How to Use Python to Automate Google Sheets? (2024 Edition)

Lakshay Arora 28 Dec, 2023 • 8 min read

Introduction

Automation of work has been one of the quickest ways to reach functional efficiency. Moreover, in today’s era where success is dependent on speed, automation of myriad repetitive tasks plays a key role in any industry and at the most basic level of functionality. But many of us fail to understand how to automate tasks and end up in the loop of manually doing the same things again. One such skill you can learn is to use python to automate certain functions in Google sheets.

This article will show a step-by-step process to set up a Google service account. We will use python to read google sheets’ data with the help of Google APIs and will also update the data in the spreadsheet using python. We will read the cricket commentary data from the spreadsheet, find out the number of runs scored by each batsman, and then upload the results into a separate spreadsheet.

google spreadsheets with python
Prerequisite:

This tutorial requires you to install Python 3 and Pip3 on your local computer. To install Python, In case you are unfamiliar with Python, do have a look at our free course Introduction to Python

Learning Objectives

  1. This tutorial helps you reduce manual work daily is reduced and just one click script away.
  2. Help you gain knowledge of python and google sheets (gsheets).
  3. It might help you to create a new project and python script to save a lot of time.

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Can we Automate Data Entry Into Google Sheets?

We often spend hours daily extracting data and then copy-pasting it to spreadsheets and creating reports leading to excessive time consumption. Consequently, it would be great if we just run a script, the data is uploaded in the spreadsheet, and the report is prepared with just a click. There are multiple advantages of report automation, such as being able to save time on data collection and removing typos, and focus would be more on the analysis part. Let’s find out how we can do this.

How to Upload Python Data Into Google Sheets?

There are several ways to get Python code to output to Google Sheets.

  • Using Python Google API Client is one of the easiest ways.
  • We can use these two pip packages, and there are others as well
    • Gsheets 
    • Gspread

However, we are using gspread in this tutorial.

How to Create a Google Service Account?

In order to read and update the data from google spreadsheets in python, we will have to create a Service Account. It is a special type of account used to make authorized API calls to Google Cloud Services – Google Cloud Docs.

First of all, make sure that you have a google account. If you have a Google account, you can follow these steps to create a Google service account.

  1. Go to the developer’s console.  Now, you will see something like this. Click on the Create Project button.google spreadsheets with python : Create project
  2. Then provide the project name and the organization name, which is optional. Then click on the create button.
    google spreadsheets with python : new project name
  3. Now that our project is created, we need to enable the APIs that we require in this project. Click on the Enable APIs and Services button to search for the APIs that Google provides.
    google spreadsheets with python: APIs and services Consequently, we will add two APIs for our project.
    • Google Sheets API
    • Google Drive API
  4. Then, in the search bar, search for these APIs and click on the enable button.google spreadsheets with python: API search bar
  5. Google Sheets API will look something like this. It will allow you to access Google Spreadsheets. You would be able to read and modify the content present in the Spreadsheets.google spreadsheets with python: enable
    Google Drive API will look something like this. It will allow you to access the resources from Google Drive.
    google spreadsheets with python
  6. Once you have enabled the required APIs in your project, then it’s time to create credentials for the service account. Click on the Create Credentials button to continue.
    google spreadsheets with python:overview
  7. Now, select Google Drive API in the type of API required question. We will call the API from a non-UI-based platform, so select Other non-UI (e.g., cron job, daemon). Select the ‘Application Data’ in the next question, as we do not require any user data to run our application. And also, we are not using any cloud-based computing engine for our application. Finally, click on the ‘What credentials do I need?’ button.
  8. Then, share the google spreadsheets with others and provide permission like edit or view only. Similarly, we will provide access to our service account. We will give it complete access so that we can read and write the spreadsheets and download the credentials.json file of the credentials.

A JSON file will now be downloaded, containing the keys to access the API. Our google service account is ready to use. In the next section, we will read and modify the data in the google spreadsheet.

How to Read Data From Google Sheets Using Python?

We will read the commentary data of the India-Bangladesh cricket match. You can access the data (.csv) from here.

google spreadsheets with python : data

We have ball-by-ball data of the complete match in the spreadsheet. Now, we will do a fundamental task and calculate how many runs are scored by each batsman. We can do this by using a simple groupby in pandas. And finally, we will append the results in a separate sheet.

Provide access to the Google sheet.

Now, we need to provide access to the google sheet so that the API can access it. Open the JSON file that we downloaded from the developer’s console. Look for the client_email in the JSON file and copy it.

google spreadsheets with python: client email

Then click on the Share button on the Spreadsheet and provide access to this client email.

google spreadsheets with python : Provide access to google sheet

Now, we are ready to use python to code and access the google sheet data. The following are the steps:

1. Import libraries

We will use the gspread and oauth2client services to authorize and make API calls to Google Cloud Services.

You can use the following code to install gspread and oauth2 python libraries.

!pip3 install gspread
!pip3 install --upgrade google-api-python-client oauth2client

Python Code:

2. Define the scope of the application

Then, we will define the scope of the application and add the JSON file with the credentials to access the API.

