Control Data Entry and Allow Only Specific Values in a Column

Applies to


When it comes to entering data, Smartsheet is flexible. If your aim is to control what others can enter in a sheet or web form, you’ll want to use the Restrict to... checkbox at the bottom of the Insert Column or Edit Column Properties form.

The Restrict to... checkbox limits what others can type or select (this process is sometimes called “data validation”).

In the image below, the Restrict to dates only checkbox is selected, which means that anyone entering data in the Date column must specify a date in that column.

Edit Column Properties, Restrict to dates only selected

Restricting data entry this way can be handy, for example, if you want to associate a web form with a sheet and then allow others to select only from a set list of contacts. For more information about setting up preferred contacts, see the article on Column Types.

Restrict Column Data to Specific Values

You must be the sheet Owner or have Admin-level sharing permissions to a sheet to restrict values for a column.

To restrict values for an existing column:

  1. Right-click the column header and click Edit Column Properties. 
  2. Check the Restrict to... checkbox at the bottom of the form. 

To restrict values for a new column:

  1. Right-click the column next to the one you want to add.
  2. Click Insert Column Left or Insert Column Right.
  3. Select the column type, set up any specific properties that you want to use (a dropdown list, for example), and then check the Restrict to... checkbox at the bottom of the form.

These same restrictions will apply to any web forms that are associated with the sheet. (For details on using web forms, see Using Web Forms.)

What Sheet Editors Will See When Data Validation Is Active

If you have Editor-level sharing permissions to a sheet and you attempt to enter data in a column configured with data validation, you’ll receive the following message when you attempt to enter values other than those that have been specified as valid:

Data Validation Error: A sheet admin has restricted this column to...

If you are the sheet Owner or are shared as an Admin, you’ll be able to bypass data validation. You will, however, receive a warning similar to the one above if you attempt to enter a different value from those specified as valid for the column.