Best Practices and Troubleshooting Tips for Unito's Google Sheets Integration

Here's a breakdown of best practices and troubleshooting tips for syncing Google Sheets with Unito's 2-way integration, Unito Spreadsheet Sync.

What topics does this article cover?

Getting started with Unito and Google Sheets

Troubleshooting Common Errors

Advanced Integration Features

Best Practices for Maintaining Flows

You can find Unito Spreadsheet Sync in the Google Workspace Marketplace. This add-on is necessary in order to sync data to Google Sheets with Unito.

Here's a guide on how to add Spreadsheet Sync to your account for the first time. If you need technical details or a general overview, you can browse our Google Sheets integration guide here.

Verifying add-on status for Unito Spreadsheet Sync

When you first add a Google Sheet to a Unito flow, you'll see this box pop up.

verify Unito Spreadsheet Sync

If you've already installed the add-on in that particular sheet, you'll see a checkmark appear beside the verification prompt.

By clicking on Verify add-on status, Unito will automatically check to ensure the add-on for Google Sheets is installed and properly configured.

Otherwise, you'll see this:

Click on Install Unito add-on, and you'll be directed to install the extension and ensure it's fully configured.

Install Spreadsheet Sync 1

Once that's done, clicking on Verify add-on status will give you this:

Meaning you've successfully installed the add-on and you're ready to keep building your flow.

Need more help? Follow our video guide on how to install Unito Spreadsheet Sync:

Note: If you have pop-ups blocked while attempting to install Unito Spreadsheet Sync, it won't be able to load. You'll have to enable pop-up windows and try again.

Configure your spreadsheet before syncing

Use a header row

Your Unito flow will reference the first row of each table and associate it with the fields in your other app or tool. So be sure to include clearly labelled field names in the first cell of each column. Unito can now do this automatically if you're starting from a blank sheet.

After you insert two columns into a blank sheet, click Create Flow from within Unito Spreadsheet Sync and Import data from the tool of your choice. When you create a flow this way, you'll be given an option to auto-populate your row header.

Autopopulate

Tips for spreadsheet configuration:

  • Freeze the first row of your spreadsheet. Otherwise, it might get moved around when you sort your sheet, which would stop your data from syncing.
  • Avoid collapsing columns in your spreadsheet as this can disrupt data synchronization, even if the columns are later uncollapsed.

Managing columns with Unito Spreadsheet Sync

Adding extra columns to a spreadsheet

There always needs to be an empty column to the right of your spreadsheet in order for Unito to sync. So if you're working in a large spreadsheet that's using every visible column, be sure to add one more.

If you want to change a field name in Google Sheets or forgot to include a field after adding the two columns and launching your flow, put your flow on pause. Then, adjust your header row as needed and log back into Unito to review your flow. Make sure the field mappings table includes all the new field names, then turn your flow back on.

How to recover deleted UnitoID and Last Modified columns

If you accidentally delete the UnitoID or Last Modified columns in a live flow, you can recover them.  Start by undoing the action if you can: Ctrl+Z (or Cmd+Z for Mac users). If this doesn't work, you can check your sheet's history to locate a version that includes these columns and restore it.

To check your Google Sheet's history: File > Version History > See Version History.

Note: You can't lock these columns, since that will prevent Unito from making changes to them, which will in turn stop your flow from syncing. 

Common error messages related to columns

These messages are likely to appear if you've deleted or locked the columns Unito ID or Last Modified:

  • "We’ve detected that mandatory columns have been removed from your Google Sheet. Let’s get you back up and running."
  • "The container configuration does not allow us to sync."

If you see either of those error messages, it likely indicates that one or both of the columns need to be recovered. Add them back in manually or with the Unito add-on and your flow should be able to sync again. 

Note: If the column to the far right of your spreadsheet has special formatting, the Last Modified column won't be created properly. If needed, insert a blank column before adding the Last Modified column through the Unito add-on.

Error: "2 columns couldn’t be added. Please retry in a moment."

If you see this error message while trying to add UnitoID and Last Modified to your sheet, there's a simple workaround. Just create those columns yourself and you'll be able to sync your spreadsheet.

An error in Unito Spreadsheet Sync: 2 columns couldn’t be added. Please retry in a moment

Some columns are no longer syncing

Check if the header cell for the columns that aren't syncing still match the field mappings in your Unito flow. If these cells were updated but you didn't change the field mappings to match these updates, Unito won't sync any data in these columns.

Resolving "add-on is not configured" error

Often, this error is caused by your sheet not being completely configured for a Unito flow. To avoid this, make sure you've done the following things:

  • The first row of your sheet is used as a header.
  • Every column has a name.
  • The first column is labeled as UnitoID and the last column is labeled as Last Modified.

Why sheets with heavy formula usage might fail to connect to Unito

If your Google Sheet makes heavy use of formulas across multiple tabs, Unito might not be able to sync in. This is due to a limitation from Google's API, which will cause sync requests to time out as the entire sheet is calculated. Unfortunately, there is no specific number of formulas at which your Google Sheet won't work with Unito.

But if your Sheet runs noticeably slowly, that's a good sign that it won't connect to Unito properly.

You can try referring to Google's support documentation to streamline your formula usage and give your Sheet a better chance of working with Unito.

Note: You won't be able to sync information into a cell if the source (i.e., the work item you're syncing to Google Sheets) contains more than 50,000 characters due to a limitation in Google Sheets.

