Setting up a sheet for KPI's dates in row vs columns

edited 12/09/19 in Smartsheet Basics

I`m setting up dashboards which will be cascading with roll ups to the executive level. These are operations related data and not project related.

In setting up the sheets I had looked at some of the templates and seen that very often they are set up with the dates of the entries running along the top of the sheet heading each column vs having them as the row level attribute going along the left side down. This seems to be a relic of project management view of things.

So the question begs which is the best setup?

I'm leaning toward having the dates in one column on the left and the actual KPI's as column headers for the following reasons;

1) Column headers are what smartsheet uses to identify things when working between columns. This isn't done with rows.

2) If using forms to add data it is done in rows not columns. Forms add data either to the top or bottom row. A production type KPI is normally date based.

3) There are many more rows available than columns and for KPI's there are generally more data by dates than actual KPI's.

Any thoughts on the topic would be appreciated.




  • Grant

    An issue with creating a sheet with a vertical orientation by date vs horizontal is what do we do with the Primary Column? We don't want to use it for dates. So what can it be used for in that situation?

  • Chris McKay
    Chris McKay ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 04/13/18

    Hi Grant,

    I'd leave the horizontal arrangement as is if I were you. It's just easier to create reports etc. using the format. For a start, the Gantt view will break if you do what you're proposing.

    In terms of the Primary column, it can be shifted anywhere else on the sheet and also renamed, so perhaps use it as a comments column?

    Kind regards,

    Chris McKay

  • Yung Yung

    Hi Grant,

    Just wondering on what you decided to do?

    I am also currently looking at setting up a KPI tracking sheet and the issue I have is that conditional formatting only works best on a column basis. So having KPIs across horizontally enables setting up red/amber/green conditional formats. Been searching whether there is a work around on setting conditional formats on a row basis and there doesn't seem to be.



    Yung Yung




  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Yung Yung,

    You can set up the conditional formatting for both columns and rows. What do you more specifically want to do?

    I hope this helps you!


    Andrée Starå - Workflow Consultant / Get Done


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