’s more information).

Click the “Advanced” button in the bottom left of the review permissions pop-up, and then click the “Go to Starter Script Code (unsafe)” at the bottom of the next screen to continue. Then type in the words “Continue” on the next screen, click Next, and finally review the permissions and click “ALLOW”, as shown in this image (showing a different script in the old editor):

More information can be found in this detailed blog post from Google Developer Expert Martin Hawksey.

Running a function in Apps Script

Once you’ve authorized the Google App script, the function will run (or execute).

If anything goes wrong with your code, this is the stage when you’d see a warning message (instead of the yellow message, you’ll get a red box with an error message in it).

Return to your Google Sheet and you should see the output of your program, a message box popup with the classic “Hello world!” message:

Message Box Google Sheets

Click on Ok to dismiss.

Great job! You’ve now written your first apps script program.

Rename functions in Google Apps Script

We should rename our function to something more meaningful.

At present, it’s called myFunction which is the default, generic name generated by Google. Every time I want to call this function (i.e. run it to do something) I would write myFunction(). This isn’t very descriptive, so let’s rename it to helloWorld(), which gives us some context.

So change your code in line 1 from this:

function myFunction() {
  Browser.msgBox("Hello World!");

to this:

function helloWorld() {
  Browser.msgBox("Hello World!");

Note, it’s convention in Apps Script to use the CamelCase naming convention, starting with a lowercase letter. Hence, we name our function helloWorld, with a lowercase h at the start of hello and an uppercase W at the start of World.

Adding a custom menu in Google Apps Script

In its current form, our program is pretty useless for many reasons, not least because we can only run it from the script editor window and not from our spreadsheet.

Let’s fix that by adding a custom menu to the menu bar of our spreadsheet so a user can run the script within the spreadsheet without needing to open up the editor window.

This is actually surprisingly easy to do, requiring only a few lines of code. Add the following 6 lines of code into the editor window, above the helloWorld() function we created above, as shown here:

function onOpen() {
  const ui = SpreadsheetApp.getUi();
  ui.createMenu('My Custom Menu')
      .addItem('Say Hello', 'helloWorld')

function helloWorld() {
  Browser.msgBox("Hello World!");

If you look back at your spreadsheet tab in the browser now, nothing will have changed. You won’t have the custom menu there yet. We need to re-open our spreadsheet (refresh it) or run our onOpen() script first, for the menu to show up.

To run onOpen() from the editor window, first select then run the onOpen function as shown in this image:

Google Apps Script Function Menu

Now, when you return to your spreadsheet you’ll see a new menu on the right side of the Help option, called My Custom Menu. Click on it and it’ll open up to show a choice to run your Hello World program:

Custom menu

Run functions from buttons in Google Sheets

An alternative way to run Google Scripts from your Sheets is to bind the function to a button in your Sheet.

For example, here’s an invoice template Sheet with a RESET button to clear out the contents:

Button with apps script in google sheets

For more information on how to do this, have a look at this post: Add A Google Sheets Button To Run Scripts

Google Apps Script Examples

Macros in Google Sheets

Another great way to get started with Google Scripts is by using Macros. Macros are small programs in your Google Sheets that you record so that you can re-use them (for example applying standard formatting to a table). They use Apps Script under the hood so it’s a great way to get started.

Read more: The Complete Guide to Simple Automation using Google Sheets Macros

Custom function using Google Apps Script

Let’s create a custom function with Apps Script, and also demonstrate the use of the Maps Service. We’ll be creating a small custom function that calculates the driving distance between two points, based on Google Maps Service driving estimates.

The goal is to be able to have two place-names in our spreadsheet, and type the new function in a new cell to get the distance, as follows:

GAS custom function for maps

The solution should be:

GAS custom map function output

Copy the following code into the Apps Script editor window and save. First time, you’ll need to run the script once from the editor window and click “Allow” to ensure the script can interact with your spreadsheet.

function distanceBetweenPoints(start_point, end_point) {
  // get the directions
  const directions = Maps.newDirectionFinder()
  // get the first route and return the distance
  const route = directions.routes[0];
  const distance = route.legs[0].distance.text;
  return distance;

Saving data with Google Apps Script

Let’s take a look at another simple use case for this Google Sheets Apps Script tutorial.

Suppose I want to save copy of some data at periodic intervals, like so:

save data in google sheet

In this script, I’ve created a custom menu to run my main function. The main function, saveData(), copies the top row of my spreadsheet (the live data) and pastes it to the next blank line below my current data range with the new timestamp, thereby “saving” a snapshot in time.

The code for this example is:

// custom menu function
function onOpen() {
  const ui = SpreadsheetApp.getUi();
  ui.createMenu('Custom Menu')
      .addItem('Save Data','saveData')

// function to save data
function saveData() {
  const ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  const sheet = ss.getSheets()[0];
  const url = sheet.getRange('Sheet1!A1').getValue();
  const follower_count = sheet.getRange('Sheet1!B1').getValue();
  const date = sheet.getRange('Sheet1!C1').getValue();

See this post: How To Save Data In Google Sheets With Timestamps Using Apps Script, for a step-by-step guide to create and run this script.

Google Apps Script example in Google Docs

Google Apps Script is by no means confined to Sheets only and can be accessed from other Google Workspace tools.

Here’s a quick example in Google Docs, showing a script that inserts a specific symbol wherever your cursor is:

Google Docs Apps Script

We do this using Google App Scripts as follows:

1. Create a new Google Doc

2. Open script editor from the menu: Extensions > Apps Script

3. In the newly opened Script tab, remove all of the boilerplate code (the “myFunction” code block)

4. Copy in the following code:

// code to add the custom menu
function onOpen() {
  const ui = DocumentApp.getUi();
  ui.createMenu('My Custom Menu')
      .addItem('Insert Symbol', 'insertSymbol')

// code to insert the symbol
function insertSymbol() {  
  // add symbol at the cursor position
  const cursor = DocumentApp.getActiveDocument().getCursor();

5. You can change the special character in this line


to whatever you want it to be, e.g.

cursor.insertText('( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)');

6. Click Save and give your script project a name (doesn’t affect the running so call it what you want e.g. Insert Symbol)

7. Run the script for the first time by clicking on the menu: Run > onOpen

8. Google will recognize the script is not yet authorized and ask you if you want to continue. Click Continue

9. Since this the first run of the script, Google Docs asks you to authorize the script (I called my script “test” which you can see below):

Docs Apps Script Auth

10. Click Allow

11. Return to your Google Doc now.

12. You’ll have a new menu option, so click on it:

My Custom Menu > Insert Symbol

13. Click on Insert Symbol and you should see the symbol inserted wherever your cursor is.

Google Apps Script Tip: Use the Logger class

Use the Logger class to output text messages to the log files, to help debug code.

The log files are shown automatically after the program has finished running, or by going to the Executions menu in the left sidebar menu options (the fourth symbol, under the clock symbol).

The syntax in its most basic form is Logger.log(something in here). This records the value(s) of variable(s) at different steps of your program.

For example, add this script to a code file your editor window:

function logTimeRightNow() {
  const timestamp = new Date();

Run the script in the editor window and you should see:

Google Apps Script Execution Logs

Real world examples from my own work

I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible using G.A.S. to extend the Google Apps experience.

Here are a couple of interesting projects I’ve worked on:

1) A Sheets/web-app consisting of a custom web form that feeds data into a Google Sheet (including uploading images to Drive and showing thumbnails in the spreadsheet), then creates a PDF copy of the data in the spreadsheet and automatically emails it to the users. And with all the data in a master Google Sheet, it’s possible to perform data analysis, build dashboards showing data in real-time and share/collaborate with other users.

2) A dashboard that connects to a Google Analytics account, pulls in social media data, checks the website status and emails a summary screenshot as a PDF at the end of each day.

Marketing dashboard using Google Apps Script

3) A marking template that can send scores/feedback to students via email and Slack, with a single click from within Google Sheets. Read more in this article: Save time with this custom Google Sheets, Slack & Email integration

My own journey into Google Apps Script

My friend Julian, from Measure School, interviewed me in May 2017 about my journey into Apps Script and my thoughts on getting started:

Google Apps Script Resources

For further reading, I’ve created this list of resources for information and inspiration:



Official Google Documentation

Google Workspace Developers Blog


Google Apps Script Group

Stack Overflow GAS questions

Elsewhere On The Internet

A huge big up-to-date list of Apps Script resources hosted on GitHub.

For general Javascript questions, I recommend this JavaScript tutorial page from W3 Schools when you’re starting out.

When you’re more comfortable with Javascript basics, then I recommend the comprehensive JavaScript documentation from Mozilla.

Imagination and patience to learn are the only limits to what you can do and where you can go with GAS. I hope you feel inspired to try extending your Sheets and Docs and automate those boring, repetitive tasks!

Related Articles

Sheet Sizer! Build A Tool To Measure Your Google Sheets Size With Apps Script

In this tutorial, you’ll use Apps Script to build a tool called Sheet Sizer, to measure the size of your Google Sheets!

