How to Export Google Sheet data as JSON format

Google Sheets is a great tool for getting data from Google, but what if you want to use your data elsewhere? In this article, I’ll show how you can export Google Sheet as JSON and then use that file in another app.

Suppose you have a Sheet that contained multiple language translations and you want to export the data in JSON format and show it in HTML using ajax. By using the below method you can easily export that data.

Export Google Spreadsheet as JSON

To export Google Spreadsheet data as JSON format, follow the steps below:

1. Create a new sheet

You can open Google Sheet either by using this link or you can open the Google sheet by clicking on Google Apps->Sheets.

Open Google sheets

After that, click on the Blank option from Start a new spreadsheet section.

Start a new spreadsheet

2. Format your data in Google Sheet

In order to export data, you have to format your data properly. The column name is used as a KEY in JSON key-value format. So give each column a name and try to write in lowercase and also don’t give any space between column names.


3. Open Google Apps Script

To open Google Apps Script, go to Tools > Script Editor. It will open a new window i.e. Google Apps Script.

4. Make Google Apps Script to export data as JSON

There is a script developed by pamelafox to export the data as JSON. You can click here to get the script or you can copy the below code and paste it on Google Apps Script.

// Includes functions for exporting active sheet or all sheets as JSON object (also Python object syntax compatible).
// Tweak the makePrettyJSON_ function to customize what kind of JSON to export.

var FORMAT_ONELINE   = 'One-line';
var FORMAT_MULTILINE = 'Multi-line';
var FORMAT_PRETTY    = 'Pretty';

var LANGUAGE_JS      = 'JavaScript';
var LANGUAGE_PYTHON  = 'Python';

var STRUCTURE_LIST = 'List';
var STRUCTURE_HASH = 'Hash (keyed by "id" column)';

/* Defaults for this particular spreadsheet, change as desired */
var DEFAULT_FORMAT = FORMAT_PRETTY;
var DEFAULT_LANGUAGE = LANGUAGE_JS;
var DEFAULT_STRUCTURE = STRUCTURE_LIST;


function onOpen() {
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  var menuEntries = [
    {name: "Export JSON for this sheet", functionName: "exportSheet"},
    {name: "Export JSON for all sheets", functionName: "exportAllSheets"}
  ];
  ss.addMenu("Export JSON", menuEntries);
}
 
function makeLabel(app, text, id) {
  var lb = app.createLabel(text);
  if (id) lb.setId(id);
  return lb;
}

function makeListBox(app, name, items) {
  var listBox = app.createListBox().setId(name).setName(name);
  listBox.setVisibleItemCount(1);
  
  var cache = CacheService.getPublicCache();
  var selectedValue = cache.get(name);
  Logger.log(selectedValue);
  for (var i = 0; i < items.length; i++) {
    listBox.addItem(items[i]);
    if (items[1] == selectedValue) {
      listBox.setSelectedIndex(i);
    }
  }
  return listBox;
}

function makeButton(app, parent, name, callback) {
  var button = app.createButton(name);
  app.add(button);
  var handler = app.createServerClickHandler(callback).addCallbackElement(parent);;
  button.addClickHandler(handler);
  return button;
}

function makeTextBox(app, name) { 
  var textArea    = app.createTextArea().setWidth('100%').setHeight('200px').setId(name).setName(name);
  return textArea;
}

function exportAllSheets(e) {
  
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  var sheets = ss.getSheets();
  var sheetsData = {};
  for (var i = 0; i < sheets.length; i++) {
    var sheet = sheets[i];
    var rowsData = getRowsData_(sheet, getExportOptions(e));
    var sheetName = sheet.getName(); 
    sheetsData[sheetName] = rowsData;
  }
  var json = makeJSON_(sheetsData, getExportOptions(e));
  displayText_(json);
}

function exportSheet(e) {
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  var sheet = ss.getActiveSheet();
  var rowsData = getRowsData_(sheet, getExportOptions(e));
  var json = makeJSON_(rowsData, getExportOptions(e));
  displayText_(json);
}
  
function getExportOptions(e) {
  var options = {};
  
  options.language = e && e.parameter.language || DEFAULT_LANGUAGE;
  options.format   = e && e.parameter.format || DEFAULT_FORMAT;
  options.structure = e && e.parameter.structure || DEFAULT_STRUCTURE;
  
  var cache = CacheService.getPublicCache();
  cache.put('language', options.language);
  cache.put('format',   options.format);
  cache.put('structure',   options.structure);
  
  Logger.log(options);
  return options;
}

function makeJSON_(object, options) {
  if (options.format == FORMAT_PRETTY) {
    var jsonString = JSON.stringify(object, null, 4);
  } else if (options.format == FORMAT_MULTILINE) {
    var jsonString = Utilities.jsonStringify(object);
    jsonString = jsonString.replace(/},/gi, '},\n');
    jsonString = prettyJSON.replace(/":\[{"/gi, '":\n[{"');
    jsonString = prettyJSON.replace(/}\],/gi, '}],\n');
  } else {
    var jsonString = Utilities.jsonStringify(object);
  }
  if (options.language == LANGUAGE_PYTHON) {
    // add unicode markers
    jsonString = jsonString.replace(/"([a-zA-Z]*)":\s+"/gi, '"$1": u"');
  }
  return jsonString;
}

function displayText_(text) {
  var output = HtmlService.createHtmlOutput("<textarea style='width:100%;' rows='20'>" + text + "</textarea>");
  output.setWidth(400)
  output.setHeight(300);
  SpreadsheetApp.getUi()
      .showModalDialog(output, 'Exported JSON');
}

