Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet TAGS v3

Important: Changes to Twitter API

Because Twitter are making changes to their API this version of TAGS will stop working in March 2013. TAGSv5.0 is compatible with the new API and you should get it here! 

For existing TAGS users:

What will happen to my existing TAGS sheets?

When Twitter turn off the old API (test outages this March) all authenticated and unauthenticated search requests will stop working.

How do I upgrade my existing version of TAGS?

As I can’t push an update to existing copies of TAGS you’ll have to manually update by opening your spreadsheet, then opening Tools > Script editor… and replacing the section of code that starts function getTweets() { and finishes 134 lines later (possiblly with the line function twDate(aDate){ ) with the code here. [And yes I know that’s a pain in the ass but best I could do] … or you can just start a new archive using TAGSv5.0

To support my research in Twitter community visualisation I’ve updated my Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet (TAGS) [formerly called twitteralytics – I pre-emptively changed the name to play nice with Twitter ToS].

This new version has some coding improvements and new features including a dashboard summary and advanced tools for getting user profile information and  friend/follower relationships for social network analysis.

You can get a copy by selecting one of the links below [make sure you are looked in to your Google account first]:

*** Twitter Archive Google Spreadsheet – TAGS v3.0 ***
*** Twitter Archive Google Spreadsheet – TAGS v5.0 ***
[Please rate it in the Template Gallery]
[If the first link doesn’t work try making a copy from the Template Gallery
or Opening this Spreadsheet and File > Make a copy]

Below are the setup instructions for TAGS v3.x and may not work with TAGS v5.0

Basic setup/use

  1. Open the TAGS Google Spreadsheet and copy
  2. On the Readme/Settings sheetenter the following settings (starting in cell B9):
    • Who are you = any web address that identifies you or your event
    • Search term = what you are looking for eg #cetis12
    • Period = default
    • No. results = 1500 (this is the maximum twitter allows but without authenticated access you might get less. See the Advanced setup for info on configuration)
    • Continuous/paged = continuous
  3. To configure the spreadsheet to automatically update select Tools > Script Editor … and then in the Script Editor window select Triggers > Current script’s triggers… and Add a new trigger. Select to run ‘collectTweets’ as a ‘Time-driven’ choosing a time period that suits your search (For unauthenticated access I collect 1500 tweets every hour). Click ‘Save’
  4. The collection can manually be trigger by TAGS > Run Now! (Results appear on the ‘Archive’ Sheet).

Advanced setup/use

  1. Open the TAGS Google Spreadsheet and make a copy
  2. Register for an API key with Twitter at In the form these are the important bits:
    • Application Website = anything you like
    • Application Type = Browser
    • Callback URL =
    • Default Access type = Read-only
  3. Once finished filling in the form and accepting Twitter’s terms and conditions you’ll see a summary page which includes a Consumer Key and Consumer Secret
  4. Back in the Google Spreadsheet select Twitter > API Authentication (you’ll need to select this option twice, the first time to authorise read/write access to the spreadsheet). Paste in your Consumer Key and Secret from the previous step and click ‘Save’ (if the Twitter menu is not visible click on the blue button to show it)
  5. From the spreadsheet select Tools > Script Editor … and then Run > authenticate and Authorize the script with Twitter using your Twitter account
  6. While still in the Script Editor window select Triggers > Current script’s triggers… and Add a new trigger. Select to run ‘collectTweets’ as a ‘Time-driven’ choosing a time period that suits your search (I usually collect 1500 tweets once a day, but increase to hourly during busy periods eg during a conference). Click ‘Save’
  7. Now close the Script Editor window. Back in the main spreadsheet on the Readme/Settings sheetenter the following settings (starting in cell B9):
    • Who are you = any web address that identifies you or your event
    • Search term = what you are looking for eg #cetis12
    • Period = default
    • No. results = 1500 (this is the maximum twitter allows)
    • Continuous/paged = continuous
  8. Click TAGS > Run Now! to check you are collecting results into a ‘Archive’ sheet
  9. To allow the results to be visualised from the spreadsheet select File > Publish to the web…You can choose to Publish All sheets or just the  Archive sheet. Make sure Automatically republish when changes are made is ticked and click Start publishing

