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Restricting what certain users of a sheet can see

Jaco Steyn
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2015 Posts

I have a bout 10 users on a specific sheet and would like to restrict what some of the users see fr example I don't want certain employees to view all the financial information in a column, but they should be able to see and edit all the other informaiton.


Is this possible?



  • Stephanie Taylor
    Stephanie Taylor ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    You can hide the column.  I believe only the owner of a sheet can now unhide or hide a column. 

  • Felipe Acha

    With all respect Stephanie, that is not trully a solution, is more like a tricky thing that you need to do each time you want to see your "hidden" numbers and then you need to remember to hide them again after seing them.


    I think it would be far better to have an acces level configuration feature that let us give permition to see/edit/manage each field per separate, insteed of putting all the editors and fields in the same bag.


    This is one of the biggest limitations on Smartsheet. This will put the app at another level for sure.

  • JamesR
    JamesR ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    This is not something that you can do naturally, there are some workable solutions but they are not infalable.


    Create an additional sheet for the financials and link the remaining data columns into it.  They have the sheet without financials and you have the one with financials.  However this does depend on exactly what you want them to see and what you do not want them to see.

  • Felipe Acha

    The problem is that you need to do that row per row and each time a new row is created, and you'll need to have as many sheets as different access permissions you want (and linking manually per each sheet to the "resuming one"). 


    I think that most of the process making/tracking sheets need this functionality (access level per columns). Maybe somebody at Smartsheet is reading this. This would be one of the coolest features if implemented.


    This will help me convince my boss of using Smartsheet as a real platform for working our company's processes on a real-time-real-interaction generated by the owner of each step on a chain of processes, not only for tracking manually by one or two of them (since there is only one general access level for edition of all non-blocked columns this means you cannot discriminate between editing users access level per column).


    Would this be so hard to implement? I'm very ignorant on programming. BTW I love Smartsheet and I'm always recommending it, but it still have big limitations. I'm sure Smartsheet team ir going to keep the app evolving and making possible this kind of very useful features. Hope somebody on their team will read this! Thanks

  • I am just creating dummy Data Samples :


    Feilipe/Jaco from Human Resources would like to see the following employees information including Salary.


    Employee             Salary                  email


    Felipe                    100000              Felipe@Felipe.com

    Jaco                      105000              Jaco@Jaco.com

    JohnDoe               85000               JohnDoe@JohnDoe.com


    JohnDoe is regular employee and should not be able to see salary of employees, but should be able to update the rest of the data.


    JohnDoe(regular employee) can see the following employee info except salary.


    Employee                           email


    Felipe                                  Felipe@Felipe.com

    Jaco                                   Jaco@Jaco.com

    JohnDoe                           JohnDoe@JohnDoe.com


  • Felipe Acha
    edited 10/29/15

    Data, yes, that's the scenario I'm refering. But, I'm putting it a step further.

    I'm going to use a real sheet as example:

    Each color represent a different user that would be the one and only person who can modify those columns.


    In this example, the sheet is used to track and register all the import and delivery process and data. So first, columns on green are generated by a form and could only be modified (and be seen in the case of some columns) by the import's responsible, then the next step is to supervise the unloading and delivery departure (blue columns), done by a Logistics Supervisor, while a quality inspector (yellow) inspects the product. We don't want the Quality inspector to could modify the blue columns neither want the logistic supervisor to modify anything else than the blue columns... and so on with the next steps (columns on the rest of colors) that need to be done exclusively by each person on charge. There are 5 different persons generating inputs for the same sheet, each person responsable for a defined group of columns.

    Actually we are using a set of "reports" used as "work stations" for each step of the process (including only the columns with the information needed to complete the particular step and the columns that must be filled during that same step). This seems to work, BUT, we are working based on the confidence we have on all the persons involved in all the steps because there is nothing that could prevent that any of the persons involved could change information of somebody else's steps. (There is always an audit possibility, looking at the history cell per cell, but that is a very annoying task to do when you have thousands of cells on a sheet).

    This is one of the many cases when you need different people to could only modify their own steps on a process and see a defined selection of other's step's columns (without having permission to modify them). Using 2, 3 or 4 different sheets and one different to resume all the data its not possible for this kind of process.

