Project Management in Google Sheets


Outline of Project

I wanted a google sheet file that could manage simple projects. This meant that it could track tasks, send notifications when tasks were late and differentiate done, undone and late tasks when the file was opened and editted. To do this, I decided to research into Google Sheets Scripts, which ended up being a powerful tool that I could use to achieve my means.

Sending notifications for Late Tasks

For this I first had to set a trigger. There are 2 methods of doing this that I currently know of.

  • Using the menu bar by going to: Edit > Current project's triggers > Add a new trigger
  • Programmatically by creating a function and running it once.

I went with the programmatic way because this would enable me to easier set it up on other sheets.

So assuming there is a function called mainFunction, I write the following trigger:

function createTimeDrivenTriggers() {

This will run the function 'mainFunction' once per day. To activate the trigger, click on Run > Run Function > createTimeDrivenTriggers. The trigger can now be seen in the triggers list menu. When running the trigger for the first time, a page will pop up requesting for some permissions to be allowed.

To send a mail using the script is also fairly easy. Since the project sheet might have may participants, I set up a function that sends emails to an array provided to it with a particular message.

function sendEmail(emails, message, subject){
  for (var i=0; i<emails.length; i++){
    MailApp.sendEmail(emails[i], subject, message);

The emails are set in a sheet called 'lookup'. So the script will find this sheet and read the emails from it. The emails are stored in a column named 'Emails'.

function getEmailsToNotify(data) {
  var emailCol = getColumnByName(PropertiesService.getScriptProperties().getProperty('EMAILS_COLUMN'), data);
  var emails = [];
  if (emailCol < 0)
    return emails;
  for (var i=1; i<data.length; i++) {
    var email = data[i][emailCol];
    if (email.trim() !== ''){
  return emails;

For the script, the preconditions I set for it to be able to run was that the first row should have the following names in the various cells:

  • Features
  • Status
  • DateDue

This means that each sheet has to follow this pattern. To enforce this I wrote the following script:

function getColumnByName(colName, data) {
  var col = data[0].indexOf(colName);
  return col;

function getNotificationsFromSheet(range) {
  var data = range.getValues();
  var dateDueCol = getColumnByName('DateDue', data);
  var featuresCol = getColumnByName('Features', data);
  var statusCol = getColumnByName('Status', data);
  if (dateDueCol < 0 || featuresCol < 0 || statusCol < 0 ){
    return ["error : Sheet does not follow expected format"];
  } else {
    messages = getLateDateDues(dateDueCol, statusCol, featuresCol, range);
    return messages;
  // checkLateDateDues(dateDueCol, statusCol, featuresCol, data);
  // return ['this is cool', 'this is another one', 'I love this'];

The function getColumnByName checks the first row for any columnName provided to it. If a columnName is not found it returns -1. So in the function getNotificationsFromSheet, we check for the 3 cells, and if there is any that is missing and error is returned.

The getLateDateDues function just loops through all the dates comparing them to the current date. If any date is late and its status is not 'done', it adds this to the messages for alerting and also colors that particular row red.

function getLateDateDues(dateDueCol, statusCol, featuresCol, range) {
  // loop through the date due column only
  var data = range.getValues();
  var dateNow = new Date();
  var messages = [];
  for (var i =0; i<data.length; i++) {
    var dateDue = new Date(data[i][dateDueCol]);
    var rowRange = range.offset(i, 0, 1);
    if (dateNow > dateDue && data[i][statusCol] !== 'done'){
      messages.push(data[i][featuresCol] + ' was due on ' + dateDue);
  return messages;

You can find a copy of the complete gist here:late

Changing Colors while Editting

While editing the file, you also need to get some visual feedback on deadlines and errors. To do this, google sheets provides simple triggers that help out. For example, you can try this out:

function onEdit(e) {
  Logger.log('The sheet has been editted');

If you save this, and edit any cell on the sheet, you will see that message on the logger. To access the logger : View > Logs

The first thing to check for is if the editted cell belongs to the DateDue or status column. To do this, you need to get the activeSheet and the DataRange.

function onEdit(e) {
    var activeSheet = e.source.getActiveSheet();
    var sheetName = activeSheet.getName();
    var range = activeSheet.getDataRange();

Then we can get the column editted and row editted. Note that e.range.getColumn() and e.range.getRow(), start their indexes at 1, so to work properly with arrays we need to subtract 1 from the values we get.

function editTasksSheet(range, e){
  var data = range.getValues();
  var columnEditted = e.range.getColumn()-1;
  var rowEditted = e.range.getRow()-1;
  var valueInput = data[rowEditted][columnEditted];
  var dateDueCol = getColumnByName('DateDue', data);
  var statusCol = getColumnByName('Status', data);
  if (dateDueCol < 0 || statusCol < 0){
  } else if (columnEditted === dateDueCol) {
    var rowRange = range.offset(rowEditted, 0, 1);
    // var dateInput = data[rowEditted][columnEditted];
    formatBasedOnDate(rowRange, valueInput);
  } else if (columnEditted === statusCol) {
    if (valueInput === 'done') {
      var rowRange = range.offset(rowEditted, 0, 1);
    } else {
      formatBasedOnDate(rowRange, data[rowEditted][dateDueCol]);

From the above code snippet, we first look for the columns named 'DateDue' and 'Status'. If they are not existent, the script stops working because the sheet is not properly formatted. Afterwards we just format the sheet appropriately based off these rules:

  • If the date input is older than the current date, color the row red since it is a late task
  • If date input is later than current task, reset the background color to white.
  • If status input is done, color the row green
  • If status is something other than done, do the date formatting.

The completed file can be found in the following gist here:edit