Automate google doc manipulation


I've got a workflow that I'm going to be repeating a lot in the coming weeks. I'm going to be receiving conference proposals that have all of the speaker information in various formats. I'm manually uploading these documents to a google docs folder. I then need to copy just the paper abstract part (that is just a section of the google doc), to another google doc, in another folder - give that a unique number (so it is anonymised), and add that number - hopefully to a google spreadsheet, where it is matched with the authors name.

That's probably the end of the automation part. The anonymised papers will go to reviewers who will leave a rating on another google spreadsheet, I will match that back up with the authors name. I'm going to do one manually and write the steps I take.

  1. Load Author 'A' Full proposal (File 1)
  2. Highlight and Copy just paper abstract part
  3. Create new google doc. (File 2)
  4. Paste paper abstract into File 2.
  5. Name File a sequential number
  6. Open Google Spreadsheet (File 3)
  7. Copy & Paste name of File 1 into Column A of File 3 (end of file)
  8. Copy & Paste name of File 2 into Column B of File 3 (end of file)
  9. Create a shareable link for File 2 (by clicking on 'Share' button and copy and paste the created URL to Column C of File 3 (that shareable link should probably be created at step 6!)

I think that's it. It seems like a big ask.

Another alternative could be to create text files rather than google docs, in a folder with their numbers, and then just email them or dropbox them to reviewers, and they could still enter ratings in a google doc. This seems more like something KM would excel at than chrome/safari manipulation, hitting links and waiting for loading, though it could probably still be done. I will give this some more thought, it only occured to me after going through the process of writing out the above.

I would welcome any thoughts on the best way to approach this task. At the end of the month I will need to do this between 60 - 100 times.


Hey! I know that this is suuuuuuper old, but this is eerily like something I'm doing right now. Except less sciency and more AI-y. :slight_smile:

Did you figure this out? Are you still alive? Are you alive and using keyboard maestro? :wink:

Anyhow, anything you know...

Hi @sredmore,

I honestly can't remember. I imagine for step 3. creating a .txt file in a shared folder would make more sense than google docs these days. Like the alternative I suggest at the end.

If I do remember anything, and how most of my automations work out, I would have devised just a few simple automations for each small part. Like 'paste plain text into last application'.

Actually, I had a look and found this one (pasted below):

There's no consistency in peoples submissions, so again, short cuts for formatting names, paper titles, affiliations, that sort of thing. It appears I organised their papers so it was somewhat uniform, so name, affiliation then paper title, and got KM to copy that into my word doc and format it correctly using applescriplt and Visual Basic (I taught myself that in word, I just used the record button mostly). That was one part of the puzzle anyway.

Probably not much help, and maybe AI can help, but maybe it's just reducing the time needed on each of the mundane tasks to save you a few hours of your life. You may of course spend a similar number of hours writing macros, but that will be more fun :rofl:.

KM definitely saved loads of hours over the whole conference though, no doubt. And ensured accuracy.

Let me know if you want help with anything more specific.