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How to Use Airtable - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

November 17, 2023 378 views

Airtable serves as the ultimate hub for adept project managers. Once you've mastered its fundamental principles, the path to becoming the best project manager in your team becomes incredibly achievable. Beyond its project management prowess, Airtable boasts a myriad of applications across various professions. Therefore, it is imperative to grasp its essential usage. In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide to how to use Airtable, harness its potential, and embark on your journey toward excellence.

How to Use Airtable


What Is Airtable

In essence, Airtable seamlessly combines the strengths of Google Sheets and Notion into one dynamic platform. It offers the visual appeal and user-friendliness of a spreadsheet while harnessing the robust capabilities of a database. This versatility makes Airtable a valuable tool for a wide range of purposes, from customer-relationship management (CRM) and task management to project planning and inventory tracking for businesses.

How to Work with Basics of Airtable

Airtable can initially appear complex, especially if you're new to project management applications. To help you unlock the full potential of this powerful tool, we've created this Airtable tutorial. Follow these steps to make the most of Airtable:

Alt text: Tutorial video on Airtable basics

Create Your First Database

The first step is to establish a base and use Airtable as a database where your team can efficiently manage all project aspects within a unified workspace.

Step 1: Open Airtable and navigate to "My First Workspace". This is where team leaders can create an Airtable base, share project details, and collaborate effectively. To create a base, click "Create a Base" at the center of the workspace.

Airtable create new workflow


Step 2: Now, let's create a table to list all project phases, providing a comprehensive project overview. The initial table is created by default. To add another table, click the downward arrow icon next to the existing table, then select "Add Table". You have several options to create a new custom table or import data from an Excel file.

Airtable add a table


Step 3: Once the table is added, ensure that all the required fields for your project are present, such as due dates or custom fields. Simply click the "+" icon in the Fields tab and choose the field type you need.

Airtable add fields


Step 4: To make sure none of the project phases are missed, you'll need to add new records. Create a new record by clicking the "+" icon below the last record.

Airtable add rows


Step 5: If you ever need to delete a record or field, hover your cursor over it and right-click. Now, select "Delete Record" from the context menu.

Airtable delete records


Step 6: To link records with an action table, ensure you have a table with all the action records created. Click the "+" icon in the Field tab to create a new field, then select "Link to a Record".

Airtable link to another record


Step 7: Choose the table you want to link the records to and click "Create Field".

Airtable link to action table


Step 8: Visit the sidebar, where you'll find various view options, and then click on the "+" icon next to your preferred view.

Airtable view options


Step 9: After selecting the view type, you have the option to make it collaborative for your team or keep it personal. Click on "Create new View" to proceed.

Airtable create new view


Step 10: Now that you've created a new view, let's say a calendar view, you can easily switch between views. By default, the "Grid View" is the primary view available in the Sidebar, and all other views can be generated using the options provided.

Airtable grid view



Collaborate with your team

Step 1: To allow other team members to access your workspace, locate the "Share and Sync" option in the toolbar.

Step 2: Click on "Create Link to View". This generates a shareable link that you can provide to your team members for workspace access.

Airtable create link to view


Grant Full Access (Collaborator View)

If you want to grant full access and editing permissions to team members, access the toolbar.

Step 1: Click on "Status View" and select "Collaborator View" from the dropdown menu.

Airtable collaborative view


Collaborator View enables users to edit, view, and update projects within the workspace.

Provide View-Only Access (Locked View)

To restrict your team members to view-only access, again, use the "Status View" dropdown menu from the toolbar.

Step 1: This time, select "Locked View".

Airtable locked view


Step 2: You'll be prompted to include a message for your team members explaining why this view is locked. You can either provide a message or skip this field entirely.

Step 3: Click on "Lock View" to enforce view-only access.

Airtable lock view

Personal View

Step 1: If you require a personal view of your workspace that is exclusive to you, locate and click on "Personal View".

Airtable personal view


As the name suggests, this view is private, and no one else can view or edit it. It's your personalized workspace.

Additional Tip:

Keep in mind that users will need to set up permissions for each view they create. These permission settings can be conveniently managed and viewed in the sidebar.

Airtable view permissions


Automate workflow for your needs

Before we dive into the world of automating workflows in Airtable, let's get familiar with two fundamental concepts: triggers and actions.

Triggers are the conditions or events that activate automation. Think of them as the "when" in your workflow. Triggers define when you want a specific action to occur. For example, you might trigger an action when a certain status is reached in your project.

Actions, on the other hand, are the tasks or processes that you want Airtable to perform automatically. They're like the "what" of your automation. Actions specify what needs to happen when a trigger is met. For instance, you could set up an action to send an email when a project status changes.

Here’s how we can automate workflows according to our needs:

Step 1: Look for the "Automate" tab located at the top of the screen and click on it to access the automation features.

Airtable automate option

Step 2: in the Automate window, click on the "+Add Trigger" button to set up the trigger for your automation.

Step 3: Select the trigger condition that suits your workflow. For instance, choose "Record Matches Condition" if you want the automation to activate when specific conditions are met.

Airtable add trigger for automation


Step 4: Configure the condition details. In our example, let's say you want the automation to trigger when the project status changes to "Completion".

Airtable configure trigger


Step 5: Next, click on “Add advanced logic or action” and then choose the action that aligns with your workflow. For instance, you can set it to send an email notification when the project status changes.

