Column erroneously dragging over into reports

LGraf ✭✭✭✭

I am experiencing an issue wherein an unwanted column of data is automatically being included in reports linked to a specific sheet.

When I create the report and link this specific sheet, the reports are automatically inserting the unwanted column of data. The unwanted column is not listed under the column dropdown and therefore cannot be removed. It is populating with a column header of "Primary". The Sheet Name column is also automatically populating but that column can be unchecked in the column dropdown and thus easily removed. I noticed that the unwanted column also does not appear in the filter dropdown selections. Otherwise, the unwanted column is a random column (like the 20th out of 100) in the original sheet. Screenshot attached below.

Ideas on how to address this issue?



  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @LGraf

    I hope you're well and safe!

    The Primary column is required, but you can hide it.

    Would that work/help?

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe, and have a fantastic week!


    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

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  • LGraf
    LGraf ✭✭✭✭

    Hi Andree,

    I prefer not to hide the primary column since I then need to do this in all the reports associated with this sheet (about 30).

    Also, I am trying to run some a couple of reports that actually use the data from that automatically populated primary column but since it does not appear in the column or filter drop downs I can't use the data at all.

    I appreciate any thoughts that you have.

  • LGraf
    LGraf ✭✭✭✭

    I'm having this issue again with a separate sheet and report wherein the report pulled a random column of data into the primary column and I cannot filter or group using that column dataset.

  • ker9
    ker9 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @LGraf ,

    Every sheet has a Primary column. You can change the name of it but the column cannot be deleted. Generally the font of the column name is bold and there is usually a little i in the column if you hover over the column name.

    It's not always super obvious which column is Primary after the name has been changed and possibly been moved around.

    In your report, the Primary column name from the sheet does not appear but it is the same data as the column in your report that was renamed. (Hope that makes sense) You can rename the column in your report to match your data.

    This help article will help you understand the primary column:

    Personally, for sheets that do not use any parent/child grouping or need hierarchy, I will often leave that column blank and move it to the far right and possibly hide it. I would not call this a best practice, just something that works for me. Sometimes I'll rename it "Group"; then it makes sense in reports when I am grouping by something other than the primary column.

    Hope that helps!

  • LGraf
    LGraf ✭✭✭✭

    It sounds like the primary column is unavoidable and that most folks use the hide function to deal with it. Although this is a workaround and ultimately poor data management practice, it is not overly burdensome.

    That being said, filter, group, and summary functions don't work for data in the primary column so in several cases I am unable to actually use the data as needed.

    The link @ker9 shared about primary columns states, "When you create a new sheet by importing data from another program, you'll be asked to designate the primary column." However, Smartsheets is not prompting me to select a column from the original sheet to populate the primary column in the report but rather is automatically selecting that data itself. I tested this by creating new reports and using different source sheets.

    Any other ideas?