Only limited by your time and creativity
We have about 10 different business processes that we track in Airtable. It's amazing how flexible it is, and the overall experience has been extremely smooth. It's especially easy to get new users up to speed quickly because of how intuitive the Airtable is, which is an especially difficult feat given how extensively you can customize everything. They have a great online help and video training as well.
Airtable brings actual structure to our working environment. We use for a team of 15 to track tasks, projects, and even for lightweight documentation of work done or where stuff is. I really like the flexibility and the ability to create just about anything with it and still make the finished product look nice. The UI is what people first comment on when I invite them to our shared set of bases--either "it looks great" or "this is easy" or something like that. I especially love the integration with Zapier so that if you need to go outside an Airtable base, you probably won't have to do manual entry--it can sync with your other app.
With the free version, you will hit the record limit will pretty easily. I wish they had a lower-priced plan that was above the free version, but below their much more expensive tiers.
A second huge miss is that there was really no way to do rich text. That severely limits the usefulness for using Airtable as any kind of repository for content or anything like that. Basically you convert everything to HTML markup and store it as plain text in Airtable, but like I said they have promised to fix this . . .
Completely indispensable for us!
Despite it's cost and some features we'd still like to see, Airtable is an absolute no-brainer for us. We can track our constituents and their engagement so much more easily than with Excel or a random CRM that doesn't really match our needs. I also have moved most of my content planning, resource banking, quote caching, and attendance taking to Airtable. It's honestly SO multifunctional!
First: It's a database that is actually aesthetically attractive. AND it's easier to use and manipulate than Excel. AND you can custom build what you need, rather than finagling a pre-built CRM for your specific needs. Also all of the different visual ways of looking at the data/records are key.
There are some features that are still lacking. Like the ability to read what's in a cell and do something with that information. It's also quite expensive, especially for a non-profit like us.
Airtable is one to watch in the future
Airtable has very specific uses that would be hard to replicate anywhere else with another piece of software. It has many flaws and drawbacks, but once you accept them (and find ways to circumvent them) it can be quite a handy and interesting piece of software.
When I first started to use Airtable, I came away deeply frustrated with it's usability. It's sometimes slow, straightly obtuse to use and has many "pending features" that would be extremely helpful for some of the simplest of tasks.
However, there came a time when I had to organise a league table for a tournament over the internet, and all of sudden, Airtable clicked.
What Airtable is good at is creating a database of entries for a specific use, so for example, making an internet registration form where a user can enter data and "register" their interest in a particular thing is so quick and easy to do.
I created an application form which auto stored the data into a highly organised table that I could then use however I wanted (I created a league table from the registered users with ease and shared the results of the league as the scoring progressed) - all via the internet, I don't know of a way that I could have achieved this without AirTable, Google Docs would have been a possible solution, but Airtable allows you to add attachments easily (so images, etc) as well as allowing you to manipulate (And hide) data in any way you can think of using Rollups and Lookups - two of it's most powerful features.
Once you get used to it, Airtable becomes useful, and I can see myself using it again and again when I want to organise a very specific and distributed task on the internet.
Don't think this is Excel in a different disguise, it's not, it's not as adaptable and not as powerful as Excel. You couldn't use it to track a project or manage a holiday system or anything like that, but creating a full customer list for a newsletter? Yep, easy, that's the kind of thing it DOES do really well.
It could use a few more features on the free tier of the software (the paid tier unlocks "blocks" - which is a strange name for plugins, which allow you to view the data in different visual ways but ultimately it's not as well integrated as it should be and therefore has a limited use)
Another thing is that Airtables mobile interface is woeful compared to it's desktop version, and for some reason you can't access the desktop website via mobile. I have no idea what compelled them to make this decision but it's something they need to address in the future. The mobile layout is next to useless.
LOVE Airtable! Use it for all my businesses
Amazing! Even their customer service is top notch.
I LOVE Airtable! I use it for all of my businesses (4) and it has become a vital piece of software for running each business.
1. I love how you can build entire databases that are easy to use and navigate. I don't have to teach my teach some complicated software, they get it right away.
