AppsScriptPulse

Tips, tricks and scripts for automating your Gmail inbox with Google Apps Script

Image credit: rixxo.com

One the powerful features of Google Apps Script is with a couple of lines of code you can quickly start automating and organising your inbox. For people just getting started with Apps Script Google provide a introductory codelab ‘Accessing Google Sheets, Maps, and Gmail in 4 lines of code!’ and for those wanting to do a bit more the Google Workspace Developer documentation includes a ‘create a mail merge‘ solution.

Mail merge solutions are bit or a reoccurring theme in the world of Google Apps Script. In 2011 the official G Suite Developers Blog featured 4 ways to do Mail Merge using Google Apps Script with community contributions from James Ferreira, Steve Webster and Romain Vialard. The post references Romain’s ‘Yet another Mail Merge’ script, which he went on to develop as a very successful YAMM add-on before refocusing on the Mergo Mail Merge. Even further back when Google Apps Script was officially launched in 2009 this included a introductory video with a mail merge example.

A well as Google official channels the ability to automate your Gmail inbox has regularly caught the attention of the wider tech press. In 2013, Computerworld highlighted Jonathan Kim’s ‘Gmail No Response’ script which goes through your inbox and finds recent emails where you were the last respondent. Jonathan’s blog post is no longer available but the Gmail No Response’ script is on GitHub where it has been forked 100 times.

One of those forks is a variation by Christopher Gee published in Find emails with no reply automatically in Gmail which:

runs through the emails in your inbox and checks your outgoing messages for a question mark. Once it finds these emails it checks to see if they are in a date range and then sees if you have had a response. If you have not had a reply to your email containing a “?” then it adds the label “No Response”. You can then quickly see all of the threads for which you are awaiting a reply.

If you are interested in more Gmail script solutions then I highly recommend you have a look at content shared by Amit Agarwal. This doesn’t just include Apps Script solutions but also a number of Gmail tips and tricks. As many of these feature the way you can search your Gmail inbox they can also be used with GmailApp.search() or if using the Gmail Advanced Service Gmail.Users.Messages.list . A nice example of where a Gmail user tip can be used in Apps Script is Amit’s post which includes how to Search Emails by Specific Time in Gmail.

The list of examples could go on (and I’ve not even mentioned Stonian’s recent post Keep your Gmail inbox size in check with google app scripts :). Do you have a favourite ‘tip, trick or script’ for Gmail and Google Apps Script?

Sources:

How I Programmed the Game of Life in a Google Sheet with Google Apps Script

According to Wikipedia, the Game of Life “is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970.”

It begins on a two-dimensional grid of square cells. Each cell can be either alive or dead. Every cell interacts with its eight immediate neighbors. A live cell only remains alive if it has two or three living neighbors. If it has fewer than two living neighbors, it dies as if by underpopulation. Conversely, if it has more than three, it dies as if by overpopulation. A dead cell remains dead unless it has exactly three living neighbors; otherwise, it becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

There is no immediate practical use for the Game of Life in a spreadsheet; however, it is a fun algorithmic challenge. Moreover, Google Sheets natively provides us with the perfect data structure: a two-dimensional array. This is all the more reason to work on those array skills!

As usual, there is a GitHub repo with the full source code. Alternatively, you can just make a copy of this spreadsheet.

Source: “How I Programmed the Game of Life in a Google Sheet with Google Apps Script

How to Auto-Download Podcasts to Google Drive with Google Sheets [and Google Apps Script] – Digital Inspiration

You use Google Sheets as your own Podcast Manager that will automatically download your favorite podcasts to Google Drive and instantly sync across all your devices.

Amit Agarwal is always coming up with creative uses for Google Apps Script. His latest project is a great example of what can be achieved with a little code and a lot of know-how. Even if you aren’t a podcast fan this project is worth checking out as Amit is expert at writing concise and efficient code.

Some highlights to check out once you make a copy of the ‘Podcast Manager’ Google Sheet are use of CacheService for getting/putting a last update time and using the .filter(Boolean) trick for ignoring blank cells when using .getValues() on Google Sheets data. There is plenty more going on and worth spending some time using the Script Editor debugger and breakpoints to learn from a master.

Source: How to Auto-Download Podcasts to Google Drive with Google Sheets – Digital Inspiration

Report: Handling 10 million cells in Google Sheets using Google Apps Script

In this report, I would like to introduce the important points for handling 10,000,000 cells in Google Spreadsheet using Google Apps Script.

In March 2022 Google announced that the Google Sheets cell limit is doubled from 5 million to 10 million cells. The increased capacity has implications for Google Workspace developers as you now may encounter scenarios where you have users with lots of data.

Fortunately, Kanshi Tanaike has been exploring the impact the increased volume of data in Google Sheets has when using Google Apps Script and both SpreadsheetApp and Sheets API. The linked report contains a number of useful findings and strategies for handling large Google Sheets with Apps Script.

