Did you know the spreadsheet tool in the free, web-based Google Workspace can be used as a decision tree building tool? Using a specific layout, you can easily import any Sheets document into Zingtree, and turn it into a fully functional interactive decision tree.
After importing the tree, Zingtree’s editing tools can be used to gain greater decision tree related functionality than Google spreadsheets.
Here’s how an example tree used in our tutorials appears in Sheets:
You can get started now by copying this example and modifying it:
Zingtree can create decision trees from Google spreadsheets, or any similarly formatted tabular source. Your spreadsheets just need to adhere to the following rules to work:
Here are the rules:
- The first row is for column headings. This is important, as it tells Zingtree what type of data is in each column. Make sure to use the column headings as described below.
- Column A must be for the node number. Usually, this is sequential. The heading itself must say “Node”.
- Column B is for the title of a node. Your trees will be easier to read if each node has a descriptive title. The heading must say “Title”.
- Column C is for any content that appears in the content area. This is imported as plain text, but you can add formatting, images, and videos later using the Zingtree editing tools. The heading must read “Content”.
- Column D is the question that is being asked. You can leave this blank if you want an answer node. The heading must be “Question”.
- If you want to include node tags in your tree, insert a column with a heading of “Tags”. This is optional.
- If you are using a scoring variable for scoring button clicks, add a column headed “Score Variable”. This is optional.
- The last columns are for the button choices. The heading over the first button column must be “Buttons”. You can have several columns of buttons.
- For the button columns, you can make them link to other nodes by adding the node number in square brackets. In the above example, cell F2 has a button labeled “Yes” that links to node #2. ( Yes ).
- If you’re using score variables for button clicks, you can include something like “+3” after the node number in brackets. This would add 3 to the scoring variable mentioned in the Score variable column. (See the Advanced tab in the sample spreadsheet for an example.)
- If you want to add a comment to any node, insert a cell on the right that starts with an exclamation point character (!).
Note: Columns can be in any order, but the column headings must contain the proper text like “Node”, “Question” etc.
You can also make Link Nodes and Tree Nodes with special text in the content column:
- Example: To make a Link Node that goes to Google, the content area looks like this (see cell C8 in the example):
- Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #123456789, the content area will be (as in cell C7 in the example):
- Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #999999999 at node #3, the content area should be:
Once you’ve finished your tree, it needs to be exported as a CSV file.
Build Your Tree
To start, open this file in Sheets, and make a copy for your personal use. You can use the Basic or Advanced tab – most people start with the basic option.
Now start modifying it. Make sure to keep top row column headings in place. Keep questions in the question column, content in the content column, etc.
When you’re done, you can import your work into Zingteee by exporting to a CSV file and doing the following:
1. Go to My Trees and click Create New Tree
2. Select the Import button.
3. Click the CSV tab. In the drop menus choose which organization you want to save the tree under and whether you want to create a new tree or update an existing tree. Click Import File to choose the CSV file you want to upload.
You can use this process to import files from any CSV format.