2. Its so easy to use and create complicated tables quickly.
3. It works perfectly over every device.
1. I do wish the form feature worked on mobile
2. I wish the bases could talk to each other
Great Amalgamation of a Spreadsheet & Database
I have used AirTable in several areas of my life, but the best example is with a high school program I volunteer with. We have 150 students with 15 advisors, with over 100 data points, in 20 locations. Prior to AirTable, keeping track of everything was a nightmare. Something as simple as trying to contact a student involved either all advisors adding all 150 students into their phone contact list (and update every year) or calling the lead advisor who had to look through a stack of papers to find a number. With AirTable it was as simple as typing in their name and pressing their cell number which automatically dialed them up. I could go on and on about how much AirTable has changed the way I do many aspects of my business and personal life, this was just an example to show how easy it makes things.
The fact that basically all database applications I tried were basically meant for enterprise-level businesses, and generally required a steep learning curve to even set up. I only needed basic database functionality, and to be able to easily edit single or groups of entries. AirTable solved this perfectly. Also, the team over there seem to be constantly adding on new functionality, which I see and realize that could solve problems I did not even realize I had. The best part is just how easy it is to use. I have some people on my team that are far from tech-savvy, and with a quick overview, they were even able to utilize it.
Their forms have a bit to be desired, but that is mostly just the appearance when I send them out. Also when sorting and filtering, it requires 3 or so clicks, when I think they could make it one.
Forget Excel and use AirTable instead!
Airtable is a game changer! Since we can create views on the fly, especially ones that link to our calendars, we're able to track projects really easily, and communicate changes across our entire team. We even started using it to tracking employee training hours, and it's saved us countless hours per week.
Airtable combines really advanced features with and easy to use interface, allowing some members of the team to set up a base, and allow others to maintain/update it. This has allowed us to store complex data, but make it accessible in different views, depending on the business need.
Airtable could be improved with some better formula functions. For example, if you wanted to calculate formulas based on some type of filter, such as an aggregate function, it is very difficult or impossible to do. We usually have to extract the data through their API and then process it for more complex needs.
Honestly, the cure for the common spreadsheet
I didn't like Google Sheets,and I didn't like sharing Excel or .csv files all the time through Dropbox, Slack or email. Airtable is gloriously pleasant to use. After using for several years, no bug has ever intruded on me when using Airtable, which makes a very small list of products I've ever used on a regular basis.
I don't use other Software as a Service tools anymore for CRMs, email lists, or really data tracking of any kind. Everything like this can be done in Airtable in a way that is flexible and fully understood and clear. My most common recommendation is for people to just start by using Airtable for free simply for a shared grocery list, then go from there.
Airtable doesn't even require a tutorial, pricing is easy, the forms are far easier to distribute and embed than other similar tools, and their integration with really every kind of data I use is seamless. Also Airtable's Blocks blow my mind.
I feel like their pricing page could be a bit more immediately intuitive and simplified, though that's seriously nitpicking because it's better than most pricing pages. Also, the Universe functionality isn't as widespread across different fields as it might seem at first, if people are only looking to use templates from other people.
AirTable is a great tool to streamline operations
AirTable has been a great tool for our business, allowing different departments to improve their processes and save development resources.
AirTable is very easy to learn and provides significant low-code functionality that can streamline operations and create efficiencies across all departments. AirTable is also a great way to analyze, visualize and mobilize data, with the ability to integrate to other systems. The Blocks feature add lots of use cases, and allowed us to utilize AirTable in all departments, and even to program our products.
There are data restrictions on AirTable, and any of their "tables" can only hold 100,000 records at most. This presented some challenges for us since we had materially more records that needed tracking and mobilization. Also, it's not cheap.
Airtable was a lifesaver for my operations and sharing a common picture with the rest of a team.
I love Airtable and I have used it for a number of things since I have found it.
I love that it was compatible with military networks and i was able to use it to disseminate information and basically provide updates to everyone on my team. I love the multiple different ways to layout the information and what that all looks like. I love the ability to generate forms.
The only downside to this product is that some of the advanced features are a subscription cost. I really love the product, I just wish that there was maybe a one time fee for unlimited access for life instead of the subscription model.
Airtable is everything I wish traditional spreadsheet could be!
I have loved using Airtable so far and continue to invite my colleagues to use the platform too. We have been able to use it to manage and communicate product lists and active projects.
- Easily add attachments to row items
- Long edit/revision history
- Advanced field options and database capabilities
- Large selection of Integrations and Templates
- API access provided for creating your own integrations
- Onboarding/Adoption by invited users often takes more time as they must learn the new tool (not as familiar as a traditional spreadsheet)
Google Sheets/Excel on steriods
Overall experience with Airtable has been amazing, I think it's a brilliant product for cross team collaboration and I love the flexibility you get.
