Once you’ve created and customized your Base, it’s time to add all the information you want to organize as records.
To demonstrate how to use records, we’re venturing deep into the Amazonian rainforest with an example Base for cataloging newly discovered species.
Creating and updating records
There are four ways to add new records to your Base:
- Scroll to the bottom of a table and click the last row
- Copy and paste records into the last row (Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V on PC/Cmd+C and Cmd+V on Mac)
- Right-click on a record and choose to add a record above or below
- Use the keyboard shortcut [Shift]+[Enter] to insert a record below the selected cell
If you have to enter the same piece of data repeatedly, you can copy and paste data across cells, as long as the field types are the same. Fill a specific group of cells by selecting them before pasting data. You can also autofill values by dragging the small square in the bottom right corner of a cell. In the example below, we use autofill to quickly update the records for seven new species.
You can always continue to edit a record to keep it up to date. Let’s say you discover a new freshwater dolphin in the Amazon River. You’ll want to add it as a record immediately and update it as you learn more about the elusive creature.
As you make changes, your edits update in real-time across all devices and collaborators — no need to click save or refresh the page. If you make any mistakes, use the undo button from the “History” menu on the top right side of a Base. Or you can use the trusty keyboard shortcut — CTRL+Z on a PC, CMD+Z on a Mac.
If you want more room to work on a particular record, you can expand it to a full-page view. Expand a record by clicking the round button next to a record’s name. The expanded view also shows a history of changes and any comments that people have made.
A history of all changes can be found in the Activity section along with the name of the collaborator who made each change. You can also leave comments on a record. Comments are useful to communicate changes, elaborate on issues, and collaborate with other people.
The summary bar gives you a synopsis of all the records in a field. The “Summary” button appears when you move your mouse to the very bottom of the window, under the column you’re interested in.
Number fields can show the sum, average, median, minimum and maximum for values in a field, as well as a count of empty and non-empty records, and show a small histogram. For all other field types, the summary bar can show the number of empty or non-empty records.
Here we can see the total cost of all our expeditions, the average time each took, and a bar graph showing that there are usually two or three scientists involved:
With Airtable, you can store a lot of data and filter it to only see the records that interest you. For example, if you are tracking tasks for a project, you may want to retain information on all the tasks but only look at the ones that are incomplete. The ability to filter records removes the need to regularly delete data from your Base.
That said, there may be times you want to delete data. You can delete records by right-clicking (Ctrl + click on a Mac) on a record and selecting “Delete record.” You can delete multiple records by selecting the checkboxes on the left of records, right-clicking, and choosing “Delete all selected records.”
It’s your data, so it’s important that you can do what you want with it. Airtable lets you export your data to save as an archive or to use with other applications.
Export all the records in a view by clicking the (…) button in the menu bar and selecting the “Download CSV” option. If you want to export data from multiple tables, you’ll need to export each manually.
That’s all there is to records. Congrats on surviving our short rainforest expedition without being eaten by jaguars, piranhas, or yet to be discovered animals.
Next: Linking Between Tables