Google Sheets API Explained

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Understanding the Google Sheets API

In 2016, Google released the 4th and most recent version of the Google Sheets API.

While the previous version (Google Sheets API v3) only lets you read and write cell values on Google Sheets, v4 gives you a plethora of new features — a massive upgrade to its predecessor.

On Google Sheets API v4, you get access to almost every spreadsheet feature, including charts, pivot tables, and filter views. You also get complete access to cell formatting, such as setting colors, text styles, and even conditional formatting — things you could never do on v3. This version also uses the newer Google API’s client libraries, which are available for 9 languages — a vast improvement over the 2 languages of v3 .

These upgrades have made the Google Sheets API an indispensable tool for countless professionals, even outside the realm of app development. It finds use in many industries like marketing, finance, and most especially in the rapidly emerging field of data analytics.

In this article, we’ll go over what Google Sheets API is and how you can use it for your own projects.

Let’s get started.

What is the Google Sheets API?

The Google Sheets API lets you interact with Google Sheets without having to use the app directly.

For people who regularly deal with data sets to get work done, importing data into spreadsheets can get tedious. The process takes up a lot of time since it’s often done manually, and it probably isn’t something you want to spend much of your day working on.

The Google Sheets API lets you do the following:

  • Import data from any source
  • Automate low-value tasks
  • Build & use apps that interact with Google Sheets

The Google Sheets API lets you use the rich functionality of Google Sheets outside of the app itself. With the option to automate repetitive tasks, you can easily free up an extra 30 minutes from your workday.

Google Sheets API Pricing

Using the Google Sheets API is free, but there are usage limits for each user. There are quotas for queries as well as quotas for document creation. Once you exceed these quotas, you will have to pay an amount depending on which G Suite plan you have.

Using the Google Sheets API

You can do a lot of things with the Google Sheets API. Mainly, though, you’ll be using it to make GET & POST requests to import JSON data and update your spreadsheets.

There are 2 ways you can get this done:

  1. Code it yourself
  2. Use a no-code tool

Code it yourself

If you know your way around code, you can easily create an app that makes requests to the Google Sheets API in no time.

To get started, you’ll need a Google account (Sign up). Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, you can start using Google Sheets.

To use the Google Sheets API, choose one of the following methods:

1.) Browser

You can create a simple browser application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your browser app. Just follow the steps closely.

2.) Go

You can create a simple Go command-line application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your Go command-line app. Just follow the steps closely.

3.) Google Apps Script (GAS)

You can create a simple Google Apps Script that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your Google Apps Script. Just follow the steps closely.

Once you’ve successfully run the sample, you can check out this tutorial to build your first app.

4.) Java

You can create a simple Java command-line application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your Java command-line app. Just follow the steps closely.

Once you’ve successfully run the sample, you can check out this tutorial to see how you can use Java to interact with Google Sheets.

5.) .NET

You can create a simple .NET console application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your .NET console app. Just follow the steps closely.

6.) Node.js

You can create a simple Node.js command-line application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your Node.js command-line app. Just follow the steps closely.

This article talks about how you can use Node.js to link with Google Sheets so you can use it as a database.

7.) PHP

You can create a simple PHP command-line application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your PHP command-line app. Just follow the steps closely.

You can read this guide on reading and writing Google Sheets using PHP.

8.) Python

You can create a simple Python command-line application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your Python command-line app. Just follow the steps closely.

This article talks about some of the functionality of the Google Sheets API that you can access using Python.

9.) Ruby

You can create a simple Ruby command-line application that makes requests to the Google Sheets API.

In addition to a Google account, here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s the official guide on getting started with your Ruby command-line app. Just follow the steps closely.

After you’re done running the sample, check out this guide to see how you can do more with Google Sheets just by using Ruby.

Google Sheets API Documentation

You’ll find a lot of great articles out there on the internet showing you how you can use the Google API to get stuff done, but, as always, the most fool-proof way for you to do this is to check out the official reference, which you can get to by clicking this link.

Use a no-code tool

Not everybody has the time to code, or even the time to start learning. It’s an investment that can be a hit or a miss. If you’re coding it yourself, it won’t always be worth the time.

Luckily, you don’t have to.

