Applies to

  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise


Who can use this capability

What you can do and where you can apply workflows depends on your permission level. Learn about workflow permissions.

Customize the content of your alerts and requests


  • Smartsheet
  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise


What you can do and where you can apply workflows depends on your permission level. Learn about workflow permissions.

You can make it easy for people to understand alerts and requests by including customized messages and placeholders. You can also limit the information you send so the recipient only sees what they need.

To use dynamic placeholders in a change-based workflow, you must set the Trigger block to When triggered

You can set workflows to run weekly, daily, or at specific times in the day. Need a refresher on how to create new workflows? Check out the Overview: Automated workflows article.

To edit an existing workflow 

  1. In the upper-left area of the sheet, select Automation > Manage workflows.
  2. Hover over the workflow you want to edit, and then select Edit

Once you’re in the workflow builder, you can start editing the alert message content.

Customizing a message in a workflow

Select Customize message, and type your message in the fields that appear. 

Keep these things in mind as you write custom messages:

  • To create placeholders and further customize the message, use braces (e.g., {{Task Name}}).
  • The Customize message box has a limit of 2,000 characters. 
  • When you select Message only, a custom message is required. Otherwise, the message body is optional.

Selecting what’s included in an alert or request 

In the Message includes section 

Select what you want to include with the alert:

  • Links to sheet and all fields: Include all fields in sheet 
  • Links to sheet and specific fields: Choose only the fields the user(s) needs to see 
  • Message only: Use this if you only need to add a message in the alert

If you’re working with people who don’t use Smartsheet, choosing the Links to sheet and all fields option can be helpful.

Comments and attachments in alerts

For alert actions in time-based workflows, comments and attachments will never be included. For alert actions in change-based workflows, they‘ll only appear when the attachment or comment is modified at the time of the trigger event. Attachments and comments that existed prior to the trigger event are not included. 

For update request and approval request actions, all new and existing attachments and comments are included.

Tips for working with placeholders

When you use placeholders (i.e., field names in braces), Smartsheet adds the unique cell data for them to the alert message for the row. Instead of sending one alert message with several rows in it, Smartsheet will send separate alerts for each row.

Keep the following in mind as you work with placeholders:

  • When using placeholders with the Approval Requests alert, Smartsheet generates a separate notification for every row.
  • When using placeholders with Alert someone or Update Requests actions in change-based workflows, placeholders generate separate notifications if six or fewer rows are triggered simultaneously. If seven or more rows are triggered at once, the custom subject and body are removed.
  • When using the Message only alert type, any simultaneously triggered rows will be combined into a single notification.
  • Placeholders won’t apply to the subject of time-based Alert someone actions.
  • Placeholders won’t apply to time-based Update Requests actions.
  • Placeholders can’t be used when the Run workflow setting is Hourly, Daily, or Weekly.


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