How to create an automatically updating Google spreadsheet

Tired of finding, copying and pasting data into spreadsheets? With just a few lines of code, you can set up a self-updating spreadsheet in Google Docs that fetches and stores data for you, as this Facebook example shows.

By Sharon Machlis, Computeworld |  IT Management, Google, google docs

Add your first formula

Spreadsheet formulas can do more than math calculations; they can also extract data from an API such as Facebook's. Since you may want to track more than one page -- not only yours but competitors' -- we'll set it up to be easily scalable.

In the first column, list the Facebook accounts you want to track. In the second column, create a formula to find number of likes from the API using this format:

https://graph.facebook.com/accountID (replace that with the account ID or name)

To do so, your column B formula needs to add the URL root  "https://graph.facebook.com/" to the account name from column A, like so:

=CONCAT("https://graph.facebook.com/",A2)

and so on for the other rows.

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