Using Google Sheets and CSV Files as Data Sources

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Leveraging real-time Data Sources gives you the ability to create content that is always relevant and up-to-date at the moment of engagement.  Now NiftyImages allows you to use Google Sheets or upload a CSV, in addition to our API options.


Using a Google Sheets or a CSV will eliminate any need for your IT Department to build or maintain an internal API, giving the power to fully manage live content directly to email designers/coders.

This blog will take you through the setup process for creating a real-time image, from both new options.


Google Sheets

  • Sheets Automatically Update
  • Sync data to any layer of a Photoshop Image
  • Use one or more columns for LOOKUP
  • Build Rule Sets based on data


1. To use a Google Sheets simply Authorize your Google connected email and we will pull up a list of all your sheets.

2. Select the sheet and tab that you wish to use and we will prompt you to identify if your top row contains column names.  If it does not then you can manually name each Data Field on the next page.

You will then need to choose which column(s) you wish to use to LOOKUP each subscriber’s data.  This will be the MERGE_TAG that you include in your Image URL and should reside in your Email Service Provider.


Google Sheet Table.png


3. We also let you identify each column as either text, a number, Image URL/Link URL, or a True/False field.  These Data Fields will be accessible to use in your Photoshop Images, allowing you to apply them to specific Photoshop layers, as well as use them in Rule Sets.  It is important to make sure these are correctly categorized by the types that we offer.


4. Once you have saved your Google Sheet as a Data Source, you can apply the Data Fields to any Photoshop Image and they will acquire the positioning, font, color and effects for that layer.

Simply upload your Photoshop Image (PSD) to your NiftyImages account, it is okay if no variables are detected.  Then go to Edit > Configure Views.


5.  Each Photoshop Layer will give you the appropriate options to use your newly created Data Fields, Text in Text Layers, Image URLs in Smart Object Layers, etc..

Look for the Icon below to show you available Data Fields.

If your Google Sheets has Links to send each subscriber to a different landing page, you can use those as well.  Click on the Link Icon above your NiftyImage URL to add this (see below).


6. To use your newly created image, simply replace the MERGE_TAG placeholder with the LOOKUP merge tag from your ESP.  We will build each image in real-time as your subscribers view them.  The example below shows the portion you need to replace in Green.



RESULT. With each subscriber having a unique product associated with them in the Google Sheet, we can show a custom image that includes their name, the product name, the product image, the price and a link directly to that product.



CSV Files

1. To use a CSV File, simply upload the file into your browser when prompted and follow Steps 2-6 from the Google Sheets description above.  If the CSV is hosted then you can have us auto-update the file every 24 hours.


Video Tutorial


Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback.