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Localize your Cocoa apps from Google Spreadsheet

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Simply localize your app with translations stored in Google Spreadsheet.



  1. Add ACKLocalization to your Podfile
pod 'ACKLocalization`
  1. Install pods
pod install


Just download binary from Github release


You can use ACKLocalization in two ways:

  1. safer and recommended use with Service Account
  2. use with API key

Use with Service Account

This method is safe in the way that you can fully control who has access to your spreadsheet. You create a service account, invite it as viewer to your spreadsheet and you're ready to go.

Create a Service Account

You need to have a Google project in Google Dev console, there you go to Credentials ➡️ create credentials ➡️ service account key. Then you need to enable Google Sheets API in the console.

Invite Service Account to your spreadsheet

The Service Account has associated email address, you need to invited that address to your spreadsheet, so it is available to read the document.

Now you can skip to getting your spreadsheet identifier

Use with API key

You need to have a Google project in Google Dev console, there you go to Credentials ➡️ create credentials ➡️ API Key. This will create unrestricted API key, we recommend to restrict it as much as possible - application restrictions are unluckily not possible to use - maybe if you intend to run the script on CI, then you can restrict it to certain IPs. What you can do is to restrict the API key to Google Sheets API (you might need to enable this API first in the console).

Get your Google Spreadsheet identifier

You get the spreadsheet identifier from its URL:


Now you can build your configuration file

The file is named localization.json. This is how example file looks like, you can find the Swift representation here:

    "destinationDir": "Resources",
    "keyColumnName": "iOS",
    "languageMapping": {
        "CZ": "cs"
    "serviceAccount": "Resources/ServiceAccount.json",
    "spreadsheetID": "<GOOGLE_SPREADSHEET_ID>",
    "stringsFileName": "Localizable.strings",
    "spreadsheetTabName": "Localizations"

Attributes documentation:

Name Required Note
destinationDir Path to destination directory where generated strings files should be saved
keyColumnName Name of column that contains keys to be localized
languageMapping Mapping of language column names to app languages, you specify how columns in spreasheet should be mapped to app languages
apiKey API key that will be used to communicate with Google Sheets API, apiKey or serviceAccount has to be provided
serviceAccount Path to service account file that will be used to access spreadsheet, apiKey or serviceAccount has to be provided
spreadsheetID Identifier of spreadsheet that should be downloaded
spreadsheetTabName Name of spreadsheet tab to be fetched, ff nothing is specified, we will use the first tab in spreadsheet
stringsFileName Name of strings file that should be generated

The file has to be in the same directory where you call ACKLocalization.

To be able to communicate with Google Sheets API, you need to provide either apiKey or serviceAccount parameter. If both are provided, then serviceAccount will be used.

Calling ACKLocalization

Just call the binary, remember that the configuration file has to be in the same directory where you call ACKLocalization.



We love to call ACKLocalization from Xcode (we have a separate aggregate target which calls the script) so I'll stick with that with this example.

Project structure

This is example folder structure of the project


Spreadsheet structure

This is example structure of the spreadsheet with translations

key_ios EN CS
hello Hello Ahoj

ACKLocalization also now supports plist files. Simply prefix the key with plist.NameOfPlist - please note that NameOfPlist is case-sensitive.

Example config file for this case would be

This is the example config file:

    "destinationDir": "Resources",
    "keyColumnName": "key_ios",
    "languageMapping": {
        "CS": "cs",
        "EN": "en"
    "serviceAccount": "Resources/ServiceAccount.json",
    "spreadsheetID": "<GOOGLE_SPREADSHEET_ID>",
    "stringsFileName": "Localizable.strings",
    "spreadsheetTabName": "Localizations"

Plural keys

To add plurals to the spreadsheet you need to specify the translation key and the plural type in the following convention


This will be automatically generated into Localizable.stringsDict and the key won't be presented in Localizable.strings.


Ackee team


ACKLocalization is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.


Stars: 15
Last commit: 1 week ago


1.1.3 - 2020-11-08T20:45:23


  • Fix creating invalid keys, if contain quote marks (#22, kudos to @mateuszjablonski)


  • Internal refactoring regarding string literal escaping (#24, kudos to @olejnjak)