3. Create the sheet instance

Use the client object and open the sheet. You can either pass the title of the sheet as the argument or pass the URL of the sheet.

Access a particular sheet: We have multiple sheets in a single spreadsheet. You can use python to access particular google sheets by providing the index of that sheet in the get_worksheet function. For the first sheet, pass the index 0 and so on.

Basic functionalities

The API provides some basic functionalities, such as the number of columns by using col_count and get the value in a particular cell. Here are some examples of the same.

4. Get all records   

Then, we will get all the data in the sheet using the get_all_records function. It will return a JSON string containing the data.

google spreadsheets with python: all records
5. Convert the dictionary to the dataframe

In data science, pandas is one of the most preferred libraries for data manipulation tasks. So we will first convert the JSON string to the pandas dataframe.

In case you are not comfortable with the pandas, I would highly recommend you to enroll in this free course: Pandas for Data Analysis in Python

google spreadsheets with python: dataframe
6. Grouping batsman

Then, we will create a groupby of the number of runs scored by a batsman and upload that dataframe in a separate sheet.

google spreadsheets with python grouping batsman

Now, we will add this dataframe to google sheets.

Update Data in Google Sheets

The following are steps to update data in google sheets.

  1. Create a separate sheet.
    Firstly, we will create a separate sheet to store the results. For that, use the add_worksheet function and pass the number of rows and columns required and the sheet’s title. After that, get the instance of the second sheet by providing the index, which is 1.Once you run this command, you will see that a separate sheet has been created.
  2. https://gist.github.com/lakshay-arora/a7aee14b6e3a8296c6b100d49cd86031#file-add_sheet-pygoogle_spreadsheets_with_python - create a spresdsheet
  3. Update values to the sheet
    Then, convert the runs dataframe into the 2-D list and use the function to add values in the sheet. With this single line of code, you can update the sheet. Then, you will get a message of the number of rows and columns updated with some more details.https://gist.github.com/lakshay-arora/a7aee14b6e3a8296c6b100d49cd86031#file-insert_into_sheet-pygoogle_spreadsheet_with_python : Update values to the sheetgoogle_spreadsheets_with_python : update values to the sheet

Conclusion

To summarize, in this article, we dived into understanding the various steps involved in the process of creating a service account. And how to read the write in the google spreadsheets right from your python console. We downloaded the spreadsheet data, converted it into the pandas dataframe, created a groupby table, and uploaded it on the spreadsheet again. This API can be beneficial in the automation of reports.

In case you want to brush up on your spreadsheet concepts, I recommend the following article and course-

Key Takeaways

  • Google spreadsheets are essential in almost every industry and help others see the changes.
  • It will help in acquiring knowledge of python programming and scripting.
  • It saves a lot of time using python libraries by reducing manual work with the help of scripting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How to read data from Google spreadsheets with Python?

A. We can use gspread and oauth2 python libraries for reading excel files and spreadsheets. More ways of reading data from Google spreadsheets using Python are explained in the above article.

Q2. What is the use of Google spreadsheet?

A. In Google spreadsheet, you can create and edit spreadsheets directly in your web browser, without the use of any specific software, and can be used in place of excel. Multiple people can work simultaneously, you can see people’s changes as they make them, and every change is saved automatically and can download csv files.

Q3. Can we do python programming and machine learning vscode?

A. Yes, we can do python programming in vscode and quickstart with python programming.

Lakshay Arora 28 Dec 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

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Responses From Readers

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puneet wadhwa
puneet wadhwa 01 Aug, 2020

Hi, unable to open commentary data from spyder, console throws SpreadsheetNotFound error. while sharing the spreadsheet on email in the json file the mail bounced back.

Stalin R
Stalin R 26 Oct, 2020

Bro thankyou very much. It worked...

EMINA TUZOVIC
EMINA TUZOVIC 29 Oct, 2020

Hi, unable to open commentary data from spyder, console throws SpreadsheetNotFound error. while sharing the spreadsheet on email in the json file the mail bounced back. I made sure that I have a copy of the spreadsheet on my google drive and the spreadsheet is shared with my Google service account. but it still won't work.

JJ
JJ 19 Nov, 2020

Hi, Thank you for the guide, When I tried the last step: sheet_runs.insert_rows(runs.values.tolist()) I received 400 errors: gspread.exceptions.APIError: {'code': 400, 'message': 'Invalid value at \'data.values[0]\' (type.googleapis.com/google.protobuf.ListValue), etc.. etc.. Can you help? Thank you

Muskan
Muskan 19 Nov, 2020

How do i view the pandas data like shown in the images? I am using vs code. Thanks,

William
William 02 Dec, 2020

this was awesome to read

Deva
Deva 04 Dec, 2020

how to export data from external excel files to google spreadsheet using python

Deva
Deva 04 Dec, 2020

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- AttributeError Traceback (most recent call last) in () ----> 1 sheet_runs.insert_rows(records_df.values.tolist()) AttributeError: 'Worksheet' object has no attribute 'insert_rows' i got this error when i use this code

David S
David S 07 Jan, 2021

Awesome really easy to follow and worked thanks!

Marta
Marta 09 Mar, 2021

Very helpful article! Thanks for that :)

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