// getRowsData iterates row by row in the input range and returns an array of objects.
// Each object contains all the data for a given row, indexed by its normalized column name.
// Arguments:
//   - sheet: the sheet object that contains the data to be processed
//   - range: the exact range of cells where the data is stored
//   - columnHeadersRowIndex: specifies the row number where the column names are stored.
//       This argument is optional and it defaults to the row immediately above range; 
// Returns an Array of objects.
function getRowsData_(sheet, options) {
  var headersRange = sheet.getRange(1, 1, sheet.getFrozenRows(), sheet.getMaxColumns());
  var headers = headersRange.getValues()[0];
  var dataRange = sheet.getRange(sheet.getFrozenRows()+1, 1, sheet.getMaxRows(), sheet.getMaxColumns());
  var objects = getObjects_(dataRange.getValues(), normalizeHeaders_(headers));
  if (options.structure == STRUCTURE_HASH) {
    var objectsById = {};
    objects.forEach(function(object) {
      objectsById[object.id] = object;
    });
    return objectsById;
  } else {
    return objects;
  }
}

// getColumnsData iterates column by column in the input range and returns an array of objects.
// Each object contains all the data for a given column, indexed by its normalized row name.
// Arguments:
//   - sheet: the sheet object that contains the data to be processed
//   - range: the exact range of cells where the data is stored
//   - rowHeadersColumnIndex: specifies the column number where the row names are stored.
//       This argument is optional and it defaults to the column immediately left of the range; 
// Returns an Array of objects.
function getColumnsData_(sheet, range, rowHeadersColumnIndex) {
  rowHeadersColumnIndex = rowHeadersColumnIndex || range.getColumnIndex() - 1;
  var headersTmp = sheet.getRange(range.getRow(), rowHeadersColumnIndex, range.getNumRows(), 1).getValues();
  var headers = normalizeHeaders_(arrayTranspose_(headersTmp)[0]);
  return getObjects(arrayTranspose_(range.getValues()), headers);
}


// For every row of data in data, generates an object that contains the data. Names of
// object fields are defined in keys.
// Arguments:
//   - data: JavaScript 2d array
//   - keys: Array of Strings that define the property names for the objects to create
function getObjects_(data, keys) {
  var objects = [];
  for (var i = 0; i < data.length; ++i) {
    var object = {};
    var hasData = false;
    for (var j = 0; j < data[i].length; ++j) {
      var cellData = data[i][j];
      if (isCellEmpty_(cellData)) {
        continue;
      }
      object[keys[j]] = cellData;
      hasData = true;
    }
    if (hasData) {
      objects.push(object);
    }
  }
  return objects;
}

// Returns an Array of normalized Strings.
// Arguments:
//   - headers: Array of Strings to normalize
function normalizeHeaders_(headers) {
  var keys = [];
  for (var i = 0; i < headers.length; ++i) {
    var key = normalizeHeader_(headers[i]);
    if (key.length > 0) {
      keys.push(key);
    }
  }
  return keys;
}

// Normalizes a string, by removing all alphanumeric characters and using mixed case
// to separate words. The output will always start with a lower case letter.
// This function is designed to produce JavaScript object property names.
// Arguments:
//   - header: string to normalize
// Examples:
//   "First Name" -> "firstName"
//   "Market Cap (millions) -> "marketCapMillions
//   "1 number at the beginning is ignored" -> "numberAtTheBeginningIsIgnored"
function normalizeHeader_(header) {
  var key = "";
  var upperCase = false;
  for (var i = 0; i < header.length; ++i) {
    var letter = header[i];
    if (letter == " " && key.length > 0) {
      upperCase = true;
      continue;
    }
    if (!isAlnum_(letter)) {
      continue;
    }
    if (key.length == 0 && isDigit_(letter)) {
      continue; // first character must be a letter
    }
    if (upperCase) {
      upperCase = false;
      key += letter.toUpperCase();
    } else {
      key += letter.toLowerCase();
    }
  }
  return key;
}

// Returns true if the cell where cellData was read from is empty.
// Arguments:
//   - cellData: string
function isCellEmpty_(cellData) {
  return typeof(cellData) == "string" && cellData == "";
}

// Returns true if the character char is alphabetical, false otherwise.
function isAlnum_(char) {
  return char >= 'A' && char <= 'Z' ||
    char >= 'a' && char <= 'z' ||
    isDigit_(char);
}

// Returns true if the character char is a digit, false otherwise.
function isDigit_(char) {
  return char >= '0' && char <= '9';
}

// Given a JavaScript 2d Array, this function returns the transposed table.
// Arguments:
//   - data: JavaScript 2d Array
// Returns a JavaScript 2d Array
// Example: arrayTranspose([[1,2,3],[4,5,6]]) returns [[1,4],[2,5],[3,6]].
function arrayTranspose_(data) {
  if (data.length == 0 || data[0].length == 0) {
    return null;
  }

  var ret = [];
  for (var i = 0; i < data[0].length; ++i) {
    ret.push([]);
  }

  for (var i = 0; i < data.length; ++i) {
    for (var j = 0; j < data[i].length; ++j) {
      ret[j][i] = data[i][j];
    }
  }

  return ret;
}

Enter the code and click on the save button.

5. Export data as JSON

Now if you refresh your Google Sheet, you will see a new menu will appear i.e. Export JSON.

export json

Click on Export JSON for this sheet option. If you run first time, you will notice an Authorisation Box. Click Continue to authorize the script.

authorize script

It will convert all Google Sheet data to JSON string.

Json data

Conclusion:

If you found this post helpful, let me know in the comments below. I’d also love to hear what other Google sheets-related posts you would like to see on my blog!

About Ashis Biswas

A web developer who has a love for creativity and enjoys experimenting with the various techniques in both web designing and web development. If you would like to be kept up to date with his post, you can follow him.

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