Limiting what customers can and cannot see for projects

06/26/19 Edited 12/09/19

We use smartsheets to run our customer projects.  The approach we have used to date is to create a workspace for each customer, with the necessary sheets - all from a template.  This works really well, as the customers need to review and contribute to several of the sheets that we use, and the workspace sharing feature lets us easily share the whole set at once.

The problem that we are facing is that there is some project information that we want to keep internal to our customer, but still group by project.  These might be risks and issues, financial information, etc.  

Can anyone suggest a better approach where we can keep the positives of our current arrangement (easy sharing of multiple files with our customers) but also address the need to limit what within the files customer users can see? 


  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Katherine,

    It sounds to me you need a so-called master metric sheet and maybe update the structure.

    Can you describe your process in more detail and maybe share the sheet(s) or some screenshots? (Delete/replace any confidential/sensitive information before sharing) That would make it easier to help. (share too, [email protected])

    Have a fantastic day!


    Andrée Starå

    Workflow Consultant @ Get Done Consulting


    Andrée Starå

    Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

  • What I would do is to create Workspaces for each customer and share it with ONLY internal core team. Within each of these customer Workspaces, create Folders - one of which would contain all the items (Sheets, Reports, Dashboard) that need to be shared with the customer. However, you will need to go to each of the item and assign the appropriate sharing permissions.


  • Paul NewcomePaul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭

    I personally use dashboards for this.


    I share my internal team(s) to the workspace and only share the client to the dashboard where everything they need to view is pulled together for them using published reports and metrics sheets.

  • Thanks all.  I think the missing feature is the ability to share only a folder - then Chak's solution would work beautifully.   I do need the customer to edit files as well, otherwise the dashboard only approach suggested by Paul would work too.

    Attached is a screenshot of what our template workspace looks like.  The customers would need access to edit at least 2 of the files, and we like the openness with sharing the others.  We use reports to limit what gets shown in the dashboard (e.g. not showing closed issues, not showing completed tasks). 

    There are some files (e.g. Internal Configuration documentation, the project plan) that we don't expect them to edit, but that I don't mind them seeing as it helps them understand what is going on if they are curious. 

    But I'd like to not show them issues other than as read-only and a filtered view so that we can manage internal project issues as well. 


    Andrée, what do you mean by a master metric sheet ? 

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    Happy to help!

    Can you upload the screenshot again because it's missing?

    The metric sheet is a sheet where all metrics or similar that you want to show in a dashboard or a report are collected to make it easier to group, calculate and more.

    Hope that helps!


    Andrée Starå

    Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

  • Paul NewcomePaul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭

    "But I'd like to not show them issues other than as read-only and a filtered view so that we can manage internal project issues as well."


    Are you saying that you'd like to filter out the internal issues and show them to the client in a read only format?


    If so, I do this very thing. In my issues sheet I have a checkbox column [Ok for client?] where we can check the box if it isn't an "internal only" issue.


    I then pull a report of all rows that have that box checked (and hide that column on the report) and then publish the report.


    I then use a Web URL widget for the published report link on the dashboard. This gives them a read-only view of only the "non-internal" issues.


    Publishing other sheets as either editable or not and placing them on the dashboard using Web URL widgets allows you to control what the client can see and interact with.


    If it becomes too cluttered and you still have a couple of sheets that they need access to but not often. You can share them to the individual sheets and just include quick links on the dashboard.




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