Time Formats - Number formats - Rethinking the UX and function

Ezra ✭✭✭
edited 12/09/19 in Formulas and Functions

Having an entire dialog for text and number formats would make much more sense to me.. combine the currency, percentage, thousands and decimal places into it's own dialog box.

We really NEED a way to save and modify the formatting of common things. So as to have them available and globally modifiable across workspaces.

Use case:

  • People need to punch into and out of a task.
  • the "start hour" may be 07 and the "start minute" might be 04
  • currently Smartsheet adds an apostrophe to the beginning of each
  • so I'm essentially trying to use '07 and '04 as numbers and any formulas that use this information will break.
  • I change the text/number formatting from Hour-military (00-23) to Hour-standard (12am - 12pm) within a dialog box and save the format to the workspace as "TaskHourFormat"
  • Now, if a user inputs 04, it's understood to be 4am, if they enter 6p it's understood by Smartsheet to be 6pm

Advanced text formatting (like making a "Title" format that capitalizes and bolds letters and bolds numbers) and the ability to use the same format across the workspace would really make this a more polished platform.

If any of this is way off-base or just doesn't make sense, let me know. (workspace-wide conditional formatting would be very useful too)


  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Ezra,

    Great ideas!

    Please submit an Enhancement Request when you have a moment.

    Have a fantastic week!


    Andrée Starå

    Workflow Consultant @ Get Done Consulting


    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E:andree@workbold.com | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

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

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    These are good ideas as I understand them, and I second Andree's suggestion of putting in an enhancement request.


    I will add though that while it may take some extra work and is not necessarily "workspace wide", there are workarounds that are actually "relatively" straightforward for calculating time and converting the numbers that have a preceding apostrophe (which I personally have only ever seen when adding data via mobile) into useable numbers.

  • Ezra
    Ezra ✭✭✭


    Enhancement Req. is in.

    I could have sworn someone solved this by adding a MIN() condition to the formula that adds hour and minutes/60 together. Maybe it was just a dream... I can't find mention of it anywhere.

    here's a sheet I threw together to test it.  Just remove both of the *\/\/ROBOT\/\/* from the url:


  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Accounting for a leading 0 is actually pretty straightforward. It also isn't too hard to set up an extra column to convert am/pm 12 hour input to 24 hour time for easier calculations.


    I'll have to dig through my notes, but I have a few sheets that will turn the result back into an HH:MM format and can account for overlap into the next day(s).


    One thing I will definitely note is this...


    While there may be monster formulas out there that can do all of the calculations in one fell swoop, they are just that. Monsters. I have found that it is MUCH easier to break the calculations down and work on them bit by bit. It also provides for easier maintenance if something should break.


    While a lot of people will say that calculating time in SS is a royal pain, as long as you take your time and work on each section individually (testing, tweaking, more testing and more tweaking) before moving on to the next part, it can actually be done rather painlessly (but still tediously).

  • Ezra
    Ezra ✭✭✭

    Silly me... I knew it was a simple fix. (this is if your hours and minutes are in different columns.

    =VALUE([Start Hour]1) + (VALUE([Start Minute]1) / 60)

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Haha. We all miss the little things sometimes. If I can find the time to dig through my old notes and sheets, I'll post some examples on here of what I personally have done in regards to time calculations.

  • LGoller
    LGoller ✭✭✭

    Here's an alternate idea. You could use the built-in time stamps for created and modified and use a form.

    The form has a dummy field that collects the created time stamp. You then create an Update Request that emails the user, that says, Click when you want to punch out, where you record the modified time stamp. Then you lock the row, automatically to prevent further changes.

    You can then run formulas such as FIND, RIGHT, LEFT, or VALUE to the time stamps to figure out the actual time, and then the number of hours or whatever else you need to know from the time stamps.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Have you experimented with Templates and "Save as New"? Have you looked into the Control Center?

  • Ezra
    Ezra ✭✭✭


    wasn't trying to ignore you... yes, just about done building my blueprint in SCC.  So many "I wish it could..." hurdles like reports not updating unless 'touched' and various other fiddly things.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    No worries at all. I don't have any experience with the Control Center, but it sounds like you are on your way to a solution. Best of luck!

  • Paul Newcome,

    If you could post the solution for HH:MM I would appretiate much! Thank you!

  • Ezra
    Ezra ✭✭✭

    Here's the columns and formulas I've used:

    Column Name Format and/or Formula

    Task primary column

    Work Ticket text/number

    Assigned To contact list - used in resourcing

    Day =IF(Weekday@row = 1, "s", IF(Weekday@row = 2, "M", IF(Weekday@row = 3, "T", IF(Weekday@row = 4, "W", IF(Weekday@row = 5, "R", IF(Weekday@row = 6, "F", IF(Weekday@row = 7, "S", "")))))))

    Date date format

    Start Hour text/number

    Start Minute text/number

    End Hour text/number

    End Minute text/number

    Start Time =VALUE([Start Hour]@row) + (VALUE([Start Minute]@row) / 60)

    End Time =VALUE([End Hour]@row) + (VALUE([End Minute]@row) / 60)

    Total Time =[End Time]@row - [Start Time]@row

    Total Hours =INT([Total Time]@row)

    Total Minutes =([Total Time]@row - [Total Hours]@row) * 60

    Weekday =IFERROR(WEEKDAY(Date@row), "")

    Date End date format

    Duration hidden and empty - used in dependancies for gantt

    Work =[Total Time]@row - used in dependancies for gantt

    Allocation text/number - used in dependancies/resourcing

    Duration Hours =ABS(IF(Duration@row = "0+", 0, Duration@row)) * 8

    Predecessors hidden and empty - used in dependancies for gantt

    Then, make a form for you/users to enter info.

    You can experiment with adding sheet summary fields based on users or projects or dates...

    I like to give the sheets some color - so adding conditional formatting for:

    • End Hour is not blank and less than 12 make the End Hour and End Minute columns green
    • Start Hour is not blank and less than 12 make the Start Hour and Start Minute columns green
    • Total Time is greater than 8 make the entire row blue
    • Total Time is greater than 4 make the entire row light blue

    have fun!

  • Thank you very much Ezra!!! It is really helpful!!

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