Control Center Global Updates: Dashboards

Applies to

Smartsheet Advance Package (Requires Enterprise Plan)

Global Updates: Dashboards allows you to make changes to your dashboard templates and roll those changes out across all existing projects.

Use Global Updates when you’ve made the following changes to a dashboard template:

  • Updated colors or branding on the dashboard
  • Revisions to dashboard widgets
  • Widget layout
  • New or deleted widgets

How to use Global Updates: Dashboards

Warning: Global Updates rebuilds your entire dashboard and relinks widgets to the reports and sheets every time you run an update. Changes are not reversible, so run the update on one project and check the results before you run it on all your projects.

Update the Dashboard Template

In Smartsheet, go to the Blueprint Source Folder and make your changes directly to the dashboard template. 

You can:

  • Modify existing widgets
  • Add new widgets
  • Remove existing widgets
  • Update widget layout

Create a Global Update in Control Center

Global Updates Dashboards

  1. In Control Center, select the program you want to work with.
  2. At the top of the screen, click Manage Program and then click Global Updates.
  3. Click New Update and then select Update Dashboards. 
  4. Follow the instructions in the Update Dashboard wizard.

    TIP: Name the update after what it does, for example, Move Budget Widget.
  5. At the bottom of the screen, click Create & Run. (Click Close to save the Update without running it.)

Apply the Global Update

When you run the update, Control Center searches each project to find the dashboard that matches your dashboard template by either ID or name. It also shows you projects that don’t have a matching dashboard - either because a match could not be found or the dashboard was not included when the project was originally created. You can add the newly edited dashboard to those projects when you run the update.

  1. Review the selected dashboards.

    Projects selected for the updates are sorted as follows:
    • Dashboards matched to current template ID: These projects contain dashboards created from the dashboard template in the Blueprint Source Folder.
    • Dashboards matched to current template name:  These projects contain dashboards that have the same name as the dashboard template in the Blueprint Source Folder. 
    • No matching dashboards found: Click Choose Dashboard to select a dashboard to update or to add the dashboard to the project.
       
  2. Click Apply to update all the project dashboards.

    NOTE: Control Center overwrites over your dashboards, but it also makes a backup of the original dashboard before it runs the update. It’s stored in the same location as the original dashboard—you can refer to it if you need to roll back changes.
  3. Review the results. Warning indicators show dashboards with update issues. Hover over the warning icon to learn more.

    Control Center Global Update Results

 

Get the Most Out of Global Updates for Dashboards

Make changes directly to the dashboard template. This is the most reliable method for making sure the dashboard will match your projects, even if you change the name of the dashboard. The dashboards in the project are direct children of the dashboard template in the Blueprint Source Folder. Control Center easily identifies them as such and makes the changes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Some projects have custom modifications on their dashboards. Will these modifications be lost?

Yes.  When a dashboard in a project is updated, all the widgets will be removed and re-created to be identical to the template dashboard.

I renamed the dashboard in my project.  Will Global Updates still find and update it?

Yes.

I manually added a dashboard and renamed it to match.  Will Global Updates recognize it?

No. Global Updates will only recognize dashboards, reports and sheets that were created through Control Center.

I deleted the dashboard.  Will Global Updates add it back?

The project will appear in the “No matching reports found” section. Select the project in Global Updates, click Choose Dashboard, and then select Add new dashboard. Run the update to create the dashboard.

Will I see all my projects?

Yes. Unlike earlier Global Updates, you will see all projects created from the Blueprint.

Can I run the Global Update again?

Yes. You can run the update as many times as you want.

Can I "undo" a Global Update?

No. You can adjust the template report in the Blueprint Source Folder and run the Global Update again.


Troubleshoot Updates to Dashboard Widgets

Widgets pull data from sheets and reports; the best way to avoid trouble with them is make sure the sources feeding the widget are consistent and up to date. If a widget on a project dashboard doesn’t work correctly after an update, check the following:

  • Do all the sources exist in the project?

    A report or sheet may have been deleted from the project and the widget can’t find the data it needs. The same error can happen if a widget refers to a report or sheet that was added to the project later, or if the item wasn’t created because it was optional.
  • Is the data structured properly in the sheet?

    Metric and chart widgets show data from cells in sheet. The update locates the cells by matching the column name and value in the primary column with the sheet template. If matches cannot be found, the widget will have Missing Data. For Global Updates to work well, don’t reference data in the primary column. The primary column should contain the “name” of the metric and the data should be in other columns.
  • Does the program lead have permission to access the underlying project or report?

    You may need to change permissions to make the data visible.

 


Global Updates: Dashboards Best Practices

When building your Dashboard templates for use with Control Center, it’s important to structure your source data in a way that avoids potential issues with Global Updates.

Avoid Duplicate and Blank Values in the Primary Column

Data in the Primary Column is used to identify the first and last row for the range of a chart or metric widget, even if you haven’t included this column as a part of your data range. Avoid using your Primary Column in widget data ranges.

If duplicate or blank values are found, the widget will break when you run a Global Update

Use one of the following options to structure your source data:
 

  1. To avoid duplicate values, use a row naming scheme. For example, name your Primary Column rows numerically (1, 2, 3, etc.). This way, you avoid any duplicate values in the Primary Column.
  2. Add hierarchy to manage duplicate values. This is helpful if the Primary Column must be used for data ranges in widgets. See the example below:

 

In this example, the Primary Column contains duplicate values (“Very High”, “High”, etc.). By using hierarchy, issues resulting from duplicate values can be avoided when running Global Updates. This is because the lookup for the Primary Column returns the parent row and the child row.

NOTE: With this method, it is still possible to have duplicate values if you have two or more parent rows with the same name, and child rows with the same name under those separate parent rows.

Make sure Reports used for templates contain some sample data

If a Report is used in a chart widget for your Dashboard templates and has no results to create a chart from, it will not map correctly when you provision your projects. Make sure you have at least one data point in your report template.

See Charts in Dashboards for more information.

Make sure cells referenced in template sheets have contained some data 

Errors related to missing data can occur if the referenced cells from a template sheet have never contained any data. To avoid this, ensure that your template sheets have some cell history by right-clicking the cell and selecting “View Cell History”.