Source: Report: Handling 10,000,000 cells in Google Spreadsheet using Google Apps Script

Making of Webhooks for Sheets Workspace Add-on [and lessons learned using the Apps Script API]

Behind the scenes look at what went into creating an Apps Script-native Add-on to generate Webhooks for Google Sheets. ICYMI: You can access the add-on from this link and know more about what it does here

It’s worth checking out Sourabh Choraria’s latest Google Sheets add-on which enables users to quickly setup a Google Sheet to receive data from other services which support the creation of webhooks. As part of this solution the add-on makes extensive use of the Apps Script API, which can be used to programmatically manage Apps Script projects including deployments. This post from Sourabh highlights some of the key endpoints used in the Apps Script API as well as a number of lessons learned about deploying web apps for users.

Source: Making of Webhooks for Sheets Workspace Add-on

JSONata – JSON query and transformation language in Google Apps Script

One of the benefits of Google moving Apps Script to the V8 engine is the possibility to drop in existing JavaScript libraries. Max Makhrov recently highlighted on Twitter how JSONata, which can be used to query and transform JSON data can be used in Google Apps Script:

JSONata is a lightweight query and transformation language for JSON data. Inspired by the ‘location path’ semantics of XPath 3.1, it allows sophisticated queries to be expressed in a compact and intuitive notation. A rich complement of built in operators and functions is provided for manipulating and combining extracted data, and the results of queries can be formatted into any JSON output structure using familiar JSON object and array syntax. Coupled with the facility to create user defined functions, advanced expressions can be built to tackle any JSON query and transformation task. – JSONata

JSONata is a solution better understood by trying it out, which you can do thanks to the script project shared by Max on Twitter or on the JSONata website. If you are interested in data query/manipulation solutions for Google Apps Script you might also want to check out our previous post on using AlaSQL for Apps Script.

Update: Max has published JSONata as an Apps Script library 

Use Google Sheets Apps Script to track Open Source GitHub and Docker statistics

Image credit: Codenotary

If you run and maintain an Open Source project you’ll typically will want to keep track of things like your downloads, stars, commits over time, etc. to help you gauge engagement and overall health of your project. Here’s a quick way hack to keep track of some of this data in Google Sheet which will help you simplify the collection of data and help you better understand what that data means for your project.

This post was picked up by the official @WorkspaceDevs Twitter account, which has been highlighting and amplifying more community contributions recently (hint: you may want to follow/tag the account :)

The two things that caught my eye in this post. First, was the pattern used to get stats from multiple GitHub repos which are all appended in the same row (repo 1 cols B-F and repo 2 cols G-H).

Image credit: Codenotary

As a bit of a REST API/auth geek the second thing that interested me was the use of the Accept header , used by GitHub to specify the REST API version being called in UrlFetchApp .

Source: Use Google Sheets Apps Script to track Open Source GitHub and Docker statistics

Importing data from MS Excel to Google Sheet with Google Apps Script

In this post we’re going to look at how we can get data from an Excel spreadsheet and import some of it into a Google Sheet. As an example, we’re going to upload an Excel which contains the current month’s royalty data from Amazon and add it to a central sheet which contains all the previous month’s royalties.

Similar to the post on converting a PDF document to text, this tutorial from Baz Roberts uses a similar approach of using the Google Drive API for file conversion, this time converting a MS Excel file into Google Sheets to make it possible to easily extract and update a master spreadsheet. The post includes a detailed explanation of the shared code.

Source: Importing Amazon royalty data from Excel to Google Sheet – Learning Google Workspace & Apps Script

How to extract text from PDF files with Google Apps Script – Digital Inspiration

Image credit: Amit Agarwal

This tutorial explains how you can parse and extract text elements from invoices, expense receipts and other PDF documents with the help of Apps Script.

We’ve previously featured a method for extracting text from a PDF from Scott Donald. This latest post from Amit Agarwal uses a similar technique of sending a PDF document to Google Drive API to convert to a text file and then using RegEx to extract the content you need. Given the number of PDF documents flying around between organisations both of these posts from Amit and Scott are worth being aware of for potential future projects.

Source: How to Extract Text from PDF Files with Google Apps Script – Digital Inspiration

See your Google Calendar events in Google Maps using Google Apps Script

Image credit: KEVIN VAGHASIYA

In this article, I will show you how can you visualize google calendar events in the google maps using Google Calendar, Maps Javascript API, HTML, CSS and Google Apps Script.

This is an interesting project shared by Kevin Vaghasiya which uses Google Apps Script to create a web app to display a range of Google Calendar events on a map. On the backend the script is using the Maps Service and geocode(address) to get the co-ordinates of the event location. This could be an interesting project to modify to send yourself a daily email with a static map image of your appointments.

Source: See your calendar events in Google Maps using Google Apps Script

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