Simplest way to bulk add unlicensed users?



I've spent the better part of this morning trying to find the best way to add users to our Business plan account as unlicensed users. We're wanting this process to be as easy as possible for the users being added, but unfortunately, we're struggling to find the best method. Because these users are going to be interacting with processes already setup for them, all that we'd ideally want is the following:

  1. We initiate user add request
  2. User receives single email, asking them to join our organization
  3. User clicks link and is prompted to create a password
  4. If necessary, user accepts the redundant step to join our organization
  5. Done!

However, we've experienced the following additional "steps" in the process that occur before the user is even able to join the organization, making this a confusing process for the end user:

  1. "Optimize Your Experience" page, where the user has to indicate what field their in, and provide information about how they intend to use Smartsheet.
  2. "Name your First Project" page, where the user is prompted to give a name for their first project after joining Smartsheet
  3. User is prompted to enter their First and Last name, despite that being included in the add request.
  4. User clicks "accept" in the email, and is then presented with the Sign On screen, despite never creating a password. They then have to reset their password.
  5. User is prompted to "ask to join" our organization (requesting a license), despite the user clicking the "Accept" button in the email to join.

We've tried a number of different methods to add users (Bulk CSV, API with send email, API without send email, Account Discovery off/on), but we get inconsistent results with each method, and none of them give us the simple and consistent experience we're wanting.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how best to accomplish this process?

Thank you!


  • bsikes
    bsikes ✭✭✭

    As an update, we were also going to explore using RPA to manually add each individual user through the "User Management" screen. The first user we added was only prompted to make a password and that was it. None of the screens we're trying to bypass appeared (they did have to do 6 different captchas...). However, the second user we added via this method did get the "Optimize Your Experience" and "Name Your First Project" screens... This is such an inconsistent process, that we don't know how to develop instructions for our users when we add them in mass.

  • Lachlan Stead
    Lachlan Stead ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting, no suggestions from me sorry but I'd be keen to see if you find a more straight forward method.

  • Seth Morth
    Seth Morth ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 04/19/23

    We use SSO to add users through Active Directory. Overall using Active Directory works well enough that I think that process is fine (once you figure out Smartsheet takes their Primary SMTP Address and not their UPN or some other address). The biggest grief is the temptation for new users to request a license, with confusing and intermittent results. can target a URL in the Admin Tools for new users and it has helped a lot. I created a Welcome Info Dashboard for new users that basically says 'Do not get confused or cranky when we deny your license request'

    Most folks read it and do not click the 'Give me a license button' but a few do.

    I did see an email that as of March 31, 2023, you now have the ability to book SSO/SAML Pro Desk sessions if your subscription tier has access.

  • bsikes
    bsikes ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the responses @Lachlan Stead and @Seth Morth

    I'm sure we'll go down the SSO route eventually as Smartsheet starts being more present in our working environment. In this case, we had a time crunch and eventually just pulled the trigger on a method that worked, but still didn't give us the consistency we wanted. We used the API add users to our account, then turned around and added them to the necessary groups while their invitation was still pending. This made it so that once they did make it through the inconsistent onboarding process, they had access to items through the group permissions...mostly. We had one user that couldn't access a dashboard until we removed them from the group and added them back in.

    We thought we had an ideal solution by bulk importing via CSV from the old User Manager screen (Plan & Billing Info -> User Management). First two users we tried were prompted to make a password, then got straight into Smartsheet without any of the other screens. Decided to try a third user just to confirm it worked, and they received the screens we were trying to skip. I never could find any pattern to how Smartsheet determined what screens to present a new user.