Hiding attachments in main sheet

I am trying to find a way to hide sensitive information that are attachments within my master sheet. This sheet feeds out to probably 100 reports and you can see the attachments in all of them. I don't want to just hide the column as people can still click into the sheet and see the attachments. Is there an easy fix for this?


  • jmyzk_cloudsmart_jp
    jmyzk_cloudsmart_jp ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @JennS_

    One possible fix would be to make a new master sheet with all the attachments by saving it as new. (New Mater Sheet)

    Then, delete all the attachments of the original master sheet. The original sheet would then be used as the source of the 100+ reports (Report Sheet), and report users would no longer be able to access the attachments.

    To synchronize with the new master sheet's existing rows, create links to the Report Sheet's existing rows. (The direction of the link assumes that report users do not update cells in the reports.) As for the new rows, make a workflow automation to copy the rows from the New Master Sheet to the Report Sheet.

    As the new rows are not synchronized between the two sheets. It would be best to make links occasionally, as Smartsheet does not have a "Create Link" automation. (It is possible by Smartsheet API to create cell links automatically.)

  • JennS_
    JennS_ ✭✭✭

    This will not work. My master sheet is massive with too many attachments and links to recreate.

  • jmyzk_cloudsmart_jp
    jmyzk_cloudsmart_jp ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 12/28/23

    Hi @JennS_

    It's manageable except for the cell-linking.

    Coping the master sheet and deleting all the attachments from the master sheet are just a few clicks. (Include the attachments when you copy the master sheet.) I experimented with a sheet with 14,000+ rows, which took a few minutes.

    The tricky part is creating the cell links if you need to update the values of the 100+ reports with the values of the newly created sheet. As shown in the following image, there is a 500-link limit. So, if your sheet has 25 columns, you can copy & "paste special" links 20 rows at a time. So, if your sheet has 2000 rows, you have to copy & paste 1000 times!

    So, for that part, you need to use API to avoid excessive manual work.

    One way to avoid creating the cell links is to use a cross-sheet formula. Suppose you do not need to give editor access to the users but still need to update specific columns in the master sheet. In that case, you can use the INDEX(MATCH or JOIN(COLLECT type cross-sheet formula to get values from the newly created sheet, using the Row ID, auto-numbers, for example.

    Other than that, updating the source sheet of your 100+ reports looks like the most time-consuming task.

    A report in Dashboard Approach, if you can deny the user editing the sheet or report

    Suppose you can limit users from accessing the source sheet, then remove user share to the master sheet, publish the report to a dashboard, and share the dashboard with the user. This makes the users accessible to the reports but not the underlining sheet, including the attachment.

    Or, you can use the publish-report approach and list the links to the published sheet in a dashboard.

    Either way, the 100+ reports create a lot of manual work. So, if you do not update the master sheet so often and don't have to give users editing permission, I think the first approach is more manageable.