Kelly Anthony

- Feb 12, 2013

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In our post last week, we introduced the power features that are special to the Primary Column in Smartsheet.  This week, we’ll dive a little deeper into the benefits of using hierarchies, offer up some ideas for using it to organize your sheets, and give a few suggestions for organizing completed tasks.

Say you’re organizing a giant fundraiser, like the folks at the US Military Ramstein Air Base who plan and execute the world’s largest and most successful military bazaar.  This group of volunteers coordinates multiple logistical details from hundreds of vendors across the globe.  It’s important that they keep an accurate record of all planning, contracts, and agreements.  Once vendors are confirmed, the planning committee doesn’t need to reference them daily, but a repository of confirmed vendors is still maintained.

Keep the History, Hide Completed Tasks

Rather than letting their planning sheets grow out of control, team leader Glenda Young uses hierarchy and a “Confirmed Vendor” row (indicating complete) to hide vendors that have confirmed.  

Organizing sheets this way helps the team focus on vendors that they are still communicating with – and keeps a record of all completed tasks, contracts, and agreements that Young can reference at any time.

So smart and easy!  Here are a few simple steps to similarly organize your sheets:

  • In the primary column, enter the heading for the completed items you’d like to hide.  Young hides “confirmed vendors.”  This now acts at the parent row.

    • Use the Drag-and-Drop feature to move your completed tasks under the new header/parent row.  

      • Drag-and-drop rows by their row numbers to move them around your sheet and underneath your parent row.

        • Indent sub-tasks underneath “Confirmed Vendors,” by clicking the indent button in the left toolbar (or use the keyboard shortcut ctrl+k, cmd+k on a Mac). <More keyboard shortcuts>
        • Click +/- to collapse the rows indented underneath “Confirmed Vendors.”  Now Young and her planning team can focus on vendors that haven’t confirmed and keep record of vendors that are all set, all in the same sheet.

        This approach works for any sort of completed task that you may want to organize in your sheets.  You’ll be able to easily identify top priority tasks and rest assured that you have a record of the work you’ve already done – neatly hidden and still at your fingertips.

        Looking for some other ideas for organizing your completed tasks?  Here are a few more suggestions to keep track of your completed work:

        • Filters: If organizing a completed tasks portion of your sheet doesn’t make sense for the project that you’re working on, setting up a Filter is an easy alternative option.  

        Filters are perfect for customizing your sheet data on a more individual basis – when you set one, that Filter only affects your view of the sheet, no one else on your team.  You can set a Filter to exclude all completed rows, or even set a filter to show only tasks that have been assigned to you. <Here's a great resource for learning the nuts and bolts of Filters>

        • Conditional Formatting:  Conditional formatting is an easy way to automatically visually indicate that a task in your sheet is complete.   

        One commonly used example: designate a column for completion status and change the column type to “checkbox.”  Then, click the conditional formatting button in the left-hand toolbar and set a rule that will change the format of the entire row when the box is checked.  Want to test it out yourself?  We built our template for organizing your daily tasks with this type of conditional formatting.

        Watch this quick video to see conditional formatting in action:

        Til next time, dig in and explore!

        - Support Team


        Rajala Companies uses Smartsheet in every aspect of our business. We have dozens of different processes requiring collaboration of sales, manufacturing, purchasing, etc. Each process is unique and requires its own Smartsheet design. Each project collects attachments, discussions, and "in-cell" information as it goes through its entire process. This "row" with attachments and discussions is a critical historical record for our business. If we have any downstream issues with a project we can easily and quickly mine our historical information to better learn whatever it is we need to know. We find the best way to do this is to have a "History" version of the major Smartsheets on which we run our business. When a project is completed, we move the "row" or "project" from the Open sheet to the History version of the sheet. It's as simple as selecting the row and moving it from one sheet to the other. All the attachments, discussion, and cell editing history go with the move. It's simple and effective. The added bonus is that we can set a notification so that whenever a row or "project" is moved to a History sheet, collaborators receive a simple notification which indicates that the row has been moved and therefore the "project" is complete.

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