In a typical spreadsheet, everyone sees the same view of the data. If you want to hide columns or filter rows, everyone else will be affected by these changes as well.
Databases avoid this problem by allowing you to create multiple views for each table. Each view is like another lens through which to “view” the same underlying table data.
To explain views, we’ll take the perspective of a mountain climber using Airtable to plan an extreme ascent. Views in Airtable can be just as thrilling as the views from a 15,000 ft summit — but considerably easier.
In Airtable, you are always looking at your table through the perspective of one view or another. You can see which view you’re currently in by looking at the name displayed in the view switcher. By opening the view switcher, you can also select or create a different view.
For our mountain climbing adventure, we’ve created one master list of all items we need to bring, but now we only want to see the gear that we need to buy. That’s where views come in.
Each table in Airtable comes with a default “Main View.” Sometimes that single view is enough, but other times, you may want to create a variety of different views and switch between them. Since each view remembers its own settings, switching is much easier than constantly hiding, showing, and reordering individual columns and rows.
Whenever you hide or reorder columns, apply filters, or sort and reorder rows, those changes will only apply to your current view. However, editing the record data or changing and deleting columns will apply to all views. Adding a new column will also make it appear in all views.
Add a filter to your current view by clicking the “Add filter” button and entering your criteria. Green highlighting around a column indicates that a column is being used to filter a view.
Here’s an example showing how to modify a view to show climbing gear that you need to buy. To do that, we’d filter to show records where the “Owned” field is not checked.
When you need advanced filtering, you can filter by multiple columns. Expanding on the example above, let’s create a new view to see gear that we’d like to borrow from friends. We’ll set that view to show gear that we don’t own and costs more than $100.
Records can be ordered differently in each view. That makes them convenient for prioritizing tasks and tracking dependencies.
You can manually reorder records in a table by dragging the numbered, left column of records up or down. Reorder more than one record at a time by selecting the checkboxes for those rows and dragging up or down.
Automatically sort the records in a table by clicking the “Apply sort” button. Next, choose the column to sort, select ascending or descending order (A → Z or Z → A), and then click “Apply.” In this case, let’s sort by price to see the most expensive gear that we need to buy for the climb.
Hiding columns is a great way to remove a column from a view without deleting the data. You can hide columns by clicking the “Hide columns” button. Or you can open a column menu and choose the “hide column” option.
You can move columns around in a view, in case some columns are more important than others. Move columns by dragging the column name left and right.
As you add more and more records, search becomes increasingly important. To search for a particular term in a view, click the magnifying glass in the top right menu bar or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F on a PC or Cmd+F on Mac. Click the up and down arrows (or hit the Enter key) to see each instance of a search term.
Next: Publishing Views on the Web