Designing a bid list

11/18/21
Accepted

I work for an electrical distributor and we use Smartsheet's for our bid list and all project info gets stored there.

I took over the management of the sheets early this year due to them being really clunky in design along with having next to no reporting abilities due to the poor design. I redesigned it as best as I could while keep it nearly identical to the original but doing so kept a lot of the clunky feeling it had but gave more reporting ability.

Does anyone in this group use Smartsheets for the same purpose? If so, how did you design yours? The main problem I am running into is the sheer amount of info everyone wants displayed makes it hard to make the sheet workable without being 50 columns wide (our current sheet is 23 columns wide but has another 20-30 hidden columns to allow for reporting).

Would be curious to see if others have the same use and how they designed theres.

Best Answer

  • Devin LeeDevin Lee ✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    Hey @Travis Myers

    I work with a few 50+ column sheets and they get to the point where it's more of a background sheet than something everyday people look at. Most people interact through Reports, Dashboards, Update Requests, or Generated Documents. The main use of most of those sheets is distributing that information into other sheet.

    In some cases row indents can replace columns and be much cleaner. For example Electrical costs can be broken down into multiple columns or a single column with multiple row indents where the Name column can change for each item. =Parent() is your friend here for pulling down information like Project Names. Basically, anywhere you are using a formula to calculate a total based off of other columns can be converted into a single column with row indents.

Answers

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Travis Myers

    I hope you're well and safe!

    Which Smartsheet plan do you have?

    Have you looked into using the premium feature, WorkApps?

    Can you describe your process in more detail and maybe share the sheet(s)/copies of the sheet(s) or some screenshots? (Delete/replace any confidential/sensitive information before sharing) That would make it easier to help. (share too, [email protected])

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe and have a fantastic weekend!

    Best,

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    Did my post(s) help or answer your question or solve your problem? Please support the Community by marking it Insightful/Vote Up or/and as the accepted answer. It will make it easier for others to find a solution or help to answer!

    SMARTSHEET PARTNER & CONSULTANT / EXPERT

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E: [email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me about help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or something else entirely.

  • We just have a Business plan so do not have access to workapps.

    I unfortunately cant share the sheets but can at least provide the column headers to give an idea of what I am working with.

    The problem I have is there is so much data per job that I dont know how to structure it. I could do in an Access database format, but my work wants it web based so it is accessible from everywhere.

    Currently we have all the contractors bidding the job crammed into indented rows under the job name and columns are doubled up in some places (like county/estimator). There are probably 20 other columns that are hidden allowing for reporting and such to be done but this is all the columns that are visible.

  • Devin LeeDevin Lee ✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    Hey @Travis Myers

    I work with a few 50+ column sheets and they get to the point where it's more of a background sheet than something everyday people look at. Most people interact through Reports, Dashboards, Update Requests, or Generated Documents. The main use of most of those sheets is distributing that information into other sheet.

    In some cases row indents can replace columns and be much cleaner. For example Electrical costs can be broken down into multiple columns or a single column with multiple row indents where the Name column can change for each item. =Parent() is your friend here for pulling down information like Project Names. Basically, anywhere you are using a formula to calculate a total based off of other columns can be converted into a single column with row indents.

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Travis Myers

    Depending on what the users need/want to see, you could hide columns and consolidate them by combing multiple values in one cell(s) with the JOIN function.

    I can't see the overall design, but if you haven't already, I would add some conditional formatting to make it more aesthetically pleasing and easier to see different "groups" of information.

    Make sense?

    SMARTSHEET PARTNER & CONSULTANT / EXPERT

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E: [email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me about help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or something else entirely.

  • Thank you to both of you for your responses. My initial idea was to mostly utilize indenting to compact everything into a job but the problem becomes my departments preferences (which I hate having to design something for people who don't understand how data is supposed to be laid out) and their need to have everything readily available to view (I got all kinds of grief when I eliminated several columns and indented the information, because and I quote, it takes more clicks to get to thing).

    I will take both of your responses into consideration while I am tinkering with trying to design this from the ground up. Thank you both!

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Travis Myers

    Excellent!

    You're more than welcome!

    SMARTSHEET PARTNER & CONSULTANT / EXPERT

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E: [email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me about help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or something else entirely.

Sign In or Register to comment.