On March 31 we held our first-ever user webinar, and we had a lot of fun interacting with the 100+ attendees that participated. We are looking forward to more webinars! Given the interest to do more webinars like this one-- especially the section where we explained the concept of column structure-- we are pleased to announce another series of webinars where we'll do deeper dives of the platform.
We received more questions than we could answer during the time allotted, so we decided to detail the rest here.
We answered questions from 31 different people in this post, which you can read below. Hope you find them useful!
Is there a way to switch views between tables?
Yes there is. You can choose which table or slice each view in your app points to. When you navigate to UX, you can select the data for the view, and also the type of view to display. The current available types for views are: Table, Form, Chart, Map, Gallery, Deck, and Slideshow.
Learn more about the different views here.
What is the Key column for, is it like a primary key?
Yes, the Key is also known as the Primary Key. You want to have a column that has unique values in every row. That’s how AppSheet will be able to uniquely identify any row in your data to display it in the app.
Learn more about it here.
Can you have an order form for customers? My client sent out an updated price list everyday. We would like to use the app to send the information and customers could order.
Yes, it’s possible to have an order form in your app. In fact, we have a sample you may copy and customize for your specific case.
Check out the Order Capture App.
Can you add labels to the Google maps view?
We are working on a way to add labels. Right now you can add an icon using formatting rules in the Advanced Editor.
Learn more about it here.
Can we look at this webinar again to review it?
Yes you can! It is published on our YouTube Channel.
Is there a way to hide the text message symbol by phone numbers that aren't mobile numbers?
Right now the behavior you describe is not available but we’ll make sure to pass it to the engineering team, who will evaluate if we can add the solution in the future.
Is it possible to use a custom icon (not in the list) for the UX?
Right now, it’s not possible. We use an open-source library call Font Awesome to provide the icons. The icons we use in all our views and action buttons comply with the Font Awesome library. We’ll pass this request to the engineering team to see if there are opportunities for more customization options.
Can the app interact with data from an Access Database table?
Right now it’s not possible but we are always exploring adding more data sources. We've had several requests for this, so we’ll explore with the engineering team if it’s possible to add cloud-based Access tables.
Is it possible to allow for multiple selections in dropdowns?
Yes it is. Instead of using type ENUM, choose ENUMLIST from the Advanced Editor>Data >Column Structure tab.
I would like to know if it's possible to add an additional dropdown option called 'other' after the app has been created but also take them to a text field to add text to describe the 'other' option. I know you can do this with the original Google Form but I'm assuming the app has to be rebuilt?
If you go to the Advanced Editor>Data>Column Structure, you’ll be able to configure your dropdowns (ENUM and ENUMLIST) to also allow for other values and the option to auto-complete other values. Simply locate the column you want to edit and select the Edit button to the left. You’ll see the options for 'AllowOtherValues' and 'AutoCompleteOtherValues' in the pop-up window.
Can you explain Slices?
Slices are available in the Advanced Editor>Data>Slices tab. Slices is what we call filtered views on your data. You can create slices based on conditions and formulas and each slice will be treated as a table. In the Advanced Editor>UX>Views tab you can make the selection to only show the data from the slice in the app.
Learn more about slices here.
I have app script formulas in my Google Sheet. When I submit data via AppSheet, sometimes it doesn't write in AppSheet.
Google Sheets' API doesn’t recognize data submitted via the API itself and most times scripts and add-ons don’t recognize data entered. You might try using time-triggered scripts which should help you overcome that.
If I have Google Sheet and I want to show certain rows that have certain values in certain columns, is it possible? For example if I want to show only rows where COL A is "open invoice"?
Yes you can. Please check the Expressions and Slices articles in our documentation to get more details on how to write those expressions. Slices will give you the ability to only show certain rows/columns based on the data they contain.
I have 10 drivers and I text them delivery addresses. I don’t want them to see other drivers' deliveries.
There are different methods to show only data that corresponds to the user of the app. Most solutions generally require you to add a column where you include the email address of the app user that should see the row. After assigning the rows to each user, you can use Slices or Security filters to only show the matching rows to each signed-in user of the app.
Learn more here.
Can multiple users of the app add data to a sheet so they all have the opportunity to enter new individual data into the app/spreadsheet?
Yes, this depends on how you set up write/read/delete in each table of your app. You can set up the table to allow for Adds and Updates which will allow your app users to add new rows and also edit existing rows. You can set up the access levels in the Advanced Editor>Data>Tables tab.
Can AppSheet be used to support survey? Example: 50 people are provided four lines of data to read; the survey asks which row did you read?
Yes it can. You simply need to add a table and give access to the app with 'Adds only' or 'Adds and Updates'. This will let the app user to enter a new row like a survey. Each column would correspond to a question and you can modify the behavior of the form in Advanced Editor>Data>Column Structure tab, adding features like SHOW_IF, REQUIRED_IF, and other rules to make the forms/surveys richer.
