Airtable Is Not A Spreadsheet – Here’s Why

airtable spreadsheet

Airtable is like a spreadsheet, but not


Although Airtable looks like a spreadsheet, and acts like one in a few ways, it offers so much more than a simple spreadsheet does. Here are five things that Airtable can do easily that spreadsheets struggle to achieve.

1. Create relationships


A defining feature of Airtable is the ability to link records together across tables.


For example, you might have an Airtable base for managing client projects, with tables for Projects, Tasks, and Billing.


Using the linked records feature, you can show which tasks relate to a project, and which billing items relate to a task.


As well as this simple linking ability, you can show fields from one table in another table.


Need to see the status of a project without leaving your tasks table? Just create a lookup field to see that field within the tasks table.


If you want to go next-level, as well as linking tables you can also sync entire tables to another base altogether, bringing together data from separate bases.


Using filters, you have complete control over which records you see in the linked record or synced base.


2. Automate Easily


Airtable has formidable in-built automation features.


Without having to know a single line of code, you can automate actions within Airtable itself, or even integrate/automate with external apps like Gmail, Slack, and Twitter.


Automations have triggers (e.g. a new or updated record, date/time, when a record enters a view, or even when a webhook is received), conditions (if this, then that), and actions (e.g. create/update a record, send an email, and more).


For the more adventurous, use the scripting feature of Airtable to carry out advanced automations and integrate with other platforms that aren’t natively supported.


3. Slice Your Data Into Views


One of the similarities Airtable has to spreadsheets is the ability to filter data based on criteria.


For example, you might want to only show records that were created yesterday, and contain the word ‘Apple’. Or you can get even more advanced by using condition groups.


This enables you to add layers to your filtering, so you can show records that match ‘A’ & ‘B’, or also records that match ‘C & D’.


Where Airtable takes it a step further is views, which are saved versions of a table.


Although the table always contains the same information, a view allows you to hide or show fields, put the fields in a specific order, group the records, and most importantly apply filters and save those as part of a view.


You can show your data in a regular grid view (most like a spreadsheet), a kanban board, timeline, gantt,  calendar, or even a gallery with images.


The best part is that you can share or embed views with external users without giving them access to your entire Airtable base.


4. Create Visual Interfaces

Using Airtable apps, you can create simple charts, PDFs, and other visual elements to showcase your data.
However, the Interfaces feature in Airtable opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to bringing your data to life.
Not only can you create charts and number widgets to create stunning and powerful dashboards, interfaces also give your users the ability to see the data they need to in real-time without having to create complex filters or navigate views within the main Airtable base.

5. Manage Content


One area that spreadsheets struggle to keep up with is managing content – i.e. files.

Airtable has the native ability to save files, and even has a preview feature for some file types (e.g. videos). 


These can easily be uploaded within Airtable itself, or via another tool like Zapier.


Files within Airtable can also be shared with other platforms via a public file URL that is created when a file is added.


To learn more about how you can leverage Airtable in your business, book a free Automation Strategy Call for a 1 on 1 diagnostic session with one of our small business Airtable experts in Australia.