Authorization Errors with Apps Script Execution API

A web form was built using the Google Apps Script Execution API and it would only be using to users who have successfully authenticated using their Gmail / Google Apps account. The form data would go into a Google Spreadsheet but, in some case, when the user would submit the form, the script would throw an error.

Authorization is required to perform that action. This is puzzling because the user has already authenticated through Google OAuth 2.0 and the error is not consistent either. The error 401 Invalid Credentials suggest that the OAuth access token you’re using with the project is either expired or invalid.

The auth token provided by Google automatically expires in one hour. Thus if a person has authenticated the form but leave it unattended for more than an hour, the token would automatically expire and the Google API would return an error saying that authorization is required.

An easy workaround would be to auto refresh the token every 45 minutes. This can be done by calling gapi.auth.authorize with the client ID, the scope and immediate:true as parameters.

// OAuth Token expires every hour,
// so refresh every 45 minutes

window.setInterval(refreshOAuthToken, 1000 * 60 * 45);

function refreshOAuthToken() {
      client_id: CLIENT_ID,
      scope: SCOPES,
      immediate: true,
    function (r) {
      console.log('OAuth Token Refreshed');

You can go to the Chrome developer’s console and use the expires_at field to know how much time is left before the token will expire.

new Date(gapi.auth.getToken().expires_at * 1000);

Call refreshOAuthToken() and the expires_at field with advance by 60 minutes.

Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal

Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.

Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory


Awards & Titles

Digital Inspiration has won several awards since it's launch in 2004.

Google Developer Expert

Google Developer Expert

Google awarded us the Google Developer Expert award recogizing our work in Google Workspace.

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

Our Gmail tool won the Lifehack of the Year award at ProductHunt Golden Kitty Awards in 2017.

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft awarded us the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title for 5 years in a row.

Google Cloud Champion

Google Cloud Champion

Google awarded us the Champion Innovator title recognizing our technical skill and expertise.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date.

We will never send any spam emails. Promise.