One application I have in mind does not have any obvious keys. Can I generate unique keys to rows that I add?
Yes you can. You can create a virtual column or add an actual column in your sheet. In the Advanced Editor>Data>Column Structure tab, find the column where you want the key to exist and locate the INITIAL VALUE section. Enter the expression: UNIQUEID() and a unique number will be generated every time you add a row. If you already have multiple rows of data in your app, you can simply enter a value in the Key column and end it with -01, then drag down the cell to have the -01 change to -02, -03, -04 and so on.
Can you connect data across multiple tables?
You can use References between tables. When you do this, you’ll see inline views in the app showing the related records between tables. When you add a new row with a reference, the Primary Key of the referenced table becomes a dropdown in the app.
Learn more here.
How can I allow my users to capture pictures in the app for project management?
Simply add a column with the name Picture or Image. AppSheet automatically treats the column as an image capture column and when you click on the corresponding row from the app, the app user will be able to take a picture. The file will be saved in your cloud storage and the corresponding spreadsheet cell will be populated with a text reference to the file.
I'm considering using AppSheet to send sales quotes that clients can approve row by row. If I don't want them to have to download the app, would I just share the web browser view?
Yes, the app can be used from a browser. You’ll find a link to the browser view in the Share tab in your app.
Can you show how to add a record to one table based on a value in another?
We’re not sure if we got your question correct, but we'll try our best. Right now you can use the SHOW_IF function in your forms to show/hide a question based on a response in the same row. If you want to bring data from another table to the form, you can do it via de-references. This means you’ll have to create a reference between the two tables first and then bring data from the referenced table to your form so you can choose to hide or show a question. We’d love to learn more about this scenario-- feel free to contact me ([email protected]) explaining your scenario a bit more. We might include it in one of our future deep-dives.
Can you enter a date and sync it with Google calendar?
We are working on a Google Calendar implementation. The functionality is still in beta, but you can test it to add rows to Google Calendars and read from Google Calendars. To test it, go to Add Data Source in your AppSheet account to add a Google Calendar. Please get back to us with feedback at community.appsheet.com.
My AppSheet program seems to be "stuck" on one spreadsheet I made. I would like to make a new one.
You can always create a new app by going to www.appsheet.com >My Apps>Make a New App.
There are some ways to troubleshoot your app if you fall into errors while building it. You can regenerate the app by clicking in “Regenerate Column Structure” in the Data>Column Structure tab. You can pick a new spreadsheet from the Data tab as well. And you can always contact us through community.appsheet.com with any help you need with errors or warnings.
I am trying to make an app from a spreadsheet with header columns with four choices underneath that would each need a value put in. The end result: I am a farmer who wants to record what feed I placed in each pen everyday. I have about six pens and I would need to record the amount of feed each pen receives of four different feeds. AppSheet doesn't like how I set up the columns in Google Sheets. I’m not sure how to change it.
There are several AppSheet users with similar patterns that can share their approach in the AppSheet User Community. I’ve built a few apps for inspections that follow a model similar to what you want to achieve. Please contact me [email protected] with any questions.
Can AppSheet be used with a spreadsheet that has calculations? If so, do you have a template for that?
AppSheet will automatically include the formula from your spreadsheets and re-apply it when you add a new row through the app. You can learn more about it here.
My company is looking at using AppSheet soon, only they are asking for a AppSheet contact. Do you have a sales consultant contact that I can provide? Thanks!
Is it possible to enter formula in AppSheet? User may enter start date for something and end date which should calculate and show the total number of days taken for that task.
AppSheet can calculate duration in several scenarios. You can also use a formula in the spreadsheet to calculate the duration.
Learn more about calculating duration in AppSheet here.
When I allow users to update the app, is it possible for them to edit only the data entered by them? One should not be able to change the data entered by other person.
Do you want the to see the data but not be able to edit it? We have an option for EDITABLE_IF which allows the column only to be editable if a value in a column (an email address, for example), is equal to the user’s email. This would make the column only editable if the signed-in user is the person that created the column.
What format is needed for the GPS location? I have had some issues with the decimal format not displaying on the map.
Are you adding locations directly in the spreadsheet or capturing using AppSheet?
If you run a test capture in the mobile device, you’ll see how the GPS module submits the data. For example, I ran one data capture for my current location and got the following:
If I enter those values in Google Maps, I get a proper map location. Please let us know at community.appsheet.com what type of GPS coordinates you are entering in the LatLong field and we’ll help you troubleshoot it.
If you have linked (referenced) tables, can you setup so it does "cascade delete" if the top record is deleted?
That type of bulk operation is not yet available but it’s certainly a interesting proposal! We’ll pass it along to the engineering team.
I want to create an app to collect personal information - how do I create one so that they user doesn’t see the other people's data?
The best way to do this is to use security filters. Learn more about it here.
