Track and View Sheet Activity

Smartsheet has several features that allow you to visually stay up to date when changes are made to your sheet:

  • Turn on Highlight Changes to quickly see which cells have changed since you last viewed the sheet.  
  • View previous versions of content using Cell History.
  • See who made which changes and when, on sheets, reports, and dashboards with the Activity Log.

Follow step-by-step instructions to enable highlight changes.

Highlight Changes Made to a Sheet

APPLIES TO

  • Smartsheet
  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise

To quickly identify and review the changes that have been made to a sheet, use Highlight Changes.

Turn Highlight Changes on or off

  1. Open the sheet and click Highlight Changes Highlight Changes button on  the toolbar.

    The Highlight Changes window appears.

    Highlight Changes window

  2. Click the slider to turn Highlight Changes to ON.

  3. Under Highlight changes in the last, select the desired time interval.

    Note that when you enable the I last viewed the sheet option, you'll see highlighted changes since you last viewed the sheet—anyone else who views the sheet will see changes since they last viewed the sheet.

  4. Click Background Color highlight-changes-background-button to set the highlight color.

    The cell background will change to the color that you have set once changes have been detected.

  5. Click the X in the upper-right corner of the window to close it and save your settings.

Who sees the highlighting

If you turn Highlight Changes on or off and save the sheet, you turn it on or off for everyone shared to the sheet.

If someone has added a comment, or added or edited attachments in the specified time period, the icon in that row will be highlighted.  (Note that changes to the comments themselves will NOT be highlighted.)

highlight-changes

To review details about the change, including the time the change was made and the email address of the person who made it, right-click on the cell and select View Cell History.

You can also set up Notifications to receive email alerts when changes are made to a sheet. For more information, see the Notifications article.

Highlight changes settings

Highlight Changes has eight settings. The settings refresh down to the minute when accessing a sheet. The below table outlines what changes will be highlighted when viewed on 12/12/20 at 6:00 PM.

Highlight changes in the last:

Sheet Viewed on 12/12/20 at 6:00 PM

Sheet Viewed on 12/12/20 at 6:15 PM

Hour

since 12/12/20 5:00 PM

since 12/12/20 5:15 PM

Today

since 12/12/20 12:00 AM

since 12/12/20 12:00 AM

Day

since 12/11/20 5:00 PM

since 12/11/20 5:15 PM

Three Days

since 12/09/20 5:00 PM

since 12/09/20 5:15 PM

Seven Days

since 12/05/20 5:00 PM

since 12/05/20 5:15 PM

Thirty Days

since 11/12/20 5:00 PM

since 11/12/20 5:15 PM

Custom Date

since (Date Selected) 12:00 AM

since (Date Selected) 12:00 AM

I last viewed this sheet

since the last date and time the sheet is refreshed for the person viewing the sheet.

since the last date and time the sheet is refreshed for the person viewing the sheet.

Highlight Changes Behavior

Follow step-by-step instructions to view cell history.

View Changes Made to Smartsheet Items

APPLIES TO

  • Smartsheet
  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise

RELATED CAPABILITIES

Who can use this capability?

The sheet Owner and Admins can add or edit a column. A license is required.

To use Activity Log, you must be a licensed user with Editor or higher sharing permissions to the sheet. (More information on Activity Log sharing here.)

Activity log is available with Business and Enterprise plans only.

To view changes that have been made to a Smartsheet item, you can look at cell history, include System columns, or use Activity Log.

Cell History

Right-click a cell and select View Cell History to see a log of changes made on the cell level, who made the changes, and when they were made.

When needed, you can also select the information and use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + C (Command + C on Mac) to copy a previous change and Ctrl + V (Command + V on Mac) to paste that information back in a cell.

System Columns

System columns Modified (Date) and Modified By to show the time that each row was last edited and the collaborator who made the change, on each row in the sheet. For more information, see Use a System Column to Automatically Add Information to a Row.

Activity Log

Click the Activity Log icon Activity iconin the right Feature Bar to see a list of all changes made to an item, who made them, and when they were made. This includes changes such as row deletion (with the data that was deleted), who has viewed the item, and sharing permission changes. 

Activity Log can be filtered and exported. For more information on Activity Log, see: Track the History of Changes with Activity Log.

Follow step-by-step instructions to use the Activity Log (business and enterprise plans only).

Track the history of changes with Activity Log

APPLIES TO

  • Smartsheet
  • Business
  • Enterprise

With Activity Log, you can quickly see a user’s activity in a sheet or who last viewed a dashboard. You can get an audit trail of the edits and deletions of various elements on a sheet and get a better understanding of what your collaborators are taking action on in the sheet. You can also see who has viewed and made general edits to a report or dashboard, and request a snapshot of your sheet from a prior date.

What you can track in the Activity Log

Use the Activity Log to track common actions:

  • Who viewed the sheet, report, or dashboard
  • Who’s shared to or unshared from a sheet, report, or dashboard
  • Sheets only: What type of changes were made and the specifics of the changes
    • For example: On Row 4, Sally Smart changed the Status from In Progress to Complete
  • The name of the person who made the change
  • The time and date the changes were made
  • Workspace sharing

Want to check the edits made to the cells and rows in a report? 