Creating a public interactive visualisation of the archived conversation

  1. Copy the url of the published spreadsheet
  2. Visit and paste your spreadsheet url in the box, then click‘get sheet names’
  3. When it loads the sheet names leave it on the default ‘Archive’ and click ‘go’
  4. You now have a visualisation of your spreadsheet archive (click on nodes to delve deeper)
  5. To share the visualisation at the top right-click ‘link for this’ which is a permanent link (as your archive grows and the spreadsheet is republished this visualisation will automatically grow)

Quick way to display archive community (Links) data

    1. Run TAGS Advanced menu options (1-3)
    2. Copy the url of the published spreadsheet
    3. Visit and paste your spreadsheet url in the box, then click‘get sheet names’
    4. When it loads the sheet names leave it on the default ‘Links’ and click ‘go’



  1. Really nice Martin – although I seem to be getting errors when I start to use advanced operators (e.g. near:”London, UK” within:1000mi) – any thoughts on why this might be?

    1. @Tom ah the Twitter Search API reads location using a geoencode parameter rather than the search term [ref] A quick fix would be to add the geoencode parameter in the getTweets function

  2. This is absolutely amazing! Thanks so much. I’m going build daily reporting and analysis based on this for some projects I’m working on. THNAKS!!!!

  3. When I try to use the template, I get a google docs error.

    Have you taken the template down?

    1. Template should still be there – try the rate in gallery link and make a copy from there

  4. Is there a way to extract geocoordinates with the tweets? My copy of TAGS has a geo_coordinates column that has come out largely empty.

    1. If a tweet has Geo data it is recorded, problem is that most people don’t include location data which is why the column is mostly empty.

  5. This was working GREAT until today whereby the test runs and will return data, but when it actually runs it returns a blank sheet. What is going on and how can I fix it?

    thanks for this AMAZING template!


    1. Ok after reading more It seems i might be getting rate limited by twitter. So i did the API authentication and now when I run it i get an error of:
      Authorisation is required to perform that action.


      PS. Authorisation should be Authorization

      1. Hi Ben – the oops authorisation (British spelling ;) message can mean a couple of things: callback url was entered incorrectly when registering for an API on Twitter, customer secret/key have a typo, and very rarely Google doesn’t record the returned authentication token from twitter (in this scenario try running the authenticate script again, if that doesn’t work you need a fresh copy of the spreadsheet, but you can render the existing API details)
        Hope that helps,

  6. I had no idea there was a British spelling of that word. how funny.

    Ok I got a new copy of the spreadsheet and followed all the instructions. I no longer get the error but I still get a blank page as the results. the test results show info, but no data is returned on the page when I run it.

    any ideas? Thanks


  7. Martin,I have a problem with advanced functions. When I run “Get Followers and Relationships” and “Replace users IDs with Names” everything seems OK except that there’s no header in Nodes spreadsheet, but there’s data. But I get blank Nodes sheet when I run “Fill Twitter user information”.

    Of course I autorize script with my Consumer and Consumer secret key.Also in Dashboard there’s no Top Twitters chart.

    Am I do something wrong?

    1. There’s something wrong with copying templates in Google Spreadsheets right now. As the column headings are used to identify where data is written, as you have no headings that’s why it’s blanking the sheet. TAGSv3.1 (which should fix it) is here – should be officially releasing later today

  8. HI Martin – I’m Using Tags 3.1. and having two issues. First, I’m trying to add a column (To_User) in the TMP and while I can add it, when I run and return results, the new column/data does not appear. Second (to try to get around that) I tried to use the advance tags tab option to “Replace User Ids with names” and I get the following error message: The coordinates or dimensions of the range are invalid. (line 527). Any ideas?

