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Cascading Forms

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Nick Burrus
Nick Burrus ✭✭✭✭✭✭

Cascading Form data sets is one of Smartsheet's missing capabilities that I believe would be a game-changer for many alternative providers. Cascading forms are a very effective technique that can be used to compress form data and limit down options in order to narrow a workflow or collect more accurate data.

Recent usage of a Cascading Form is likely. For instance, after selecting your Country, a list of States is displayed. This demonstrates the effectiveness of Cascading Forms.

For Example, if I have a dropdown titled Animal Type with the following options:

  • Water
  • Land
  • Flying

I would like to be able to include conditional alternatives. If my response is "Water," I would like to be able to load in the following dropdown a series of the following options for a field titled Animal Species:

  • Whale
  • Dolphin
  • Fish

But, if I choose Land

  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Mouse

Etc. So, when the form is finally submitted, Animal Species is Dolphin for example. Doing this with the current method is very messy, and it is very difficult to manage a cascading data set correctly.

Many alternative services such as DocuSign, ProntoForms, Office 365 Excel Forms, AirTable, etc allow you to point to 1 sheet (CSV, Excel Sheet, or an online spreadsheet) in order to create a cascading table automatically form form data fields that are mapped.

This can accomplish two highly requested features:

  1. Allow dropdown values to be mapped to another sheet's column in order to allow dynamic updates. (This is what ddupdate does, and there are well over 500 posts in this forum alone about it).
  2. Allow advanced cascade features to allow Smartsheet (and hopefully offline forms) to compete in the field.

We've had to turn away lucrative oil companies, etc from Smartsheet, simply because Cascading data on large amounts of forms was difficult to effectively manage.

Dr. St Nicholas Burrus DHA, PMP

I build Smartsheets for the US Government, State Government, and about a dozen of the US Fortune 100s.

41
41 votes

On Wishlist · Last Updated

We completely agree on the value of this idea - while we can't provide a timeline, we are actively thinking of ways this may become part of our future plans. If we have an update for you in this area we'll change the status here.

Comments

  • Cleversheet
    Cleversheet ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Nick Burrus, I assume you’ve already tried parsing your columns such that, for example, you have a [Land Animal] column with Dog/Cat/Mouse, so that when the form user selects Land as the [Animal Type] then form logic will present them the [Land Animal] dropdown—and accordingly not the [Water Animal] or [Flying Animal] dropdowns.

  • Nick Burrus
    Nick Burrus ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Yep. The issue is , this gets dirty fast for large data sets. :(. We use Enterprise level addons, etc, now for this client and they're paying upwards to almost $100 grand a year for Smartsheet for a few users. They have ended their interest in Smartsheet to go to a competitor that supports cascades natively. Our other clients are still on SS. Just cascades are a "will be really nice" feature for a lot of things. We're currently building out a proof of concept for an energy company that wants over 164 variations of cascades.

    Dr. St Nicholas Burrus DHA, PMP

    I build Smartsheets for the US Government, State Government, and about a dozen of the US Fortune 100s.

  • Nick Burrus
    Nick Burrus ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    We just lost a health services client moving to Smartsheet over the lack of cascades for a massive survey they want to do. We did find a solution with zoho forms/analytics if anyone is looking for that.


    Definately do want to be able t obring them home to Smartsheet one day!

    Dr. St Nicholas Burrus DHA, PMP

    I build Smartsheets for the US Government, State Government, and about a dozen of the US Fortune 100s.

  • vdemattei
    vdemattei ✭✭✭✭
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    I've been addressing this with logic in my forms, but on a much much smaller scale. It it already cumbersome on a small scale. It's terrible that clients are walking away from Smartsheet because of this missing feature. My client is also utilizing other products (Form Assembly) because of the missing features in Smartsheet's forms. Very unfortunate.

  • Nancy Williams
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    Almost every form I build would benefit from cascading dropdowns, often multiple. As noted above, it is highly tedious and often prohibitive to require multiple columns for what should be able to be captured in one column. In many cases, it requires upwards of a 1/2 dozen columns between the different groups and data consolidation helper columns. Multiply this over several datasets within a single form, and you rapidly diminish the number of rows that the associated sheet will accommodate.

  • I am in the same boat, building sheets for our customer support. We have 180+ companies and building these dropdowns has become cumbersome. We are hoping to stay with SS a long time as it offers much more functionality than what we were using, but this would be a huge win to keep it! I hope to see this enhancement soon!

  • Nick Burrus
    Nick Burrus ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    DocuSign, Laserfiche, Excel, OpenOffice/LibreOffice Web plugisn, AirTable, FastForms, JotForms, SurveyJS, Monday, Formstack, Connecteam, Trello, Asana, Atlasstian, Jira, ServiceNow, and many more now support this.


    Smartsheet is now the sole Project Management software on the market that doesn't have this support. It could've been the first, when this request was submitted. Now, it's the last.

    Dr. St Nicholas Burrus DHA, PMP

    I build Smartsheets for the US Government, State Government, and about a dozen of the US Fortune 100s.

  • tovythomas
    tovythomas ✭✭✭✭
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    In some cases, we may want to collect all of the data in one field but only have the Form field show the relevant drop down choices.

    For example, in a form for insurance related invoicing, we would have types like New/Renewal/Endorsement as an example.

    However, in some cases we may have corrections to an invoice being requesting (Void/correction).

    If there was a way in the form design (without creating a new field) to only allow certain options to be chosen, it would allow the data to stay together in one field.

  • Gia Thinh
    Gia Thinh ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Hi @Nick Burrus @tovythomas

    You may want to take a look at the SmartForm solution listed in Smartsheet marketplace at the link below. It helps resolve the cascading dropdown issue on a form. Hope it works for you.

    https://www.smartsheet.com/marketplace/apps/smartform-smartsheet


    Gia Thinh Technology Co., LTD - Smartsheet Solution Partner.

  • tovythomas
    tovythomas ✭✭✭✭
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    @Gia Thinh , I appreciate the thought but i think the point is to not have to add on additional add-ons for a feature other solutions are including.

    Also your video may have english screenshots but your voiceover is not.

  • Cleversheet
    Cleversheet ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @tovythomas I’m curious about the reluctance to add a new field. Helpercolumns are very routinely used in Smartsheet solutions. There are various easy means to concatenate data when you then want it all in the same field.

  • tovythomas
    tovythomas ✭✭✭✭
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    @Cleversheet , in the end I did go that route and seperated out into 2 fields with the subset selection being different for each and just skipped putting it all into one field. The smartsheet in question has alot of fields and i was trying to keep the data all in one field. We have 2 forms for different purposes but the selections where all in that one field so i was hoping i could just filter instead of adding new.

  • Gia Thinh
    Gia Thinh ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @tovythomas,

    This is the English version for your reference.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM1zDFkb-bI


    Gia Thinh Technology Co., LTD - Smartsheet Solution Partner.