How To Use The Sheet Sanitizer From Tiller Labs

Overview

Do you have a Google Sheet you want to share with the Tiller community?

Perhaps you have a clever solution to a complex problem. Perhaps you have improved an existing solution with a new capability. Perhaps you have a problem you want to get some help with.

If you would like to share a spreadsheet, but you don’t want to share any of your personal financial data, the Tiller Labs Sheet Sanitizer can help. It is designed to help you reduce the personal data on your sheets to make them safer for sharing.

Sheet Sanitizer Features

The Sheet Sanitizer will help anonymize your spreadsheet by:

  • Duplicating your spreadsheet so you share a copy— not your original. The version history of your original sheet that is tracked by Google Sheets won’t appear in the copy.
  • Scaling your transactions and balances so they don’t reveal your actual transactions and balance amounts. You can make them greater or less than their original amounts. (We have chosen to scale— rather than randomize— values to preserve the integrity of example spreadsheets like balanced budgets.)
  • Randomizing your payee descriptions. For example, Wells Fargo Mortage turns into Anchovy Mode Properties. The new name is random so it will be different every time you run the Sheet Sanitizer.
  • Randomizing account information including account names, account IDs, and account numbers.
  • Limiting the transaction and balance history that you share.

Be Careful What You Share

While the Sheet Sanitizer will help you prepare your sheet for sharing:

  • Ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure all personal data has been removed.
  • Thoroughly review spreadsheet contents prior to publishing your spreadsheets.

How To Use The Sheet Sanitizer

The Sheet Sanitizer is available within the Tiller Labs Add-on. You can find it using the following steps:

  • Open a Tiller Spreadsheet you wish to share.
  • Select Add-Ons -> Tiller Labs -> View Solutions.
  • Select Labs Tools.
  • Select Sheet Sanitizer.
  • Configure the settings for Transactions, Balance History, scale factor and history length.
  • Click the red Sanitize Sheet button.
  • Review the sanitizer warning.
  • Click Proceed with Sanitization.
  • Once the process completes, open the sanitized copy of your spreadsheet. The new spreadsheet generated by the Sanitizer will include the name FOR SHARING in the file name. If you chose to share, double check that your are sharing the FOR SHARING sheet and not your original.
  • Review the copy to ensure all personal data has been removed.
  • When you are ready to share your sheet, click the green Share button on the top right.
  • We recommend you share using the “Anyone with the link can view” option. But this choice is up to you.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions or improvements.

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You can see a small video of the Sheet Sanitizer in actionin this blog post.

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Wow. This is a great feature. Thanks!

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After installing Tiller Lab Solutions, when looking for the Anonymizer I get ‘Solution discovery & management tool for your Tiller Money-powered spreadsheets’ and have no way to proceed. Please advise.

You should be able to proceed from that splash screen to the Tools menu to find the sanitizer.

Randy

If you’re finding it’s stuck on that splash screen try restarting the browser. I’ve had this happen to me before and was a temporarily glitch. (cc @randy)

Can you confirm that if you reload the spreadsheet tab and then run the add-on again that the add-on freezes at the splash screen, @basprint? I can look into that if it is more than just a one-time glitch.

Randy

I closed the sheet and reopened it and had the same problem. I restarted the computer and had the same problem. What is supposed to happen?

Closing and reopening the sheet made no difference nor did restarting the computer.

@Randy @heather it appears that I couldn’t load the T iller Solutions because the sheet i was working with is not a Tiller fed sheet.

That shouldn’t matter… but does that mean you were able to get the Tiller Labs add-on to open in a different spreadsheet, @basprint?

(I’m checking the crash logs and I’m not seeing much that could be related to your startup failure. May need to dig some more…)

Randy

Yes, I was able to get the Tiller Labs add-on to sanitize the Tiller Raw Data.

What led me to believe why the add-on wasn’t working for me in the beginning was something I read somewhere that the Anonymizer works on ‘Tiller bot’ and/or ‘Tiller-fed’ sheets. The sheet I was originally unsuccessful in using the Anonymizer on is one which is derived from my Tiller Raw Data sheet using the Google Sheets importrange() function and is, therefor, not Tiller-fed.

If the foregoing is wrong, I’m back to square one as to why I couldn’t originally get past the splash screen.