    1. Hi Charlton – the adding column to the TMP sheet only works if you are using paged results (this is a historic feature) Most people just use continuous which writes the tweets to the Archive sheet. So if you are using continuous collections just add ‘to_user’ to the Archive sheet and it should work. The replace id error message probably appeared if step 1 didn’t finish successfully, Edges should have a pair listing of ids and Vertices should have a list of id and usernames before trying step 2.

      Hope this helps (as you see from my blog i’m interested in Twitter analysis and it’s always nice to know what other people are getting up to ;)


  9. Ok I got 3.1 and its now collecting tweets in the archive, but not when its set to paged.

    Also I have the period set for yesterday, but it pulled today’s tweets. We shall see what it pulls tonight when its set to collect them.

    Any more helpful advice?


    Love this spreadsheet…

    1. Hi Ben – sounds like paged results is broken. It’s a feature from v1 that I don’t use anymore which is why it’s neglected – will have a look if I get a chance but low priority for me. Re yesterday tweets. Twitter API works off GMT so my yesterday might not be the same as your yesterday. Also can be effected by Script Editor project properties (there’s a timezone setting)

    2. Hello-
      I am having the same problem that @Ben had. I was successfully using TAGSV3.1 yesterday, now it is giving me the Oops Authorization error. I have opened a new spreadsheet, API authenticated it, and tried a new search, but still the same error. Any thoughts? Thank you!

  10. Hi Martin,

    TAGS V3.1 is not working good. It is not pulling 1500 tweets.Please advise


  11. Hi,
    Thanks! This spreadsheet is going to be a lifesaver! It is working quite well, however, I am getting this error:

    “The coordinates or dimensions of the range are invalid. (line 527)”

    when I try to run the script for replaceIDsWithNames

    What am I doing wrong? Also, is it as simple as adding a column for that variable under the Archive page?

  12. Hi Martin,
    I do live blogging and have been using your google docs spreadsheet TAGSV3 spreadsheet to pick up hashtagged tweets – it works very well. For the first time I’m actively using the TAGSExplorer visualiser as well to visualise the conversations that happen at an event on Wednesday.
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing these tools which are really helping communicate the value of twitter to non-twitter users in the construction industry (which is my area of operation). Of course I’ve been telling loads of people about how great they are! Anything I can help you with, just give me a shout.

    1. Hi Su – many thanks for the kind words. Whilst I gave up working in the construction industry over a decade ago it still has a fond place in my heart so I’m glad you find the tool useful with what you do. Once you have the data in a spreadsheet there are many more things you can do with it. Stay tuned for updates ;)
      Thanks again

  13. Very, very cool stuff. Thanks.

  14. Martin,
    I hosted a chat last night on Twitter and I was panicking because I couldn’t find a good archive tool to handle the volume of tweets I was expecting on a Mac (Archivist works only on Windows). This template has saved my life and gives so much more information than I was looking for.
    Thank you so much for putting this together. It is a fantastic tool and I’m already excited about using it more often in the future.


  15. Martin,

    Let me start by saying this is an outstanding template to use for Twitter archiving.

    I have a question that has been brought to my attention from our social media group. After we gather tweets during a Twitter chat, we use this information to disseminate to various groups, but the only problem that we are having with any Twitter tool for analytics is the timezone issue. Because alot of the chats that we do are worldwide, this is an important aspect when it comes to graphing the results to know that it is differentiating and taking the timezones into account.

    Is there an easier way to do this in order to allow us to graph those results without having to go through thousands of tweets and doing this conversion by hand.



    1. Hi Kevin, not entirely sure what your use case is. Do you need to change all the dates in the archive, or does it need to change based on who is looking at the spreadsheet?