You won’t see those records of changes in the Activity Log of a report. They’ll only appear on the Activity Log dialog of the source sheets. So if you need to track cell and row changes in a report, go to its source sheet. 

Before you begin

Here are other things you might want to know about the Activity Log:

  • The Activity Log will show the most recent cell changes. If you want to see the full history of a particular cell, right-click the cell and view its cell history
  • When you close the Activity Log, your filters will be cleared automatically. You can’t save Activity Log filters or share them with other collaborators on the sheet.
  • Some actions can't be traced back to a Smartsheet username. For example, someone sent you via email a sheet or cell row that has an attachment. Then you downloaded that attachment without logging in to Smartsheet. Smartsheet will track and record the activity, but the log entry will display a username of download@smartsheet.com.
  • Dashboards don't have an Editor sharing permission level. Only Admins and the Owner can view Activity Log for dashboards.

View Activity Log entries

There are two ways to open the Activity Log dialog:

  • Open the Activity Log dialog via the menu bar
    • In the menu bar, select File > View Activity Log.
  • Open the Activity Log dialog via the right bar
    • In the right-hand bar, select the Activity Log icon.

Sheet changes influenced by APIs

Some organizations create or use custom solutions that leverage the Smartsheet Application Programming Interface (API). An example is Smartsheet Pivot App. If the API influences the content in a sheet, you'll see the API - Integrated App image next to the date column.

Activity Inserted by API

Filter Activity Log entries

Once the View Activity log dialog is open, you can see various sheet actions, such as who deleted rows and when, or when a user viewed the sheet. The report in the Activity Log dialog will initially display the last seven days of events.

To see only the entries you want, use filters in the Activity Log. Apply a filter that shows you the activity for a specific date range, a specific type of action, or the specific people that have been active on the sheet.

Apply filters to the Activity Log

  1. In the Activity Log dialog, expand the Filters section. 
  2. Select any of the following:
    • Action: Filter the activity log by the type of activity
    • Collaborators: Who performed the activity
    • Date Range: The group of dates that you want to view the activity of
  3. Select Apply.

If you need to clear the filters, select Clear Filters.


Export the Activity Log

You can download the Activity Log for the item to keep an additional record of sheet activity. Each download of the Activity Log is limited to a maximum of 90 days of sheet activity data.

To export an Activity Log

  1. In the menu bar of a sheet or report, select File > View Activity Log.
  2. In the Date Range section, select a start date and end date. 
  3. Optional: In the Action and Collaborators filters, select additional options.
  4. Select Download.

    Smartsheet will email the email address associated with your Smartsheet account. In the email message, you’ll find a link where you can access the downloaded file.
     
  5. To download the exported file, when you receive the email, select the link in the email message.

After doing these steps, the Activity Log file will be downloaded to your computer in .csv format.

When should you expect the exported file?

The length of time it takes for Smartsheet to generate the file and send you the download link varies. Once you select Download, you should receive a message with the link to the file within the next business day.


Request a snapshot of the sheet

If you’re a licensed sheet Owner or Admin, you can request a snapshot of cell or column changes in your sheet.

To request a snapshot of the sheet change(s)

  1. Open the sheet’s Activity Log dialog. 
  2. In the Date Range section, adjust the start date and end date as needed.
  3. Navigate to the specific change, expand that row, and select Request Snapshot

 

Smartsheet will email the snapshot to the sheet owner in an Excel file. The Excel file contains sheet data, sheet summary, and comments only. Conditional formatting, attachments, notifications, cell history, and any formulas that aren’t compatible with Excel (column formulas, @row, @cell, cross sheet formulas, etc.) aren’t supported at this time.

You can only submit one snapshot request at a time on any given sheet. Once the first request is complete, you can file an additional request.


Card-view-related actions in the Activity Log

Some actions listed in the Activity Log dialog describe an overall change but won't provide context on the details of that change. Below are a few actions you might see and what they mean:

  • Card View: Cards Reordered: You've manually dragged one or more cards from one position to another, either to a different lane or to a different position in the same lane.
  • Card View: Cards Reordered Indirectly: Cards have been moved by any other means. For example, when you manually drag one card to any position, either in the same lane or to a different lane, other cards are indirectly moved to higher or lower positions as a result. Cards can also be reordered indirectly when you make changes in the grid view and Gantt View, such as assigning a task to a different person or changing the list option for a row.

Who can view the Activity Log

Sharing permission level Can view Activity Log Can export Activity Log See tracked activity starting at this date/time
Owner* Yes Yes Creation of the item
Admin (Licensed)** Yes Yes View and export from when you were last shared to the item
Admin (Unlicensed) No No -
Editor (Licensed)** Yes No  View (but not export) from when you were last shared to the item
Editor (Unlicensed) No No -
Commenter (Licensed or Unlicensed) No No -
Viewer (Licensed or Unlicensed) No No -

*If you transfer ownership of a sheet, the new owner will see all of the Activity Log, starting from the time that the sheet was created.

**If you are upgraded to Admin (Licensed) or Editor (Licensed) sharing permissions, you will be able to see Activity Log entries starting from the time that you were first shared to the sheet.

Want to know more about sharing permission? Check out the Permissions on sheets, reports, or workspaces article.