Airtable Sync - Advanced options
  • 26 Aug 2022
  • 5 Minutes to read
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Airtable Sync - Advanced options

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Introduction

After reading through the support article on Airtable Sync's basic setup, it may be worth your time to dive into some of the more advanced sync options. These provide more functionality for collaboration and customizing your sync configuration.

As a reminder, there are three steps to complete in order to set up a sync.

  • Step 1: Create a syncable view share link in the source base
  • Step 2: Choose which method you would like to use to create the sync in the destination base
  • Step 3: Use the setup window to configure and create the synced table

Advanced options

Sync frequency

In the sync configuration process, there is an option to sync manually or automatically (Workspaces on the free plan will not see an option to sync automatically). Turning on automatic syncing will cause the synced table to update about every 5 minutes. You can still manually sync a table, even if you have turned on Automatic syncing. Choose your preferred update method in the sync configuration window.

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NOTE
Automatic syncs will eventually stop on bases that don't have any recent activity. To keep automatic syncs active make sure that some kind of action is being performed in the base on a regular basis. This can be accomplished via Airtable Automations or API. The idea is that by having either of these options periodically make an update to a base you will be able to trigger the automatic sync to run.


Manual sync can be accomplished on any plan at any time you choose. To manually sync your table click on the synced table's dropdown menu and click "Sync now". After you click the table will begin to update and save any changes. This process may take more time depending on the amount of information being synced. You will see an "All changes saved" message when the sync has finished successfully.

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Field sync settings

From the sync configuration window, you can choose to sync all fields from the view or just some. If you choose to sync all fields, then new fields added in the sync source will show up in the synced table when the next sync occurs. If you choose to sync just some fields, then any new fields added in the source table will not sync until you have toggled them on as visible from the sync configuration window.

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NOTE

If you are not seeing a table that you are expecting as an option, then you may need to check (or have a collaborator check) the settings in the source table.

Record retention

You can also choose how to handle records that are deleted or hidden in the source view: you can either delete or keep them in the destination table.

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WARNING
If you choose the "Delete the records in this table" option, and records are deleted in the source table or filtered out of the synced view at any point in time, any additional information added to the synced destination table (e.g. linked records or other data in fields) will be removed.

Should you choose to "Leave the records in this table," you will be able to manually delete specific records that have been deleted in the sync source by clicking the "Delete unavailable records..." option.

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Primary field customization

While you are configuring a sync you'll arrive at the "Advanced" drop-down option on the "Select fields to sync" section. This option allows you to choose a specific field that will act as the primary field in Airtable. Primary fields should contain unique information in each cell to act as the primary key. Additionally, only certain field types are allowed to be used in the primary field.

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WARNING
If the field type in the sync source for this field is hidden or changed to an unsupported field type, then it will cause the sync to fail in the destination table. Consider locking the view being used as the sync source to prevent this from occurring.

Custom field types

After you've configured and created a synced table, you are able to customize each of the fields. To do this, click the drop-down next to the field's name, click "Customize field type," and choose the field type that you want to change the field to be.

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There are some important things to note about this feature:

  • If a field has had its type changed in the target base, that will take precedence over the field type from the source base.
  • Multi-source syncs will have different options than single-source syncs

Customizing field types in Multi-source syncs

In the settings menu, you'll find the "Advanced field options" section. Click "Change" to update your table's field customization.

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From this window, you'll see the message "Field has been manually edited" for any fields that have been customized.

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To change the field back to be the same field type as the sync, choose one of the sync sources from the drop-down menu.

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Additional options

Update sync configuration  
After setting up a sync you may want to update its configuration at some point in the future. In order to do this, navigate to the drop-down menu next to the synced table you want to update. Click on the "Update sync configuration" option. This will pull up the configuration window where you can adjust the settings discussed above.

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View locking  
To prevent other collaborators from inadvertently changing the filters or hidden fields, consider locking the shared view🔒 (premium plans only).

If a view is already locked then you will not be able to set up a syncable share link until the table is unlocked.

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Open source record button
Adding an open source record button field to your synced table will create a unique link for each record in your destination base. Learn more here.

Sync activity

Sometimes, you may wonder how many other bases are synced to the source view that you have set up. In these instances, you can click on the "Share view" button in the source view and click on the lightning bolt icon next to the "Allow data in this view to be synced to other bases" option.

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Clicking on the button will open the "Sync activity" window. Here you can see which destination bases are synced to this source view. Additionally, you can see when the last sync in that base occurred, the sync owner, and finally, you are able to click on the base's name to open it or request access if you are not currently a collaborator in the destination base.

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