Google Docs Spreadsheet Javascript Form Collection

Some of the ideas in this post are based from Martin Hawksey.

Google spreadsheets is a great way of and it integrates perfectly with Google forms. But what if you wanted to use your own custom form on your own website without having to use any nasty embeding.

Here is a simple way to insert data from an external form to a spreadsheet:

Setup the Spreadsheet Code

  1. Go into your Google Docs and create a new spreadsheet. Name it whatever you’d like.

  2. In the menu bar, click on Tools and select Script editor... from the dropdown.

  3. Click on Blank Project and replace the default script with the following script:

// forked from https://gist.github.com/mhawksey/1276293

// function to recieve the data from the form
function doPost(e) {
// get the correct spreadsheet
var ss = SpreadsheetApp.openById(ScriptProperties.getProperty('active'));

// get the sheet with a name of "DATA"
var sheet = ss.getSheetByName("DATA");

// find the headers of the sheet and their values
var headers = sheet.getRange(1, 1, 1, sheet.getLastColumn()).getValues()[0];

// get the row below the headers
var nextRow = sheet.getLastRow();

// get the first cell
var cell = sheet.getRange('a1');

// the first column in the sheet
var col = 0;

// insert the data into the spreadsheet in a loop only
// if the header is the same as the html name=""
for (i in headers){
if (headers[i] == "Timestamp"){
val = new Date();
} else {
val = e.parameter[headers[i]];
}
cell.offset(nextRow, col).setValue(val);
col++;
}

// debugging
var app = UiApp.createApplication();
var panel = app.createVerticalPanel();
for(p in e.parameters){
panel.add(app.createLabel(p +" "+e.parameters[p]));
}
app.add(panel);

return app;
}

// function to init the spreadsheet for the first time
function setUp() {
ScriptProperties.setProperty('active', SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getId());
}
  1. Save the project (Files -> Save) and name it whatever you’d like.

  2. Click on Run in the menu bar and select setUp. Then go ahead and authorize it in the popup window.

  3. Click on Run in the menu bar and select setUp again.

  4. Click on Publish in the menu bar and select Deploy as Web App.... Give the project a version, make sure it is executing as yourself, and make sure Anyone, even anonymous has access to the app. Then click Deploy.

  5. Copy the Current web app URL that has been generated, we’ll use that in the form later.

Setup the Form

Create a html document with your form (notice the use of the name attribute, I’ll discuss this later):

<form>
<input type="text" placeholder="name" name="Name">
<input type="text" placeholder="comment" name="Comment">

<input type="submit" value="submit">
</form>

Make sure to include jQuery (because of $.post) before the following javascript and paste in the url from the web app URL that we generated earlier:

$('form').submit(function() {
// post the form data to the spreadsheet
$.post('https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbyOyFG6fPlMOZi6Biv8Df9qIY46_DYWK4YiPbR8hl-nfb7omMs/exec', $('form').serialize());

// reset the value on the input
$('input[type=text]').val('');
return false;
});

Setup the Spreadsheet

Now we have the code for the sheet and the form to send data to the sheet. The last step is to setup the columns in the sheet. Columns in the sheet (A1, B1, C1, …) must correspond to the name attribute found on the input in the form in order to accept data from the form. So if I have a an input in my form with name="First Name", I must have a column in my sheet with First Name.

Also, you can easily capture the timestamp of form submission within the sheet. You can simply have a column called Timestamp in your sheet, no input in your form required.

Resoucres

Working example:

Gist with all files referenced in this post.