Replace a Licensed User When All Licenses are Allocated

Applies to

  • Business
  • Enterprise


Who can use this capability

You must be a System Admin to perform the actions discussed here. (More on System Admins.)


If all of the licenses in your account are allocated, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to remove someone with a license and transfer their items to a new member. To do so, use the following instructions.

A part of this process will put Smartsheet items owned by the person you are removing into a temporary read-only state. Make sure that everyone in your account is aware that there may be a brief period of time when items they use may be viewable, but not editable. (They’ll become editable again once the steps below are complete.)

Transition your new user

Take the following steps to ensure that your new user is shared to everything that they need to take ownership of transitioning items.

Step 1: Add the new user without a licence

First, we’ll want to bring the new user into the account. Make sure to bring them in as an unlicensed user for now—we’ll give them a license later:

  1. Sign in to Smartsheet and click your Profile Icon (upper-right corner of the Smartsheet window).

  2. Select User Management and click the Add User button.

  3. In the Add User window that appears, type the email address of the new person.

    IMPORTANT: Make sure that the Licensed User checkbox is unchecked. We’ll grant this person a license later.

  4. Click OK.

They’ll receive an email invitation to join your account. Once they accept the invite, you can proceed with Step 2.

Step 2: Remove the prior license but not the user

After the new user has accepted their invitation as an unlicensed user, you’ll want to remove the license (just the license for now) from the person being replaced.


  • During the license removal process, you’ll be prompted to transfer sheets from this user to someone else—do not transfer their Smartsheet items at this time. You’ll take care of this during a later step.

  • All items will go into a temporary read-only state until the process is over.

In the User Management window:

  1. Locate the user who you want to remove but do not remove them yet.

  2. Right-click their email address and select Edit User.

  3. Uncheck the Licensed User and Transfer Owned Smartsheet Items boxes and click OK.

Do not transfer Smartsheet items from, or completely remove the user just yet, we’ll remove them from your account in a later step. You’ve now freed up a license to give to the new person in the next step!

NOTE: If the person was a Group Admin, you’ll be required to transfer their owned groups. Groups can be transferred to any System Admin or Group Admin during this step.

Step 3: Grant a license to the new user

Now that you’ve made a license available, you can grant it to the new person in the account.

In the User Management window:

  1. Locate the new user that you’ve added to the account.

  2. Right-click their email address and select Edit User.

  3. Check the Licensed User box and click OK.

With a license, the new user will be able to accept ownership of the sheets from the user transitioning out of the account.

Step 4: Transfer ownership of all smartsheet items to the new user

You’re ready to give the new user ownership of the Smartsheet items.

IMPORTANT: If the old user owns items in a workspace that they administrate but do not own, those items will automatically be removed from the workspace and shared to the workspace collaborators at the item-level. To avoid this, ensure that the new user is shared to the workspaces with Admin-level permissions before proceeding.

In the User Management window:

  1. Right-click the email address of the person who is transitioning out of the account.

  2. Select More Actions > Transfer Owned Items to Other User.

  3. Locate and select the new user, then click OK.

All items have now been transferred to their new owner. Once this step is complete, the items will become editable again.

Step 5: Share other items to the new user and complete the transition

One last step before the new user is up and running—download a Sheet Access Report and make sure they’re shared on the same items as whomever you’re removing from the account.

In the User Management window:

  1. Click the More Actions button > Download Sheet Access Report (csv).

    The Sheet Access Report will download to your computer as a .csv file.

  2. Open the Sheet Access Report in excel and filter on the email address of the person you are removing.

  3. The Sheet Access Report also provides you with the email addresses of the sheet owners. Reach out to each of them and request that they share their sheets with the email address of the new person in your account.

Your new user is now up and running! You can now remove the prior user from your account if desired. For more information, see Manage Users in an Enterprise or Business Plan.