Airtable choose action for trigger


Step 6: To ensure clarity and prevent future confusion, rename your automation by right-clicking on the automation's name field and then select “Rename Automation”.

Step 7: Activate the Automation using the toggle switch next to the automation's name. This ensures that the automation is ready to execute when the trigger conditions are met.

Airtable rename automation


In this Airtable training, you've not only learned how to use Airtable as a database but also explored the dynamic features it offers for collaboration and customization. These options allow you and your team to efficiently manage projects and work together seamlessly.

Free Airtable Templates for Different Cases

  1. Content Calendar Template

A well-organized calendar, collaboratively shared among team members, can significantly enhance productivity and facilitate the achievement of multiple goals. It keeps everyone in sync with progress and enables swift adjustments as needed. Airtable offers precisely this kind of calendar functionality.

With Airtable, you can gain a comprehensive perspective of your content creation process across all channels by utilizing our user-friendly content calendar template. This tool empowers you to efficiently assign and track deadlines, consolidate all relevant information in a single location, and seamlessly schedule content for publication.

Content Calendar Template


2. Project Tracker Template

The Project Tracker template offers a centralized hub where you can effortlessly consolidate every project detail. This includes project status, deadlines, start dates, and all pertinent documents for each task. While this might appear to be a lot of information that could potentially overwhelm, Airtable adeptly maintains organization, minimizes clutter, and fosters productivity.

Content Calendar Template


3. Marketing Campaign Tracking Template

The Marketing Campaign Tracking template serves as an invaluable tool for overseeing your business's marketing efforts. Particularly if you are a digital marketer navigating an array of digital analytics tools, from Google Ads to CRMs, this template provides an invaluable solution. It enables you to streamline and centralize your data, offering a consolidated view that empowers you to efficiently strategize your next steps and meticulously monitor your progress.

Marketing Campaign Tracking Template


4. Product Catalog Template

Whether you're running a business or currently own one, regardless of its size and the multitude of products it offers, the Product Catalog Template is tailor-made for you. It serves as your key tool for enhancing product list organization, ensuring comprehensive coverage of essential information. This way, you can effortlessly stay on top of your product catalog, remain up-to-date, and seamlessly share pertinent details with others when necessary.

Product Catalog Template


5. Event Planning Template

Whether you're organizing an intimate gathering or a grand event, be it a wedding or an intimate dinner party, the Event Planner Template is your versatile companion. While Airtable templates often target businesses, this one caters effectively to individuals. It allows you to meticulously capture and manage every detail of your plan, helping you stay organized and on track. Moreover, it facilitates seamless sharing with others, enabling collaborative coordination to ensure your event's success.

Event Planning Template


6. User Research Template

The UX Research Plan catalyzes the growth and productivity of your business or team. It plays a pivotal role in efficiently managing customer complaints and feedback. With this tool, you can systematically catalog and prioritize these valuable insights, organizing them into a structured list. You also can enrich each entry with comprehensive information, ensuring that nothing is overlooked as you work towards enhancing your user experience.

User Research Template


7. Simple Applicant Tracker Template

True to its name, the Simple Applicant Tracker Template is designed for the effortless input and tracking of applicant information. This template proves especially valuable for HR professionals navigating the intricacies of the hiring process, which can vary widely across companies and teams. Its simplicity streamlines the management of applicant data, making the task more efficient and accessible.

Simple Applicant Tracker Template


8. Digital Video Production Template

The Digital Video Production Template is an excellent choice, particularly well-suited for in-house teams responsible for digital video content creation. This template plays a pivotal role in tracking the production progress, assigning tasks to team members, and monitoring the status of each aspect. Its collaborative features further enhance its utility, making it an indispensable tool for seamless teamwork and effective project management.

Digital Video Production Template


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FAQs

Q1. What is the shortcut for expanding records in Airtable?

The shortcut for expanding records in Airtable is the "space" key, and you can use "Esc" to return to the table, this shortcut works for both Mac and Windows users.

Q2. What is the maximum number of rows in Airtable?

The maximum number of rows in Airtable depends on the plan:

  • Free plan: 1,000 records per base.

  • Team plan: 50,000 records per base.

  • Business and Enterprise Scale plans: These plans offer custom record limits tailored to the specific needs of each business.

Q3. How do I create multiple rows in Airtable?

To create multiple rows in Airtable, follow these steps:

  • While in a long text field, use “Shift + Enter”. This action will create a line break in your text.

  • If you want to create a new paragraph: a "hard" line break, use “Enter”.

  • To initiate the creation of a new record, click on a different type of field within the same or a different record.

  • After clicking on a different field, press “Shift + Enter”. Airtable will recognize this as your intent to create a new record.

Mastering Project Management and Beyond

Airtable is a valuable option as it effortlessly blends the familiarity of spreadsheets with the sophistication of a database, making it a go-to choice for diverse professionals. complementing Airtable's versatility, WPS Office offers a treasure trove of valuable features. This suite seamlessly integrates essential tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, empowering professionals with efficient document editing and management. With powerful PDF capabilities, rich templates, user-friendly interfaces, and cloud collaboration, WPS Office stands as the perfect companion to Airtable, enhancing productivity across the board. Enhance your Airtable experience – Download WPS Office.



15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.