This project is now verified by Google!
Google Sheets is a game-changer for managing tournament brackets.
Author: Avi Megiddo
Welcome to the world of tournament brackets reinvented! In this article, I want to take you on a journey that began with my fascination for brackets during my elementary school days. I vividly remember how our principal would post these elaborate double-elimination tournament brackets, drawn with markers on butcher paper, for various school sports, chess competitions, and other tournaments. I would stare at them, eager to figure out the underlying logic. How could the brackets be structured to accommodate scenarios other than 4, 8, or 16 participants? This curiosity stuck with me, and as technology advanced, I continued to think of innovative solutions to simplify the bracket management process.
As an educator and a tech enthusiast, I have frequently observed the struggles of managing tournament brackets. Whether it’s in a classroom setting or a community sports event, maintaining tournament brackets can be notoriously challenging. Handwritten brackets necessitate rewriting names, erasing and correcting mistakes, and a plethora of papers and posters. The process is not just tedious but is also prone to errors. Additionally, subscription-based digital solutions pose their own set of problems such as subscription, privacy concerns, payment issues, and rigid UI. This led me to a question – Can Google Sheets offer a better solution?
Research, Tinkering, and Discovering
In March 2022, prior to ChatGPT, I started to explore the potential of Google Sheets for creating dynamic tournament brackets. The initial design concept was to use the cell border lines strategically to create the tournament bracket lines on which to write player names and to guide the rounds of elimination. This required meticulous work, but I think it was worth it.
One strong advantage of using Google Sheets is the automatic advancement of winners to the next round through cell formulas and functions. However, this would require the user to indicate who won. An early feature I envisioned was the use of checkboxes to indicate the winners. I found a snippet of code online that could turn checkboxes into radio buttons, (credit to Ben Collins): https://www.benlcollins.com/apps-script/radio-buttons-in-google-sheets/. Being able to click once to update match winners was essential for updating the tournament brackets efficiently. I customized this code to suit the specific needs of the tournament brackets.
The journey continued as I experimented with cell formulas and explored the possibilities of Google Apps Script. Later that year, I found an invaluable ally in ChatGPT, which greatly simplified the creation of cell formulas and scripts.
The Final Product: Interactive Tournament Brackets for All
This template is a culmination of innovative thinking, smart use of technology, and the desire to provide an efficient, free, and shareable solution for managing tournament brackets. This Google Sheets tool is designed to be user-friendly, customizable, and efficient. Here’s what it offers:
- Checkboxes to Indicate Winners: No more scribbling names or making erasures. A single click is all it takes to update the brackets, making the process of indicating winners delightfully simple.
- Customizable Bracket Design: You have the freedom to use cell borders to design your tournament brackets. Customize the appearance to fit the theme and aesthetic of your tournament.
- Single and Double Elimination Templates: The sheet provides templates for both single and double-elimination tournaments, catering to different competition formats and preferences.
- Participant Randomization and Easy Resetting: Randomize participant orders for fair play and effortlessly reset the sheet for new tournaments without hassle.
- Streamlined Tournament Management: Once the participants’ names are entered into the sheet, tournament management becomes a breeze. The sheet advances winners based on checkboxes, and manages conditional matches, ensuring a smooth and efficient tournament flow.
- Ensuring Data & Format Integrity with Cell Protection: To prevent accidental changes to crucial data and formulas, cell protection is incorporated into the design. It warns users attempting to edit protected cells and helps maintain the integrity of the sheet. This is particularly useful for safeguarding critical formulas that should not be altered accidentally.
- No Subscription or Privacy Worries: This tool is free to use and fully customizable. You won’t have to worry about subscription costs, and your data stays with you, ensuring privacy.
- Engaging for Educators and Students: With its intuitive design and efficient management capabilities, this tool is hopefully both practical and engaging. Educators and students may find it an accessible and educational addition to their tournament activities.
Taking Tournament Management to the Next Level
While this Google Sheets tool is a highly functional solution, it represents a beta version and is continuously evolving. I am excited to share it with fellow tournament enthusiasts, educators, and tech-savvy individuals who appreciate efficiency, accuracy, and user-friendly experiences. Your feedback and suggestions will be invaluable for refining and enhancing this tool.
Follow the instructions below to get started:
- Open the template preview of the Single & Double-Elimination Brackets Sheet
- Click on the ‘USE TEMPLATE‘ button in the top-right corner of your sheet.
- Choose your tournament type: 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, or 16.
- Sheets with ‘s’ after the number are single-elimination tournaments.
- Do not change the sheet names, as the script relies on them to run.
- Enter the names of the participants in Column A, starting with cell A2.
- Pick the order, or click the ‘randomize order‘ button for random matchups.
Running this Google Apps Script project is safe. If you do not enter the project number, Google treats your copy of the template as a new project. Your project is unverified. To verify, enter my project number, which has been verified by Google.
If you do NOT enter my project number, here is what you can expect when trying to run functions or after clicking on buttons:
1. Authorization Request: When you run the script, you will encounter an authorization request. This is a standard procedure for the script to access specific data within your Google account.
2. Clicking ‘Advanced’: During authorization, you will need to click on ‘Advanced’ to review and understand the script’s permissions.
3. Allowing the Script to Run: You might see a warning about the script being unverified. Rest assured, this is not indicative of any malicious activity. Simply select the option to allow the script to run. It’s important to note that this grants the script permission to read and modify the contents of cells in the sheet, which is necessary for it to perform the requested actions.
I hope you find this tool to be a useful game-changer. Here’s to taking tournament management to the next level! Please enjoy these interactive tournament brackets. Play on!
What data do we handle? Our application does not actively collect any personal data. However, the application verifies ownership of the Tournament Brackets Google Sheet Template for certain permissions using the user’s Google account.
Google Data Usage Compliance This application’s use and transfer to any other app of information received from Google APIs will adhere to Google API Services User Data Policy, including the Limited Use requirements. This ensures that your data received via Google APIs is used and handled according to strict standards.
How do we use your data? The user’s Google account is solely used to check the ownership of the Tournament Brackets Google Sheet Template and to grant permissions accordingly within the context of the application.
How is your data stored? All data inputted by the user is stored within the Tournament Brackets Google Sheet Template, and not elsewhere. Users can manually delete the data in the Tournament Brackets Google Sheet Template.
Limited Use Compliance Disclosure We comply with the Google API Services User Data Policy, including the Limited Use requirements. For more information, please review the Google API Services User Data Policy by clicking here What are your data protection rights? You have the right to access your own personal data, which is stored directly in the Tournament Brackets Google Sheet Template you are using. Your data is not stored anywhere else.
Terms of Service – This is a requirement in order to get verified by Google.
1. Agreement to Terms
By using this Tournament Brackets Google Sheet Template application, you agree to abide by these Terms of Service. If you disagree with any part of the terms, then you may not access the application.
2. Changes to Terms
I reserve the right, at my sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time.
3. Use of the Application
You are responsible for any activity that occurs through your use of the application. You agree not to distribute any part of the application without my explicit permission.
The application, including the associated Tournament Brackets Google Sheet Template and Apps Script code, is owned by me. You are granted a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the application for its intended purpose.
5. Limitation of Liability
In no event shall I, nor my partners, agents, suppliers, or affiliates, be accountable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages, including without limitation, loss of profits, data, use, goodwill, or other intangible losses, resulting from your use of the application.
6. Contact Information
If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact me at
megiddo at gmail.com.