Create and use virtual "show" columns for text, URL's, video etc

This is a simple series of steps to create virtual “show” -type columns. There’s some posts on this from awhile back, e.g. this one here:

But I didn’t see any explicit instructions on how to use this very handy column type!

a column of type “Show” allows you to insert static, constant help text into your views.

Here’s a reference app:

It’s a bit quirky to create these virtual columns, You have to trick appsheet into letting you choose the type “Show”. Here are the steps:

Create a virtual column with “” as it’s formula:

Now change it from “unknown” to “Show” - in the screen below, our column “Show Text” is still set to “unknown”:

Now that you have changed it from “unknown” to “Show” click the pencil icon:

Change the category to “text” (in this example) and put some text into the content field.

Steps for Optional URL Type: you can create nifty looking hyperlinks by choosing the show category type of “URL” and then using the Hyperlink() function, e.g:

And finally, on your view, SHOW types will not automatically show up like other fields will, so you have to explicitly and manually list them in column lists:

Now you can see them on your views! Here’s a detail view:

And here’s a deck view:

Happy virtual showing!!


Perfect. For some reasons I haven’t been able to have show columns work in virtual columns, always have blank random columns in my spreadsheet. Ill need to try this out sometime again.

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This is exactly the steps I take to do this… I’ve never even thought about it before. I just do it…

Awesome article

I think the Pro for Virtual Columns is also that you can edit the App without having conflicts with your users. I mean: If you add / delete a column in your spreadsheet, you will get in trouble with your users when they still have an older version of the App. I would assume that by using VCs you will be save :slight_smile:


Is there a limit to the amount of text? I’m using a Detail view and my text is getting cutoff. Only showing about 4 lines. Is there a better way to show a bit more text? Also, not able to scroll down to see all the text.

Detail View (2 columns: Image and Show)
Deck View
Deck View

The Show column in the Detail view is set to Text.

I don’t think so? See attached animation. Looks like you can have plenty of text… I used the same app as above to test…


Ha! You know what it was? I didn’t put the text in double quotes! When I added the quotes around the entire paragraph of text it displayed it all!

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Anyone figured out a way to format this text specifically? Like bold a word or two, underline, etc?

Not possible (yet), but I’ve made a similar feature request:

There is also an iframe view-type in development. Hopefully it will allow using the same GDoc templates and enable viewing a row in the iframe.


Circling back on this to see if there have been any developments. Am using a SHOW Type, URL VC and just wanting to center the text so it matches the other columns.

Another question popped to mind… anyway to use an icon or image as a hyperlink? I haven’t searched for a solution yet, so I’ll go and do that now.

Something like this?

You can use an Action “External: go to a website” and attach it to an image column.

But this would appear under the image.

You cannot attach this Action to a Show column. I mean: You can, but it won’t show up.

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Thanks for this, @TyAlevizos ! Very clear. One point that I was unaware of until recently is that the Show-column type is not only useful to achieve a desired look – it’s also useful in improving the efficiency and performance of an app. Here’s a description of the column type from @praveen :

Until I read this, I didn’t realize that, as virtual columns, “Show type” columns are in a special “light” category. So, Praveen’s comment really opened my eyes.

I am currently working on an app with 8,000 records and need to have lines of text on to which I can “hang” inline actions, as follows:

I learned from Praveen that whether I make the lines of text on to which I hand my actions real or virtual, doesn’t make much difference – I’ll still make the device hold 8,000 copies of the same text in its memory. These lines of text cannot be show columns because show columns cannot take actions (at least as the platform is currently configured). So, I’m kind of stuck. In regard to the headings (“CEFR-J data,” “English-Japanese dictionaries,” etc.), however, these can be made into show columns. Judging from what Praveen has told me, the switch to show columns should lighten up my app.

I found this tip of yours today because I was thinking “How is that I’ve been using AppSheet for five years and I am only now realizing that show columns are fundamentally a different (and more efficient) type of virtual column?” I looked at the documentation but could find anything. The following article on column types doesn’t even bother to go through the various types and explain what they are for. The show type isn’t even mentioned:

The following article explains how to use the show type for videos but no mention is made of what makes “show” a special type of virtual column from a performance standpoint:

@MultiTech_Visions has made a very nice video explaining how to use this column type but the focus is on “how to” and it doesn’t seem to mention the efficiency dimension.

This really should be spelled out in the “Column Types and Properties” article.

I would give this community an A+ (I’ve learned so much from many generous people) but I’d give documentation on AppSheet about a B or maybe even lower. If it had not been for the community I would have given up long ago. Even with A+ documentation, the community will continue to be necessary but it would seem to me that a lot could be gained in efficiency if more energy could be put into improving the documentation – it’s better to explain something properly once in the documentation instead of trying to explain it individually to thousands of confused creators.




Thanks! In regard to my “B or lower” rating for AppSheet’s documentation, I felt a bit conflicted as I wrote that because, despite my concerns, I also had @Steve 's outstanding articles in mind. When AppSheet’s documentation is good (as with Steve’s articles) it is very good but . . . well . . . I’m reminded of a little poem:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

“Horrid” may be a bit too extreme but you get the idea. :wink: