The complete guide to simple automation in Google Sheets, using Macros

Macros are small programs you create inside of Google Sheets without needing to write any code. They allow you to automate repetitive tasks. They work by recording your actions as you do something and saving these actions as a “recipe” that you can re-use again with a single click.

Sound good?

They sure are! Read on to learn how to use them, see some examples, discover their limitations and also see how they’re a great way into the wonderful world of Apps Script coding 😀

This video is the third lesson from my free Apps Script Blastoff! course: an online course teaching Google Apps Script from scratch.

Contents

  1. What are macros?
  2. Why should you use macros?
  3. How to create your first macro
  4. Other options
  5. A peek under the hood
  6. More macro examples!
  7. Resources

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Data Studio Connector fields get an update

The engineers at Google continue to roll out updates to Data Studio at a relentless and impressive pace.

Back in September they released community connectors, which allow you to connect any web service with an API to Data Studio for reporting.

Yesterday, they released an update which gives developers much more control over the connector fields in Data Studio, by allowing developers to define Data Types and Semantic Types with more granularity, in your Apps Script code.

Additionally, developers can now embed calculated fields into the connector’s schema too, so it’s not left up to the user to figure this out.

This is a huge improvement as it obviates the need for the end user to select the correct field settings (for example, which aggregation to use) and should therefore make it easier for users to build accurate reports.

Data Type and Semantic Type features in the connector fields

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Community Connectors: Access all your data in Google Data Studio 💥💥

Data Studio is relatively new dashboard tool from Google, launched in mid-2016. It’s a superb tool for creating professional looking reports, easily and quickly, and it connects seamlessly to other Google data sources (e.g. Analytics, AdSense, Sheets, …).

Here’s an introduction to Data Studio and a look at the more advanced features.

GitHub commit dashboard, built with the new native data Community Connector
GitHub commits dashboard, built in Data Studio using a native Data Connector

Do you work with data outside of Google’s ecosystem though?

I’ll go out on a limb here, and say, yes, most likely you do.

Perhaps you’re a digital marketing analyst looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MailChimp data (etc…) for example.

Many of us work with other web services and you want that data displayed in Data Studio. With the launch of native data Community Connectors, you can connect to your favorite web services and access data that lives outside the Google ecosystem directly!

What is a Data Studio Community Connector?

Data Studio Community Connector example
Data Studio Community Connector example with the MailChimp API (click to enlarge)

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Show data from the GitHub API in Google Sheets, using Apps Script and Oauth

This post shows you how to connect a Google Sheet to GitHub’s API, with Oauth and Apps Script. The goal is to retrieve data and information from GitHub and show it in your Google Sheet, for further analysis and visualization.

If you manage a development team or you’re a technical project manager, then this could be a really useful way of analyzing and visualizing your team’s or project’s coding statistics against goals, such as number of commits, languages, people involved etc. over time.

Contents

  1. What are Git and GitHub?
  2. Access GitHub API using Basic Authentication
  3. Access GitHub API using OAuth2 Authentication
  4. Resources and further reading

Note, this is not a post about integrating your Apps Script environment with GitHub to push/pull your code to GitHub. That’s an entirely different process, covered in detail here by Google Developer Expert Martin Hawksey.

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How to create an annotated line graph in Google Sheets

Animated e-junkie sales chart in Google Sheets
Animated line chart in Google Sheets

This post looks at how to create a more advanced line graph in Google Sheets, with comparison lines and annotations, so that the viewer can absorb the maximum amount of insight from a single chart.

For fun, I’ll also show you how to animate this line graph in Google Sheets.

Want your own copy of this line graph?

Click here to access your copy of this template >>

This chart was originally developed for The Write Life during their 4-day product sale earlier this year. It featured as part of a dashboard that was linked to the E-junkie sales platform and displayed sales data in real-time:

Google Sheet e-junkie real-time dashboard
Google Sheet e-junkie real-time dashboard

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