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    2.0.9 • Public • Published

    Simple Google Spreadsheet Access (node.js)

    NPM version

    A simple Node.js module for reading and manipulating data in Google Spreadsheets.

    • with or without auth
    • cell-based API - read, write, bulk-updates
    • row-based API - read, update, delete
    • managing worksheets - add, remove, resize, change title


    NPM Info

    Basic Usage

    This example is simply meant to show some of the things you can do.

    Note (the comments) that many of the calls are actually asynchronous, but I skipped showing the callbacks to make the example shorter. You also don't have to use async for control flow, but I find it helpful.

    var GoogleSpreadsheet = require('google-spreadsheet');
    var async = require('async');
    // spreadsheet key is the long id in the sheets URL
    var doc = new GoogleSpreadsheet('<spreadsheet key>');
    var sheet;
      function setAuth(step) {
        // see notes below for authentication instructions!
        var creds = require('./google-generated-creds.json');
        // OR, if you cannot save the file locally (like on heroku)
        var creds_json = {
          client_email: '',
          private_key: 'your long private key stuff here'
        doc.useServiceAccountAuth(creds, step);
      function getInfoAndWorksheets(step) {
        doc.getInfo(function(err, info) {
          console.log('Loaded doc: '+info.title+' by ';
          sheet = info.worksheets[0];
          console.log('sheet 1: '+sheet.title+' '+sheet.rowCount+'x'+sheet.colCount);
      function workingWithRows(step) {
        // google provides some query options
          offset: 1,
          limit: 20,
          orderby: 'col2'
        }, function( err, rows ){
          console.log('Read '+rows.length+' rows');
          // the row is an object with keys set by the column headers
          rows[0].colname = 'new val';
          rows[0].save(); // this is async
          // deleting a row
          rows[0].del();  // this is async
      function workingWithCells(step) {
          'min-row': 1,
          'max-row': 5,
          'return-empty': true
        }, function(err, cells) {
          var cell = cells[0];
          console.log('Cell R'+cell.row+'C'+cell.col+' = '+cell.value);
          // cells have a value, numericValue, and formula
          cell.value == '1'
          cell.numericValue == 1;
          cell.formula == '=ROW()';
          // updating `value` is "smart" and generally handles things for you
          cell.value = 123;
          cell.value = '=A1+B2'
; //async
          // bulk updates make it easy to update many cells at once
          cells[0].value = 1;
          cells[1].value = 2;
          cells[2].formula = '=A1+B1';
          sheet.bulkUpdateCells(cells); //async
      function managingSheets(step) {
          title: 'my new sheet'
        }, function(err, sheet) {
          // change a sheet's title
          sheet.setTitle('new title'); //async
          //resize a sheet
          sheet.resize({rowCount: 50, colCount: 20}); //async
          sheet.setHeaderRow(['name', 'age', 'phone']); //async
          // removing a worksheet
          sheet.del(); //async
    ], function(err){
        if( err ) {
          console.log('Error: '+err);


    IMPORTANT: Google recently deprecated their ClientLogin (username+password) access, so things are slightly more complicated now. Older versions of this module supported it, so just be aware that things changed.

    Unauthenticated access (read-only access on public docs)

    By default, this module makes unauthenticated requests and can therefore only access spreadsheets that are "public".

    The Google Spreadsheets Data API reference and developers guide is a little ambiguous about how you access a "published" public Spreadsheet.

    If you wish to work with a Google Spreadsheet without authenticating, not only must the Spreadsheet in question be visible to the web, but it must also have been explicitly published using "File > Publish to the web" menu option in the google spreadsheets GUI.

    Many seemingly "public" sheets have not also been "published" so this may cause some confusion.

    Unauthenticated requests allow reading, but not writing to sheets. To write on a sheet, you must authenticate.

