How to make a digital attendance sheet with Google Sheets for online training and webinars

Want to streamline attendance tracking using Google Sheets? We can help.

Jan 18, 2024
|      by
Sucharita Myakal
digital badges education

Google Sheets is accessible from multiple devices and can be shared with a click, making it one of the most sought-after ways to track digital attendance post webinars, live events, or seminars.

This article shows how to make a digital attendance sheet with Google Sheets through examples and offers a secret way to track online attendance painlessly.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Steps to create a digital attendance sheet for free using Google Sheets
  • Tips for creating a Google Sheet attendance tracker for online training and webinars
  • Some problems with tracking attendance manually using Google Sheets
  • Alternative ways to track attendance online

What is a digital attendance tracker?

A digital attendance tracker is a system or app you set up to track online attendance. 

Tracking attendance through digital mediums can help you maintain accurate records of student and participant attendance post-hosting a live training or webinar.

An accurate, up-to-date digital attendance tracker can be your go-to source for sharing digital certificates with qualified participants. 

Steps to create a digital attendance sheet for free using Google Sheets

Here are some steps to create a digital attendance sheet using Google Sheets from scratch: 

Step 1: Create a new Google Sheet

Go to Google Sheets and sign in to your Google account if you have not already signed in. Next, click the + icon to create a blank spreadsheet.

Rename your spreadsheet. Go to File > Rename and enter “Digital attendance sheet for <event_name>.”

Step 2: Prepare your attendance sheet 

Change the Sheet name to something relevant to the title. You can find the sheet name in the bottom right corner. 

Next, start adding the mandatory columns, such as the date, student or participant name, email address, and attendance status. 

Here’s what we’ll be adding to our digital attendance Google Sheet for a Marketing webinar:

Column A: Event date 

Column B: Participant name

Column C: Participant ID number

Column D: Participant email address 

Column E: Attendance status (Attended - A, Not attended - NA)

You can add additional columns if you need more information from participants. Remember to add a “Participant ID” column to ensure no proxy and that the right folks receive your event certificate. 

Step 3: Format your columns 

Every cell in a Google Sheet is, by default, in text format. Since you have date and attendance status columns, it’s more efficient to have them in “Date” and “drop-down” formats. 

This way, participants can easily mark their attendance without confusion. 

Two simple steps to format columns:

  • Freeze the header row for better visibility while scrolling through the sheet. To do this, select View > Freeze > 1 row.
  • Add Date format to the Event/course date column and a drop-down to the Attendance Status column. For a Date picker, select Data > Data Validation and click on Add New Rule.

Enter the range depending on the number of participants and select “is valid date” under Criteria. Click Done.

And there you have it! A date picker for the Event Date column.

Now, to add two options under the Attendance status column, follow the same steps as above and enter the two options as shown below:

You could also set color validation, for example, green for attended and red for absence.

Step 4: Start entering data and share the sheet

You could mark participant attendance yourself or share the Google Sheet with your participants to mark their attendance status. 

For example, you could share the link to the digital attendance Google Sheet in your webinar or training’s online chat and ask participants to mark their presence. 

To share the Sheet, click Share, update “General access” to anyone with the link, and select Editor. Copy the link and paste it into your meeting chat or emails. 

This is how your digital attendance Google Sheet looks once data is entered:

Tips for creating a Google Sheet attendance tracker for online training and webinars 

You don’t want to send certificates to unattended participants post-training or webinar completion just because there was a minor mishap while entering attendance. 

So here are some quick tips to get started on the right note:

  • Define your purpose 

Are you creating the attendance tracker to enable easier digital certificate distribution? Or are you maintaining a record of participants to schedule them for an advanced course? Depending on your purpose, create a rough outline of the mandatory columns for your attendance sheet.

  • Train participants on Google Sheet editing techniques 

Ensure your webinar or training participants are sufficiently trained on how and where to update the digital attendance sheet. Offer them practical steps and a demo to avoid any data mishaps.

  • Ensure data privacy 

Since you may be collecting sensitive information, such as participant IDs or signatures, ensure you share the sheet with only designated collaborators and control access.

Some problems with tracking attendance manually using Google Sheets 

Although Google Sheets is free and mostly secure for collaboration, there are some potential challenges with using them to track attendance digitally. 

Let’s discuss.

1. Leaves more room for human error 

Manual data entry is more prone to typos, incorrect IDs, dates, and statutes. Such errors make validation extremely time-consuming, especially for events with a large number of participants.

2. Data privacy concerns 

Since a single Google Sheet must be shared with every participant for updates, you may risk exposing sensitive information as you have no control over how most participants may use others' data.  

Alternatively, marking attendance yourself can take immense effort and time.

3. Lack of automation 

Google Sheets cannot reflect real-time participant updates and can only be updated manually. They are not extensive for adding automation features, such as auto-updating statuses depending on participants’ actions during the online event. 

4. Difficulty tracking changes made to the sheet

Tracking who made changes and when they made them can be challenging with Google Sheets. This could promote a proxy culture, leading to bad credibility for your online training, course, or webinar. 

Alternative ways to track attendance online 

As training and webinar creators/hosts, you know the pain of handling multiple participants. Whether answering their queries or marking attendance, it’s no cakewalk. 

So why not explore more efficient ways to track attendance online for your digital training or webinars? 

Here are some alternative ways to track attendance and save time:

1. Using scannable QR codes

Imagine participants just scanning a QR code to mark their attendance at the end of a session. It’s painless, efficient, and accurate. offers unique QR codes to display towards the end of your online training or webinar, asking participants to scan it to mark attendance and receive their certificates. 

Check out how this works by scanning the QR code below: also displays a survey form post-scanning so participants are persuaded to submit feedback before receiving their certificates. 

2. Using check-in links 

Some event management platforms and apps help you create unique check-in links for each event, in our case, online training or webinars. 

Once a session is finished, you could ping these to the meeting chat so active participants can instantly check in and mark their attendance. 

3. Using biometrics  

Biometrics, such as facial or fingerprint recognition, has been widely used in corporate spaces and educational institutions. You could automate attendance tracking using such biometric functionality to ensure the right people check in and access certificates. 

Wrapping up

Google Sheets is a reliable and budget-friendly tool to create a digital attendance sheet. However, it’s not the most efficient solution due to the amount of manual effort and time involved.

You can still go ahead with our tips and track digital attendance using Google Sheets, but it’s best to consider its alternatives if you want to get more done in less time.

An automated solution like is a single-stop for digital attendance tracking using QR codes, certificate generation, and distribution. 

Start your 7-day all-access free trial to test the tool today!

Further reading:

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  How do I set up a QR code for attendance? automatically generates a unique QR code for your online event or session. You can then display it on the screen at the end of the session to let participants scan the code and submit their attendance.

2. How do I create a digital attendance sheet?

You can create a digital attendance sheet using Google Sheets, like so:

  • Create a blank sheet
  • Fill in the sheet title and sheet name
  • Enter the mandatory columns like participant name, email address, ID, attendance status, event date, etc.
  • Format the columns. For example, add a date picker to the Date field and a dropdown menu to enter attendance.
  • Update Google Sheet access and share the link with the designated folks.

* You can find the organisation ID in the URL when you access your LinkedIn Company page as an admin.

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