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Auto-Update Report Column Names

This is a request to automate updating the report columns when the underlying sheet's column name is changed. After the new Smartsheet release that connects the old column names with the new ones, there are more clicks required to update the report's column names. The extra step is having to disconnect the old name from the new, which then you'd have to uncheck the old column names, check the new column names, and reposition the new columns to where the old ones were. Auto-updating (or asking the user if they want to auto-update) affected reports upon updating the source sheet would be extremely helpful.

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Idea Submitted · Last Updated

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  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @Daniel_NOV

    Thanks for posting your idea! Can you clarify how you'd like the Report to function when you have multiple sheets in one Report but the column name is only changed in one single source sheet?

    Thanks,

    Genevieve

  • If the column is on all sheets but the name is changed on just one of them, the report could give two options (allow the user to select):

    1) Create a new column on the report, separate from the one with the original name.

    2) Override the column name on the report and display the data just from that one sheet whose name was changed.

    This request was really aimed at my organization's situation in which we have one master sheet and all data is managed through several reports, but since reports have the capability to consolidate sheets the above logic was the best I could think of.

  • An alternative to my request would be to add the option to override the current name with the new one through this menu (image attached).


  • I don't understand why Reports would rely on the name of the column at all, as opposed to some unique identifier associated with the Sheet column? Seems like this is asking for trouble in cases like this.

    If a Report is pulling from only one Sheet, and a Column name in that Sheet changes, then the Report should be automatically updated to continue showing data from that column. I suppose it is not necessary for the Report's column to change name automatically, though that would generally be my personal preference. The exception to that, I suppose, would be if I had already manually renamed the column in the Report, in which case I would not want the Report column name to change automatically (but I would still want it to pull the correct data).

    If a Report pulls from multiple Sheets, then continue pulling from those Sheets even if any of the columns change names. Do not automatically update the Report's Column name, but perhaps offer to change it? Or just flag it as having changed?

    Regardless, it would be great to be provided a list that shows all Reports with source columns that have either changed names or been otherwise modified. That would help a lot with knowing what to follow-up on.

  • KPH
    KPH ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 11/06/23

    I agree with @Daniel_NOV and would like to add an additional pain point that his solution would solve.

    Filters on Reports - Once you have done everything Daniel says to reconnect the newly named columns you then have to rebuild all the filters. And this doesn't involve just selecting the new column name from the drop-down - because doing that clears the condition as well. You need to remember the condition, change the column name, then find the row you were working on (as they move position horizontally when you change the drop-down), then re-enter the clause and the value.

    As JamieRBedford said, a list of reports that are problematic would be a handy stop gaop, as I rarely know the impact of a column name change until someone tells me their report is empty.