Report Formatting

Joseph S.
Joseph S. ✭✭
edited 09/17/21 in Smartsheet Basics


I am curious as to methods/best practices for formatting reports. I understand that row level datum have font, fill etc. carried over from the master sheet. What I am struggling with is getting Grouped tabs to have formatting displayed within the report. I have set up a system of grouping starting with the Sheet Name, Class, and Subclasses. These groups have effectively separated off the various project sheet level rows into their correct grouping.

While I enjoy this feature and feel that it is great to be able to generate reports, I am just rather shocked and confused as to the benefit of removing/not having formatting from the report itself as an option? Why is it that formatting from the project sheet cannot be carried over to Grouped headings while for rows, it is?

Visually, this gets the job done with one project within the report, however, I'm afraid with the sheer amount of projects to be put into this report the white on white, not clear defining row borders will be at the very least difficult to look at and navigate.

Has anyone come across with a work around or have any ideas how a report could be structured to just be more visually pleasing while still maintaining a hierarchical display of data? I have submitted a feature request. I have attached a PNG of how my report looks.

Any assistance or tips would be very much appreciated!



  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    The grouping is a feature of the report itself and reports do not allow for their own formatting. That is why the grouping is not formatted. The reason the rows are is because it is carrying over from the sheet and not necessarily put in place by the report itself. The only thing I can suggest is to submit a product enhancement request which you have already done.

  • Thanks for the response Paul.

    I mostly have trouble seeing how formatting is nullified in reports for grouping considering it is still referencing the main sheet for that field. It seems odd that while it can pull text, it cannot font, fill etc.

    Is there a method you employ to further enhance report appearances?

  • Nora
    Nora ✭✭

    I'm right there with you. Even if not using Groupings, I would like to be able to format columns differently in a report than in the master. My 'database' (originating sheet) needs the full dollar value, but the execs only want to see it in the thousands. I'm starting to work with PowerBI connected to Smartsheet as a workaround, but it really removes the usefulness of a report in the tool that I can't format it differently and can't easily export it to a presentation.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Joseph S. What if you were referencing multiple sheets? How would it know which one to pull the formatting from for the grouping?

    Instead of having formatting pulling from sheets to be reflected in grouping, maybe it would be better if we were able to use formatting within reports themselves that could essentially "override" the formatting in the sheet if you wanted. Having formatting as part of the report itself I would think should lead to formatting options when grouping (if you wanted to submit a product enhancement request).

  • @Paul Newcome I see what you mean. Formatting should 100% be a feature within reports and will be submitting a more specific product enhancement request.

  • Very odd for a sheet compiling feature to not have formatting as a standard feature to be included. Would hope that it gets implemented soon/

  • Andrew Stills
    Andrew Stills ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've also put in a request for report formatting. It would provide for more visually pleasing sheets and reports and allow for clearer communication of information at each level.

    Put in a feature request so maybe they'll get to this sometime.


    He who fails to plan is planning to fail. - Winston Churchill

  • Yes! I have just filled one out. I also have a meeting schedule with my account rep soon and will bring this up as a feature we would like to have included. SmartSheets development team seems to prioritize requests based of off % of requests. If anyone has found this post via google search PLEASE fill out a request for this feature. The more requests, the sooner and more likely the smartsheets team will help make this happen!

  • FWPBIDev
    FWPBIDev ✭✭✭

    Hard to believe this isn't a feature. Seriously, submit a request? Nah, when do they ever listen? Formatting of reports should be fundamental.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @FWPBIDev They have recently rolled out a new way to submit enhancement requests which provides much more visibility as well as status updates from the dev team. You can visit the Ideas Topic and search for it there. If no one has submitted it yet, feel free to submit the idea yourself so that others may vote on it. If you find that someone has already submitted the idea, feel free to add your vote to it.

  • FWPBIDev
    FWPBIDev ✭✭✭

    @Paul Newcome thank you. still getting my sea legs under me and dealing with the learning curve frustrations.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I understand learning curve frustrations. I just didn't want any new users seeing a comment such as "when do they ever listen" and being turned off from a great product when in all reality not only do they listen, but they also communicate back when they are able.

    It makes it hard for them though when there are people who won't submit an enhancement request because then they won't know what their customers want. How are they supposed to know if no one actually tells them? Other challenges would be when someone goes ahead and creates their own topic when another for the same thing had already been created. Votes on a topic are what give them insight into what is a priority. If the votes are split between two threads, that particular issue may not get surfaced in a report that looks at (for example) top 10 votes.

    How many other platforms have such a transparent way of finding out what it is their users want to better their service? Let's take advantage of that instead of assuming it doesn't work. It certainly can't hurt.