Do shared users need access to other sheets from which cells are linked?


We have a sheet which pulls most of its data via cell link. We do not want to provide access to the reference sheet to the shared users. Will they still be able to see the data in the sheet we do share with them, or is it like a report where they would need access to the reference sheet? Thank you!



  • Genevieve P.

    Hi @Jonathan Dayan,

    Your collaborators do not need to be shared to the cell-link source sheet in order to see the data being pulled through. You can use cell-links or cross-sheet formulas to bring in data from a different sheets and allow shared users to view this data.

    Keep in mind that if they wanted to see where the link was coming from, they would see "Link In From: Unknown Sheet" when they hover over the blue arrow. Then if they double click on the reference to try and view the source data, they'll be met with this window, letting them know they do not have permission to open the sheet:

    Another thing to note is that if you share these collaborators with Editor permissions they could remove out the link. See the Cell Linking Help Article: "The sheet owner and collaborators with Editor or Admin access can edit or remove cell links." You may want to lock the column if you don't want them to remove the link.

    Let me know if I can clarify anything further!



    Join us at Smartsheet ENGAGE 2024 🎉
    October 8 - 10, Seattle, WA | Register now

  • Mtmoroni
    Mtmoroni ✭✭✭✭✭

    I apologize for digging up an older thread. But similar question: I created a template that has a formula that references another sheet. If a user uses this template as their own sheet, and does NOT have access to the sheet that the formula is referencing - Will the formula still work?

  • Genevieve P.

    Hi @Mtmoroni

    That's a great question!

    Whether or not the references exist will depend on if you are shared to this copied sheet, and your level of permissions.

    Lets say that...

    • You are the owner of a Workspace
    • In this Workspace, you have a sheet that uses a formula to reference an outside sheet your collaborators cannot see
    • This sheet is turned into a template, or is copied by one of your collaborators

    What happens to the formula will depend on where the copy or new sheet is saved and who is shared to it.

    1. If the sheet is saved in that same Workspace where you are the owner, the formulas work fine.
    2. If the sheet is saved in a different Workspace, but you are shared to that workspace/sheet with editor or higher permissions, then the formulas are fine.
    3. However, if this sheet is saved where you do not have access to the sheet, OR if your sharing permissions are either Viewer or Commenter, then the formulas will return a Permission error:

    Essentially, since you're the one who has access to the source sheet where the formula is pulling from, you need to have access to this destination sheet to update or change the references if needed (which is why you need Editor or higher permissions).

    Does that make sense?



    Join us at Smartsheet ENGAGE 2024 🎉
    October 8 - 10, Seattle, WA | Register now

Help Article Resources

Want to practice working with formulas directly in Smartsheet?

Check out the Formula Handbook template!