Referencing Values While Using Workflows and other grievances

There is some serious disconnect between Workflows and Formulas/Functions.

I use Smartsheet mostly for task management on a small software development team. When we submit a code change it must go through multiple steps in this case: Development, Testing, Code Merge, and a few other tasks.

I want to create a form that allows one user to write a generic ticket that will open a new ticket for each of these different steps. This would save my team probably 15 minutes per task as most of the data will be the same.

Now here are the problems that I've encountered trying to automate something as simple as this:

  1. It requires a second sheet to create multiple tasks
  2. Even when using a second sheet automation will only create 2 tasks before disabling the workflow. This is the response I received after my workflow was disabled "This workflow triggered itself directly or by at least 1 other workflow, which is prevented"
  3. I am not able to reference a value from another row using workflows for example: setting a cell to " =[TaskName]1 + " Development" " outside of workflows will turn into "Name Development" but when used within workflows there is an " ' " added before the = in order to disable the formula.

For problems 1 & 2 the only answer I've seen on here is @Andrée Starå suggesting a very vague solution. He does not share the solution on these forums and instead requests emails from individuals in order for him to share an example. I don't see how the CEO is unable to post an example on the community board when prompted multiple times.

How can tasks be split without encountering an issue with workflows calling themselves? How can we get formulas to work in workflows and if this isn't possible, how do we concatenate values submitted in forms with other values (either from the form itself or hardcoded values)?


  • For problems 1 & 2 I have a lackluster solution involving 2 sheets, I imagine this is the same solution that Andree was emailing to people asking. Here's what you need to do if you're going to copy a task:

    1. Create a checkbox for if you want to copy it or not (CheckboxCopy)
    2. Create a second sheet for bouncing to Sheet1 (BS Sheet)
    3. Create a workflow in Sheet1 that checks if: CheckboxCopy = checked THEN Copy the row into BS Sheet THEN Change name to "Development"

    At this step Sheet1 has a row named "Development" with all the info submitted in the form except of course the Task Name

    On BS Sheet we have all of the info copied exactly from the form

    • 4. Create a workflow on BS Sheet that sets "CheckboxCopy" = Unchecked AND sets "Task Name" = Testing
    • 5. Create a separate workflow in BS Sheet that triggers On Change only when "CheckboxCopy" = Unchecked (You could also set a separate box or trigger on a specific name) That MOVES this task back to Sheet 1

    This solution is not good but with drop down menus and a few more workflows will be able to expand into the tool I described above. There are some serious problems with this but the biggest of these problems is I will still have to manually (Or using a request for more info which also doesn't help much) change the names of all these tasks to include the original name from the form.

    I will update with my final solution and all the info I can gather, if someone is able to solve Issue #3 I outlined above this could become a useful tool. Otherwise I'm really only doing this in case it can help someone else.

  • Hi @Forklift_Expert ,

    Hope you are doing Good.

    You have the form to fill the details when there is a Code Change and once User Submitted the form, it would automatically goes to Certain Team like Development, Testing and so on.

    1. Do we have dropdown for choosing option in dev, testing and so on.
    2. Do we have Task Name Column
    3. So We need to merge task with Type of Task(Dev, Testing and so on)

    As this is my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Could you please share some screenshots which will be much easier to understand, if you have no concern.


    Sandhiya P

  • I'd like to create separate rows instead of just bouncing the ticket back and forth between teams. Mostly because our team is dynamic so there's no 1 person who tests, instead we have a rule that no one can test their own code changes.

    1. We used to have this but I'm trying to hide it and change the task name instead.
    2. Yes there's a task name column
    3. Yes essentially this

    So for example if a user fills out a form for: "Add a Loading Bar"

    What we want is to create 6 different rows on the same sheet with the following Task Names

    "Add A Loading Bar - Development", "Add A Loading Bar - Test", "Add A Loading Bar - Fix Code", "Add A Loading Bar - Re - Test", "Add A Loading Bar - Merge Code", "Add A Loading Bar - Validate"

    The 2 problems after following my above process:

    1. We cannot reference the values in "Task Name" when changing values within Workflows

    In the sheet it would look like this: =[Task Name]1 + " - Development" But when using workflows you can't use functions

    2._ Only 5 workflows can be chained together. The 6th will always disable itself because there's a fear of infinite loops being created.

    I'm currently working on a solution for this and getting close I will update when I get there.

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