    This is why I'm proposing to implement a ne feature that lets the sheet owners and managers to define the access level on each field (column) insteed of giving one general editing access level for all the columns on the sheet that are not blocked.


    I hope I had explained this need well.... 


    sheet example access level multiple users.jpg

  • Felipe,


    It is good explanation.


    You have a 5 groups of people representing different colors.


    There will be 5 groups-colors.

    Blue color has

    people e.g. Mike, John, Brian

    The reason of having more than one person for each color is sothat people can also do more than one role if needed.

    e.g. Mike can belong to blue group as well as yellow group.

    By keeping group membership current - it can be achieved.

    Blue Color people should be able to modify only blue color columns.

    Also when record(i.e. row) is completely updated by all 5 groups-colors then it should be made readonly.

    It means row-level condition is also needed in addition to column level permissions.


    Similarly there will be 4 other groups-colors.


    I can help build prototype for the above.

    If you are interested then contact me as per my contact email in my profile https://community.smartsheet.com/users/data-solution-consultant




  • Travis
    Travis Employee

    Hi everyone! We understand the need and use cases for more granular sheet sharing and is something our team is currently looking into. I dont have any timeframe for it but keep checking our product roadmap for information on what we are currently working on: https://www.smartsheet.com/product-roadmap


    Cell linking (mentioned by JamesR, would be a workaround. Another workaround (a little more automatic) would be to build a report that pulls in all the rows (or only certain rows) from a sheet, and only show certain columns. You can then publish a read only version of the report and share with anyone through a URL. Here's information on publishing reports: http://help.smartsheet.com/customer/en/portal/articles/522078-publishing-sheets-reports#publishreports

  • Felipe Acha
    edited 11/02/15

    Will love to see this feature development on your roadmap, Travis. Thank you for the answer.

  • Abdul Khan

    Hi all,

    Great suggestions for workaround. I have similar scenario but with editing restrictions of certain columns. If I use lock feature on the columns, it impacts all users, and I want to have some of them to edit those columns. I tried creating different sheets for different users and linking those sheets to the main sheet. Again, I am stuck as maximum cell can be linked in a sheet is 5000 and I have 400 rows and 30 columns. Any other workaround or suggestion?



  • Xavier LN
    Xavier LN
    edited 10/03/16



    This feature is so essential. Smartsheet could be such a great tool for managing projects with clients and partners, but this feature is really missing and complicating everything.

    Finance elements are a good exemple, but it would be also very usefull to simply add internal comments that a client couldn't see, helping to keep all the information in one place.

    Smartsheet could based upon their already exisiting group feature for permissions, and their existing lock feature for the user experience.


    Sadly I can't see this in the roadmap, is this feature planned?




  • Hi,


    Just like everyone else above, i find this feature critical. Is the only thing thats blocking me from introducing Smartsheet in several areas of our company.



    Juan Pablo

  • Niall O'Neill

    The ability to have internal-only columns for sheets shared externally is critical for us. An example is a Requirements Matrix, which needs to be shared with the customer, but also requires internal commenting of implementation status to avoid having to create another sheet for internal use. It would be necessary to clearly visually indicate that the column/s are internal.

  • Jim Nubiola



    My boss just asked for that feature and I thought of making a report as a workaround but think that it's critical you guys implemented this feature asap.



  • Robert Casper

    I just posted this suggestion and am quoting it here.  Wholeheartedly agree. 


    Feature request:  Add "Restricted Editor" and "Restricted Viewer" level of sharing

    Problem:  Currently sharing a sheet provides 100% visibility into all content on the sheet.  To protect information we are faced with attempting awkward workarounds via reports or generating multiple tailored sheets.  Neither approach really works.

    Solution:  Add a "Restricted Editor" and "Restricted Viewer" level of sharing.  The sheet Admin can restrict viewing and editing of the sheet based on one or more of the following factors:

    1) Optionally set View/Edit permissions for rows only where the Assigned-To field matches the user login.  An example would be a project schedule where a Restricted Editor/Viewer should only be able to view and edit their assigned lines

    2) Set certain columns as "Restricted" so that they would be obscured from someone with a Restricted Editor/Viewer status.  An example would be an employee information spreadsheet where Restricted users could see basic contact information for fellow employees but not restricted information such as home telephone number and salary.

This discussion has been closed.