Online data entry forms are a powerful tool that you can use to collect many types of data more easily and accurately. Google Sheets is the most powerful cloud-based spreadsheet application that you can use absolutely free. Google is also offering another free tool named Google Apps Script (GAS) to increase the power of your favorite Google apps. In this post, I will explain to you how you can create a free online form (or Web App) that can perform Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) Operations on Google Sheets using Google Apps Script and Google Sheets API v4.
Why I Should Create online Data Entry Forms
You can improve the productivity of your work by creating an HTML form to submit data to Google Sheets than directly typing data on the Sheet.
- Easy to share the form and ask all your staff or team members to submit data to the same Sheet and at the same time.
- You need not give Google Sheet edit access to your team, so your data is secure
- Reduce human errors
- Increase the reliability of your data -form validation
- Fast data entry (if you are doing mass data entry work) – Save both time and money
- Monitor data entry work real-time and let you make proactive decisions
- And so many…
All the above-mentioned app and services are packed with your Google Account completely free. So, you can build an absolutely free data entry form or any type of online form to perform CRUD Operations on Google Sheets. So, let’s get started.
In a previous post also, I explained, “How to Create Data Entry Form with Google HTML Service and Submit Data to Google Sheets“. However, using that code you can only write data to Google Sheets. If you only need to submit data to Google Sheets, you may use that method because that code is less complex than this.
What you need
Basic Knowledge on Google Apps Script
Overview of creating an Online Data Entry Form that can Perform CRUD Operations on Google Sheets
In this tutorial, we are going to create a web form that can Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) records in Google Sheets.
For creating this online form I am using Google Apps Scripts. There are two ways that you can use Google Apps Scripts namely Container-bound Scripts and Standalone Scripts. Here I am using the Standalone Scripts. So you have to create Google Sheet and the App Script files separately in your Google Drive.
We are going to perform CRUD operations on Google Sheets using Google Sheets API v4. (in the previous post that I mentioned above create the HTML form without using APIs)
To perform CRUD operations, you need to create a unique ID for your records. For this purpose, this script uses the current time in milliseconds (since 1970) as explains here.
I briefly explain the logic behind the CRUD operations used in this method below.
Create/ Insert Data
Fill the form and hit the submit button. If it passes the browser validation data is sent to the server-side script. If it is not an update request (does not contain an ID) server-side script adds a new id (it is the timestamp) and append data to the specified range.
The server-side script request data for a given range using APIs. after you perform, create, update, or delete action the web app updates the data table in the frontend with changed data.
When you click the update button, it passes the record ID to the server-side script. The server-side script validates the ID, and if it exists, it reads the relevant row. The data passes to the form for editing.
Once you hit the submit button, it passes data to the server-side script. It validates the ID and if it exists, updates the replace the relevant row with new data.
When you click the delete button, it passes the record ID to the server-side script. The server-side script validates the ID. If the ID exists, delete the relevant row and shift the cells up.
Use the following links to access the live form and the Data Sheet.
How to Create this online form using Google Apps Scripts and perform CRUD operations on Google Sheets
Here I am not going to explain the code line by line. Instead, I will briefly explain the purpose of each function, file, and present you the relevant code below.
If you are already familiar with Google Apps Script, you can copy the Google Apps Script file and the Google Sheet to your Google Drive from the following links and start modifying. I have added comments at all the locations that you need to change when you are adding new fields.
You need to change the Google Sheet ID (Spreadsheet ID) in the Apps Script file as explained below in order to send the data to Google Sheet.
You may not be able to view the Apps Script file from the above link when too many users are viewing the file at the same time. In such a case, you can use the following link which contains the same copy of the above.
The following video demonstrates how to copy these files to your Google Drive and run the code. In this video, from 2:15 onwards I am explaining how to add a new field to the form.
You can get a brief idea of the code following the below steps. I assume that you have already logged into your Google Account.
Step 01: Make a Copy of the Google Sheets
You can make a copy of the Google Sheets used in this example from the following link.
Link to Google Sheet – Make a copy to your Google Drive
This spreadsheet contains two sheets namely “Data” and “Helpers”. The data you inserted from the web form is saving to the “Data” Sheet. The “Helper” sheet includes a list of countries, that are required for populating the “Country” drop-down list.
Step 02: Make a Copy of the Google Apps Script File
You can also make a copy of the App Script used in this example file from the below link.
Link to Google Apps Script File – Make a copy to your Google Drive
The Apps Script file contain following files.
Code.gs file contains the server-side scripts, which includes the function that calls Google Sheets API. The other files make up the online form.
I have moved the HTML codes for form and the data table into separate files namely
DataTable.html files to make the code more readable. Those two files are included in the
Index.html file using
include() function in the
CSS.html files respectively. Those two files are also included in the Index.html file using the same
include() function mentioned above.
