Google Sheets API Overview

The Google Sheets API is a RESTful interface that lets you read and modify a spreadsheet's data. The most common uses of this API include the following tasks:

  • Create spreadsheets
  • Read and write spreadsheet cell values
  • Update spreadsheet formatting
  • Manage Connected Sheets

Below is a list of common terms used in the Sheets API:

Spreadsheet

The primary object in Google Sheets that can contain multiple sheets, each with structured information contained in cells. A Spreadsheet resource represents every spreadsheet and has a unique spreadsheetId value, containing letters, numbers, hyphens, or underscores. You can find the spreadsheet ID in a Google Sheets URL:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/spreadsheetId/edit#gid=0

Sheet

A page or tab within a spreadsheet. A Sheet resource represents each sheet and has a unique title and numeric sheetId value. You can find the sheet ID in a Google Sheets URL:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/aBC-123_xYz/edit#gid=sheetId

Cell

An individual field of text or data within a sheet. Cells are arranged in rows and columns, and can be grouped as a range of cells. A CellData resource represents each cell, but it doesn't have a unique ID value. Instead, row and column coordinates identify the cells.

A1 notation

A syntax used to define a cell or range of cells with a string that contains the sheet name plus the starting and ending cell coordinates using column letters and row numbers. This method is the most common and useful when referencing an absolute range of cells.

Show examples

  • Sheet1!A1:B2 refers to the first two cells in the top two rows of Sheet1.
  • Sheet1!A:A refers to all the cells in the first column of Sheet1.
  • Sheet1!1:2 refers to all the cells in the first two rows of Sheet1.
  • Sheet1!A5:A refers to all the cells of the first column of Sheet 1, from row 5 onward.
  • A1:B2 refers to the first two cells in the top two rows of the first visible sheet.
  • Sheet1 refers to all the cells in Sheet1.
  • 'My Custom Sheet'!A:A refers to all the cells in the first column of a sheet named "My Custom Sheet." Single quotes are required for sheet names with spaces, special characters, or an alphanumeric combination.
  • 'My Custom Sheet' refers to all the cells in 'My Custom Sheet'.

Tip: Where possible, use distinct names for the objects within your spreadsheets. For example, A1 refers to the cell A1 in the first visible sheet, whereas 'A1' refers to all the cells in a sheet named A1. Similarly, Sheet1 refers to all the cells in Sheet1. However, if there’s a named range titled "Sheet1", then Sheet1 refers to the named range and 'Sheet1' refers to the sheet.

R1C1 notation

A syntax used to define a cell or range of cells with a string that contains the sheet name plus the starting and ending cell coordinates using row numbers and column numbers. This method is less common than A1 notation, but can be useful when referencing a range of cells relative to a given cell's position.

Show examples

  • Sheet1!R1C1:R2C2 refers to the first two cells in the top two rows of Sheet1.
  • R1C1:R2C2 refers to the first two cells in the top two rows of the first visible sheet.
  • Sheet1!R[3]C[1] refers to the cell that is three rows below and one column to the right of the current cell.
Named range

A defined cell or range of cells with a custom name to simplify references throughout an application. A FilterView resource represents a named range.

Protected range

A defined cell or range of cells that cannot be modified. A ProtectedRange resource represents a protected range.

Next steps

Get started with Sheets API:

  • To learn about developing with Google Workspace APIs, including handling authentication and authorization, refer to Develop on Google Workspace.

  • To learn how to configure and run a simple Sheets API app, read the Quickstarts overview.