A few weeks ago, we covered the basics of using Update Requests to collaborate with others. This week, we'll take these concepts a couple steps further and explain a more advanced way to automate these reminders with an approach that you can tailor to your team and processes: conditional reminders.
Sheet Level Reminders
A quick refresher: to remind your team of upcoming deadlines, it’s easy to set a simple sheet-level reminder to send an email to each assigned team member when tasks are due. However, you can take these to the next level with conditional reminders. Conditional reminders will only send a reminder if the task is not complete.
How to Create A Conditional Reminder
1. Add a new column, ‘Reminder Date’, to your sheet.
Use the ‘Reminder Date’ column to generate the dates that will send Reminders to your team, rather than using a ‘Start Date’ or ‘End Date’ column. When adding this column, make sure to set the column type to ‘Date’.
2. Use an IF formula.
Next, use an IF formula in the ‘Reminder Date’ column that will automatically insert the End Date of a task only if it hasn’t been completed.
Depending on your team’s method for tracking task completion, you can use a few different column types to indicate when something is complete. The most common scenarios that we encounter are either a checkbox column or a percentage column.
** When you’re using a checkbox column to track task completion, your formula will look something like this: =IF(Complete4 = 0, [End Date]4, "")
This formula will check the value listed in row 4 of the ‘Complete’ column to see if it is equal to 0. In formulas, 0 represents an un-checked box and 1 represents a checked box. If the box is unchecked, and the task still needs to be completed, the formula will insert the End Date listed in row 4 into the Reminder Date column.
** When you’re using a percentage column to track task completion, your formula will look something like this: =IF([% Complete]4 <> 1, [End Date]4, "")
This formula will check the value in row 4 of the ‘% Complete’ column to see if it is “not equal to” (represented by <> ) 1 (which is the decimal equivalent of 100%). If so, it inserts the End Date listed in row 4. Otherwise, it leaves the cell blank.
In both of these scenarios, with these formulas, the End Date of a task will appear automatically in the Reminder Date column as long as the task remains incomplete.
Now that you’ve built an IF formula, apply it to the other rows in the Reminder Date column by clicking on the bottom right corner of the cell and dragging down.
3. Set a new sheet-level Reminder
Now, you can set up a sheet-level Reminder that is driven by the Reminder Date, rather than the task End Date.
If you’d like to streamline the look of your sheet, you can hide your new Reminder Date column to cut down on the amount of information displayed in your sheet. The formulas, and reminders, will still be working “behind the scenes.”
Hungry for more formula tips? Check out these pointers for building a nested IF statement, learn how to build a formula to count checkboxes, or watch this quick tutorial to get some other ideas for using formulas in your sheets:
Til next week, dig in and explore!
- Support Team