Monday 7 May 2018

Make and Name Multiple Google Docs in a flash with Name Those Docs!

Image result for docappender

docAppender is a great tool that links Google Forms directly to Google Docs.  Usually submissions to a Google Form populate to a Google Sheet but with docAppender you can append data collected from a Google Form to the bottom of a predetermined Google Doc.

For example, if you have a Google Form that you use to track observations of student behaviours.  Your first question could be "Student Name".  When you apply docAppender, each time you fill out the form, your answers from the form would populate to that student's Doc.

HOWEVER, in order for docAppender to work, you need a Google Doc for each student.  These can be time consuming to make. I sought a solution to make multiple copies and couldn't find a great solution until I recently took Alice Keeler's Go Slow Very Intro to Google Apps Script.  In the course, I decided I wanted to automate the file making process.  I wanted to have a roster on a Google Sheet that would automatically create a Doc for each student, named after that student.

Mission Accomplished! 
Name Those Docs! is your solution.

Here is how it works:

1.  Choose the version of Make Those Docs! that suits your needs.  Click the link to the template you need in the chart below the graphic.

2. Once you pick your template, click the blue Use Template button in the top right corner.  This will make a copy in your Drive.

3. Enter your roster.  This can be done by typing it in or copying and pasting it in from another spreadsheet/CSV file.  Be sure what you enter matches the headings in row 2.

4.  Launch Make Those Docs! by going to Add-ons on the menu bar, selecting Launch Those Docs!  [version] and clicking Start.  (Note: If it if note there, wait a minute and/or refresh the page.)

5. At this point, you will likely be prompted to give permission to allow the add-on to run.  Click Continue.  (Note: Steps 5-9 should only appear the first time you run the add-on.)

6.  Next, Pick the account in which you want to install the add-on.  

7. On the Verification screen, select advanced on the bottom left.  

8. More text will appear at the bottom of the text box, select "Name Those Docs (unsafe)". 
Note:  It is totally safe.  The only reason it says it is "unsafe" is because it has not been verified (in order to be verified you need to have terms of service and a privacy policy and that sound like a lot of lawyer $$ to me).  I collect no data - in fact I have absolutely no way to access the copy you make of the file. 

9.  Click Allow.

10.  A side bar will appear.  It will look like the one below - although it might vary depending on the version you chose.  Click the Make Docs button.  

11.  You will be prompted to enter the name for a teacher folder.  This folder will be in your My Drive and it will contain all the files that are created.  You can move it into another folder after the script runs.  Click OK.

12. Next you will be asked if you want any text after the student name.  For examples, if want the files to be called Doe, John - Observations you need to enter "- observations" in the text box.  If you do not want anything but the student name, just leave the box empty.  Click OK.

13. Now the magic happens!  The docs will automatically be created and you will have quick access to them on the Sheet.

Troubleshooting tip: No file created?  Check the email - it might be wrong, or not a google linked account.

If you want to create another batch of Docs, you can copy another template, OR simply erase all the data you entered (the roster) as well as the data that was generate by the add-on (the file name, link, etc. as well all the columns with the Doc Name, ID & URL) and run the add-on again.

Here is a video walking you through the process.

Let me know if you find any bugs...I will try to fix but can't make any guarantees.


  1. This is amazing!! I listened to the podcast way back when it was first published and knew I would need to remember this in the new year. I just sat down to make all of my documents and remembered your podcast. This is so easy and soooo helpful! Thank you for saving me hours!

  2. I'm using version B. The sheet created docs for the first 3 (of 30) names, then stopped. Any ideas on why?

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  4. Great tool, thanks. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be quite working for me. I did a test with 2 docs and it only put the info for one in the sheet. The other one was created, but outside the folder, and it's info wasn't put into the sheet. I'll try editing the script..

  5. It's been working awesome. Then today it it has a different look when I launch the Name that Docs. I can't get the NO ACESS template to work. It keeps having an error saying I need an email address and previously no email address was required for the NO ACCESS template of yours. I love that feature of no email address required for somethings.

    1. It's fixed now. I didn't do anything different. So glad its back working today! I love this extension!

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