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Jim Hook
Jim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2017 Posts

I recently created a sheet that has 303 rows by 26 columns with a lot of LOOKUP() functions in formulas (about 2040 formulas). I use the sheet to compress raw timesheet data that ultimately ends up in an Excel database. When I was debugging it was configured to handle 75 projects and it worked fine although it was a little slow. When I increased the number of projects it would handle to our 120 project maximum it basically stopped working in Chrome forcing me to reload Smartsheet to get things working again. Oddly, the identical sheet works fine, but slow, in Safari and also in Firefox.

I noticed that the Save icon stays dark grey for about 15 seconds in Safari then turns light grey and then everything works fine. However, in Chrome the same sheet keeps the Save icon dark grey forever or until I reload Smartsheet from scratch. In Chrome I get the screenshot below.

Does anyone know what the app is doing when the Save icon is dark gray? I have noticed it typically taking from 1 - 4 seconds to go light gray after a sheet loads and more complex sheets take the longest. Should I not be doing anything until it goes light gray? If instead of killing Smartsheet I tell it to wait I get the "Aw Snap, something went wrong" message from Chrome after a minute or so.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 3.22.25 PM.png


  • Hi Jim,

    A dark grey icon indicates that our formula engine is parsing and returning calculations when needed. Interestingly enough, the formula engine calculates both formulas and conditional formatting rules.

    If you see the dark grey icon, it's typically best to not edit the sheet, as this could cause the formula engine to "reset" and have to parse sections of your sheet again, which eats up more browser memory, and may lead to a browser window crash.

    I'm not sure why this would be happening in Chrome (Smartsheet typically runs best in Chrome) and not in other browsers, unless you're using Smartsheet differently in Chrome as you troubleshoot the problem. It could be the large amount of formulas. This might be easy for a native desktop application that has access to as much memory as your computer can provide, but Smartsheet is limited to the confines of the browser. 

    To aid with this, you might see if you can expand the memory Chrome is allowed to use, close any other browser tabs you have open so that only Smartsheet is using browser resources.

    You might also troubleshoot any Chrome browser extensions you might have—disabling them to see if you have better performance from Smartsheet.

    Otherwise, contact our Support team and they can troubleshoot further, although this may be an issue with your widespread use of LOOKUP formulas.

  • Jim Hook
    Jim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for your thoughts Shanie. I tried running Smartsheet in a Chrome window with only the Smartsheet tab running and it didn't make any difference. I am currently working with Support to see if they can identify the issue. I have no conditional formatting in this sheet.

    I'm pretty sure it is a space issue in Chrome and will look at expanding it if possible.

    I only use this Smartsheet once or twice per week so I can use Safari if I can't get it to work on Chrome.

  • Jim Hook
    Jim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Shanie, one additional thought. Recently I noticed that it started taking longer when loading a sheet before I could edit text in a cell normally. If I don't wait long enough I would start editing a cell (double click on a cell to open it for text editing) but SS would act as if I had just selected the cell and started typing thus erasing whatever was in the cell before. I'm pretty sure this is a new behavior since I just noticed it recently after using SS everyday for the last four years. On my most used sheets it takes 10+ seconds after the sheet is apparently loaded before the Save icon dims and I can make edits. I think this is due to a change in the sheet loading process that runs the formula engine before allowing edits to start. I don't know why the change was made but making it look like the sheet is ready to be used when it's not, especially for more than a couple of seconds, is not good.

  • We haven't made a change on the backend to the way a sheet loads, calculates formulas, or saves.

    Contact our Support team to troubleshoot this issue.

  • Jim Hook
    Jim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    It's possible that the delay I'm seeing has something to do with how Smartsheet runs in Chrome vs. Safari or something on my Mac. On a smaller, less complex, sheet the Save icon goes dark grey for 2.3 seconds on Safari and 7.6 seconds on Chrome (only one tab running on Chrome). I'll just start using Safari for Smartsheet to speed things up.

  • Jim Hook
    Jim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I received verification from Smartsheet Support that my sheet is too complex for Chrome to handle. It's not that large compared to many others I have but I think the large number of LOOKUP() functions in formulas is the problem. They suggested that I use Firefox or break up the sheet into two smaller, less complex, sheets. It is not possible to split this sheet into two smaller sheets and have it still function so I tried loading it in both Firefox and Safari since I use a Mac for work. It took 81 seconds for the sheet to load and for the Save icon to dim in Firefox but only 27 seconds to do the same thing on Safari.

    I also tried exporting the sheet to Excel to see how fast it would load and be ready for edits. That took about four seconds so there's a huge difference between a browser-based app (Smartsheet) and a compiled app like Excel.

This discussion has been closed.