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Anonymous sharing to users without publishing

Peter Kirkham
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2015 Posts

I'm looking for a workaround for a problem with sharing a sheet and its attachments with several non-licensed users. The situation is that whilst the collaboration features in Smartsheet are great when we are working within our team, they are problematic when it comes to sharing the information.

We need to give several new users viewer access to a sheet, but they should not be able to see who the other users are that the sheet is shared to. If we simply create new users with Viewer access, the problem is that they can still see who all the other collaborators are on the sheet. The only workaround I can think of at the moment is to save the sheet as a new sheet for each new user, and then share that sheet only to that user. This works, but it has a number of pitfalls:


* Any updates or changes to the original sheet need to be replicated on all the copies.

* Each sheet copy creates a copy of all the attachments which thus adds to the usage quota unnecessarily.


As workarounds I have thought about sharing a separate report for each user which would avoid replication of data storage and would also reflect any and all changes made to the original sheet. However this doesn't work because the new user will only see data from sheets they have been shared to, and unless I give them access to the original sheet, they won't see anything.


I've also tried cell linking to create copies of the original sheet, but I can't link to the attachments etc., only the cell contents.


What I really want is one of two options:


1) Ability to share a sheet to a user with 'Anonymous Viewer' rights. This would allow them to see the contents of a sheet as a Viewer, but they would not be able to see who else the sheet is shared to. I suspect this might be quite easy to implement, but of course is not available at the moment.

2)  Publish the sheet so that only a shared user can see the published version of the sheet, but still requires to login to gain access (e.g. not just a public URL).


Any ideas on how to implement anonymous sharing?


  • Hi Peter,

    I'm a little puzzled by your question. Maybe I misunderstand you.

    Why is the "Publish" function not usable for you? Isn't "Publish => Read Only - Full" exactly what you need?

    You could distribute the link individually via email and advice the recipient to always use this link. Nobody but you will see who else can see the sheet.


    Best regards


  • I'm having a similar issue as Peter...publishing doesn't work for us because the collaborators need full access.

    We need more security options for the sheets



  • JohnHinkle
    JohnHinkle ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Stephen, Collaborators can get nearly full access with an editable published sheet. Is there something you want them to do that isnt available on published sheets?


    Peter, do you have a password protected website? You could embed a published sheet behind a password protected website. 


    Also, yes the published link could be shared but it isnt searchable in Google or other search engines so the only concern would be who the link is shared with. 

  • @Stefan: Publishing is almost exactly what we need. The problem is that anyone who got hold of the link could access the information. If the intended user were to inadvertently forward an email with the link to a third party, then they too could access the information.


    @John: Good idea about the password protected site. That might be an effective workaround. I understand that the link itself is not searchable, but there is a concern about who the link is shared with. There is a view held by some that a link is effectively a wide open door to information that should be under lock and key.

  • Peter, now I understand better ;-)

    From a security point of view, there is only a minimal difference between sending an email with the Publish-URL or credentials for a login to your protected website. 

    Both can be forwarded accidentally :-(


    I assume, you use a Team or Enterprise plan.

    You could setup and distribute unlicensed Smartsheet accounts like "[email protected]" with a password of your liking. This way you can at least change the PW when you feel unsecure ;-)


  • Peter Kirkham
    edited 11/13/15

    I completely agree Stefan about the minimal difference in security between emailing the Publish-URL and using login credentials to a protected website. I argued very strongly to the team that we should just use the Publish-URL approach, but winning that technical argument was an uphill battle. At the end of the day implementing the latter will keep everyone on the team happy, which is a huge selling point for that approach.


    I implemented a secure page on our website today with an iframe wrapper for the published page. Works a like a charm. Thanks for the suggestion John.

  • JohnHinkle
    JohnHinkle ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 11/13/15

    Happy to help! Cool

  • I am trying to share a worksheet in my office's tVs via Screen Cloud App.

    But when it opens in the Amazon Fire Stick, connected to my TV, the window automaticaly opens as LIST and nos as GRID, I cant change it. Is there another way to share it?





  • JohnHinkle
    JohnHinkle ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    paulo - that is likely because you are pushing the data from a phone or tablet, correct? You will get the mobile version of the app if you use a tablet or phone. 


    You could publish as read only HTML, then push it to your fire stick.

This discussion has been closed.