A script is bound to a Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, or Forms file if it was created from that document rather than as a standalone script. The file a bound script is attached to is referred to as a "container". Bound scripts generally behave like standalone scripts except that they do not appear in Google Drive, they cannot be detached from the file they are bound to, and they gain a few special privileges over the parent file.
Note that scripts can also be bound to Google Sites, but these scripts are almost always deployed as web apps. Scripts bound to Sheets, Docs, Slides, or Forms can also become web apps, although this is uncommon.
Creating a bound script
To create a bound script, open a Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, or Forms file, then select Tools > Script editor. To reopen the script in the future, do the same thing. Because bound scripts do not appear in Google Drive, that menu is the only way to find or open the script.
Bound scripts can call a few methods that standalone scripts cannot:
getActiveForm()allow bound scripts to refer to their parent file without referring to the file's ID.
getUilets bound scripts access the user interface for their parent file to add custom menus, dialogs, and sidebars.
- In Google Sheets,
getActiveCell()let the script determine the user's current sheet, selected range of cells, or selected individual cell.
setActiveRange(range)let the script change those selections.
- In Google Docs,
getSelection()let the script determine the position of the user's cursor or selected text.
setSelection(range)let the script change those locations.
Custom menus, dialogs, and sidebars
Bound scripts can customize Google Sheets, Docs, and Forms by adding custom menus and dialog boxes or sidebars. Keep in mind, however, that a script can only interact with the user interface for the current instance of an open file. That is, a script bound to one document cannot affect the user interface of another document.
Add-ons run inside Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Forms. If you've developed a bound or standalone script and want to share it with the world, Apps Script lets you publish your script as an add-on so other users can install it from the add-on store.
Bound scripts can use simple triggers
like the special
onOpen() function, which runs automatically whenever a file
is opened by a user who has edit access. Like all types of scripts, they can
also use installable triggers.
A custom function is a function in a
script bound to Google Sheets that you call directly from a cell using the
=myFunctionName(). Custom functions are thus similar to the hundreds of
built-in functions in Sheets
SUM except that you define
the custom function's behavior.
Access to bound scripts
Only users who have permission to edit a container can run its bound script. Collaborators who have only view access cannot open the script editor, although if they make a copy of the parent file, they become the owner of the copy and will be able to see and run a copy of the script.