While there are a lot of things that are great about airtable, these are the ones I love the most:
1. Flexibility to do everything from project management, sprint management, and GTMs.
2. Ease of use: This is like using excel sheets so creating a new task project is basically hit enter and start typing. Obviously, the features are 10 times better on airtable.
3. The different kind of views that I can have is also brilliant, the calendar view, kanban view and my favorite.
I think the only place this tool lacks is in just pure documentation. While you can write long form content here, it doesn't feel natural or intuitive. I really wish they improve the long form text field with rich content formatting and more.
One more thing which is a pain is the mobile app. Feels like an MVP but the viable is so low. I can't even add comments via the app. Quite sad.
When I found airtable I was struggling to organize all the different projects in my world and business. It was a nightmare that lasted years. Evernote held precious banking information, google had docs, diigo held bookmarks and page notes, and I was using mind map software for planning. When I had to add inventory management to my daily routines, I knew I needed a dedicated database structure and tried several on the market. After making my rounds through many, I choose Notion for its price. A few months later I realized how much more efficient airtable was for my needs and took the plunge. The upgrade was worth it. I am more productive now and getting more data organized than every before with 10 other tools. Thank you airtable.
Scalable. Ramp it up to any size/ use.
Drag and drop fields, input, and images from other sources.
Strong learning resources available.
Pricing options. If you need just one block the only option is $20 a month. There needs to a one or two block option available at the first tier $10 a month. But now that I have to say now that I have all those blocks, I am finding new ways to use them.
Power of a database, ease-of-use as a spreadsheet
I have used it to track everything from people and their files (just attach it to their record!) to projects and attendance. It is easy and when I share it with others, I do not have to explain it to them, almost all of instinctively figure it out - it is that simple! So far I have got two whole organization to switch to AirTable from other famous products.
1. I Like the point and click linking of info on one tab to info on the same or another tab
2. The controlled vocabulary function (selection of values)
3. one to one and one to many relationships handled seamlessly (multiple / single select)
4. Formulas are easy to use
5. Rolls up summarise linked data in the linked records
6. Count give a count of the # of linked records
7. Look up function carries information from the link records
8. You can embed whole files as an attachment direction linked to the record
1. We have to pay $20/user/month to use the blocks. While it saves a lot of time, we only use a few blocks
2. Great for small teams but gets expensive for larger teams as cost is per user.
Our Team Went From Zero Organization to Project Pipeline Wizards
By using Airtable we are able to communicate with our clients better using the "Calendar" base. We are able to show our clients what we are doing for them the entire month. Being transparent with them and having this very cool interactive Calendar that shows our reports and ad creative really puts us at a whole new level in their eyes.
This software is super easy to use and has so many different options for "viewing" which allows something for everybody. There are so many different connections as well and the Block features allow our team to be very efficient with our client projects.
There is no way to reach out to somebody on customer support. I wish there was a chat option for customer support. There really isn't any training that comes alot with it. There are some videos but if there was a way to setup a webinar with an account manager there to help us learn more ways we could be using it, that would be ideal.
So close to perfect!
Overall I appreciate and enjoy my use of Airtable. I really like its capabilities for tracking projects and tasks. If it was FERPA compliant it would be my one-stop shop for project management at work!
Airtable is fantastic for project management, especially if you need to share your work with others. I recently used Airtable for a week-long event at my workplace with many moving parts - several events per day, many catering contracts, many chaffeurs and cars to keep track of, etc. I love that Airtable gives you the option to categorize entries and sort by category. Using Airtable helped me keep track of all my tasks involved in coordinating the events.
I also like how easily you can share it with others and work on it with others. The interface is clean and works well for me both on my desktop and tablet.
The last thing I like most about this software is the ability to have an attachment field. When coordinating travel for myself and others, I appreciate being able to attach our flight itineraries, travel approvals, and any other important documents directly to the table. It's a great way to keep it all in one place.
Airtable does have a bit of a learning curve that took me a while to navigate. I did not find their introductory templates or videos as helpful as I would have liked, so it took me longer than anticipated to get used to the software and really start using it on a daily basis.
