Hiding a column from certain users but other users can see and interact with that column?

prjessy ✭✭
edited 05/05/22 in Smartsheet Basics

I have a sheet that we use internally to monitor public park facilities. None of the columns contain any sensitive information so we share the sheet with a 3rd party organisation who's staff help keep the content updated.

Due to column one containing the discussion feature for row level communication, we are very conscious that all eyes can see this and there's no way to restrict usage of the discussion feature between users (I think??!!). We therefore can't put any comments that are internal and sensitive in the comments section (because our 3rd party shared colleagues can see them). We therefore had the idea of creating a column called 'internal notes' and for this column to be hidden from our 3rd party users but our internal team can edit and write comments in it. We'd just enter text and could use the cell history feature to see previous comments.

Two questions therefore please:

1 - Is there a way to keep a certain discussion private in the column one discussions feature (eg I somehow tag people in the posts and nobody else beyond those tagged people can see the discussion item).

2 - Assuming 1 is not possible, can we create a column and have viewing/editing permissions to certain sheet members only? If so, how?

Many Thanks.


  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Create a report from the base sheet and just don't include your internal comments column in the report.

  • prjessy
    prjessy ✭✭

    @Paul Newcome thanks for the idea, I tried this as you suggest but it seems for the shared person of the 'report' to actually see anything, they need access to the underlying sheet and we're back to square 1 of them seeing the discussions section that we want as internal.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    Many thanks

  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @prjessy

    I hope you're well and safe!

    To add to Paul's excellent advice/answer.

    There are a couple of other options.

    • Premium App, Dynamic View
    • Premium App, WorkApps
    • Create a duplicate of the sheet using Cross-Sheet formulas without the internal comments. You can then share that, and to collect the information, you could add so-called helper columns between the sheets.

    If possible, I'd recommend options 1 and 2 first. Options three also works, and I've developed client solutions around it, but it can get very advanced depending on the specifics.

    Would any of those options work/help?

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe and have a fantastic week!


    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

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  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I would suggest Dynamic View if they need to be able to edit.

    If they do not need to be able to edit, the report can be published and the published link sent to them without having to worry about sharing the underlying sheet(s).