I love Airtable. I use it for EVERYTHING! And sometimes, I’m so “in it” that I forget that not everyone is a big old nerd about Airtable like I am. Sometimes, you’ve gotta break it down for peeps to see its glory.
In today’s post, I’m bringing it back to basics. We’re going to look at some fundamental, frequently asked questions about Airtable and most importantly, hone in on what that means for YOU!
WHAT IS AIRTABLE?
Excellent question! Because it’s not exactly a project manager… but it does use project management principles. For instance, Kanban is a production system based around cards that are used to help determine what resources are available to see a project through. The idea is that the cards allow you to see inefficiencies that could overload or overwhelm production. (If you know and love Trello, you know and love Kanban!)
Which brings us back to :: what the heck IS Airtable, then? Well, they self-identify as a spreadsheet-database hybrid that focuses on collaboration. That’s about right, at least in the technical sense.
I would describe it as a hub where all of your information can be viewed any damned way you see fit. That means, if you want to view your project in that Kanban format? Have at it! If your coworker responds better – or perhaps the type of work they do is more suited! – for the Gallery view, that same information will be shown exactly as they see fit. Calendars, forms, spreadsheets, reports – however you need to work most efficiently – Airtable is designed to allow you to see it that way.
So yes, it STARTS as a database-spreadsheet hybrid. But it takes that information to be generated any way that will best serve the person who is using it. Yes, even if we’re talking about 2 people working on one project, but want to see the same project in different ways. Everything gets updated in real-time, in all views, for all accounts.
WHAT IS A BASE?
You can think of Bases as projects. Each Base you create works as its own sort of ecosystem.
You can create as many views as you like for as many tables as you want to generate and link. You can add collaborators to Bases, but you can also limit their access to specific views within a Base.
WHAT IS A WORKSPACE?
Every Base you create will live as its own icon on your Airtable homepage. Your homepage will be ground zero to your Workspace, and you can create more than one Workspace.
So if a Base is a project, your Workspace is the umbrella under which those projects fall. As an example, you may want to have a personal Workspace to track things like meal planning, your fitness journey and the research you’ve been doing on that big trip you have coming up. You create that Workspace separate from your business space where you house the Bases relating to course creation, tracking your numbers and content planning.
When you share a Base or when a Base is shared with you, this will generate a separate workspace called “Bases shared with me”.
WHAT IS A RECORD?
Records are the information with which you populate your Base. Each row of information consists of a Record and as with everything in Airtable, they have a lot of flexibility. If you prefer to see your data in a spreadsheet-like row, that is the default presentation. However, if you would rather see your Records in more of a card-like format, you can expand your Record to create and modify it that way.
If you need a summary of Record – that is, you want to see things like the sum, median, average, highest or lowest value – that can be done as well. Again, it’s about having a hyper-customized view of what you need to see, when you need to see it.
What’s more is that you can link Records between Bases in a way that doesn’t duplicate the Record. This way, it is still providing an easy reference for it in another/multiple areas of your project.