The Use of The Primary Column in Reports


I was having an inexplicable issue with filtering a report where rows weren't showing up for a specific sheet. I called Smartsheet support and after about half an hour we fixed the issue.

I was told that when a new report is created, if the primary column of an existing sheet is blank for ALL rows, the sheet will be excluded from the report ONLY when using a report filter that filters based off of sheet name.

I have a healthy amount of skepticism when it comes to the quality of support I get from Smartsheet about technical issues and combined with the fact that this case is SO specific, I am wondering why on earth this would be the case.

I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about this or if it's true?

All feedback is appreciated!



  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @Eric Strashin

    Would you be able to post a screen capture of your Report set-up, specifying what you're filtering by? (But please block out sensitive data).

    You would need to have some sort of data in the sheet for rows to show up, but this data could be in one of the other columns selected in the Report other than the Primary (your Primary cells would just show blank for those rows).

    I'd be interested to see if there were any other filter conditions that were blocking these rows from appearing in your Report, or if there was a Sort applied which put them at the bottom of your Report (or on another page) if they were blank.



  • Eric Strashin
    Eric Strashin ✭✭
    edited 09/14/21

    Hi @Genevieve P. ,

    Unfortunately the problem is fixed now and I can't re-create it. Plus it is a quite complicated filtering process and would be difficult to explain through screenshots.

    What was happening was that I was adding the following filter:

    Sheet Name -> Contains -> TS_

    My sheet name started with TS_

    When I added the filter other sheets that started with TS_ would show up, but not one specific sheet. I would remove the filter and it would show up. I also tried with various characters at the end (%&*) as a recommendation of the support technician and it did not fix the issue. There were only 3 or 4 items in the report so it was not an issue of sorting and grouping was not applied.

    I understand that these filtering issues are mostly user error, but I spent 30mins on the phone with support and we could not figure it out until I wrote something in the sheet's primary column, and all of a sudden the report was pulling from that report perfectly. I am wondering if anyone has had any experience with this.

    In the follow up email from the technician it says:

    "There should be some data in the primary column in order for the chosen columns to be included in the filters."