How can I trigger an email notification from a sheet?

Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭
Answered - Pending Review

Several years ago I could trigger a Smartsheet email notification when the value in a cell changed. Under the current automation capability that doesn't seem possible anymore. I use automated workflows extensively and I trigger them from reports or from within a sheet that contains the workflows. What I'm trying to do now is have a notification sent to me when the value in a cell changes via a link or a cross sheet reference formula without having to manually open it myself and trigger the notification. Does anyone know of a way to do that within the current automation scheme?


  • Hi Jim,

    This is totally possible. You should select "when rows are changed" in the first step on the automations scheme. You can then add a condition step if you wish to only have it triggered based on specific cells within that row.

    Holly Conrad Smith

    Director of Technology & Innovation 💡 at Streamline

    CliftonStrengths Top 5: Deliberative, Restorative, Achiever, Consistency, Harmony

  • Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks Holly but the method you describe is exactly what the Smartsheet documentation says. I have a dozen automated workflows that work just like you mentioned but I'm looking for something else, possibly undocumented. For example, the documentation says that you can only trigger automated workflows by opening the sheet and doing something, like changing the value of a cell, that triggers the workflow. It also says that incoming links and cross sheet formulas cannot trigger workflows. I have also figured out that you can trigger a workflow without ever opening the sheet yourself by using the ability of a report to edit cells in other sheets that do not have a formula in them. That works great since it appears the Smartsheet server opens the sheet with the cell edited via the report, updates the cell used as a trigger and then saves the sheet thus triggering the workflow. In this case I have a sheet that monitors hours used on a project and when it reaches a specified number of hours I would like to receive a notification email so it can be invoiced. This used to work several years ago but not anymore.

  • I believe I'm having a similar problem. I've set up automation to send an email when there are less than 60 days to renew a license. When I change the date manually to test the trigger and notification, it works great. But when the notice date is reached normally, the email notification is not sent. If I refresh the page, then the notification is sent.

    Am I missing something within the settings to allow notification based on the actual date?

    Thank you for your help! 

  • Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bcruzzn, your description of how automated workflows get triggered matches my understanding of how they work. Namely, a sheet must be opened, the trigger changed and the sheet saved. If a sheet is not opened and the trigger condition generated, the automation doesn't happen even if the trigger event happens. I'm trying to find some way around this but, apart from triggering from a report, I haven't been able to find a way.

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Jim Hook, @hollyconradsmith & @bcruzzn,

    I hope you're well and safe!

    Please have a look at my post below with a method I developed to update the sheet(s) daily. (can be structured to trigger multiple times a day as well)

    More info: 

    Would that work/help?

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe and have a fantastic week!


    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

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


    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: | E: [email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me about help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or something else entirely.

  • Hi @Jim Hook

    I see what you are saying now! What we have done to get around this is add a checkbox that updates based on a formula. For instance, we have an automation that goes out on our employees' birthdays. There is a checkbox column called "it is my birthday" that has a formula in it if([email protected], 1, 0). The checkbox checks off on the person's birthday and the automation gets triggered. Would something like this work for you?

    Holly Conrad Smith

    Director of Technology & Innovation 💡 at Streamline

    CliftonStrengths Top 5: Deliberative, Restorative, Achiever, Consistency, Harmony

  • Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Holly,

    That would likely work for me also. I was able to get it to work using a Record a Date action in a workflow but I think that any action that requires the sheet to be opened and a value changed on the Smartsheet server triggering a workflow could be made to do the same thing.

    My application has some large what I refer to as processing sheets and archive sheets that I didn't want people to open to see their data of interest or triggering actions such as saving weekly data for history charts, archiving closed projects, etc. or to look at specific project details. Fortunately I was able to find what I would refer to as undocumented ways to trigger workflows from reports thus dramatically simplifying my user interface.

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