How to Turn Google Docs into an RSS Reader
This tutorial shows how to use a spreadsheet in Google Docs as an RSS Feed reader. You can fetch RSS news feeds from different sources into one spreadsheet - much like a simpler version of Feedly - and then publish your feeds as a public web page. No coding required.
Before we get started, let’s look at a real example. Here’s a live Google spreadsheet that aggregates news feeds from some top technology blogs. As new items are added on the sites, they will automatically show up in the embedded page.
Here are the complete step involved for putting RSS feeds into Google Docs. We are using a single RSS feed in the following example but your spreadsheet can have dozens of RSS feeds.
- Open a new Google spreadsheet and type the RSS feed URL in cell A1.
- In cell A2, type \=ImportFeed(A1, “items title”, FALSE, 10) – This formula will fill column A with the titles of the latest 10 stories in that feed. Make sure that the second parameter - items title - is in lower case.
- In cell B2, type \=ImportFeed(A1, “items url”, FALSE, 10) – This will fill column B with the URL (permalink) of the corresponding stories in column A.
- In cell C2, type \=HyperLink(B2, A2) – This will combine the title and URL to make a clickable hyperlink in the spreadsheet.
- Copy the same formula that you entered into Cell C2 into cells C3 until C11.
Since we are using a regular spreadsheet, you can change the fonts, colors and other formatting. To embed the feed in web page, go to to Publish – > More publishing options in the Google Spreadsheets menu, select C2:C13 as the range and get the HTML embed code.
Google Docs will automatically refresh content when the underlying RSS feeds are changed. Here’s a quick video walkthrough:
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.