      1. When it graph’s the results, what about someone that tweeted in the chat at 10am EST and someone tweets at 7am PST. How does that graph? Does it put both of those tweets at the 10am EST or separate and then splits them up based on the time 0900 and 1000 and does not take the time zones into consideration.

        1. Hi Kevin – results from the Twitter API are all stamped with GMT date/times which is used in the dashboard charts so in essence there is no timezone consideration
          Hope that clarifies things,

  16. Hi Martin
    Thanks for the work with this – I’ve been running a sheet for a while, but the one I’ve just set up keeps giving me Apps script: Line 329 Unexpected error: Exception
    I’ve been through and checked all the settings.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Might be temporary server problems with Google or Twitter. I would try a fresh copy and see if it’s still an issue (also check that if you are using Twitter API authentication that your app hasn’t been suspended)

  17. Hi Martin-

    This sheet is awesome. Is there a way to collect tweets using a combined feed instead outside of the twitter search? Ideally, I’d like to combine search feeds from yahoo pipes all in one, set a trigger for every 1 hour, and archive as many results from there as possible on a continuous basis. I mention Yahoo pipes because I’m trying to mash all the search feeds together and filter out keywords I don’t want before its outputted in the spreadsheet and archived.

    1. I find twitter feeds from yahoo pipes very unreliable. If your search isn’t too complex you can use operators in the search term field like ‘keyword1 OR keyword2 OR keyword3 -notthisone -notthisone2’. If you still want to use Yahoo pipes not aware of anything out of the box but I’d look at getting the pipe as JSON and handling with Apps Script

  18. Hi Martin,

    Is it possible to conduct several queries with the same template, or should I use 1 query per template?

    I tried one query and several minutes later another one. It seemed that the archive page does not refresh with the new results, but keeps on generating results from the previous query.
    Great tool though.

    1. your query can include OR operators (e.g. searchforA OR searchforB) which should work. Manually switching between different search terms won’t work (or you can just have multiple spreadsheets – I think I have over 50 running)

  19. Hi Martin,

    I am trying to use the TAGS advanced options and I get this error: “TypeError: Cannot call method “getRange” of undefined. (line 486)”

    line 486 on the script is: var REFERER = doc.getSheetByName(“Readme/Settings”).sumSheet.getRange(B80).getValue();

    Could you tell what is going wrong?

    1. Not sure why it’s calling cell B80. Original code in the script calls cell B9 for this (the data is used to play nice with the Twitter api)

  20. Thanks for this script!
    It worked nice the first day, but now the timed execution returns an error:
    “TypeError: Cannot call method “getSheetByName” of null. (línia 177)”
    If I launch it by hand it works fine. At first I tought it was something related with the table name, but it isn’t. Don’t know what’s wrong.

    1. Hi Raf – I occasionally get timeouts but usually work fine on the next trigger. I’d try removing the script trigger and then adding it back again (making sure your using collectTweets)

      1. Thanks Martin, that did indeed fix the issue.

  21. Impressive piece of code – looks like it will be very useful. I tried to setup the API authentication – got my key and entered it, but when I try to run I get:

    Opps – should get a new ref before getting an old one (line 1012)

    Also doesn’t seem any way to get back to the API authentication menu config now to remove the key

    Any ideas? Running TAGS v3.1

    Best wishes,


    1. Hi Martin,

      I am also having the same issue with API authentification “should get a new ref before getting an old one”.

      Can you help me?

      Thanks a lot for this impressive work.



    2. For those getting ‘get a new ref before getting an old one’ errors Google changed the way the code is handled. I’m updated the spreadsheet to fix this. Old copies should continue working if already authenticated. For new archives you should take a fresh copy of the spreadsheet from the link in the most.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention – sorry for the delay in fixing

  22. Really great plugging/addon API..

    But i have a small problem… Can’t see my things att the “tagsexplorer” : 0AtnDDai279KadDBoQlNTcWNIdURubUVLTkxzcS15cUE

  23. Error

    Twitter said: null


    My last thing have start worked.. but after a will it stop collecting tweets so i tried to remake the thing and now its say

    Twitter said : NULL

    1. I would check that your twitter api key hasn’t been suspended (accessible from

  24. Hi Martin,
    I really love the app you created!
    I have just a small question: Is it possible to block specific users (bots) and retweets from getting into your archive?