Lastly, I really wish Airtable was FERPA compliant. I work in higher education and so I cannot manage ALL my projects and tasks in Airtable, just the ones that don't involve student data. This splitting of softwares depending on which project I'm working on is kind of a pain and interrupts my work flow.
AirTable is an Advanced Form of Excel
My work team uses airtable as opposed to Excel or Google Sheets to keep shared records, and this has been very helpful to us especially in keeping lots of complex information in one place that we can easily sort through. Because it has more features than a traditional excel sheet, like attaching documents or pictures, it is an easier way to keep track of documents than a traditional Cloud Storage system like Dropbox or Google Drive. It also gives us lots of special "blocks" that we can use (but are still exploring) so we can continue to improve our workflow and data spread.
I love that this works as an Excel document, but you can also do so much more with it - attach documents, check boxes, drop down options, and so many more things. It has great integrations with other platforms, and is easy to set up for various different functions that Excel could never offer. I also love the extra blocks you can use that give you more options for functions, such as creating pivot tables, sending texts, keeping an organizational chart, and even setting a countdown! It makes me want to explore more ways I can use this to help make our workflow better within my work team.
It does take a little getting used to at first if you are used to excel. It's not quite a replacement for Excel if you are trying to make a traditional sheet with borders, and it also isn't as easy to highlight select cells and copy/paste them in other places like in an Excel sheet. It also doesn't really support traditional Microsoft formatting which is kind of annoying when you try to copy information in. But seeing as how this is a better system for containing information, its pros outweigh the cons and you can easily use Excel and Airtable at the same time to support your various needs.
Why I use Airtable to store my data
I run a site called Wikihospitals, and display international health technology services. This data all needs to be linked together, so I can see information like country of origin, founder's details, technology used and medical specialty covered.
Airtable was a great discovery for me. I can shared my data easily, embedded it into my website and am now transforming it into a fully fledged directory site.
Before Airtable, pre formatted databases were costly platforms to subscribe to, and extremely difficult to create from scratch (for the non coder).
Airtable is just dead easy to use. It looks like a spreadsheet but behaves like a database. You can import or export data as a CSV file. You can share a link or embed a view into you website using iframe code.
It is also lightning fast. You can link any number of different 'sheets' together. You can selecting different types of 'fields' ie numerical, date, multiple select, calculations, upload document etc.
You can also display your data in a range of 'views' from maps to calendars to gallery views of pie and bar charts.
When using the embed code option, it doesn't show that well on a mobile device. Apart from that, it's really the perfect software for people with a large amount of data and no code skills.
Our team uses Airtable as a centralized location to track our project progress. We've even hacked it as a CRM on occasion, and used it for event planning, reporting--anything that requires you to organize lots of information in a standardized way. The resistance to using yet another platform was strong at first, but once we got into it, everyone has become an Airtable advocate.
When a co-worker recommended Airtable, I was predictably skeptical. Who needs yet another spreadsheet software I said, with an internal (ok, maybe external) eye roll. But this is no mere spreadsheet platform. It is the only one you will ever need. Ever. Again. The functionality that make it worth it to switch from Excel or Google Sheets might seem insignificant when you look at them on a features list. Colored labels, grouping, filtering, view options, etc. But you have no idea what a big difference they make! Airtable makes it possible to put in all the data you have, but the key to its success is it lets you filter it down to only the essential information you need to see to make the decisions in front of you. It's the database that actually helps with decision-making. And the more I use it, the more uses I find for it!
There are very few cons to Airtable. It's simple to use, and the potential is limitless. Once you start putting bases together, you just don't want to stop! One thing that is slightly non-intuitive is the relationship (or lack thereof) between different "tabs" of data. Read up on those before you go that route. You can also start getting out of hand pretty quickly with creating lots of different views, but nothing a little intentionality can't address. We trained our entire team on using Airtable for project management, and it's been the best decision we ever made.
Early User and a Returning Addict
Overall I am a super fan of Airtable - first discovered, fell in love, and told everyone I knew about Airtable 3-4 years ago, IIRC when they first appear on Product Hunt. Build a whole bunch of bases to manage my person life (book list, financial trackers, a large inter-linked base to track 3D printing activities for a local maker space etc.). Stopped using it for awhile because I was focusing on my day job for a few years, before coming back to do side projects and businesses.
