Airtable has quickly become one of my favorite and most important business tools. I was first introduced to Airtable during a consulting engagement when a colleague mentioned the tool in passing. At that point, Airtable was nothing more to me than an entry in my notes. In fact, that’s where it stayed for a few months – until the same colleague shared a base with me.
I signed up for a free account, mostly under duress since I needed some information my associate populated in the base. At that point, all that was in this Airtable base was information that could have easily been contained in a spreadsheet. In fact, that was my first complaint to him – why didn’t you just make a spreadsheet. His response, “Any time I think I need a spreadsheet I just create an Airtable base. It’s really simple and much more powerful.” Over the next few days, there were more records, multiple tables, links between tables, different views, forms, and additional collaborators. I was shocked at how simple and how powerful it was. I was sold.
My colleague was absolutely right – it was just as easy to create an Airtable base as it was to create a spreadsheet; in some cases, easier. But Airtable opened up possibilities that just aren’t there in a spreadsheet. After fumbling around a little and experimenting, I fell in love with Airtable and it has become one of the most essential tools for my business. This is just a quick list of things I love about Airtable.
10. The Simplicity of a Spreadsheet, the Power of a Superhero
If you know how to create a spreadsheet, you have the requisite skills to make an Airtable base. But once you’ve created that base, you can now manipulate that data with some seriously powerful tools. You’ll end up creating multiple tables, different views, and frankly, easily do things you didn’t know you could. All because it is an amazingly powerful tool.
9. Easy Collaboration
Once you have a good base, you’ll be able to share it with others. It’s incredibly easy to collaborate. You can share a workspace with owners, creators, editors, commenters, or even make it read-only for certain collaborators. This is so simple and powerful anytime you have a group of people working on any project. You’ll want to create a workspace for shared bases.
8. Templates to Simplify
It can be hard to create from scratch. I love that there are so many excellent templates that are available to use for free! There are templates for project management, marketing, CRM, sales, and the list goes on and on. Each template is completely customizable to make sure it fits exactly what you need.
7. Airtable Universe to Inspire
I love seeing how others have used Airtable. The Airtable universe has almost every use case imaginable (maybe that’s hyperbole). You can even publish your work to the universe to show off your skills and inspire others. These bases can be copied to one of your workspaces and customized to get you moving in the right direction.
6. Ease of Creating Views
In a spreadsheet, you’ll often want to filter through your data and only display certain information. Then, you’ll filter it a different way. And then another. And another. And so on. In Airtable, you can create different views that display the information in your base in a variety of different ways. And you can switch between different views. This is an incredibly simple and powerful feature.
5. Calendar View
Does the data in your base have a date field? It sure would be nice to drop that into a calendar. And with Airtable that takes about 5 seconds and 3 clicks. Literally. Done. And that view is there for you to maintain, share, embed on a website, whatever. Amazingly simple and so very useful.
4. Record Linking and Tagging
It is so easy to link records from one table with data in another table. I have a base that tracks my ITIL courses. I link students in one table to courses in another table to customers in another table. It has replaced much of the work I used to do in my CRM. In fact, there are base templates that replace much of the simple CRM functionality. You can also tag records with multiple tags. This has become a very handy feature for me.
3. Kanban View
I fell in love with kanban boards years ago and talk about them often in root-cause analysis courses and DevOps simulations. There was another popular online app that I used for many different kanban boards. Airtable allows me to create powerful kanban views based on any single-select field in my table. I found this to be so effective and powerful, I don’t use any other tool for kanban.
2. Oh Snap – Multiple Kanban Views!!!
Wait – kanban again? Yep! And you know why? Because you can create and organize records with multiple kanban views. Do you have multiple single-select fields? Perhaps you have one field for status and one for priority. You can create a kanban view for each and easily drag the records as cards between the different statuses, priorities, etc. Airtable takes your kanban boards to the next level of awesome.
You can automate workflow by creating forms where customers, users, employees, staff, etc. can input data into your base through a form that you control. You can embed this form on a website or share it with a link. Airtable makes it so easy! The form builder is simple and powerful.
There are many, many more things to love about Airtable. I love their blocks (pro feature), integrations with google drive, the simple tutorials you’ll find on their site, and so much more. The best way to learn is to sign up for a free account. For the record, I’m not affiliated in any way with Airtable, but I’d love if you’d sign up through this link so they know I referred you. Airtable is one of my favorite tools.
Let me know in the comments how you are using Airtable.