Google can automatically create charts; how can I insert the charts into AppSheet?
AppSheet is unable to load charts from the spreadsheet software. Nonetheless, we have a view type that lets you chart data in your app. You can test the Chart view and try Histogram for a count of values in a column, or to also chart row or column data. Learn more here.
I tried using AppSheet directly using an Excel file. My file had calculations in certain columns. When deployed to AppSheet, it showed lots of errors, why?
That is not behavior we’d want to see! Unfortunately, it does happen and different things can trigger the errors for apps coming from Excel. It can be that you are using formulas to name your column headers, the table is not easily identifiable in the sheet, or there are formulas and functions that trigger calculation loops when the app is built. The best way to find help is to contact AppSheet Support here.
I have a spreadsheet that has different columns for an address, number, street, state. Is there a way to get AppSheet to recognize this without consolidating the columns into one location column?
Our recommendation is to use the CONCATENATE expression in a virtual column to gather the values of the three columns. If the consecutive columns are named: Street, City, and State. AppSheet may be able to pick up the full address automatically. This possibility depends on AppSheet’s algorithms and the existing data in the app so it may not recognize the whole address every time you create an app with the three columns.
I have shared an app for collaboration. When the shared user logs in, they only have the option of preview and can’t collaborate. What am I doing wrong?
You need to make sure the collaborate option is set to EDIT. When the user sees the app in My Apps, they should click on the app icon to see the app definition. If you keep seeing the same behavior, please contact [email protected] so we can troubleshoot your app.
I am using Google maps for my locations, how do I add a number to the location dot?
We are working on getting all the same behaviors as with Bing maps in the new Google Maps implementation. Stay tuned.
I have changed app ownership, and I am unable to open it in the web browser.
Are you trying to open the app editor with the app or the full screen app in the browser? If the latter, it may be that the app requires you to sign in and as you are no longer the owner, you are not authorized to see it. If you are authorized to see it and still get an error, please contact us at [email protected] and we’ll take a look.
How do I send a triggered email after the daily data in my app has been collected?
We currently don’t have timed triggers for new data-- only triggers based on changes to the data via workflow emails. If you are using Google Sheets or Forms, there are other add-ons and scripts that might help you achieve this. You can ask the question in community.appsheet.com where you’ll find some advanced users that have been using other add-ons and scripts to achieve similar goals.
I would like to have greater control over the vertical and/or horizontal positioning of the information on the screen. Is there any plan to provide such control?
Right now we are planning on updating all the templates used to display the data in the app. The goal is to let you concentrate on setting up your data rather than designing the template pixel by pixel. That said, we’d like to get your feedback on the look and feel of the app so we can incorporate user suggestions in future updates. The engineering team is always checking for feedback on community.appsheet.com.
App development can be time-consuming especially where multiple tables, slices, and controls are present in the app. Development time could be reduced if the automatic preview regeneration were "detached" from the edit. That is to say, let the user decide when to regenerate the preview as opposed to an automatic regeneration every time a change is made.
Great feedback! One of our goals is to always show a the latest version of the app as you customize it. But there is also value in not reloading the page every time you do a change if you prefer to test the app with further changes. The challenge is to help you understand what may have triggered an error in your app. This is easier to track down if we check for integrity every time you introduce a new change.
Ok, so I'm loving this so far, biggest thing for me, I work for county government and I know the first question they will ask... "How secure will our data be?"
This is a great question. AppSheet provides several layers of security which are all explained in this detailed article:
Also, you can review the article below specially tailored for IT departments:
We are happy to provide further details and specs upon requests to IT departments in government and commercial organizations. Please contact [email protected] with your request and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Is there an existing example of a way to use AppSheet to edit a Google Calendar? My example is I need to make an on-call calendar for some county employees which allows them to sign up for days they will volunteer to take for on-call purposes.
Thank you for the request! We’ll be adding examples that create and read events in a Google Calendar soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, make sure you start testing Google Calendar as a data source by going to this link.
I have created an app that uses the scan option, but it does not allow a barcode to save if it has a dash. How would I be able to change this so any barcodes with dashes would save?
While our Scanner supports multiple symbologies, there are some that are not yet fully supported. You can contact us at [email protected] with your specific case so we can review if it’s connected to symbologies or if its something we can enable in your app.
If you have many worksheets and the number of columns would be big, how would you jump from worksheet to worksheet? This could be also considered as workflow.
We call worksheets tables when they are added to the app – they are connected between each other via References. This means that one sheet is a “reference” to another when you create the connection based on the data in a column.
You can learn more here.
Now, you may be asking for the ability to start a form in one table and then jump to another table if required (based on some rule in your app). We currently don’t have that functionality but it's on our list to discuss.
Thank you all for participating in this webinar. We are looking forward to seeing you next time, which will be a deep-dive in the world of apps with multiple tables, references between tables, and great multi-table app patterns!
As always, please make sure you join the AppSheet User Community.