Ended up build a tracker for my subscription business, with automated renewal and receipt email generation via Zapier. Airtable is not perfect but it made a non-coder me into someone who can create a solution that’s “almost there”. I always tell people - Airtable can’t do everything (like a fully customized software) but 80% of your need can be satisfied by Airtable with 20% of effort, broadly speaking.
I also love their Customer Services - while it is no longer the Airtable 2-3 years ago where I just chat using the chat tool (Intercom or..?) and ask UX related questions as they come to me (simple questions, not too different from asking a coworker in your office) and even caught the CEO Howie Lou a few times; it is still a very well supported software/ company where the CS team actually know the system really well and does’t just shove canned responses in your face.
Overall, lots of love for Airtable!
Ease of use, basically a database without the complexity of being one. No more managing of tabulated data via spreadsheet or simple table in word processing software. I also like the fact that I can do data entry in expanded and table views (I have a base called “Ideas”, where each column correspond to an area of interest in idea generation, e.g. Problem, Market, Competition, Elevator Pitch etc. - which the preferred data entry method is in the Expanded Jew; where as for base such as my “Bank Transactions Tracker”, the table field is better.
I also like how they aren’t just focusing on being American (yay to company that bother to cater to ALL date format under the sky) although for some other colum type they haven’t got down to it yet (telephone number etc.).
Personally I am a big fan of the Pro feature Blocks, which I used to create performace dashboards for my freelance subscription business. The Blocks feature is the only reason I opt to pay, although I am paying mostly out of my credits accumulated during the earlier days of Airtable.
Also like the community that’s building on top of it, forum is very active and lots of power users to learn from.
Combine with with other IaaS tool such as Zapier and you get a really powerful tool.
Insufficient control (can be easy to make mistake such as accidental typing etc.), lack of data validation (upon data entry), and interface could use more customization (e.g. lots of empty/white spaces in Card views, can’t have multiple lines in field header etc.).
A spreadsheet is a spreadsheet, right? Wrong!
I love it so much I support it financially, which is a big deal for me. I'm a very small business and a monthly subscription is always viewed suspiciously. But I love how they are constantly building in new features that make it more and more usable. Things I didn't even know I wanted until it existed. And there is a free option! I just wanted access to the premium features.
I'm currently using it for:
-development outlines and goal setting
- inventory tracking linked with vendor management
- galleries of photos incorporated on my website and on Facebook
- managing home chores and tasks
- keeping track of any number of personal and professional lists
I like this software so much that I pay for it monthly, and I don't consider 25 a month "cheap" for me. But it has been so useful that I can't imagine not having access to all the features.
It's complicated to say what I like most because that entails an explanation of what it does. It basically combines spreadsheets with databases and then allows you to view your data in a multitude of customizable ways. And share just the parts you want to share, or all of it. You can also add collaborators or have clients input information directly through forms. You can take all of this and embed it on your website or on facebook.
The various views can be a gallery of photos, or a more standard spreadsheet, or you can output it to lists like an address list, or set it up to print labels of just the records you want to include.
You can use it for project management and production queues, keeping track of vendors or clients, sorting and updating inventories. It's really brilliant to the point that I've moved away from other spreadsheet programs, task management systems and photo gallery software in favor of using Airtable.
It's not perfect! There are a few things I haven't figured out how to do or it's fairly clunky still. But much of that is my own lack of skill in certain areas. I'd love to utilize API but I'm still too much of a novice to really figure it out. Once I do, though, I feel like it will take my website to another level.
One of the features is the ability to take a group of records and output it into a format you create. It would be great if there were some templates available for this sort of thing, but I'm not even sure how that could be implemented. It could just be my own laziness!
Airtable is the Spreadsheet (and more) Application Everyone Needs
As I mentioned before, I am now using the application for QA and bug tracking, but have also used it for task tracking on collaborative projects I work on, which I've found to be really effective. I run my own business and am the only employee, so I don't need a full fledged project management solution and found this to be a great alternative when working with other companies that don't use one for web development, either.
Since Airtable also provides different ways to view data (Grid, Form, Gallery, Calendar, Kanban) the ways in which this product can be used are infinite. There's even a mobile app!
As an early adopter of Airtable, I've seen the program grow from a more functional and intuitive version of Excel to a full fledged application that can do anything from spreadsheet management to producing a CRM or project workflow. Initially, I used the application for QA and bug tracking, but now I use it for inventory for art I collect (I can even include photos for visual reference), lead tracking and generation, and a few other practical things. The more I use Airtable, the more I'm impressed with how much potential the application has to positively impact any business, organization, or individual.
