Use a System Column to Automatically Add Information to a Row

Applies to

  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise


Who can use this capability

The sheet Owner and Admins can add or edit a column. A license is required.

Use a System column to quickly see:

  • Who created a row
  • Who last modified a row
  • The time the row was created
  • The last time the row was modified

As rows are added to or modified in your sheet, row contents will be automatically populated or updated in the System column.

If you change an existing column type to a System column, any existing cell data in the column will be overwritten.

To create a System column:

  1. Click the drop-down arrow under any column header and select Insert Column Right or Insert Column Left.

    The Insert Column window appears.
  2. Select Auto-Number/System as the column type.

    The Insert Column window updates to show you available Auto-number and System columns.
  3. Under System-generated column, select a column type. (See "System Column Type Definitions" below if you're not sure which one to use.)

    NOTE: You can use one of each type of System column per sheet.

  4. Click OK to insert the column to the sheet.

Note that the column will be empty until you click Save.

System Column Type Definitions

The following table lists the different system column types and what they can be used for.

Type What It Does
Auto-Number Assigns an automatically incremented alpha-numeric value to each row in the sheet. 
Modified (Date) Lists the date and timestamp of the last data change made to the row. Changes made to the discussions, attachments, or formatting (font color, background color, etc) are not logged in the column.
Modified By Lists the email address of the collaborator who last made a data change to the row. Changes made to the discussions, attachments, or formatting are not logged in the column.
Created (Date) Lists the date and timestamp of the row's creation.
Created By Lists the email address of the collaborator who created the row.

Tips and Best Practices

Here are some thing to keep in mind when you work with System columns:

  • Each system column can only be used once per sheet.
  • The values in these columns are display-only and can't be manually changed; however, you can apply formatting to the column to alter the appearance.
  • Changing an existing column type to a Modified Date/By or Created Date/By system column will overwrite existing cell data. Changing a column type to Auto-Number will preserve existing cell data so you can use it in your auto-numbering pattern if desired.
  • The timestamp in the Modified (Date) and Created (Date) system column is based on your selected Time Zone in the Personal Settings of your Smartsheet account.
  • System column values are read-only for all collaborators, but you can apply formatting (for example, background and font colors) to them manually or by creating Conditional Formatting rules.
  • By default, the column name will be set to the type of column you select; you can edit this as desired.