    Service Account (recommended method)

    This is a 2-legged oauth method and designed to be "an account that belongs to your application instead of to an individual end user". Use this for an app that needs to access a set of documents that you have full access to. (read more)

    Setup Instructions

    1. Go to the Google Developers Console
    2. Select your project or create a new one (and then select it)
    3. Enable the Drive API for your project
    • In the sidebar on the left, expand APIs & auth > APIs
    • Search for "drive"
    • Click on "Drive API"
    • click the blue "Enable API" button
    1. Create a service account for your project
    • In the sidebar on the left, expand APIs & auth > Credentials
    • Click blue "Add credentials" button
    • Select the "Service account" option
    • Select "Furnish a new private key" checkbox
    • Select the "JSON" key type option
    • Click blue "Create" button
    • your JSON key file is generated and downloaded to your machine (it is the only copy!)
    • note your service account's email address (also available in the JSON key file)
    1. Share the doc (or docs) with your service account using the email noted above

    Google's API Limitations

    Google's API is somewhat limiting. Calls are made to two differently designed APIs, one made to deal with cells, and one to deal with rows. These APIs will let you manage the data in your sheets, but you cannot make any modifications to the formatting of the cells.

    Row-Based API Limitations

    The row-based API assumes that the "header row" (first row) of your sheet is set. They have limitations on the column names they will accept - all lowercase with no symbols or spaces. If the values in your sheet do not follow their rules, their API will adapt the key it actually returns to you. I recommend just following their rules to avoid confusion.

    You can set a formula value into a cell using the row-based API, but when reading rows, you cannot access the formula, or even be aware that there is one in the cell. Any cells with formulas will return the calculated value of the formula. If you try to update a row, the cell with a formula will be overwritten to its calculated value.

    IMPORTANT The row-based API also assumes there are no empty rows in your sheet. If any row is completely empty, you will not be able to access any rows after the empty row using the row-based API.


    This module follows "normal" node callback conventions:

    • Every method that takes a callback takes it as its last param
    • Every callback will be called with the error (or null) as first param
    • Some methods have optional params


    The main class that represents an entire spreadsheet.

    new GoogleSpreadsheet(sheet_id, [auth], [options])

    Create a new google spreadsheet object.

    • sheet_id -- the ID of the spreadsheet (from its URL)
    • auth - (optional) an existing auth token
    • options - (optional)
      • visibility - defaults to public if anonymous
      • projection - defaults to values if anonymous

    GoogleSpreadsheet.useServiceAccountAuth(account_info, callback)

    Uses a service account email and public/private key to create a token to use to authenticated requests. Normally you would just pass in the result of requiring the json file that google generates for you when you create a service account.

    See the "Authentication" section for more info.

    If you are using heroku or another environment where you cannot save a local file, you may just pass in an object with

    • client_email -- your service account's email address
    • private_key -- the private key found in the JSON file

    Internally, this uses a JWT client to generate a new auth token for your service account that is valid for 1 hour. The token will be automatically regenerated when it expires.


    1. Save your private key to a text file
    2. Replace \n with actual line breaks
    3. Replace \u003d with =
    4. heroku config:add GOOGLE_PRIVATE_KEY="$(cat yourfile.txt)"


    Use an already created auth token for all future requets.


    Get information about the spreadsheet. Calls callback passing an object that contains:

    • id - the URL/id as returned from google
    • title - the title of the document
    • updated - last updated timestamp
    • author - auth info in an object
      • name - author name
      • email - author email
    • worksheets - an array of SpreadsheetWorksheet objects (see below)

    GoogleSpreadsheet.getRows(worksheet_id, options, callback)

    Get an array of row objects from the sheet.

    • worksheet_id - the index of the sheet to read from (index starts at 1)
    • options (optional)
      • offset - start reading from row #
      • limit - max # of rows to read at once
      • orderby - column key to order by
      • reverse - reverse results
      • query - send a structured query for rows (more info)
    • callback(err, rows) - will be called with an array of SpreadsheetRow objects (see below)

    NOTE The reverse option only works in conjunction with orderby. It will not work to reverse the default ordering. This is a known bug in Google's API.

    GoogleSpreadsheet.addRow(worksheet_id, new_row, callback)

    Add a single row to the sheet.

