Auto numbering - how to stop them changing if an item is deleted

Hi I am using the auto numbering option for board reference codes - however, if an item is deleted by someone, the number sequence moves to the next item, this makes it impossible to use as a reference code.

Can you please suggest how I can prevent an item being deleted, and or an alternative solution.

Manual numbering was causing too much pain.

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

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Maybe a better solution is a Item ID column.

I can’t tell exactly what you mean by “board reference code”, but I’m sure that’s something specific to your solution. I’m not sure it’s exactly relevant either.

Here are a few potentially useful ideas:

  • Prevent items from being deleted via permissions and keep the items in the same order in the Main Table at all times (use other views for sorting etc.)—while deleting is an account-level permission, you might be able to get around this for other boards by using automations (when status changes to X, delete item) and permissions (I believe board owners can still delete items regardless of account-level permissions).

  • Use the Item ID column. This column is a uid for each item and remains consistent for that item regardless of its position or board. Perhaps this is what you’re looking for.

  • Create a tool for item creation with a set of enumeration automations. Rough guide:

Create a board with a single item “creator”. Give it a status column with labels “ready” and “create item” and a number column set to 0.

When status changes from “ready” to “create item”
Create item in board (choose your main board and map the value from the number column on your creator board to a number column on your main board)
And then Increase number column by 1
And then set status to “ready”

This will be the process by which you create new items and it will ensure that an increasing number is always copied into a column on your main board. As it won’t be automatically populated, this number can be kept the same regardless of changes to board content.

Thank you everyone - super appreciated :smiley:

I was trying to create a sequential number for each item, that stayed with each item - this could then be used as a reference code for that item (I now cant understand the value of the auto-number, other than to count items).

I had looked at the Item ID initially, but it was long and not sequential - I was hoping to use sequential numbering with a pre-fix (e.g., GS-101, GS-102).

I ended up going with the Item ID (hidden) and creating a formula column that concatenated a pre-fix with the item id - not ideal, but it works - also thank you re permissions, I didn’t know I could control that with our team, much appreciated!


Could you possibly share what you did with your formula column in more detail? I am trying to accomplish the same workaround as you and running in to a lack of skills.