For first time users, it can be a bit intimidating, especially if checking out the application, casually. One great resource that Airtable introduced is Airtable Universe, which highlights and demonstrates working and real examples of how companies and industries are using Airtable to track deadlines, scheduling, and a slew of other use cases. I would recommend that as the starting point for any novice of the application or anyone interested in giving it a try.
The Evolution Of The Spreadsheet
Airtable is a refreshing new look at what spreadsheets can be. It is great for organizations with varying degrees of user experiences with spreadsheets. And if your organization uses spreadsheets quite extensively, then this might be a great alternative.
As mentioned in Cons, the proprietary nature of Airtable means that if you need to keep a standalone copy in a file format, you will not be able to do so. You can import those current spreadsheets, but once manipulated and modified in Airtable, you must continue using it. So, archival files are not possible. Something to consider, as some enterprise environment do like to keep electronic files locally archived for attachment to specific documentations. Airtable might not be that solution.
Spreadsheets are great because of their flexibility. But most of its power lies behind a vast library of functions that users must have a good understanding about its syntax and how to use it. Add to that the fact that they are not exactly pretty to look at. The solution lies with Airtable. Coined as part spreadsheet and part database, it provides a new way of displaying vital information without all the hassles of setting up a spreadsheet.
For starters, Airtable offers a vast array of templates and layouts to choose from. If you are proficient, or the templates simply do not provide you with the necessary layout, you can start one from scratch. Maybe even create your own template.
Airtable is like a high performance spreadsheet with a serious upgrade on its user interface. Even the user experience is something quite amazing. YOu add, remove or modify the columns and configure them to accept the data you need.
It does all a spreadsheet can do, except that its coolest feature is its ability to go from a grid appearance, like your typical spreadsheet, to a form appearance, which resembles more of a database.
Airtable offers a wide array of functionality in its free subscription level. Upgrades offer more customization options that enhance the functionality and appearance of your table. And to make the transition from regular old boring spreadsheets to Airtable, they offer importing of your data to start off with.
It is much easier than your typical spreadsheet, but if you are a true spreadsheet power user, you may find a bit of a lack in its functionality. Again, only if you are a power user, which most of us are really not when it comes to everything spreadsheets can do. There are limited hover over hints for the buttons and fields, so you need to really click on them to find out what they are used for. Novice spreadsheet users will still find a similar learning curve with Airtable, but because the core functionalities are visible from the top ribbon, it does make it just a bit easier to use. But, remember, there will still be a slight learning curve, especially with more advance features.
Please note, it does well at importing those current spreadsheets, but Airtable is proprietary and online, and does not do well if you need to export it into a document for archival purposes.
fantastic solution for information-oriented project management
* lends itself well to building information tracking resources
* simple data-driven layout
* scalable project areas
my operations team uses airtable to manage a lot of information flow and have converted complex tracking resources into the airtable format. the fact that we now utilize the app for a lot of these solutions is a testament to its immediate strengths. i enjoy how airtable doesn't necessarily force me into any specific workflow, which has been the major reason why other project management solutions don't work--everyone has a different philosophy around project management.
* pricing model
* learning curve
* communication management
* lack of certain standard features
there are a lot of glaring pain points that my team encounters on a weekly basis which makes airtable, not necessarily the perfect solution but rather the best we've found so far.
first off, airtable is too expensive for my company based specifically on their pricing model. to note, airtable charges per user per workspace. each member of my team manages specific projects related to a different area of the business. for ease of organization, we have a separate airtable workspace built to accomodate each employee. for example, we have a workspace for finance projects and a workspace for customer support projects. from a visual project management standpoint, this makes the most sense. sometimes our finance manager will need to engage and comment on a project base going on in the customer support workspace and vice versa. this engagement occurs daily.
if you're a single user, incredibly small team or your company is client-based (where these costs would go into your billing), airtable's pricing model may not be much of a hinderance.
there is a high learning curve when you get started. this is about a week of tutorials and deep-diving into the app. a lot of this time was spent modifying personal workflows to best utilize airtable. after that week of hair-pulling and a lot of cursing at our computer screens everything immediately became easier.
one strong flaw in airtable is its team communication solutions. you have the ability to run comment strings on individual data rows, but an overall tab dedicated to general discussion would be immensely helpful to streamline discussion and reduce the amount of hunting/pecking for information.
for a project management solution, airtable is fairly weak at offering seemingly standard task management features like scheduled notifications and workback timelines. after enough online digging, you can sometimes stumble upon a "good enough" solution. on this subject, archiving is not at all available, which is one of the more "seriously?" missing features.
