Relational Database?

edited 12/09/19 in Formulas and Functions

Hello All,

We've been hunting high and low for a good task mgmt system for weeks, and Smartsheet is looking very promising. However, there doesn't seem to be any primary or foreign key type functions. How do you relate two sheets with each other? Some language in the site alludes to needing to integrate Smartsheet with an actual relationship database (i.e. Access). Therefore, Smartsheet only acts as a front-end interface?

All thoughts welcome.



  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Sean,

    In Smartsheet you can "link" information in a few different ways.

    1. Cell linking (linking specific cells to other specific cells in the same sheet or others)
    2. VLOOKUP and INDEX / MATCH can be used to get specific information on the same sheet or others and then a unique identifier would be used (customer number, name, amount or similar)

    I'd be happy to have a talk and discuss what would be the best solution for you.

    Let's start with a free discovery call. How does that sound?

    Please e-mail me at [email protected] and well take it from there.

    Hope that helps!

    Have a fantastic week!


    Andrée Starå

    Workflow Consultant @ Get Done Consulting


    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: | E:[email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me for help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or anything else.

  • Debbie Sawyer
    Debbie Sawyer ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Sean

    Smartsheets themselves are fundamentally flatfile databases; however there are different built in capabilities that will allow them to be described as relational.  Whether these are suitable for your needs really depends on why you want to relate the sheets.  The "relational" aspects to Smartsheet:

    • sheet linking capabilities enables you to pull data from one sheet to another
    • lookup capabilities enables you to pull related data from one sheet to another based on a criterion being matched
    • cross sheet formulas also allow you to pull data from different sheets to use in functions.
    • Reporting can be completed across multiple sheets too (these are like the queries in MS Access)

    There are Primary Columns in Smartsheet - These ARE NOT primary keys! There are no primary or foreign keys in Smartsheet.

    If you'd like me to expand on any of these areas, please do get in touch.

    Kind regards

    Debbie Sawyer Consultant & Training Manager


    Smarter Processes mean happy people in successful businesses

  • Purnima Gore
    Purnima Gore ✭✭✭✭✭✭


    I have just raised a feature request for this. This request is for you to create a multi-select or single select column and reference a column in another sheet so that when you update the second sheet, the new items appear in that dropdown.

    It is one of those features that I have been searching for so at the moment I am using another product which does this really well. 🤞 that this is something they are working on. I would love for this to be available. means that I can use one product instead of two for the project I am currently running.



    Purnima Gore

    Cierr Limited

    Your Time is Important, you want to Stay on Track, We can help you use the Right Tools

  • netizenden
    netizenden ✭✭
    edited 10/06/20

    Agree with Cierr on bringing this up as a feature request. I've been 'mangling' (ok 'wrangling') data in Excel and MS Access for 20+ years, and MS finally added the 'data model' and power query functionality to Excel.

    Smartsheet should be targeting development to the marriage of flat-file spreadsheets with a relational (or even different db types, e.g. graph, nosql, etc.) capability 'underneath' / available.

    My dream:

    ..Give me all / most of what I can do in Excel

    ....Build out easy data linking like Access

    ......Give me easy/quick/low-to-no-code UI prototyping like Access

    ........Support popular code platforms (python, javascript, c#, whatever)

    And we would have a dynamic, shareable, data-friendly 'power tool on steroids' for the next 20 years.

    Hey, SmartSheet - just think of what a cash-cow MS Excel and Access have been for MS all these years (I started using Access with v.2.0). And SS has the added benefit of being available via the web.

    BTW - occurs to me I haven't looked for this yet: is SS available offline? If not... that's a problem. Just saying...

  • I'm guessing adding this kind of features affects the sales on other products like the tracking work solution.... but I think they are missing out

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