Have you ever wished your Excel spreadsheet could do more than just store and calculate numbers?
Or felt that “special-purposed app” was too complicated to use and wished it was simpler to contain just the features you want?
Or have you ever felt that the way you work “that app” just doesn’t fit nicely with how you wanted to use it to do your work?
Well, now there is an app for that:
Airtable is a No Code Development Platform that allows you to store your data, and build your own apps and workflows, tailored to the way you work. It takes databases and simplifies it into an easy to use interface, very much like a spreadsheet.
However, unlike traditional spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, airtable provides custom fields like ‘checkbox’, ‘dropdown lists’ and other data types.
Airtable also provides the ability to link data together very much like how you would be able to do so with a database. It also has forms allowing you to easily capture and collect data from various sources. That makes work much simpler because there is now no need to email or call people to get the information you need. Just send them an airtable form.
There are also different Views that give you the flexibility to view the same data from different perspectives so you don’t get overwhelmed. Grid view for the analytical, detailed person who wants to see everything. Timeline view and Gantt charts for the visual person who needs to see their project spread out over time.
For most users that would be enough but there’s more. Airtable includes custom automations so repetitive tasks can be automated
With airtable, you may easily build a custom workflow or app that suits your needs simply by opening a new Base, creating a Table and adding Fields. This is very much like what you would do with a spreadsheet.
Templates, Custom Apps and Third Party Integration
However, to save you time, they have a collection of templates that can help you get started so you do not have to build from scratch. Rather, you may head over to the airtable templates collection page, find a template and start with that. Then customise it to fit your specific needs and workflow.
There are many different template workflow or apps to choose from; be it a Content Calendar, or a Project Tracker or an Event Planner. You may use their Applicant Tracker to aid your hiring process. Use the Contractor Time Tracker template to track your employees’ time. Or much, much more.
You don’t have to work in a silo with Airtable because their open API that allows for easy integration with third-party services, allowing data to be exchanged with third-party platforms, extending uses of the data even further.
You can either build your own or head over to the apps marketplace and use one of the existing apps or integrations so data is easily shared between airtable and third-party platforms you use.
The airtable Marketplace contains apps by airtable and other third-parties that extend the out-of-the-box functionality of airtable. Be it a custom report, custom dashboard or some other custom interface, airtable got you covered.
Some things to think about when using airtable
At this point, you may be thinking that you can do everything in airtable. While that is true, there are limits to the purpose and use of airtable.
From our experience, we have found that airtable works well with smaller team of users that do not require extensive and complex data sets. Each Base have limits to how many records can be stored in the Base. This starts from 1,200 records per Base for the Free plan, and up to 50,000 records per Base for the Pro plan.
While the airtable UI makes it very easy for anyone to build their own workflow or apps, larger and more complex workflows would be better implemented using special-purpose software. For very customised workflows with many nuances, you may be better off using business process management software to build the custom workflow. Or you many need special purpose apps tailored to that specific use case if airtable isn’t able to support the workflow required.
Certain industries may have security and compliance regulations regarding storing sensitive data in a cloud service like airtable where data may be hosted overseas.
If you have not tried Airtable, definitely do check it out and see what you can do beyond using just a normal spreadsheet. Or if you’re thinking of building a custom app, think of prototyping it in airtable first. You may find that it is good enough to suit your needs without the big budget required to build custom apps.
Here in Baseweave, we help our clients improve their productivity using tools like airtable, Make (Integromat) and Stacker, so if you are in the need of such a solution, or simply have questions, do contact us so we can start a conversation about how to help you.