Google Sheets has a limit of 10 million cells, but it’s hard to know how much of this space you’ve used.

Sheet Sizer will calculate the size of your Sheet and compare it to the 10 million cell limit in Google Sheets.

Sheet Sizer

Sheet Sizer: Build a sidebar to display information

Step 1:
Open a blank sheet and rename it to “Sheet Sizer”

Step 2:
Open the IDE. Go to Tools > Script editor

Step 3:
Rename your script file “Sheet Sizer Code”

Step 4:
In the file, delete the existing “myFunction” code and copy in this code:

* Add custom menu to sheet
function onOpen() {

    .createMenu('Sheet Sizer')
    .addItem('Open Sheet Sizer', 'showSidebar')

* function to show sidebar
function showSidebar() {
  // create sidebar with HTML Service
  const html = HtmlService.createHtmlOutputFromFile('Sidebar').setTitle('Sheet Sizer');
// add sidebar to spreadsheet UI

There are two functions: onOpen, which will add the custom menu to your Sheet, and showSidebar, which will open a sidebar.

The text between the /* ... */ or lines starting with // are comments.

Step 5:
Click the + next to Files in the left menu, just above the filename.

Add an HTML file and call it “Sidebar”. It should look like this:

Apps Script HTML files

Step 6:
In the Sidebar file, on line 7, between the two BODY tags of the existing code, copy in the following code:

<input type="button" value="Close" onclick="" />

This code adds a “Close” button to the sidebar.

Your Sidebar file should now look like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <base target="_top">

    <input type="button" value="Close" onclick="" />


Step 7:
Don’t forget to hit Save

Step 8:
Select the file, then select the onOpen function in the menu bar (from the drop down next to the word Debug). Then hit Run.

Step 9:
When you run for the first time, you have to accept the script permissions. If you see an “App isn’t verified” screen, click on Advanced, then “Go to…” and follow the prompts. (More info here.)

Step 10:
After authorizing the app in step 8, jump back to your Google Sheet. You should see a new custom menu “Sheet Sizer” in the menu bar, to the right of the Help menu.

Click the menu to open the sidebar.

Step 11:
Close the menu using the button.

Here’s what you’ve built so far:

Google Sheets sidebar with Apps Script

Sheet Sizer: Add a new button and functionality to the sidebar

Step 12:
In the Sidebar file, after the first BODY tag, on line 6, and before the INPUT tag on line 7, add a new line.

Paste in the new button code:

<input type="button" value="Get Sheet Size" onclick="getSheetSize()" />

When clicked, this will run a function called getSheetSize.

Step 13:
Add the getSheetSize function into the Sidebar file with the following code.

Copy and paste this after the two INPUT tags but before the final BODY tag, on line 9.

function getSheetSize() {;


When the button is clicked to run the getSheetSize function (client side, in the sidebar), it will now run a function called auditSheet in our Apps Script (server side).

Step 14:
Go to the file

Step 15:
Copy and paste this new function underneath the rest of your code:

* Get size data for a given sheet url
function auditSheet() {
  // get Sheet
  const ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  const sheet = ss.getActiveSheet();
  // get sheet name
  const name = sheet.getName();

  // get current sheet dimensions
  const maxRows = sheet.getMaxRows();
  const maxCols = sheet.getMaxColumns();
  const totalCells = maxRows * maxCols;

  // output

This gets the active Sheet of your spreadsheet and calculates the total number of cells as max rows multiplied by max columns.

Finally, the last line displays an alert popup to show the total number.

Step 16:
Back in your Google Sheet, run Sheet Sizer from the custom Sheet Sizer menu.

When you click on the “Get Sheet Size” button, you should see a popup that shows the number of cells in your Sheet:

Sheet Sizer sidebar

Sheet Sizer: Display the Sheet size in the sidebar

Step 17:
Delete this line of code in the auditSheet function:


Step 18:
Paste in this new code, to replace the code you deleted in Step 4:

// put variables into object
const sheetSize = 'Sheet: ' + name +
  '<br>Row count: ' + maxRows +
  '<br>Column count: ' + maxCols +
  '<br>Total cells: ' + totalCells +
  '<br><br>You have used ' + ((totalCells / 5000000)*100).toFixed(2) + '% of your 10 million cell limit.';

return sheetSize;

Now, instead of showing the total number of cells in an alert popup, it sends the result back to the sidebar.

Let’s see how to display this result in your sidebar.

Step 19:
Go to the Sidebar file and copy this code after the two INPUT tags but before the first SCRIPT tag:

<div id="results"></div>

This is a DIV tag that we’ll use to display the output.

