Friday, June 24, 2016

Page Break Progress

Project Status: Working on a Workaround
Original Post: Page Break for Google Sheets
How you can help: Star and vote up this product forum topic

There has been a ton of interest in the suggestion for Google Sheets to add a page break feature, and quite rightly so. It's a simple feature that should just be a part of the product. I wanted to give a quick update as to where I am at in my efforts to hack together a workaround.

As mentioned in a previous post I came up with an idea to possibly help us accomplish page breaks until a time when Google Sheets actually has the feature to do so itself. In case you want more technical information on that idea here is the original post describing my thoughts: Page Break for Google Sheets

The Progress

1 ) I have been toying around with Google Apps Scripts and have a working code that will allow me to set a page size and mark points within a sheet for page breaks.

2) I have code that will allow you to inflate the white space at each marker to auto-fill the remainder of a page with blank space, thus pushing the next visible piece of data to the next page.

The problems

Not that any of these problems are showstoppers, but they are currently what I am working to overcome as wish to get this project to a stable point so that others may freely use it.

1) Removing extra white space, aka deflating the page breaks. I need to find a way to do this in which I feel pretty confident people's data won't inadvertently be removed. Not hard to do, just risky.

2) The cell notes, which I use to think never showed up anywhere, actually get listed at the bottom of a print out. The way to avoid that is to hide the column from which the notes are found. Which means now I have to insert an extra column just for page breaks and then hide it before printing. Easy to do, just so clunky and wonky that I seriously want to avoid it hoping that I will find another solution. However; I think I just need to get over it and make it work like this for now until something better comes along.

3) The hard part is getting this code to a point where others can safely use it. I think the best way to do that is to build it into an Add-On which others can easily then insert into their own sheets. However; I have never done that before and this will be the biggest hurtle for me.

I might try to get this to a working state and then release the code itself, maybe even sharing a spreadsheet publicly so others can help me test it out and play with it. At that point I might gain more confidence that it could actually work and I might be able to move forward into making it into an Add-On.

The Summary

I'm just really disappointed right now, that it wasn't a part of the product to start with and that I can't make a pretty solution to easily give to other people. It seems like every time I make a little progress playing with this project I come across something else that makes the solution uglier and more cumbersome for the end users. Overall this project is depressing, lol, but hopefully I can find some time in the near future to work on it. Until then please go to the product forums and let the actual developers know you need this feature.