Wonderful solution to spreadsheets, needs more restrictive access, tech support needs improvement.
We can have many views of the same data in one place without duplicating the data. Each person can have their own view based on the data they need to see. The biggest benefit we've had is time saving and the ability to access this data anywhere, at any time.
Last year I was on the search for a solution to replace XLS and found Airtable. Previously we were using microsoft xls, as we found even GoogleDocs didn't work for our purpose.
We produce hundreds and up to thousands of products for one event and previously used xls to keep track of production and for by line item invoicing purposes. The ability to have all the data in one spreadsheet but then filter things out in a specific view that allows you to see only what you want is useful and makes it so you don't have to have multiple spreadsheets with the same data. For example we have an invoicing view, that's filtered easily to show costs. Then a post event inventory view where clients can see what they can use for next event. We also have a QC view where our team members can easily QC the product without all the unnecessary data in their view/way. We also use filters to easily show us what still needs to be approved and what is left to be produced for the event. It's a been a great way for us to manage large scale projects and our clients love it. Also, the fact that it has a phone app is helpful to us since we work events, we are constantly on the road traveling and not always at a computer.
The ability to download the spreadsheets is simple also, so when I need to create an XLS file to accompany our invoice, this is simple and easy for me to do.
The #1 priority for improvement that every Airtable user complains about is the lack of restrictive access. Access is "all or nothing" so if I give my clients "Read" access, they're only limited to one view and can't edit or note anything. If we give them "Edit" access they are able to edit anything in our entire database, including our pricing, so that doesn't work. We want, for example, a customer to be able to go and note/change info for one column and not be able to add/remove anything. For example they could go in and put "approved" for a line item that they approve for production, but can't change any cells not in that column.
I'm not confident in their tech support at this time . Recently we had some data loss issues that created mass concern. We added data to specific cells in an existing spreadsheet, and the next day the data was gone. Airtable keeps record of any change in a cell and there was no record of us ever entering the data, like it never happened. We provided specific examples and their explanation of "packet loss" on our end makes zero sense. Based on data that we entered that day, we added a photo, then added a date, photo, then date... all the photos stuck, the dates did not, so it would mean that every other second a packet data loss happened? They still haven't given a suitable answer to this, and if you can't rely on the data you enter being there, that's made us think twice about moving to the paid version, which we were about to.
Helped us understand complex projects
I can now build the tool I need. And since my (and my teams) needs changes with time I can modify my Airtable bases to match that.
When you build your own tool with Airtable you will need to ask good questions about your need and goals and if you're in a team this can start a very good conversation.
It's much easier for me now to get not lost track of a big and complex project because I can split it into smaller parts that more understandable.
With features like formula and roll-up, I can setup my base to quickly show me some important information. Like how many urgent task within an acitivity.
The fact that you can build the tool you need and that in that process the conversation your team will have is very valuable. Airtable is not an out-of-the-box just but more like Lego bricks and the (almost) only your own imaging that set the boundaries. So you need to ask the right questions about what is it you want to do and know? Which information do you need and what do you want to be able to do with it. When you ask that questions in a team you will have a great conversation about goals, ways of working, differences in need etc.
Airtable provides you with a variety of tools to make this happen but you need to take the time to build your tool. If you don't and "just" use it as a spreadsheet you won't use the real potential of it.
We have used Airtable to keep track of a complex website, booking a video equipment, project, ideas, teachers projects and more. One of the most powerful things about Airtable is that you can create different views and then create different processes.
An example is that we have a table with activities for teaching that we publish on our website. We needed a process for reviewing text for errors, a process for reviewing which activities we should share and not share, a process for which activities we had cases for etc. Doing that in Trello would mean multiple boards. in Airtable we could just create a new view with the same records.
I will say that hardest part about Airtable is understanding the logic behind it and that it is something else than a spreadsheet. I took me some time, and it has been hard explaining it to my colleagues.