    • worksheet_id - the index of the sheet to add to (index starts at 1)
    • new_row - key-value object to add - keys must match the header row on your sheet
    • callback(err, row) - will be called with the new SpreadsheetRow (see below)

    GoogleSpreadsheet.getCells(worksheet_id, options, callback)

    Get an array of cell objects.

    • worksheet_id - the index of the sheet to add to (index starts at 1)
    • options (optional)
      • min-row - row range min (uses #s visible on the left)
      • max-row - row range max
      • min-col - column range min (uses numbers, not letters!)
      • max-col - column range max
      • return-empty - include empty cells (boolean)

    GoogleSpreadsheet.addWorksheet(options, callback)

    Add a new worksheet to the doc.

    • options (optional)
      • title - title for the new sheet, must be unique in the doc (default = 'Worksheet {timestamp}')
      • rowCount - number of rows (default = 50)
      • colCount - number of columns (default = 20)
      • headers - array of string keys to put in the first row

    GoogleSpreadsheet.removeWorksheet(sheet, callback)

    Remove a worksheet from the doc - by id, index, or the SpreadsheetWorksheet object

    • sheet - can be a SpreadsheetWorksheet object, the id of the sheet, or the index (starts at 1)


    Represents a single "sheet" from the spreadsheet. These are the different tabs/pages visible at the bottom of the Google Sheets interface.

    These are the sheet objects returned as worksheets when calling GoogleSpreadsheet.getInfo. Many of the calls are accessible from the main Spreadsheet object by passing in a sheet ID (see above), but some functionality is only available on the Worksheet object because it requires various URLs only known after fetching the sheets for making requests.


    • url - the URL for the sheet
    • id - the ID of the sheet
    • title - the title (visible on the tabs in google's interface)
    • rowCount - number of rows
    • colCount - number of columns

    SpreadsheetWorksheet.getRows(options, callback)

    See above.

    SpreadsheetWorksheet.getCells(options, callback)

    See above.

    SpreadsheetWorksheet.addRow(new_row, callback)

    See above.

    GoogleSpreadsheet.bulkUpdateCells(cells, callback)

    Do a bulk update on cells.

    • cells - an array of SpreadsheetCell objects to save


    Remove this sheet from the doc.

    SpreadsheetWorksheet.setHeaderRow(values, callback)

    Set the first row of the sheet

    • values - array of string values to put in the first row of the sheet


    Clears the entire sheet's contents

    SpreadsheetWorksheet.resize(options, callback)

    Set the dimensions of the sheet

    • options
      • rowCount - number of rows
      • colCount - number of columns

    SpreadsheetWorksheet.setTitle(title, callback)

    Set the title of the sheet

    • title - new title for the worksheet


    Represents a single row from a sheet.

    These are returned from calling GoogleSpreadsheet.getRows and SpreadsheetWorksheet.getRows.

    You can treat the row as a normal javascript object. Object keys will be from the header row of your sheet, however the google API mangles the names a bit to make them simpler. It's easiest if you just use all lowercase keys to begin with.

    See limitations above for notes about Google's row-based API! callback )

    Saves any changes made to the row's values.

    SpreadsheetRow.del( callback )

    Deletes the row from the sheet.


    Represents a single cell from the sheet. Using cells is the only way to read and modify the formulas in your sheet.


    • id - the ID of the cell
    • row - the row this cell is in
    • col - the column this cell is in
    • value - the value of the cell as a string
    • formula - the formula present in the cell, for example =SUM(A3:B3) (if applicable)
    • numericValue - the value of the cell as a number (if applicable)


    • You can modify value, numericValue, or formula, and things will work as expected
    • You can save a cell by either calling save or doing a bulk update.
    • Setting value or numericValue on a cell that contains a formula will clear the formula
    • Setting a formula value will clear the value and numericValue and after saving the values will be updated

    Saves the current value or formula


    Clear the cell -- internally just calls .setValue('', callback)

    SpreadsheetCell.setValue(val, callback)

    Sets the value and saves it (Just for convenience)

    Further possibilities & to-do

    • getting list of available spreadsheets for an authenticated user
    • more authentication options



    node-google-spreadsheets is free and unencumbered public domain software. For more information, see the accompanying UNLICENSE file.


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