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Save Time, Use Google Apps Script

Christopher Holmes
Aug 1, 2020 · 4 min read

Implement time-saving features, without buying more software

Make your teammates lives easier with Apps Script

If you use G Suite, then learning about the power of Apps Script can help to improve your operation. Operations have a variety of tasks or repetitive actions that a staff person may have to take in order to receive information, save it, and/or relay it to the proper parties. Personally, I’ve saved my teammates from sending off tens of thousands of emails, generating hundreds of calendar events, duplicating and formatting over a thousand google documents.

I personally, love writing scripts because I know I’m not only making my life easier at work but when my teammates come into work. They are also saved from repetitive and tedious tasks. Normally when I get to a new operation in the physical security department of a tech company that uses G Suite, they are not leveraging code to make their lives easier. So I’m left to wonder if most organizations that use GSuite are leaving some potential improvements on the table.

Let’s say you want to send an automated reply e-mail for a google form submission, notifying certain stakeholders based on the responses? Apps Script can do that. Do you need to create a custom function to manipulate data in your spreadsheet? Do you want to generate a google calendar event if certain conditions are met in a form submission? Do you want to create a Web App that displays specific data to the users that access it? Maybe, you need to collect some statistics or information that is in a spreadsheet at the end of a day for a report. Apps Script is capable of helping with all of these issues and more.

Over the course of a year, you can potentially save your operation from sending off thousands of manual emails, manually manipulating data, and generating google documents. Generating google documents manually can lead to organizational problems due to user error. Some users may improperly format their reports or fail to use a naming convention. When a document is automatically generated, that’s no longer an issue. As long as the data collection in the spreadsheets is accurate, you can potentially save your operation time and effort if you lack robust software to handle your custom needs.

You don’t have to learn to code

If you don’t want to learn to code, you don’t have to. You can hire someone to help you build a feature on a freelance site like Upwork. There’s also a chance you can submit a ticket to your IT department with your request and they may be able to help you.

One of the key issues is that if you don’t have the awareness to look at how you are using G Suite features, and how Apps Script can be implemented, then you won’t know what’s possible.

There may be potential improvements that you have no idea exist in your operation. It’s kind of like a mechanic looking under the hood of your car, they can determine what’s causing that annoying sound when you hit the brakes. There may be annoying sounds in your operation that have become normalized. Having someone that knows or uses Apps Script on your team can be powerful because they have the vision to see these issues.

Okay so you want to learn Apps Script, What do you need to know?

To code successfully in Apps Script you only need to know the basic fundamental concepts in coding. These concepts are the tools that can be used in order to develop the features that you’d like to create. Those basic concepts that you’d need to know are variables, arrays, nested arrays, loops, if-statements, switch statements, classes, and functions. These are all concepts that a student learns in an intro to computer science course. Yet, these tools are powerful enough to achieve a variety of features. And knowing some Big O is nice because it will help you improve the speed of your algorithms if you’re dealing with big data sets. In the end, almost every line of code you are going to want to write in Apps Script has been written or something like it exists. So the two skills you’ll need are the ability to navigate Google’s Apps Script documentation page and the tool that rules them all, Google’s search engine.

Resources

The best thing about learning to code, or new software is that there are seemingly an infinite amount of resources available to learn. Google has some tutorials called codelabs which are a great place to start. If you don’t know how to code what so ever, just google “learn to code” and find the resource that you like the best. That’s really all it takes to find a teacher or resources that work best for you in order to learn.

Thanks for reading!

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