Step 20:
Staying in the Sidebar file, replace this line of code:;

with this:;

This uses the withSuccessHandler callback function, which we’ve called: displayResults

It runs when the Apps Script function auditSheet successfully executes on the server side. The return value of that auditSheet function is passed to a new function called displayResults, which we’ll create now.

Step 21:
Underneath the getSheetSize function, add this function:

function displayResults(results) {
  // display results in sidebar
  document.getElementById("results").innerHTML = results;

When this function runs, it adds the results value (our total cells count) to that DIV tag of the sidebar you added in step 7.

Step 22:
Back in your Google Sheet, run Sheet Sizer from the custom Sheet Sizer menu.

When you click on the “Get Sheet Size” button, you should see a popup that shows the number of cells in your Sheet:

Apps Script to measure Sheet Size

Sheet Sizer: Handle multiple sheets

Step 23:
Modify your auditSheet code to this:

* Get size data for a given sheet url
function auditSheet(sheet) {

  // get spreadsheet object
  const ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();

  // get sheet name
  const name = sheet.getName();

  // get current sheet dimensions
  const maxRows = sheet.getMaxRows();
  const maxCols = sheet.getMaxColumns();
  const totalCells = maxRows * maxCols;

  // put variables into object
  const sheetSize = {
    name: name,
    rows: maxRows,
    cols: maxCols,
    total: totalCells

  // return object to function that called it
  return sheetSize;


Step 24:
In your file, copy and paste the following code underneath the existing code:

* Audits all Sheets and passes full data back to sidebar
function auditAllSheets() {

  // get spreadsheet object
  const ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  const sheets = ss.getSheets();

  // declare variables
  let output = '';
  let grandTotal = 0;

  // loop over sheets and get data for each
  sheets.forEach(sheet => {

    // get sheet results for the sheet
    const results = auditSheet(sheet);
    // create output string from results
    output = output + '<br><hr><br>Sheet: ' + +
      '<br>Row count: ' + results.rows + 
      '<br>Column count: ' + results.cols +
      '<br>Total cells: ' + + '<br>';

    // add results to grand total
    grandTotal = grandTotal +;


  // add grand total calculation to the output string
  output = output + '<br><hr><br>' + 
    'You have used ' + ((grandTotal / 5000000)*100).toFixed(2) + '% of your 10 million cell limit.';

  // pass results back to sidebar
  return output;


This adds a new function, auditAllSheets, which loops over all the sheets in your Google Sheet and calls the auditSheet function for each one. The results for each Sheet are joined together into a result string, called output.

Your file should now look like this.

Step 25:
Jump back to your Sidebar file and replace this line of code:;

with this:;

The callback function is the general auditAllSheets function, not the specific individual sheet function.

Step 26:
Back in your Google Sheet, add another sheet to your Google Sheet (if you haven’t already) and run Sheet Sizer.

It will now display the results for all the sheets within your Google Sheet!

Sheet Sizer: Add CSS styles

This step is purely cosmetic to make the sidebar more aesthetically pleasing.

Step 27:

Add these CSS lines inside the HEAD tags of the sidebar file:

<!-- Add CSS code to format the sidebar from google stylesheet -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="">

  body {
    padding: 20px;

Step 28:

Add DIV BLOCKS to the elements of the sidebar:

<div class="block">
  <input type="button" class="create" value="Get Sheet Size" onclick="getSheetSize()" /> 

<div class="block">
  <input type="button" value="Close" onclick="" />

<div class="block">
  <div id="results"></div> 

Sheet Sizer: Global Variables

Step 29:

One final improvement from me is to move the 10 million cell limit number into a global variable.

Currently, it’s buried in your script so it’s difficult to find and update if and when Google updates the Sheets cell limit.

It’s not good practice to hard-code variables in your code for this reason.

The solution is to move it into a global variable at the top of your file, with the following code:

 * Global Variable
const MAX_SHEET_CELLS = 10000000;

And then change the output line by replacing the 5000000 number with the new global variable MAX_SHEET_CELLS:

// add grand total calculation to the output string
output = output + '<br><hr><br>' + 
  'You have used ' + ((grandTotal / MAX_SHEET_CELLS)*100).toFixed(2) + '% of your 10 million cell limit.';

Here is your final Sheet Sizer tool in action:

Sheet Sizer

Click here to see the full code for the Sheet Sizer tool on GitHub.

Next steps: have a go at formatting the numbers shown in the sidebar, by adding thousand separators so that 1000 shows as 1,000 for example.