Column Type Reference

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Column types help you get better control over what data is allowed in columns—use specific types to ensure more consistent data entry. In Smartsheet, you’ll work with default columns and configurable columns:

Who can use this capability

Permission requirements icon Licensed users  with Owner or Admin permissions to the sheet can to add or edit a column. 
Plan availability icon All plan types.

Default Columns

Every sheet has a primary column. This column is mandatory and cannot be deleted from a sheet. The value in this column is frequently the main descriptor for the row: it will always have a type of Text/Number. The primary column type cannot be changed. (For more information, see Work With the Primary Column: Overview and Best Practices.)

 These columns display icons to alert you to certain row-specific content or activities:

  • The Attachments column Attachments column. The Attachments icon will appear on each row with an attachment. Click the icon to review the attachments.
  • The Comments column Comments Column JT. The Comments icon will appear on each row containing comments. Click the icon to review the comments.
  • The Row Action Indicators column Row Action Indicators column. This column will display an icon for Pending Reminders Reminder, Update Requests Update Request, Locks Lock, and Allocation Alerts Allocation Alert associated with the row.

    NOTE: If multiple row actions exist for the row, the column will display multiple icons.

Configurable Columns


This column type can include text, numeric values, or any combination of the two. Text/number is the best choice for comment columns that might have long entries or number-focused columns, such as the projected expense for a sheet tracking a budget.

You can apply formatting to a text/number column to display values in currency or percentage format by clicking the column header and then clicking the Currency Format or Percentage Format button in the toolbar.

NOTE: If the first character of a number is zero followed by another digit or by a letter, Smartsheet will prepend the value with an apostrophe and store it as text. It does this so that the leading zero will be retained and displayed with the number. If you want the number to be stored as a number—so that you can perform calculations with it, for example—you'll need to double-click the cell and remove the apostrophe and any leading zeros.

Contact List

This is the best choice for columns such as Assigned To, Owner, Approved By, and so on. This column type enables you to assign rows to collaborators shared to a sheet or to contacts from your Smartsheet Contact List. You can also use the column to send Reminders to shared collaborators and generate reports that show a list of tasks assigned to a specific team member.

When you use this column type, you have the option to specify preferred contact values in the Values box. Acceptable values for this list are a contact name and email address, a name only, or an email address only.

Contact List Column Properties

If you’ve set up preferred contacts in the contact column, you’ll be able to quickly access them by clicking the dropdown arrow  in a Contact list cell or corresponding Smartsheet form field—In the cell, you’ll also see contacts and email addresses that have been assigned to other rows on the sheet. 

NOTE: A Smartsheet Form field associated with a contact column will only include preferred contacts. If no preferred contacts have been set, anyone submitting through the form must type the contact’s name or email address rather than selecting from a list. 

You can add to the list by manually typing a new name or email address into a cell. As you type, the list will expand to display a relevant list of matching contacts from your Smartsheet Contacts List, as well as from the User Management screen (available with multi-user plans).

Add Contact

TIP: If you start typing a name or address and aren't seeing the list auto-resolve, this means you don't have any contacts matching what you've typed. Add the contact to your list to make sure that you can run reports and send reminders to them. Click the dropdown arrow  in the cell then select Add New to add the contact to your list and assign it to the row.

To remove names or email addresses from the auto-resolve dropdown list, remove them from the other cells in the column and from the Edit Column Properties form. People who are shared to the sheet will always appear as suggestions when you type in a Contact List column.


The cells in this column will display a calendar icon that collaborators can click to choose a specific date. You can also manually type in dates or use keyboard shortcuts to populate the cells. Date columns must exist in the sheet to enable dependencies or to display items in the Calendar view.

The dates will appear in the format set up in the Personal Settings of your Smartsheet account.

Date column select date

Dropdown List (Single Select)

This column displays a list of values from which you can choose a single value.

Single-select dropdown list choose value

When you select this column type, you'll have the option to type the values that you want to appear in the list. Separate each list item onto a separate line by pressing Enter or Return on your keyboard.

To remove an item from the Dropdown List, select it and then press Backspace or Delete.

For more information about Dropdown List columns, see Maintain Consistency in Data Collection with Dropdown Columns.

Dropdown List (Multi Select)

This column displays a list of values that you can choose one or more values from. When you select this column type, you'll have the option to type the values that you want to appear in the list. Separate each list item onto a separate line by pressing Enter or Return.

Multi-select dropdown list choose value

For more information about Dropdown List columns, see Maintain Consistency in Data Collection with Dropdown Columns.


The column presents a checkbox that can be checked or unchecked. A checkbox will appear in the cell only if a value has been entered into another column in that row.


A Symbols column will display a visual image. Use a Symbols column to describe the status of a row.

You cannot add your own (custom) symbols to the column.

To see the full list of available symbols, see Available Symbols in the Symbols Column.


This type of column will automatically generate values for every row in the sheet that contains data. Auto-numbering can be useful when you want to assign row IDs, part numbers, invoice numbers, or customer numbers without manually typing them in. System columns can show you who created each row, who last modified each row, the time each row was created, and the last time each row was modified. 

When you set them up, System column cells are initially empty: the values will be generated as soon as you click Save to save the sheet.

For more information, see Auto-Numbering Rows and System Columns.