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When working collaboratively on Google Sheets, you need to stay up to date with any changes to your spreadsheet. You can configure Google Sheets Notifications so that you receive an email when an editor modifies something or a user submits a form.

You probably already have some specific spreadsheets in mind that you’d like to use this feature on. Whether you are expecting multiple changes to a Sheet - or none - it’s a good idea to set up notifications so that you receive an email informing you about these changes.

In this article, you will learn how to turn on Google Sheets notifications to inform you about any changes made to the spreadsheet. Additionally, you’ll learn how to configure this feature based on the type of change and how you’d like to be notified. In case you’re looking for more sophisticated notification rules, Google Sheets includes the Apps Script feature. As a more powerful and intuitive solution, Layer is a no-code automation tool that allows you to track, review, and consolidate data automatically.

How to get notified when a Google Sheet changes?

In Google Sheets, you can get notified whenever other users make changes to the spreadsheet. You can set up notification rules based on the type of change and the frequency of notification. This is how you can easily set up your own notification rules in Google Sheets.

Set notification rules in Google Sheets

Notification rules in Google Sheets are based on four options that can be combined based on your needs (see image below). Before enabling your first notification rule, you’ll understand what each notification option can do for you.

Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Notification Rule Options
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Notification Rule Options

Notify me at X when…

The options under “Notify me at X when…” refer to what type of change in the spreadsheet will trigger the notification. There are two options:

  1. 1. “Any changes are made”: This is the preferred option in case you’d like to be notified as soon as any change is made to the spreadsheet. It’s also the best way to avoid redoing or undoing someone else’s work.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Any changes are made
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Any changes are made
  1. 2. “A user submits a form”: This option is useful in case you’ve created a Google Form for people to sign up for an event. Each submission will create a new row of data, and you’ll receive email notifications only when a user submits the form to sign up.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes A user submits a form
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - A user submits a form
How to Track Changes in Google Sheets
How to Track Changes in Google Sheets?

There are several ways to track changes in Google Sheets to make collaboration in your team even easier. Here'show to track changes in Google Sheets.

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Notify me with…

In this group of options, you can determine when you’d like to receive the email once the user has changed the Google Sheets file. There are also two options:

  1. 1. Email - daily digest: Select this option if you’d prefer to receive a daily summary of all changes‌. It’s especially recommended to avoid filling your inbox with emails!
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Email daily digest
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Email - daily digest
  1. 2. Email - right away: Select this option if you’d like to receive notifications on a separate email for every change as soon as it’s made.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Email right away
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Email - right away

Now that you’ve seen what each option means, let’s see how you can turn on these notification rules.

How to turn on Notifications for Google Sheets?

Although it’s an easy process, remember that you can only do this for yourself; other users will need to set up their own notifications.

  1. 1. Open your Google Sheet and go to Tools > Notification Rules.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Notification Rules
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Notification Rules
  1. 2. In the “Set notification rules” settings box, you can choose among the four options, as explained in the previous section. Make sure you select one of each. Once you do, click “Save”.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Click Save
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Click Save

If you’re working on a Google Sheet with multiple editors that frequently update the document, you may want to review the changes by using Google Sheets Edit History, located in File > Version history > See version history.

Modify notification rules in Google Sheets

Making changes to the notification rules is also very easy, as there’s very little to set up. Here, you’ll learn how to add, edit, and delete your current notification rules.

Add a new notification rule in Google Sheets

Since notification rules allow for several combined options, ‌you can create different rules and then turn on whichever you think is relevant for a specific time or spreadsheet.

  1. 1. Go to Tools > Notification Rules as shown in the previous step.
  2. 2. In the “Set notification rules” you should be able to see all notification rules you created.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Created notification rules
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Created notification rules
  1. 3. To add another notification rule, click on the “Add another notification rule” and select the option you wish to add.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Add another notification rule
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Add another notification rule

You’ll be taken to a “Set notification rules” window where you can customize the new notification rule.

Edit a notification rule in Google Sheets

Let’s say you’ve created a notification rule for “Email - right away” and find that your inbox fills up too quickly. This is how you can easily edit a notification in Google Sheets.

  1. 1. Go to Tools > Notification Rules as shown previously.
  2. 2. Click on “Edit” to change when or how you want to be notified of changes.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Add another notification rule
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Edit notification rule
  1. 3. Select any other option to change the current notification rule. Don’t forget, that this rule will overwrite the previous one. Click “Save” once you finish updating the changes.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Change rules
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Change rules

How To View The Edit History in Google Sheets?

The version history in Google Sheets allows you to pinpoint changes to your file. Here’s how to view the edit history in Google Sheets.

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How To View The Edit History in Google Sheets

Delete a notification rule in Google Sheets

In case you don’t want to edit and simply remove a notification altogether, this is how.

  1. 1. Go to Tools > Notification Rules as shown previously.
  2. 2. Click on “Delete” to remove a notification rule. Google Sheets will prompt a warning message to confirm that you actually want to proceed with the deletion. Click “OK” to continue.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Confirm Delete
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Confirm Delete

As you can see, Google Sheets’ Notifications are not particularly customizable. Let’s explore a more advanced option to customize your notification rules in Google Sheets with Apps Script.

Google Sheets Notification Scripts

If you’re a developer - or at least familiar with JavaScript - you can take advantage of the Google Apps Script add-on. This is how you can access the Apps Script feature in Google Sheets.

  1. 1. Go to Extensions > Apps Script.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Open Apps Script
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Open Apps Script
  1. 2. Once Apps Script opens, it will take you to a new untitled project. You can start typing your first function right away or use the menus on the left to access libraries and services to add to your project.
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes Apps Script
Set Up Google Sheets Notifications of Changes - Apps Script

To learn more about this tool, and the ready-made functions, visit the Apps Script main site.

However, if you’re not interested in learning JavaScript, then Layer may be the best option to obtain full control over changes and communication within your spreadsheets. The best thing? It’s done automatically.

How to monitor and review Google Sheets changes with Layer?

Layer is an add-on that equips finance teams with the tools to increase efficiency and data quality in their FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets. Share parts of your Google Sheets, monitor, review and approve changes, and sync data from different sources – all within seconds.

Using Layer, you can:

  • Share & Collaborate: Automate your data collection and validation through user controls.
  • Automate & Schedule: Schedule recurring data collection and distribution tasks.
  • Integrate & Sync: Connect to your tech stack and sync all your data in one place.
  • Visualize & Report: Generate and share reports with real-time data and actionable decisions.

Limited Time Offer: Sign up today and get free access to Layer, including all the paid features, so you can start managing, automating, and scaling your FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets!

Conclusion

Collaborative work is on the increase, so keeping up with changes is a must. In some cases, it’s a simple matter of saving a little time by not repeating what someone else has already done. In other cases, it could have worse consequences, as you could lose data or work with inaccurate values because someone accidentally changed the contents of a cell.

Whatever the reason, you can easily set up some simple notification rules in Google Sheets. You now know how to add, edit, and delete Sheets notifications. For developers, Apps Script offers a way of customizing notification rules. For non-developers who’d like to obtain the same level of customization, Layer offers a no-code solution to stay updated on all changes to your spreadsheet.

You may also be interested in checking out How To View The Edit History in Google Sheets?

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Jun 21 2022, Updated Sep 23 2022