Sheets App FAQ
What is the Sheets App?
The Sheets App is an integration app available in the ScreenScape Media editor.
The app creates a connection between Google Sheets and your ScreenScape media. When values change in your Sheet, the display of those values on your screen automatically updates.
What kinds of data can I access with the Sheets App?
The Sheets App focuses on individual cell values. Cell values (not formulas) are transmitted as unformatted text strings to ScreenScape. You can then add formatting in the media editor.
In addition, a max of 30 cells from a single sheet can be linked at any one time. Only 1 sheet can be referenced at a time (note – use the formula ImportRange to read other docs into your current sheet).
Things you can’t access? Charts (use the Embed app instead); pivot tables; very large blocks of cells; cell formatting. Basically, anything that isn’t an individual cell value.
Does my Sheet need to be public?
No, your spreadsheet (and your data) can stay private.
When you add a Sheets app layer to a media item, you’ll be asked to authorize access to your Google Sheets data. The authorization allows us to securely access your private data. When asking for your permission, we restrict it to read-only access specifically to your spreadsheets.
What can I do with the Sheets App?
The Sheets Apps is crazy useful. It’s a Swiss army knife that can be used in all kinds of situations. Use the Sheets App if:
- You want Dashboards, where the values can be driven dynamically from a spreadsheet
- You want Menus, where the values can be driven dynamically from a spreadsheet
- You have data on your screens that is driven by external sources and changes frequently (finance, sales, pricing, analytics, etc)
- You have data on your screens that relies on multiple values in combination
- your menu prices have different tax rates across different locales
- your ads need to be translated into multiple languages
- your sales leaderboard changes based on dynamic conditions
- Your organization’s workflows are already established with Google Sheets
- You want a clearinghouse for your data before it gets to your screens – you can combine, transform, translate data inside your Sheets then connect the result to a dashboard on ScreenScape
- You have specialized data tools and add-ons built into your Google Sheets, and you want those strengths to carry over to ScreenScape
- You need a bridge to get external data onto your screen (scenario: connect my SQL Server to a Sheet with Zapier, then connect the Sheet to ScreenScape)
Bottom line: If you can get the data into a spreadsheet, you can probably get it onto your ScreenScape display.
Does using the Sheets app put my data at risk?
No – it’s a one way street. No edits are being made to your document. We’re just accessing the Google API to read the data from specific cells.
In addition, your data is secure. The authorization you’ve given ScreenScape to access your document is private. It’s only used for this specific purpose, and it’s passed on to no one. In fact, even your ScreenScape device doesn’t have access; only the devices that have permisisons on that media item (and no others) can read the resulting data.
How should I set up my Google Sheet?
Nothing special. You don’t have to do anything extra to your Sheet document to use it with the Sheets app, like make the document Public or Share it.
Just copy and paste the URL into the app settings and name the cells that you want to pull the data from.
What are some useful Google functions that get great results with the Sheets app?
Spreadsheet ninjas will recognize some of these very handy Google Sheets functions:
This is Spreadsheet 101, but sooo powerful.
Say you wanted to reference current menu prices from your Sheet, but different local taxes needed to be applied for prices at the various screen locations.
List the base prices in your sheet, then use basic formulas and cell references to automatically update all local prices at once.
Rate change? No problem – change 1 cell value and all your screens update their prices automatically.
ImportRange allows you to reference other Google documents.
Say you wanted a single Dashboard with all your latest Sales data. Your Finance department maintained meticulous records, but they’re spread across a dozen documents. Use ImportRange to access the docs, pull the right data together in a single Sheet, then refer to that doc from the Sheets app.
An added benefit to this approach is that you retain control over your ‘digital signage’ sheet – and Finance retains control over theirs – but the data itself has a single source.
Secure, flexible and in line with your org’s current workflow.
Pull data and headlines from multiple webpage sources
Say you wanted the headlines from a site, but couldn’t find an RSS feed for it. Use your Sheet to pull the data, clean it up, and send it on to your screens with the Sheets app.
Extract data from multiple feeds and xml docs
Say you wanted to display Tweets that originate in English… but need to show the French translation on your digital sign.
Take any text input (say, a headline from a feed) and auto translate it to any of 100 languages and alphabets. Then reference the translated text from your Sheets app.
Pro Tip: You can even detect the language of the incoming text with the function =DetectLanguage
Get the latest financial data along multiple dimensions, and pull the results onto your ScreenScape screen
The Google community has a vast array of specialized Add-ons, custom designed for specific uses. If the data you need is really complex or specialized… try looking here to see if someone’s already solved it.
Scripts and Apps
Use Google Scripts and apps to automatically execute code or update your Sheets data on a predefined schedule.
Warning – for expert users only! Zapier and IFTTT
Use online services like Zapier and IFTTT (IfThisThenThat) to automate the flow of data into your Sheet from (literally) thousands of external sources.
Say you had a custom database built with MySQL. You want the latest database values reflected on your screens. Use Zapier to trigger a Sheets update every time a value changes in the database. Then use the Sheets app in ScreenScape to pull that value onto your screens.