Best Practices for Working With the Move Rows Action

Applies to

  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise


Who can use this capability

Owners and sheet Admins (who are also licensed users) on both the source and destination sheets can create an automated move rows action. Anyone who can make edits to the sheet (either directly, through a report, or through an update or approval request) can potentially trigger an automated move rows action.

As you work with the the Move rows action, there are certain behaviors and best practices you'll want to be aware of.  

Make your workflows smarter

Use specific triggers and define conditional paths to increase the efficiency of each workflow.

Be precise about your trigger criteria 

You might want rows to move to another sheet when a specific change is made, when a date is reached, or on a recurring basis. See Trigger Blocks: Define When Your Workflow is Executed and Ensure Continuous Project Execution With Recurring Automation to learn how to control this criteria.

Control what action is taken with conditional paths

When your workflow is triggered, you may want the row to move to different sheets based on various conditions that you set. For example, a task is marked ready for action, the workflow automatically move tasks to different project sheets based on what department the task is assigned to.

You can add Conditions and Condition Paths to control where a row moves based on the conditions that are met. See Condition Blocks: Filter What Your Automated Workflows Send to learn how to do this.

Avoid or troubleshoot errors

Moved rows may add columns to the destination sheet

Any column in the source sheet that is not present in the destination sheet will be added to it automatically. To avoid this, make sure that the column names and properties are consistent between the source and destination sheets. 

New columns will appear on the rightmost side of the destination sheet.

System columns must be of the same type

If a system column in one sheet has the same name as a non-system column in the other sheet, the workflow will be disabled and you’ll receive the following message:

Rows can’t be moved to the destination sheet because a system column has the same name as a column on the source sheet.

system column message

If your workflow becomes disabled with the above message, you’ll want to rename the affected system column.

If there are system columns in both the source and destination sheet, the names do not have to match. The values will be moved to the destination sheet based on column type rather than column name.

Sheets have size limitations

If a move rows action will cause the destination sheet to exceed its maximum size, no rows will move to that sheet. (For information on Smartsheet size limitations, see System Requirements and Guidelines for Using Smartsheet.)

Once the sheet reaches the row limit, the workflow will be disabled and you’ll receive the following message:

Rows can’t be moved to the destination sheet because it has reached its limit.

sheet size limit message

You may need to change the destination sheet, delete rows, or manually move rows from the destination sheet to a different sheet before you can reactivate the workflow.

Rows are moved on behalf of the sheet owner

In the Activity Log, rows moved automatically will show that Smartsheet Automation on behalf of [insert sheet owner name] moved the row.

move row activity log image

You’ll be able to see the cell data that was moved, but you won’t be able to see which sheet the row was moved to or from. Review the setup of the move rows action in your workflow to determine what sheet the row was moved to.

See View Changes Made to Smartsheet Items for more information about Cell History and Activity Log.
To prevent infinite approval loops, cells which contain cross-sheet formulas or cell links will not trigger an automation which automatically changes the sheet (Move Row, Copy Row, Lock Row, Unlock Row, Approval Request). To work around this, consider using time-based automation or recurrence workflows.