Copying contact information from one sheet to another


If my users attempt to copy contacts from one sheet to another, they loose the total contact information. Only the name, as text comes over. Even if both column types are Contact.

There does not seem to be an easy way to copy over a list of contacts.

Using copy rows is not an option - because the messes up the formulas that are built into other cells in the sheet.

Copying the sheet is also not an option. We use Control Center, when we start a new project, CC spins up a package of about 20 different project sheets, with multiple cross links and roll up reporting to PMO sub teams.

My users have project teams that have 100+ members on them. When they start a new project they want to go into an old project team sheet, copy the column of team members from that project and then paste it into the new project team sheet. They they add / delete as necessary.

Pre-populating the project team sheet will not work either. Often there is very little overlap between the teams of one project manager and an other project manager.



  • Bassam Khalil
    Bassam Khalil ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @David Dolch 

    Hope you are fine, i think if you add all your contacts in the user list or in your smartsheet contact then when you copy any contact from one sheet to another it will work, but I have for you better solution, you can create contacts database sheet contain ( Full Name, Email , Mobile , Address ...ATC ) then in each sheet you can get any information you need for that contact by using Vlookup.

    PMP Certified

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  • David Dolch
    David Dolch ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Bassam.M Khalil

    Thank you for your suggestion. Unfortunately that will not work for my users.

    I have a Control Center ecosystem. Within my solution I have 35+ users working on 100+ in flight projects at any given time. Each project ranging from a month to over a year. Control Center creates a package of 20+ artifacts for each project (sheets, reports, and dashboards). The point is, everything has to be automated. There is too much going on for me and the other admin to make manual changes (plus we both manage projects and have other portfolio tasks, Smartsheet admin is not our full time job) .

    I need a way for my users to have a contact in a contact column on one sheet and copy that contact to a contact column on an other sheet using copy/paste (or CRTL-C / CTRL-V) and have all of the contact information come over. It could be from a project team sheet on one project to a project team sheet on an other, or it could be from a project plan on one project to a action items tracker on the same project.

    There is no consistency such as "Joe Smith" is always assigned to task "ABCD". It changes from project to project.

    Setting up VLOOKUP formulas that need to be maintained is not something I want to add to my plate. Neither is helper sheets, or hidden columns, or any other complicated workaround. Just a simple copy and paste that works.


  • Sean Morgan

    Hello @David Dolch ,

    As another potential solution, you may wish to use Cell Linking. This is essentially the same as Copy + Paste, but always pulls for its linked cell.

    See more on this here:

    Let me know if you have any questions



  • David Dolch
    David Dolch ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Sean Morgan

    Thanks for the suggestion, but that is not going to work.

    Cell linking is a static solution. It is going to link cell A to cell B on each and every project.

    The situation I have is:

    A Project Manager has an existing project, with a project team sheet. That project team has 60 people on it.

    The Project Manger then starts a new project, generated by Control Center, so Control Center creates a new Project Team sheet for them - hence "Copy as New" is not an option

    There are multiple hidden formulas, roll ups, and cross sheet linkages on that project team sheet that Control Center has created - so something like a copy row is not going to work.

    The project manager notices that a block of 20 or so people from the first project are also on the second project. They want to copy that block of 20 names and paste it into the new project - and have them come across as contacts. It should be a pretty simple copy and paste. It should not need helper sheets, formulas, intermediate reports, or some other complicated solution. Just copy and past contacts from one sheet to an other. It would save them a significant amount of time when setting up a new project.

    Same thing goes for hierarchy in copy and paste. After failing as copying and pasting their project team information, they turn to their project plan and notice that there is a block of 40 tasks that are similar between the two projects. They think "I could copy that, paste it into my new project" do a little editing, and save myself half an hour of time. Nope - when copying and pasting tasks, any hierarchy that existed in the original plan is lost.

  • Matthew Emrich
    Matthew Emrich ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 09/16/21

    @David Dolch The solution I found to solve this is to change the column format to just text (on the sheet where it is not showing as a contact) and change it back to contact column

  • Imad
    Imad ✭✭

    @Matthew Emrich that will not work, it only copies the contact´s name and you loose all the information.

    @David Dolch How did you solve it? I am facing the same problem. Thanks

  • David Dolch
    David Dolch ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 09/21/21

    I never did solve it.

    I still get complaints about it to this day

    And Matthew's answer would not work for me anyway. I pay a load of money for a Control Center instance - for a number of reasons, but one of which is I do not need licenses for the 50 or so Project Managers in my group.

    To have to buy 50 licenses a year, so they have the ability to change column types, just so they could copy names, is asking a bit much. Also, I do NOT want them to be able to change column names. I have over 140 active projects in my ecosystem that automatically roll up to a team and then a portfolio level for reporting. The last thing I need is giving people the ability to break something by changing column types.

  • Rob Oaks

    This is another extraordinary Smartsheet bug. How can it be that there is no way to copy a contact from one sheet to another?

  • CN330326
    CN330326 ✭✭
    edited 02/01/23

    Hi there, just wondering if you have found a way to do this.

    Would this work?

    have a mastersheet of all contacts with this format ( Persons name <Persons E-mail address> ) copy and past that version into a "text/number" column. once you add all the contacts you need to change the cell to "contact list". you won't have the drop down but you can switch the column back to text when you need to add another contact and then just switch it back to contact.

    *Also need to save the sheet after changing to "Contact list"

  • David Dolch
    David Dolch ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am no longer the admin of that Smartsheet instance (I have my own other team now - still a heavy Smartsheet user, just not using that build)

    It would not work. That solution was set up with Control Center with the users themselves not having individual licenses. One of the reasons for that is so they cannot change parameters such as column names and types.

    There are currently over 500 projects being managed in that instance (some launched, some in flight, and some awaiting assignment). There are 5 separate teams, comprised of 6 to 8 Project Managers in each team using that instance.

    Control Center automatically links and creates various team level, portfolio level, and executive level reporting. If somebody changes a column name, it breaks all of that reporting. Even worse, nobody notices it is broken until somebody notices a particular project is not in the roll up reporting.

    So there is no way that team is going to give individual users the ability to change column parameters.

  • CN330326

    Ah I see. yeah, that contact drop down list is seemingly useless as you can only add one person at a time. and no option to copy paste groups of people. Wonder if they will change this in the future.