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Enhancement Request: Improvements for Contact List columns in Forms

J. Craig Williams
J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2017 Posts

When adding a Contact List column to a Form, if no contacts are listed in the column properties, the field shows up as a simple text entry. If contacts are added in the column properties, the entry changes to a drop down. 

However, the drop down acts as if the "Restrict values to list only" check box is checked, whether it is or isn't.

Three items for improvement:

1. When no contacts are listed in the column properties, have entry function as if user was entering directly in the Form, that is display the list of Contacts. See first two attachments.

This may be a security hole, so I'm OK with this not being done unless that potential hole is addressed.

2. If contacts are entered in the column property, allow other entries to be entered that are not in the list if the check box is not selected.

3. Allow GROUPS to be entered in the column property. Currently, if I wanted to have 20 sheets each with a Contact column that was entered via a form, I would need to update those columns manually whenever a new person was added or removed (like an employee list). Having the ability to use the Group would eliminate hours of work for each new hire or termination.

This request has also be posted to the Form

More: I consider (2) a bug, not a feature request. I did not say that when submitting this  via the Form.






  • Shaine Greenwood


    Right now, contact behavior in Forms is a little different from the sheet grid. This is mainly for security reasons, and partially a functionality piece. As far as #2 on your list, we wanted to allow contacts to be chosen in a simple manner without weighing Forms down with the additional code needed to implement an auto-resolve feature (it's surprisingly lengthy). Our Product team decided to make preferred contacts an either/or option in Forms—either it's a dropdown or it's a text field. Not to say we can't change this in the future, just wanted to give some context as to why.

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭


    I understand.

    If the "[] restrict" check box has no meaning for Forms, it needs to say that somewhere.

    When coupled with the inability to add a formula to a Contact type column, I keep having to go elsewhere for Forms to satisfy customer requirements.




  • Making the column free text provides system gaps in terms of spelling the name and surname wrong on the form, only putting in the surname, only putting in the name.  All kinds of variations can occur and this will result in the wrong data entry in the contact list column on the source sheet having a direct impact on the quality and amount of data pulled through to various reports.


  • mikepalmer

    Hi Craig,

    I have this problem too (along with many others no doubt). You imply that you have a workaround when you say "I keep having to go elsewhere for Forms to satisfy customer requirements". Do you have a workaround? If so, can you share it?


  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Not a Universal one.

    It depends on both customer requirements and their platform.

    Are they Google Suites or Office 365 users? Is it OK to mix?

    Google Forms sometimes works, but I find it harder to update than others.

    If they have a WordPress website, I had a plug-in for getting data into Smartsheet. It needs to be updated (WordPress updates and it was originally written in PHP, which was a bad choice).

    I periodically check for improvements to several Form Apps. Some don't meet customer budget requirements. The cheaper ones sometimes get better, but not always.

    Sorry I don't have the silver bullet.


  • Caitlin Gaines

    Only commenting because I agree with Craig's Improvement #2 request.

    I'm creating a secondary process for users of the form to follow in the event the selection option is not available and needs to be added. This is not a common issue, but it does occur and when it does, I must manually update the contact list (to add and then to remove) or I must be notified to manually change their selection option in the source data, because they want to circumvent the processes in place. 

This discussion has been closed.