Is there any way for Google Sheets to validate that the path/URL (referenced in a cell) is valid?

I'd like Sheets to scan a column and mark an adjacent column as true or false depending on whether something exists at that path or not.

  • 2
    Good questions, but don't try to shoehorn multiple questions into one question post. Your question about local file paths should be in a separate post. – ale Oct 15 '15 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Normal: Wasn't looking to get it closed. Just trying to help the Asker get the help they need. – ale Oct 16 '15 at 1:10

The spreadsheet functions like importhtml and importxml seem insufficient for this; they throw an error when they can't parse the content in a specified way, which doesn't mean the content is unreachable.

But you can do this with a script. For illustration, my script scans the URLs in cells A1:A10, and records the result in B1:B10. Adjust the ranges as you see fit; they can also be fetched as strings from some spreadsheet cells.

function validate() {
  var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSheet();
  var links = sheet.getRange("A1:A10").getValues();
  var results = [];
  for (var i = 0; i < links.length; i++) {
    var code = 0;
    if (/^http/i.test(links[i][0])) {
      try {
        code = UrlFetchApp.fetch(links[i][0]).getResponseCode();
      catch(e) { 
    results.push([code === 200]);

Explanation: each of the supposed links is first checked for sanity: does it begin with http? If yes, then an attempt to get HTTP response code is made. This attempt may well fail; hence the try-catch block. The result is recorded as True only if the code is 200.

Sample output:

| http://www.example.com                  | TRUE  |
| http://www.invalid.example.com          | FALSE |
| http://stackexchange.com                | TRUE  |
| http://google.com                       | TRUE  |
| http://google.com/non-existent-file.pdf | FALSE |
| blah                                    | FALSE |
| nonsense                                | FALSE |
| 1                                       | FALSE |
| 2                                       | FALSE |
| 3                                       | FALSE |

(Technical note: the method UrlFetchApp.fetch allows for an option muteHttpExceptions that allows it to proceed after getting a failure HTTP code. However, setting this on does not help against DNS lookup errors; this is why I used try-catch instead.)

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