- 17 Mar 2023
- 5 Minutes to read
Airtable Excel importer
- Updated on 17 Mar 2023
- 5 Minutes to read
This article is an overview of a feature that allows you to import an Excel file into Airtable. With this feature, you can import all worksheets from an Excel workbook into Airtable base by uploading its .xls or .xlsx file. Note that at this time, there is a file size limit of 5MB on Excel file imports.
Import a file as a new table in a new base
To import an excel file into Airtable:
- Visit your Airtable homepage.
- Click Create a base from the bottom left side menu.
- Select Excel from the Getting started screen.
- Choose your desired file to upload into Airtable.
Import a file to an existing table
If you already have a table set up where you would like to import the file, then click the drop-down icon next to the name of the table where you'd like the information to be added. You'll then click the "Import data" option and click "Microsoft Excel."
Import a file to an existing base as a new table
You can also add a new table to an existing base by clicking the "+Add or import" button to the right of the last table in your base.
Some bases contain many tables or tables with long names. In those cases, you may need to scroll far to the right to add a new table and if the base has over 4 tables, then the button will appear simply as a "+" sign.
Any of the three options highlighted above will open up an import pop-over where you can select a file from your local device or other file sources.
After selecting a file to import, you'll see the option to choose where this file will be imported. Even though you may have already chosen to import the file as a new table, you'll have the option to switch to an existing table and vice versa.
After clicking the "Next" button, you will then see a preview of how your data will appear in Airtable as a grid view. Here, you can make adjustments that will automatically show up in the preview window.
During the setup process you'll be able to:
- Manually adjust field types
- Choose which fields (columns) to import
- Adjust other settings (auto-select fields types and/or use first rows as headers)
If it's your first time importing, then click around and adjust all of the options to see how the import will change. Since this is just a preview of the import, you can't break anything in the base, so don't fear!
NOTECan't find the import button? Try resizing your browser's window until it appears.
How data is converted from Excel to Airtable
When you import an Excel file, each sheet in the workbook will be converted to its own table. The sheet name will be converted to the table name. For each sheet, the first row will be treated as field names (similar to our CSV import feature). If that row is empty, a fallback field name will be automatically generated.
Supported cell types and formatting
In Excel, each cell can have a specific type which may or may not have a similar field type in Airtable. Our importer will make a best-effort attempt to convert cells to the Airtable field counterpart. Below is an outline of how we handle various cell type conversions when you import a file into Airtable.
- If every data cell in the column is a number, the converted field type will be a number.
- If every data cell is an integer, the resulting number format is an integer. Otherwise, the resulting number format is a decimal whose precision is determined by the maximum fraction digits of the numbers in the cells.
- We only recognize US dollars ($) right now.
- A column containing values such as $123, $1,234, or ($1,234) will be converted to the Currency field type.
- A column containing values such as 2020-09-28, 09/28/2020, 09/28/2020 18:01, 2020-09-28 18:01 will be converted to Date field type.
- If any data cell in the column contains a time field, the resulting Date field type will contain a time portion.
- If every date cell value uses US date formatting such as 09/28/2020, the resulting Date format will be “Local”.
- If date cell values in the column use mixed date formats (for example, using both 09/28/2020 and 2020-09-28), the resulting Date format will be “ISO”. Unrecognized date formats will be converted to the ISO date format.
- Time-only cell values such 18:02 are not supported. If a column contains any of these, they will be converted to a Single Line Text field.
- “checked” / “unchecked”
- “yes” / ”no”
- “y” / “n”
- “1 checked out of 1” / “0 checked out of 1”
- “[x]” / “[ ]“
- “enabled” / “disabled”
- “on” / “off”
If every cell in the column is a comma-separated string, and does not contain any other punctuations, and no separated token is longer than 20 latin characters (note that it gets tricky with emoji or other language glyphs), and no separated token contain newline character, and no separated token is digits only, and no separated token is repeated multiple times in one cell, the field will be converted to a multi-select field.
Examples that will not be converted to a multi-select include:
- “foo, foo, bar” ← tokens repeated in one cell.
- “foo, bar.” ← punctuations other than the comma.
- “foo, , bar” ← contain one empty token.
- “fooooooooooooooooooooo, bar” ← a token that contains more than 20 latin characters.
- “foo bar, 123, baz” ← a token is digits only.
Google Sheets features 2 types of styling: cell-level styling and text-level styling. For example, you can select a cell and make it bold, and that will be cell-level styling. If you select a few characters in the cell and make it bold, this is text-level styling. If any cells in the column contain text-level styling and are not the first column, the column will be converted to a Rich Text field. Only some inline styles are supported, namely: bold, italic, and strikethrough.
If any cells in the column contain newline characters, the column will be converted to a long text field.
This is the fallback field type if the cells do not follow the rules above.
Can I upload Excel files to an existing table?
Yes, you can. Click the drop-down next to the name of the table you want to import the data to. The photo above shows an example of this.
What is the current file size limit?
Currently, we allow uploads of up to 5MB for file imports.