Inactivate a task

Is there a way to make a task or group of tasks inactive in a project plan? In Microsoft Project there's a function called Inactivate that's used after you select tasks that you want to make inactive. Doing this does not affect resource availability, the project schedule, or how other tasks are scheduled. I know this doesn't exist in Smartsheet, but I'm wondering if anyone has found a viable workaround.


Sam Minardi


  • Debbie Sawyer
    Debbie Sawyer ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 01/30/24

    @Sam Minardi

    There isn't a built in function for this so I would create it myself.

    Set up a Check box column called Inactivate, then when its ticked the following could happen:

    1) Conditional Formatting can be used to strikethrough the row

    2) Automation workflow can be used to update the cell value in % complete to 1 (so that it doesn't effect % complete roll up)

    3) Automation workflow #2 can be used to clear the cell value in Assigned To (so that the resource is no longer assigned to the row)

    4) a Filter can be created and shared on the sheet to remove any tasks that have been checked in the Inactivated column

    Would that work?

    Kind regards


  • @Debbie Sawyer

    Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for responding to my question. I've created these four functions in my project plan and they work well, but I do have a question re #2. I've created that workflow and it updates the cell value to the number "1". Is that to have a value that's very low (appears as 1%) so that it won't affect the roll up from child tasks to parent for those rows that are to be inactivated? And does that somehow also have the effect of ignoring the Start/End dates associated with the inactivated tasks? That is the most important hurdle for me to address. I want the tasks to be inactivated such that the Start/End dates for those tasks are ignored and doesn't affect the overall date scheduling.

    I tried setting the Duration for inactivated tasks to zero so that the first inactivated task picks up at the same date as its predecessor and then all subsequent rows/inactivated tasks have the same date. After the last inactivated task in the group, the next active row picks up as though the inactivated group of tasks didn't exist. Or at least that's the way it appears. See attached screenshot.

  • Debbie Sawyer
    Debbie Sawyer ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 01/30/24

    Hi @Sam Minardi

    Thanks for the extra question.

    The 1 for the cell value should represent 100%.

    I've just tested this in an automation of my own and I apologise, you need to put 100 not 1. In Smartsheet 1 is 100% but in the automation you need to write the whole number! 😉

    You can add another workflow to clear the cell contents in Duration for Inactivated Tasks and that removes the End Date and takes the task bar off the Gantt view.

    You can't clear the content of the Start Date column with the automation sadly, but if the inactivated task had its start date being set by the end date of another inactivated task then the start date will also remove

    Does this help at all?

    Kind regards


  • Hi @Debbie Sawyer

    Yes, works better when using the number 100 😁

    I'm very surprised that Duration is actually available to use in a workflow, I thought that column was totally off limits. Interesting though, you can use it if you want to clear the contents of it, but you can't use it if you want to change the value of it. So I created another workflow to clear Duration for Inactivated tasks and that has the same results as manually changing the Duration to zero, but I like this method much better. I've attached a couple of screenshots showing the first few task rows of a group of tasks that need to be inactivated and also shows the last few inactivated rows from that group. You can see that the dates skip over those inactivated tasks as though they didn't exist, with End Date of 2/11/25 for the task right before the first inactivated row and then picking up at 2/12/25 for the first task after the last inactivated row. I'd like to show you something related to all this, which is a solution to use Status to drive duration, I'll send in a separate thread.

    Thanks for your help with this!

Help Article Resources

Want to practice working with formulas directly in Smartsheet?

Check out the Formula Handbook template!