The following are the codes included in the Google Apps Script file mentioned above.
The Code.gs file includes the server side functions.
Inside the function
globalVariables(), you can define all the variables used in the script. So, you can call them later inside the other functions when you need them.
Most of the functions are self-explanatory, and I have added comments to make it easy to understand. The sources of some code sections are also added in the comments.
I will explain how this code work later in this post.
I am using the Bootstrap framework for styling the page. I have included it in the header section of the
Index.html using BootstrapCDN. The
DataTable.html files are included using
<?!= include('file_name'); ?> code in 8,9,15 and 20 lines of the following code snippet.
This file includes the HTML codes which create the HTML data entry form.
This file contains a CSS class that changes the button size. You can add your custom CSS inside the following file.
Step 03: Change the SpreadsheetID in Code.gs file
spreadsheetID of the google sheet, you copied to your drive in Step 01. Replace the spreadsheetId in line 15 of Code.gs file.
Step 04: Enable Google Sheets API
You must enable Google Sheets API in Advance Google Services to run this script. To enable Google Sheets API for you Apps Script,
- Open the Script Editor (the file you copied to Google Drive in Step 02)
- Go to Resources > Advanced Google services….
- In the Advanced Google Service dialog box, go down and enable Google Sheets API
- Click Ok
Step 05: Deploy as a Web App
To deploy this script as a web app.
- In the Script Editor, Go to Publish > Deploy as web app
- In the Deploy as web app dialog, select Project Version as New.
- Under Execute the app as: select your email address.
- under Who has access to the app, select your preference.
- Click Deploy.
- In the next dialog box, copy the Current web app URL
- Paste it in your browser and your online form will be loaded.
Read more about Deploying a script as a web app in Google Guide.
How this Script perform CRUD Operations on Google Sheets
Create New Record
- After you correctly fill the form and hit the submit button, the function
- This function calls the function
processForm()in the Code.gs file and passes the form object as the parameter.
- The function
processForm()check whether form object has an ID (
RecID) and if exist validate using
- If the form object does not have a valid
recId, the function
- The function
getFormValues()(the first parameter of the
appendData()function) process the form object and returns a value array. It also creates a new ID if
- The function
appendData()is executed and append the form data ta to the given range.
- Then the function
processForm()call the function
getLastTenRows()and it returns the last 10 rows of your data range. The function processForm() also return the same to the
handleFormSubmit()mentioned in no 1 above.
handleFormSubmit()call the function
createTable()function with the last 10 rows as a parameter.
- Then the function
createTable()update the data table next to the Form.
- The user clicks the update button in the row which data need to be updated.
- It calls the
- Then, the function
editData()call the serverside function
getRecordById()(it is in the Code.gs file) with the
recIdas the parameter.
getRecordById()returns the relevant row of data as an array to the
- Then, the
- The function
populateForm()populates the form fields with the data.
- Then the user can make the changes and hit the submit button.
- Hereafter, almost the same process in the above “Create New Record” is followed. Since here form passes a
recId, in step 4 it calls the
updateData()function. It replaces the row which matches the
- The user clicks the Delete button in the row which data need to be deleted.
- Browser request to confirm the action.
- Then, the function
deleteData()calls the serverside function
deleteData()(the second is in the Code.gs file) with the
recIdas the parameter.
- The serverside function
deleteData()validate and delete the row that matches the
recId. After deleting the record function returns the last 10 records of the data range.
createTable()with the last 10 rows as a parameter.
- Then the function
createTable()updates the data table next to the Form.
Form validation is very important when submitting data to Google Sheets. For form validation, I have used browser defaults. However, depending on the requirements you may need more customization. You can learn more about Bootstrap form validation from this link.
This form covers most of the common form elements that you need to build a data entry form or any type of online form to perform CRUD operations on Google Sheets. So, you can customize this form to match with your requirements using those elements. You can learn more about this using the links provided in this article as well as from the URLs commented in the code.
When you have data on your hand, you must use data visualization techniques to spot the signals in your data. If you can build an online dashboard for your data, you can make decisions even while your data collection project is ongoing. You can learn more about building a free online dashboard from my previous post, “How to Create an Online Dashboard for free to Share and Visualize Your Data“.
Some of our visitors requested to add a search field in the form. The following updated script contains a search field to search data in the Google Sheet.
Google Apps Scripts has introduced to increase the power of your favorite Google apps. So, by using Google Apps Script with Google Apps you can build various types of custom solutions to boost your collaboration and productivity.
In this example, I explained to you how to build an Online Data Entry Form that can Perform CRUD Operations on Google Sheets. Where I used Google Sheets APIs with Google Apps Script HTML service. I have added most of the form elements that required to build most of the forms used in your day to day works. So, you can expand this form to meet your requirements even if you do not have much knowledge of coding.