    1. if it’s only a couple of users you should be able to add it to the search term using the ‘-‘ operator e.g. #aTag -from:botA -from:botB

      -RT might also remove retweets but the danger is it removes anything with ‘RT’ in it


  25. Small question: I am trying use the “until:” operator at the end of the research string to retrieve older (but still less old than two weeks) tweets. It does not seem to be working, though. Should I perhaps alter the “period” cell in the settings page? Not sure how to use that…

    Sorry for taking up your time, and thanks again for making this great tool

  26. Quick question, how do I cope with Drive Spreadsheet size limits. I recently tried to use your amazing spreadsheet to monitor a launch we were have but hit the size limit before to end of the day. Is there anyway around this or what would be your suggestion?

    1. Yeah, it might be the name because the emails don’t actually say which sheet it is, on the other hand, from the amount of emails it might be all of them and therefore just the server.

      It started on Sunday and I’ve been getting them all week, but for the sake of argument, if I did change a name, how do I fix it, do I reauthenticate or something?

      1. Just change the sheet name back again and it should work without reauthentication

  27. How do I add multiple search terms? Ex. I want to search for an @username and a #hashtag. Can I put them both as terms with “OR” inbetween?

      1. Hi Martin,

        Thanks very much for your tool. It is very useful!

        I am trying to collect data of three hashtags and I’m joining them by an OR between each of them but it does not seem to be working.

        Am I doing something wrong?

        Thanks in advance.

        1. using ‘OR’ should work. What’s in your search term cell in the spreadsheet

          1. Now it is working properly!

            It seems that I was doing something wrong related with the API Authentication.

            Thanks for the support.

  28. I have the same question as Jakes – what is the suggested procedure when the Spreadsheet reaches its size limit?

    The error I receive via email is:

    Your script, Copy of TAGS 3.1, has recently failed to finish successfully. A summary of the failure(s) is shown below. To configure the triggers for this script, or change your setting for receiving future failure notifications, click here.

    The script is used by the document Twitter TAGS – v3.1.

    Start Function Error Message Trigger End
    7/17/12 10:46 AM collectTweets This document has reached the cell per spreadsheet limit. Create a new spreadsheet to continue working, as you may not be able to add any more rows or columns. For more information on size and complexity limits in Google spreadsheets, visit the (line 206)

    Many thanks

    1. You can free up some more room by deleting unnecessary sheets and columns from the archive. If you still need more room Make a copy of you original and then clear all of the archive sheet except the header and 1st row after that. Then just keep on archiving. (I find it best to remerge the archives in Excel)

      1. Good day Marin,

        Awesome!! I appreciate your reply – thank you!

        Two additional questions:
        1. What is the citation or reference for your TwitterTAGS spreadsheet? Would it be: Hawksey, M. (2012). Twitter Archive Google Spreadsheet – TAGS v3.1.

        2. Could point me in the direction of a way to search, collect, and archive (i.e., something like TwitterTAGS) that can be used for Google Scholar. If my question is not clear – please let me know.

        Many thanks,

        1. Depends on what citation system you are using. An example of a citation to some related work is in this publication.

          Not aware of anything that can archive/scrape Google Scholar (not sure there is an official API, Mendeley might be a better playground – e.g.

          1. I usually use APA 6th Ed. – however, as long as I have the basic information (i.e., name, year, title, URL, etc.) then I can cite your work and give you credit for TwitterTAGS in a manuscript.

            I’ve conducted several searches for a application that can archive/scrape Google Scholar data based on a search term and so far, no luck. Thank you for link to!

