Follow step-by-step instructions to enable highlight changes.
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.
Smartsheet offers several ways to get up to speed on changes, review sheet activity, and gain insight into sheet usage. Turn on Highlight Changes to visually indicate which cells have changed over a specified time period, including since you last viewed the sheet. Right click on any cell and select View Cell History to see details about cell changes. Use to the Activity Log to review the list of all tracked activity in the sheet.
Highlight Changes Made to a Sheet
To quickly identify and review the changes that have been made to a sheet, use Highlight Changes.
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.)
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.
TIP: You can also set up Notifications to receive email alerts when changes are made to a sheet. For more information, see the Notifications article.
Turn Highlight Changes On or Off
Open the sheet and click Highlight Changes on the toolbar.
The Highlight Changes window appears.
Click the slider to turn Highlight Changes to ON.
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.
Click Background Color to set the highlight color.
The cell background will change to the color that you have set once changes have been detected.
Click the X in the upper-right corner of the window to close it and save your settings.
Follow step-by-step instructions to view cell history.
View Changes Made to Smartsheet Items
You can view changes that have made to a Smartsheet item in two ways:
- 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.
- Activity Log (Business and Enterprise only)—Click the Activity Log icon in the right panel 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's 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.
NOTE: If the cell contained an image, the image won't appear in history. Instead, you'll see the word "Image:" followed by the alt text for the image.
TIP: Another way to track sheet changes is to use the 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 the Best Column Type for Your Data.
Follow step-by-step instructions to use the Activity Log (business and enterprise plans only).
Track the History of Changes with Activity Log
With Activity Log, you can quickly see who did what in a sheet or who last viewed a dashboard—that is, 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.
In this article:
- Actions Tracked in Activity Log
- View Activity Log Entries
- Export the Activity Log
- Who Can View the Activity Log
NOTE: This feature is included with Business and eligible Enterprise plans. For more information about plans and pricing, including which features are included with which plans, please see our Pricing page.
Use the Activity Log to track common actions such as:
- Who has viewed the sheet, report, or dashboard.
- Who has been 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 that made the change.
- The time and date that the changes were made.
NOTE: Edits made to the data in cells and rows in a report will only appear on the Activity Log of the source sheets, not on the Activity Log of the report.
TIP: The Activity Log will show the most recent cell changes, but if you'd like to see the full history of a particular cell, you can right-click the cell and view its cell history. (See Viewing Cell History for more information on cell history.)
Open the Activity Log to view records of various sheet actions that have been performed by collaborators.
To see the Activity Log:
- Click File in the Menu Bar.
- Select View Activity Log to display the View Activity Log window.
In the View Activity log window, you’ll have visibility to the various sheet actions, such as who deleted rows and when, or when a user viewed the sheet.
You can filter the Activity Log to more easily display the history you want.
NOTE: Some organizations create or use custom solutions that leverage the Smartsheet Application Programming Interface (API)—Smartsheet Pivot App is an example of this. If the API influences the content in a sheet, you'll see the API - Integrated App image next to the date column.
You can use filters in the Activity Log to see only the entries you want. Apply a filter that shows you the activity for a specific date range, shows you a specific type of action, or the specific people that have been active on the sheet.
NOTE: When you close the Activity Log, your filters will be cleared automatically. Activity Log filters cannot be saved or shared with other collaborators on the sheet.
To apply filters to the Activity Log:
- Open the Activity Log and select Filters in the upper-left corner of the Activity Log window to expand the filter options.
- Select any of the following:
- Action—The type of activity. (For example, row was a deleted.)
- Collaborators—Who performed the activity.
- Date Range—The group of dates that you want to view the activity of.
- Select Apply.
If you need to clear the filters, click Clear Filters (next to the Apply button).
NOTE: Some actions can't be traced back to a Smartsheet user name. For example, if a person is not logged in to Smartsheet, and that person downloads an attachment from a row sent to them through an email, Smartsheet will track and record the activity, but the log entry will display a user name of [email protected]
You can download the Activity Log for the item to keep an additional record of sheet activity. To export an Activity Log:
- Open the item.
- Click File > View Activity Log.
- Click the Download button at the bottom of the Activity Log window.
Smartsheet will send an email message to the email address that you use with Smartsheet that contains a link that you'll use to access the downloaded file.
NOTE: The length of time it will take for Smartsheet to generate the file and send you the download link will vary. Once you click Download, you should receive a message with the link to the file within the next business day.
- When you receive the email, click the emailed link to download the Activity Log.
The Activity Log file will be downloaded to your computer in .csv format.
Activity Log Actions Explained
Some actions listed in the Activity Log describe an overall change, but won't provide context on the details of that change. Below are a few actions that you might see and what they mean.
Card View: Card Reordered and Card View: Cards Reordered Indirectly
Card View: Cards Reordered means that you've manually dragged-and-dropped 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 means that cards have been moved by any other means. For example, when you manually drag-and-drop 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 and Gantt views, such as assigning a task to a different person or changing the Dropdown list option for a row.
Who Can View the Activity Log
Access to the Activity Log depends on your sharing permission level. The earliest point in time that you can see tracked activities depends on when you were last shared to the sheet.
NOTE: Dashboards don't have an Editor sharing permission level. Only Admins and the Owner can view Activity Log for dashboards.
|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|
|Editor (Licensed)**||Yes||No||View (but not export) from when you were last shared to the item|
|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. Check out our Sharing Permission Levels article for details on different sheet sharing permissions.