Learn about the syntax to create and edit a formula in Smartsheet.
Formulas and functions allow you to perform calculations and lookups within a single sheet or across multiple sheets. Formulas also allow you to automate symbols and drop-down fields.
Both manually entered values and cell references can be used to build a formula. You can add formulas to specified fields, or apply a uniform calculation to an entire column. You can also create formulas in the Sheet Summary to save space in your grid.
Formulas can include functions, such as SUM, AVG, and IF. There are also several unique functions exclusive to Smartsheet, including hierarchy functions like CHILDREN. Check out the Functions List to see all that are available.
Create and Edit Formulas in Smartsheet
Use formulas to calculate numeric values or automate aspects of your sheet. You can create formulas, for example, to sum a range of expenses, or to check a box when a specific value is entered in a field.
You can create a formula in the following field types:
- Fields not being used for dependencies or resource management. For more information, see Enable Dependencies and Use Predecessors.
- Text/Number (as long as they're not being used in dependencies or resource management)
- Contact List fields (as long as they're not being used in resource management)
- Date (as long as they're not being used in dependencies or resource management)
- Dropdown List
- % Allocation
To place a formula in a field:
- Select the desired field.
- Type an equal sign in the field, and then type the calculation.
- After you’ve typed in your formula, press [Enter].
The result is displayed in the field containing the formula.
Formulas can be placed in Contact List fields. Automatically assign people to tasks with a VLOOKUP formula, for example. Note that formulas can’t be placed in Contact List fields being used for resource management.
Formulas can include functions, such as SUM, AVG, or IF. Functions perform calculations with or manipulate data in sheets. For the complete list of functions available in Smartsheet, see the Smartsheet Functions List.
You can use the following operators in Smartsheet formulas.
|>=||Greater than or equal to|
|<=||Less than or equal to|
|<>||Not equal to|
To edit an existing formula:
- Double-click a field containing the formula to open it for editing.
- Make your desired formula changes, and then press Enter.
If you change your mind about editing the formula, press Esc to exit edit mode and revert to the pre-edited formula.
Use column formulas
When you need a formula applied consistently and uniformly to an entire column, column formulas are the perfect solution. Build your formula in a cell, and quickly convert it to apply to every cell in the column. Regardless of how new rows get inserted into the sheet, the column formula will automatically apply. For more information, see Set Formulas for All Rows with Column Formulas.
Use the sum tool
If you're not sure which function to use, you can click the down arrow on the right of the Sum button in the toolbar and select a function.
The Sum button will attempt to provide you with a formula based on the field you have selected in the sheet and any hierarchical relationships with the selected field. For example, selecting the field of a parent row, then clicking the Sum icon will produce a =SUM(CHILDREN()) formula in the field.
After you create a formula, you can modify it at any time by double-clicking in the selected field or by pressing F2 (fn + F2 on a Mac).
Smartsheet treats percentages as values between 0 and 1. When you create formulas in columns formatted for percent (using the Percentage Format button in the toolbar), use decimal values. For example...
=0.5 + 0.4
...will return 90% in a column formatted for percentage...
=5 + 4
...will return 900% in a column formatted for percentage.
Copy a formula with drag-fill or auto-fill
If you have a formula that you’d like to use in multiple fields without having to manually type the formula in each field, use the following methods to quickly copy the formula to other areas of your sheet:
- Drag-fill—You can drag from the lower-right corner of a selected field to copy a formula across contiguous fields in the sheet. As you copy, the formula will automatically change its respective field references.
- Auto-fill—You can have Smartsheet automatically copy a formula to new, vertically adjacent fields that enter the sheet. When auto-filled, the new formula will automatically change its respective field references.
These fields can't contain formulas:
- Contact list fields that are being used in resource management
- System fields (for example, Modified By)
- Default columns (attachments, comments, row action indicator)
- The following fields being used for dependencies and resource management:
- Start Date
- End Date
- % Complete
You can't create formulas in these features:
- Update requests (Formula results can still be viewed in update requests, but they can't contain standalone formulas.)
- Reports (Formula results can still be viewed in reports, but they can't contain standalone formulas.)
- Dashboards (Formula results can be viewed in dashboards, but dashboards can't contain standalone formulas.)
Formulas can't be edited from the following features in Smartsheet:
- Update requests (Formula results can still be viewed in update requests, but the formulas can't be edited.)
- Reports (Formula results can still be viewed in reports, but the formulas can't be edited.)
- Dashboards (Formula results can be viewed in dashboards, but the formulas can't be edited.)
Still need help?
Use the Formula Handbook template to find more support resources, and view 100+ formulas, including a glossary of every function that you can practice working with in real time, and examples of commonly used and advanced formulas.
Find examples of how other Smartsheet customers use this function or ask about your specific use case in the Smartsheet online Community.