How to Create a JavaScript Budgeting Application Using a Spreadsheet Library

A typical requirement for spreadsheets is to use them to create financial applications to track company and personal finances.

In this blog, we will build a simple yet fully functional budgeting application using JavaScript and SpreadJS, our JavaScript spreadsheet, and SpreadJS's TableSheet feature. You could expand upon this example and use it for your personal financial tracking.

Let's get started!

You can download the sample for this blog and follow along here.

To try this feature and many more, download a trial of SpreadJS today!

Application Breakdown

In this application, we will use a TableSheet to show the data, but we also have some other data and formatting to apply, which we will do in a Free Header Area. This is essentially a normal spreadsheet used as the header for a TableSheet, so we can customize cell formatting, sizing, and data without affecting the TableSheet data. We can also reference that TableSheet data within the header to provide more information and calculations.

To make things easier, we can create two separate SpreadJS workbooks:

  • One workbook to load a template into and then save a single sheet to JSON
  • Another workbook to create a TableSheet in

Create a Template for the Header

For this application, I have created a template purely in the SpreadJS Designer:

Expense Budget

This template has many “#NAME?” errors, as the formulas reference a TableSheet we have yet to create. In this case, we know that the TableSheet will be called “BudgetSheet” and we know what data points are going to be available, so these are the formulas for each cell:

  • Actual Total =SUM(BudgetSheet[Actual])
  • Budget Total =SUM(BudgetSheet[Budget])
  • Variance =SUM(BudgetSheet[Difference])
  • Variance % =Variance / Budget Total
  • Target Budget Sparkline =HBARSPARKLINE(ROUND(C10/MAX(C10,C11),2),"rgb(39,173,185)",FALSE)
  • Actual Cost Sparkline =HBARSPARKLINE(ROUND(C11/MAX(C10,C11),2),"rgb(255,136,91)",FALSE)
  • Over Budget = Target Budget - Actual Cost

Loading the Template

It should be noted that you can create a template just in code by setting values and styles for a sheet you created, and you would not have to worry about loading a template in a separate workbook and creating a sheet JSON. We can save the template from the Designer as a workbook SSJSON file. We can export this as a JS file that we can then reference in the HTML:

<script src="./template/BudgetHeader.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Once we have that referenced, we can simply refer to it with the variable BudgetHeader. Now we can load that JSON into a hidden SpreadJS workbook instance (just to convert the JSON). Once it is loaded, you can select the specific sheet and convert that to JSON, which we will use later for setting the header template:

window.onload = function() {
    var templateSpread = new GC.Spread.Sheets.Workbook(document.getElementById("ssTemplate"), { sheetCount: 0 });

// Load the SSJSON into a spread instance to convert 
// a single sheet to a JSON format for use later
function createSheetTemplate(spread) {
    var budgetHeaderSheet = spread.getSheet(0);
    budgetHeaderSheet.options.keepUnknownFormulas = true;
    var template = budgetHeaderSheet.toJSON();

// Perform the initialization of the TableSheet workbook
function initSpread(template) {
    var spread = new GC.Spread.Sheets.Workbook(document.getElementById("ss"), { sheetCount: 0 });
    spread.options.autoFitType = GC.Spread.Sheets.AutoFitType.cellWithHeader;

Sourcing Data

For the purposes of this simple application, we will just be loading data from a JSON file, but you could load data from a specific URL if you wanted to.

Load Data into DataManager

Now we need to load the data into the SpreadJS DataManager. To do that, we need to create the DataManager and add a table to it, in this case, referencing the JSON file that we created earlier:

// Initialize the data manager and add a table
var dataManager = spread.dataManager();

var budgetTable = dataManager.addTable("budgetTable", {
    remote: {
        read: {
            url: "./data/Budget.json" 

This will add a new table called “budgetTable” containing the data from the JSON we provided.

Creating a TableSheet and Setting Options

Once the table is created in the DataManager, we can add a new TableSheet to the workbook. We also need to set a few options, such as disabling the action column, disabling the new row button, and applying a theme to the sheet:

// Add a new TableSheet to the workbook and set some options
var budgetSheet = spread.addSheetTab(0, "BudgetSheet", GC.Spread.Sheets.SheetType.tableSheet);
budgetSheet.options.allowAddNew = false;
budgetSheet.actionColumn.options({ visible: false });

Creating Conditional Formatting Rules and Formatters

In our TableSheet, we will be adding some data bar rules and formatting currency numbers so that we can create those rules and the formatter. In this case, we want a separate data bar rule for the budget and actual data points, with different colors and different directions:

// Create Conditional Format DataBar Rules
// DataBar rule for the Budget data point
var budgetRule = {
    ruleType: "dataBarRule",
    color: "#FFD7C7",
    gradient: true

// DataBar rule for the Actual data point
var actualRule = {
    ruleType: "dataBarRule",
    color: "#B1E9EE",
    gradient: true,
    barDirection: "rightToLeft"

The currency format can just be a simple string that will be used to format numerical values:

// A formatter for the currency values in the table
var currencyFormatter = "$#,##0.00";

Creating a DataManager View

With the table set up, conditional rules, and formatters created, we can now create a view of the table. There are only 3 data points in our data source: Expense, Budget, and Actual. For this view, we also wanted to create some calculated columns for Difference, Difference %, and Variance. These calculated columns are created by using formulas within the value property of the column, and we can reference other data points using the “@” symbol. The formulas for each of these are as follows:

  • Difference = Actual - Budget
  • Difference % = (Actual - Budget) / Budget
  • For variance, we will utilize the VARISPARKLINE sparkline function

We will also apply the currency formatter we created to each data point that is a monetary amount:

// Create the view from the DataManager table we created earlier
var budgetView = budgetTable.addView("budgetView", [
    { value: "Expense", style: {formatter: currencyFormatter}, width: 120 },
    { value: "Budget", style: {formatter: currencyFormatter}, width: 100, conditionalFormats: [budgetRule] },
    { value: "Actual", style: {formatter: currencyFormatter}, width: 100, conditionalFormats: [actualRule] },
    { value: "=[@Actual] - [@Budget]", caption: "Difference", style: {formatter: currencyFormatter}, width: 120 },
    { value: "=([@Actual] - [@Budget]) / [@Budget]", caption: "Difference %", style: {formatter: "[#27ADB9]0.0%  ▲;[#FF885B]0.0%  ▼"}, width: 140 },
    { value: "=VARISPARKLINE(ROUND((([@Actual] - [@Budget]) / [@Budget]), 3),,,,,,TRUE,\"#27ADB9\", \"#FF885B\"", caption: "Variance", width: 120 }

This view would look something like this one when we set it:


Apply Free Header Area and Set Data View

The last step is to apply the sheet template we created earlier in this blog to the free header area and set the data view we just created. This can be done with just a couple of lines of code:

// Set the free header area and the view we just created in the TableSheet
budgetView.fetch().then(function() {

Setting both the header area and the data view would result in this:


You have now successfully created a budgeting application using just SpreadJS and its TableSheet functionality!

To try this feature and many more, download a trial of SpreadJS today!


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