            Your work is AWESOME – thank you for assisting researchers!


  29. Hi, Martin.
    Thank you so much for this amazing research tool. I will definitely use it for my research. I’d like to ask you if there is anything similar that could retrieve for example Facebook public posts, as well. Also, advanced functions don’t seem to work with all searches and I don’t understand why. Although I can collect the tweets, when I run GetFriendFollowerRelationships command I get the following message:

    The coordinates or dimensions of the range are invalid. (line 511).

    And then, of course, also the other functions won’t work either. What I don’t understand is why it works for some searches and not for others. Does it have anything to do with the fact I am searching for Japanese keywords?
    Thank you again for your work, that’s great!

  30. All I can say is you are Awesome.

  31. Is there a way to archive the old tweets? all tweets too?

    1. Currently Twitter only make the last 7 days of data available. If you know what you are looking for you can set up the script to continuously collect results. If you are looking for more/older data then check out (they are one of Twitter ‘s official data resellers)

      1. Hi Martin,

        Awesome stuff you are doing. keep up the good work.

        Quick question on archiving Facebook Page posts + comments. Plus facebook public posts and comments. Is there any utility that can help us do this?

  32. This is precisely what I was looking for! I have a pie-in-the-sky plan to feed the links from my tweets into the API to automatically collect click data, and step one is getting a spreadsheet of our tweets.

    I am, however, getting an error in line 1085 when I try to run the authenticate function. I thought it might be the missing s in the http part of the link to the Twitter API, but that doesn’t seem to be it. (Looks like it has all of the necessary }s, )s, etc.) Any ideas?

    Thank you again for all of your hard work, and for making this available!

    1. Hi Dani – recollection that might be extra whitespace around key/secret. Open the dialog for entering these and check. [There’s also a v4 of this spreadsheet which we use to monitor referrals by combining Google Analytics data]

      1. Thanks for the speedy response!

        I tried that, and I’m not coming up with anything useful. I’m getting an error in v 4.0, as well, on line 376.

        My programming teacher told me I had code gremlins back in college, and I think she might have been on to something.

        UPDATE: It did, however, run perfectly when I removed the // in front of the commented-out code in line 105 (in the authenticate function). I can’t explain why, exactly, but I’ll take it!

  33. Hi, quick question, I suddenly get these errors on all my TAGS spreadsheets every time the triggers run:

    collectTweets TypeError: Cannot call method “getSheetByName” of null.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Not sure why this would suddenly start happening, unless you changed the name of one of the sheets. Might be a temporary issue on google’s servers

      1. Having problem too, line 1012

        Start Function Error Message Trigger End
        8/20/12 8:54 PM collectTweets Data storage error (line 1012) time-based 8/20/12 8:56 PM
        8/20/12 9:00 PM collectTweets Data storage error (line 1012) time-based 8/20/12 9:02 PM

        1. Okay something has changed in apps script I’ve updated the template but to get you own copies of this working again open the spreadsheet, open Tools > Script editor and change lines 321-325 from

          if (typeof languageCode != "undefined") {
          if (languageCode.length > 0) {
          URL = URL + "&lang=" + languageCode;


          if (typeof languageCode != "undefined") {
          if (languageCode.length > 0) {
          URL = URL + "&lang=" + languageCode;

          1. error says

            ”try” without ”catch” or ”finally”. (line 356)

  34. Hi Martin,

    I occasionally get this error from Google: “collectTweets Service timed out: Spreadsheets time-based”
    Usually there was nothing wrong with the archive itself, i.e. until recently where it at first seems to having stopped archiving but it rather seems that it adds blank rows in the archive. I found out about this yesterday and today I’ve got already over 1100 empty rows. But the tweets, it seems, were archived correctly. So my question is: Can I just delete those empty rows or do you have an idea why I get them in the first place?

    Once again: Great job, you’ve done there!