How to close or archive items from Google Sheets

You can close or archive tasks, tickets, issues, incidents or other work items synced to your spreadsheet with a few simple configurations. Here's how to do it with Trello:

How to auto-map custom fields in Google Sheets

The steps outlined below are best suited to syncing Google Sheets with other database tools that primarily use custom fields (e.g., Airtable, Microsoft Excel, Notion, Snowflake, etc.)

Each time you build a new flow, you have the option to auto-map your fields or link fields together from scratch. However custom fields auto-map a bit differently, and Unito considers all fields in Google Sheets to be custom fields. 

What is auto-mapping in Unito?

Auto-mapping essentially creates pre-populated template of fields on common pairings (e.g., task titles, descriptions, assignees etc.). 

Note: Unito can't auto-map native fields to custom fields, so if your Google Sheets flows involve many native fields, you'll have to manually map them.

A screenshot of Unito's auto-mapping functionality that allows users to pre-populate their field mappings.

How to auto-map custom fields in Google Sheets

In order for Unito to auto-map your custom fields from other tools such as Trello or Asana into Google Sheets, each custom field must have the exact same name, case, and spelling. If they do, then when you select Auto map my fields then you should see all of your field mappings appear automatically.

Use Data Validation to confirm custom field names

You can make this process simpler by using Google Sheet's Data validation feature. To do this, right-click on a cell in the first row of your sheet and click on Data validation.

In the data validation menu, make sure Criteria is set to List of items. Then, you can enter the different options for your custom field, separated by a comma.

Now, when you click on that cell, you'll have to choose between one of the options you set, preventing any errors.

How to remove a single row from your flow

To eliminate a row from your spreadsheet and the flow, you need to delete the row entirely. Simply clearing the row won't suffice.

Right-click on the row and select  Delete row to remove it completely.

Another option is to set up your flow to automatically remove inactive rows with a new feature we added in 2024:

Google Sheets Rule 1

When you set up a flow now, you have the option to preserve or remove inactive rows automatically. Inactive is defined by work items that have been deleted, archived, or are otherwise no longer visible in your other app or tool.

Syncing supported date-time formats

If you're syncing dates to Google Sheets, you can adjust the date-time format in your spreadsheet to any format you wish.

  1. Open your sheet and select the column with your dates.
  2. Then click Format > Number > Custom date and time.
  3. From there you can choose the format you wish and apply it to all the cells in your date columns.

It's best to do this before initially syncing data to Google Sheets, as in some cases, dates may only update when a change has been made in the source app or tool.

Screenshot of setting the date time format in Google Sheets for a Unito sync

How will dates appear if I don't choose a format?

Unito can sync dates to your spreadsheet as long as the format you're syncing  to or from Google Sheets fits with one of the options in the table below.

Synced dates will typically include a timecode as well. You can remove it by following the steps outlined above (for adjusting the format in your spreadsheet directly)

Supported format

Example

dddd, MMMM D, YYYY

Friday, July 22, 2022

dddd, MMMM Do, YYYY

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

dddd, MMMM D, YY

Friday, July 22, 22

dddd, MMMM Do, YY

Friday, July 22nd, 22

MMM D

Jul 22

MMM Do

Jul 22nd

MMM D, YY

Jul 22, 22

MMM Do, YY

Jul 22nd, 22

MMM D, YYYY

Jul 22, 2022

MMM Do, YYYY

Jul 22nd, 2022

MMMM D

July 22

MMMM Do

July 22nd

MMMM D, YY

July 22, 22

MMMM Do, YY

July 22nd, 22

MMMM D, YYYY

July 22, 2022

MMMM Do, YYYY

July 22nd, 2022

D-MM

22-07, 5-07

D-MMM

22-Jul, 5-07

D-MM-YY

22-07-22, 5-07-22

D-MMM-YY

22-Jul-22, 5-Jul-22

D-MM-YYYY

22-07-2022, 5-07-2022

D-MMM-YYYY

22-Jul-2022, 5-Jul-2022

M-D

7-5

M-D-YY

7-5-22

M-D-YYYY

7-5-2022

MMM-D

Jul-5

MMM-D-YY

Jul-5-22

MMM-D-YYYY

Jul-5-2022

YYYY-M-D

2022-7-5

dddd, MMMM D, YYYY H:mm

Friday, July 22, 2022 12:00

dddd, MMMM D, YYYY h:mm A

Friday, July 22, 2022 12:00 PM

dddd, MMMM Do, YYYY H:mm

Friday, July 22nd, 2022 12:00

dddd, MMMM Do, YYYY h:mm A

Friday, July 22nd, 2022 12:00 PM

MMMM D, YYYY H:mm

July 22, 2022 12:00

MMMM D, YYYY h:mm A

July 22, 2022 12:00 PM

D-MM-YY H:mm

22-07-22 12:00

D-MM-YY h:mm A

22-07-22 12:00 pm

D-MM-YYYY H:mm

22-07-2022 12:00

D-MM-YYYY h:mm A

22-07-2022 12:00 PM

M-D-YY H:mm

07-22-22 12:00

M-D-YY h:mm A

07-22-22 12:00 pm

M-D-YYYY H:mm

07-22-2022 12:00

M-D-YYYY h:mm A

07-22-2022 12:00 pm

YYYY-M-D H:mm

2022-07-22 12:00

YYYY-M-D h:mm A

2022-07-22 12:00 pm

You can also manually set the preferred date and time format you want synced from Google Sheets through advanced manual options.

Avoid sorting Sheets when using filters

If you use filters in your Google Sheets, avoid sorting them. That's because sorting will only impact unfiltered rows, which will prevent your Unito flow from accurately reading the information in them. If you do need to sort your Sheet, make sure that it has no filters whatsoever.