There are plenty of companies out there who offer no-code API integration products which work perfectly with Google Sheets.

Here are the best ones.

1.) Supermetrics

Supermetrics for Google Sheets

Supermetrics is one of the go-to tools for digital agencies. It picks up all the marketing data you need for SEO, PPC, social, and web analytics and puts it all into Google Sheets.

Their Pro plan (their most affordable one, at $99) gives you access to 32 great digital marketing data sources. Enterprises get as much as 48.

What’s great about Supermetrics is that it has an efficient & easy-to-grasp user interface. It does the work of dealing with scattered marketing data — and shows it to you, clean.

Here’s a video of Supermetrics being used with Google Sheets to create an AdWords dashboard.

Check the pricing for a Supermetrics for Google Sheets plan here.

2.) Funnel

Funnel for Google Sheets

Funnel, like Supermetrics, lets you automate data collection and manipulation and export data wherever you like — in our case, to Google Sheets.

Their Standard plan starts at $499 and scales up depending on your ad spend. It gives you access to a vast collection of 500+ data sources and loads of great features to help you take better control of your marketing.

The catch to Funnel is that you won’t be working directly in Google Sheets. They have a separate software for you to use, on which you will export data to Google Sheets.

They’ve refined the process to make it simple enough, but an extra piece of software might not be your cup of tea.

And at their prices, Funnel is obviously intended for agencies and large enterprises with big marketing budgets. So, if you aren’t going to make full use of Funnel’s features, you should probably look somewhere else.

Check Funnel’s pricing here.

3.     Apipheny

Import APIs to Google Sheets using the Apipheny add-on

Funnel and Supermetrics are fantastic apps to use with Google Sheets, especially if they have the data sources you need for your projects. In just a few clicks, you can get the exact data you need, neatly organized on your spreadsheet.

But they do lack a very important feature — flexibility.

Funnel and Supermetrics give you access to hundreds of relevant data sources — but if you need access to a data source that they aren’t connected to… well, you’re pretty much on your own.

Apipheny gets rid of this hurdle.

Apipheny is a Supermetrics alternative and a universal API integrator for Google Sheets. Using Apipheny, you can integrate any API with Google Sheets. It lets you make GET & POST requests as well as Save and Schedule them to make sure your data is always available and up to date.

You won’t have to rely on any pre-built integrations since Apipheny gives you the ability to query any endpoint.

You’ll also get the flexibility to access an unlimited number of data sources. This is extremely handy when you need to use the unique data and functionality of a specific API but lack the time or skills to do the coding yourself.

If an API exists, Apipheny can help you use it with Google Sheets.

Check out the video below to see Apipheny in action.

Google Sheets API FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Google Sheets API

What is Google Sheets?

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program. It’s a part of G Suite, a suite of cloud tools and software developed by Google, which includes other tools like Google Docs and Google Drive.

Similar to Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets lets you organize, track, and analyze data on a customizable spreadsheet.

What makes Google Sheets unique is that it works in perfect sync with everything else in G Suite. It’s also completely online, which means you don’t have to download anything at all.

In a professional setting, the accessibility and connectivity of Google Sheets make it a wonderful tool to have.

What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Simply put, it’s an interface that one software uses to interact with another.

Using APIs, software programs can connect and communicate seamlessly with each other. They’re the reason you can post a video on Facebook from the YouTube app and send photos to your friends.

For a more comprehensive look into APIs and how they work, check out the blog post we wrote on the same topic.

How do I use APIs in Google Sheets?

Just as you can use the Google Sheets API to read and write Google Sheets, you can also leverage its connectivity to use other APIs.

If you intend to source data for marketing purposes, you can use Supermetrics and Funnel, as mentioned above. Both tools are fantastic for collecting data for SEO, PPC, social, and web analytics.

But they are mostly limited to those areas.

If you want something more flexible, you can code an API integrator yourself so you can get the functionality you need for your projects.

But if you haven’t got the time to do that, we recommend you use Apipheny. It’s a universal API integrator that lets you import API data with just a few clicks. Zero coding required.

Is Google Sheets API free?

For the most part, yes. There are quotas on what you can do, like queries and document creation, which increase depending on your G Suite plan. Otherwise, though, it’s pretty much free.

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