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@jmodjeska jmodjeska/google_csv.js forked from roblg/gist:2400902
Last active Apr 30, 2019

What would you like to do?
retrieving a basic auth-protected CSV with Google Spreadsheets and Google App Scripting
/** Import CSV with basic auth
* Synopsis:
populateSheetWithCSV(foo, csvUrl, base64pw, ignoreHeaders, bustCache)
* Usage:
=populateSheetWithCSV("Any Value", "https://csv-url", "base64pw", TRUE, TRUE)
* Variables:
* foo: Any value. Google Sheets doesn't always recalculate your formula.
To force it, you can manually or formulaically change this value,
which will trigger a fresh fetch of the CSV data from the source.
* csvUrl: Location of the CSV.
* base64pw: Pre-encoded base-64 password. You can use something like to get the encoded version of
* ignoreHeaders: If TRUE, doesn't return the first row of the CSV.
* bustCache: If TRUE, appends a random token to the CSV URL to traverse
a cache on the host serving your CSV.
// Helper function: generate a random number for a cache busting token
function cacheBust() {
return Math.floor((Math.random() * 100000) + 1);
// Helper function: parse the CSV response
function parseCsvResponse(csvString, ignoreHeaders) {
var retArray = [];
var strLines = csvString.split(/\n/g);
startLine = ignoreHeaders ? 1 : 0;
for (var i = startLine; i < strLines.length; i++) {
var line = strLines[i];
if (line != '') {
return retArray;
// Main function: retrieve the CSV and poppulate the data in-place
function populateSheetWithCSV(foo, csvUrl, base64pw, ignoreHeaders, bustCache) {
var url = cacheBust ? csvUrl .concat(cacheBust()) : csvUrl;
var resp = UrlFetchApp.fetch(url, {
headers: {
'Authorization': 'Basic '.concat(base64pw)
var csvContent = parseCsvResponse(resp.getContentText(), ignoreHeaders);
return csvContent;

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commented Aug 16, 2018

I really appreciate the original Gist; it got me started on the right path to solving an important problem. I suspect the various things that weren't working in the original are due to changes over time in Google Sheets functionality rather than any oversight by the author. But, since we live in the future now, here's the modified solution I ended up with.

This version solves a few problems

  1. CSVs often enclose commas inside sets of double quotes. We should be able to deal with that.
  2. Google restricts custom scripts' access to some of the functions used in the original version, including clearContents and setValue.
  3. This kind of function is most intuitive if it pulls the data in-place — the kind of behavior you get with IMPORTDATA() — rather than trying to clear and re-populate a remote sheet.
  4. Avoids storing plaintext username and password right there in the spreadsheet (not really more secure though; don't be fooled).

Gold plating

  1. Optionally, ignore CSV header rows.
  2. Optionally, use a cache-busting token in case your CSV source is caching and serving you old data.
  3. Allow for an arbitrary variable so you can force Google to recalculate the formula on-demand.

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commented Apr 24, 2019

@jmodjeska - this is great. Any chance you worked on a similar script to mimic IMPORTHTML with auth? thanks for this script!


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commented Apr 30, 2019

@swvajanyatek — I have not done this with HTML. There is a JSON solution here that I have used successfully, so if your HTML page has a JSON endpoint behind it that could be an option for you. Otherwise I don't know what to suggest; the crux of the problem would be how to hand off a variable full of raw HTML to Google's importHTML function in order to take advantage of its parsing capabilities.

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