column keeps reverting to date format

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We're new to SS and have problems with a number format column reverting to date format.

I reported the bug to SS just over a month ago and was told it was likely a problem with our browser or browswer configuration. We follow all the steps installed different browers etc. a good few hours work which didn't solve the issue.

Having chased this up SS have now 'discovered' that this is a known bug.

There are no plans to fix it and I've been given an laughable work around involving more than a dozen steps, adding temporary columns, reformatting, deleting, changing formats some more and so on.

The system we created in SS keeps breaking as a result of this bug. Our full users can rectify the format problem but this isn't possible for 'free' users so essentially they can use the SS. I'm trying to get some support for SS within our organisation but this whole experince has really undermind that.

I don't really understand why SS has bugs like this which they know about and won't fix.

Is this kind of experince with SS common or have we just had bad luck?

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Answers

  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Hi Davey,

    Strange!

    I’d be happy to take a look and see if I can ”solve” it.

    Can you describe your process in more detail and maybe share the sheet(s)/copies of the sheet(s) or some screenshots? (Delete/replace any confidential/sensitive information before sharing) That would make it easier to help. (share too, andree@getdone.se)

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe and have a fantastic week!

    Best,

    Andrée Starå

    Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    Did my post(s) help or answer your question or solve your problem? Please help the Community by marking it as the accepted answer/helpful. It will make it easier for others to find a solution or help to answer!

    SMARTSHEET EXPERT CONSULTANT & PARTNER

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

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  • Davey Smalley
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    Thanks Andree,

    It's not so much the problem itself, more the experince of SS.

    The ropey work around SS have offered might well work but it's the month it took to answer the question and the many hours it's taken us to get to a pretty unsatisfactory conclusion.

    I've written lots of software and I understand how to manage bugs and feature requests. SS is a wealthy organisation and they charge top dollar for a fairly basic product.

    I thought we would get professional level software and support, now I'm not so sure, hence my question; is this typical for SS or have we just been unlucky?

    Kind regards,

    Davey

  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Davey Smalley

    Happy to help!

    It sounds like you've been unlucky!

    It's in no way the typical Smartsheet experience.

    I hope it gets better for you and your team going forward.

    Let me know if I can help in any way!

    SMARTSHEET EXPERT CONSULTANT & PARTNER

    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 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    I have never experienced this bug nor have I ever heard of anyone else experiencing it. What are the "workaround" steps that you were provided? Is this happening on ALL sheets across your account?

  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Davey Smalley

    Are you using Data Uploader?

    SMARTSHEET EXPERT CONSULTANT & PARTNER

    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.

  • Davey Smalley
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    Hi Paul,

    Here are the suggested steps:

    1. At this time though, I don't have an ETA for a fix. We've seen this happen when a date column that was used on a Project sheet gets changed to something else later on, like a dropdown or a text/number column. I've outlined the steps to fix this below.
    2. Set the column type of the column that keeps changing to a Date column by double-clicking the column name to bring up the Edit Column Properties window. Under Column Type, select Date. This is necessary so that all settings are cleared correctly when it's changed back to the type you want.
    3. Insert two temporary columns and set their Column Properties to Date using the same method as step 1.
    4. Right click on any column and select Edit Project Settings... Make a note of the columns names listed in the Start date column and End date column dropdowns as you'll need the names for step 8. (The column that keeps changing should be one of them.)
    5. Change the Start date column and End date column dropdowns to the new temporary Date columns.
    6. Change % Complete to "--None--" if it isn't already.
    7. Click OK.
    8. If you have Conditional Formatting on either of the columns that were listed as the Start or End date, first, make a note of the rules (so they can be recreated after this process) and then delete the rules. 
    9. Edit the Column Properties of the columns you made a note of in step 3 (these were originally listed in the Project Settings dropdowns for Start date column and End date column) and change them to the property type that the column was in step 1 before it was changed to Date.
    10. Delete the 2 temporary date columns by right-clicking the columns and selecting Delete Column.
    11. Re apply any conditional formatting rules, if applicable.


  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    So based on the above steps... It sounds like you have (for example) a [Start Date] column set as a date type and referenced in the Project Settings. You then change that column type to a text/number, but it randomly reverts back to a date type column.

    It almost sounds like as long as BEFORE you change the column type you double check that it is not being used in the Project Settings then you should not have to worry about it reverting and then having to go through all of those steps.

    Does that make sense? I am basing that on the workaround steps above. The (note) at the end of #4 is what leads me to that line of thinking.

  • Davey Smalley
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    Hi Paul,

    It's a sales lead tracker, nothing particularly complex.

    We have rows for each lead and monthly columns with value.

    The July column repeatedly changes from text/number to date.

    This happens in a seemingly random way and once it's flipped to date none of the formuli work.

    Our subscribed users can change the column type but anyone who's not a subscriber can't access the function so they can't use the sheet.

    It's been very frustrating as the people I'm trying to get to support our use of smartsheets keep on seeing this problem and just lobby to go back to google sheets. G-sheets handles multiple concurrent users better and is far more powerful in many other respects, it's also far less costly. The bug and the time it's taken to resolve has really slowed the momentum.

    Thanks for your help.

    Davey

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Was the July column ever a date type column at any point in the history of the sheet?

  • Davey Smalley
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    I'm not 100% sure. It was never intended to be but may have been during the development at some point.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Does it happen on any other sheet? Would it be feasible to save a copy of the sheet (after making sure the column is the text/number type)? At the very least you could save a copy and just let it sit to see if it happens there. If it does not, maybe you could switch to using the copy.


    It just really seems like the issue is that it was initially a date column referenced by the Project Settings and then it was changed, so I am trying to think of ways that will minimize effort on your part but essentially "reset" the history of that column.

  • Davey Smalley
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    Hi Paul,

    I can probably reproduce this sheet in half a dozen ways - export a .csv to clip board etc. to remove any possibility of formatting being carried over and then create a new one from scratch.

    My primary concern is the month it took for SS to explain they knew about the bug, having wasted quite a lot of time on a wild goose chase of browser compatability issues.

    I can rectify the current problem, what really worries me is investing in a system which isn't reliable.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Davey

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    It sounds like you had a pretty unpleasant experience with Support, so I can understand your hesitation. Have you looked into any kind of escalation for your concerns?

  • Davey Smalley
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    Thanks Paul,

    I wouldn't really describe it as unpleasant as everyone I've interacted with has been kind.

    I have considered escalation but I know you can't attend to all the bugs and features instantly. I'm just a bit suprised really and it makes be unsure of flying the flag for SS, embedding it within our processes seems risky.

    The bug isn't the kind of thing I'd like to leave lying around in my code. Lack of stability resulting in undefined beheavour in a database is potential pretty serious and the work around seems to indicate they don't really know what causes it.

    I guess we'll just tread carefully for a while and hopefully this will prove to be an isolated case.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    I haven't ever heard of this particular bug happening before either with my coworkers or elsewhere here in the Community.


    I can say though that I have been pretty happy with my Smartsheet experience overall these past couple of years. There have been a few bugs here and there (which is to be expected with any platform) that I have come across, but overall I enjoy Smartsheet and a lot of its capabilities.


    Best of luck to you.