Collaboration overview
  • 04 Oct 2022
  • 9 Minutes to read
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Collaboration overview

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Airtable is more fun with friends! Luckily, Airtable was designed to support effortless collaboration and has a variety of options for collaboration that will suit teams of all different sizes and needs.

Introduction to collaboration

  • If you want to work with someone within your Airtable base, you have two options: you can invite someone as a workspace collaborator or as a base collaborator. A workspace collaborator has access to all of the bases in a workspace, whereas a base collaborator has access to only the bases shared with them within a particular workspace.
  • Workspace and base collaborators can be added at different permission levels, which determines what kinds of actions they can (or cannot) take in the workspaces or bases to which they have access.
  • The number of users that have access to a workspace and the workspace's billing plan determines how much the owner of a workspace pays per month. More information on how collaboration might affect billing here.
  • The user field type allows you to select one or more names from an automatically generated dropdown list of all the users that have access to a base. You can configure the user field to notify a user when they've been assigned to a record.
  • If it doesn't make sense to give certain people full access to your workspace or base—like if you are working with contractors, clients, or volunteers—you can let those people add new records with forms, or use base share links and view share links to let them see just a read-only version of a base or of a view.


Workspace and base collaborators

As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, a workspace is a collection of bases shared among a group of users. A workspace collaborator has access to all of the bases in a workspace. If you've been invited to a workspace as a workspace collaborator, that workspace will show up on your Airtable homepage.
To invite a workspace collaborator, return to the homepage and click on the Share button above the workspace to which you want to add the new collaborator. This will open the workspace share dialog.

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From within the workspace share dialog, you can type in the email address of the person you wish to invite to collaborate on your workspace, set their permission level, then click the blue Send Invite button. Alternatively, if you need to invite many people to a workspace, you can create an invite link that will grant access (at the specified permission level) to anyone who opens the link.

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Unlike a workspace collaborator, a base collaborator just has access to the particular base(s) that has been shared with them. They are unable to see or interact with any of the other bases in the workspace in which the shared base lives. If you've been invited to a base as a base collaborator, that base will show up in the "Bases shared with me" section of your homepage.

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To invite a base collaborator, go into the base you want to share, then click the "Share" button on the top right of the base to bring up the base share dialog.

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From within the base share dialog, you can see all of the users who have access to this base—both workspace collaborators and base collaborators. To invite a base collaborator, you can type in the email address of the person you wish to invite to collaborate on the base, set their permission level, then click the blue Send Invite button. Alternatively, if you need to invite many people to this base, you can create an invite link that will grant access (at the specified permission level) to anyone who opens the link.


Permissions

Each workspace or base collaborator has a permission level that determines what kinds of actions they can (or cannot) take in the workspaces or bases to which they have access. The permission level is initially set when the user is invited but can be changed later. The permission levels are as follows:

  • Read-only: can only view the base(s) to which they have access.
  • Commenter: can only view and comment on records in the base(s) to which they have access.
  • Editor: can add, delete, modify, and comment on records, as well as add, delete, and modify views; however, they cannot customize any of the fields or add new fields.
  • Creator: can make any and all modifications in the base(s) to which they have access.
  • Owner: a special permission level that signals workspace ownership. There are certain administrative functions that only workspace owners can perform. 

For more specific details on each permission level, please consult this support article.

Collaborators and billing

Each workspace in Airtable has its own billing plan—free, Plus, Pro, or Enterprise. Which billing plan your workspace is on determines some important things, like whether you can use premium features (like Airtable Extensions or the advanced calendar feature) on the bases in those workspaces. Importantly, the billing plan also determines how much the owner of a workspace pays per month for each user with access to the workspace (including both workspace and base collaborators).
Please be aware that inviting a workspace or base collaborator may incur an additional monthly charge. Additionally, because collaborators can invite other users, it's important that everyone on your team understands how billing works. A workspace always has at least one owner who's responsible for billing and other workspace settings, so if you have any questions about your billing plan, talk to your workspace owner. You can find out who the owner of your workspace is by going to the workspace share dialog and looking through the list of collaborators.

Please refer to our articles about billing and workspace administration if you have any further questions.


User field

The user field allows you to select one or more names from an automatically generated dropdown list of all the users (both workspace collaborators and base collaborators) with whom your base is shared.

The user field can be configured to notify a user when their name has been added to a cell. A user notified with the user field will receive an in-app notification, as well as an email notification. This is particularly helpful for project management use cases or any other situations in which you need to assign records to people.

Let's return to the Artists table of the Pacific Records base and make a new user field (let's call it "Manager"). We can then assign an A&R manager from our team to each of the artists on our roster to make it more clear who from our team is managing which of our artists.
When customizing a user field, you have the option to enable notifying users whenever they're added to a record.

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Try making a new grid view (let's call it "Artists by manager") and then grouping by the new user field we just made. If you drag and drop an artist from one grouping to another, this will not only change which user is assigned to the artist, but it'll also send a notification to the user who just got the new assignment.

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This is just one of the neat things you can do with a user field. If you're interested in learning more, check out this list of 5 ways to manage projects more efficiently with the user field.

NOTE

Users that have been recently removed or added may not be removed or added as an option in the user field until you have restarted your browser.


Forms for collaboration

Sometimes you might need to work with people that you don't want to bring on as workspace or base collaborators. If you want to gather information from anyone, even a person who doesn't have an Airtable account, you can use a form.

To share your form with others, open up the form builder for the view you want to share. Click on the button that says Share form: this will show you the link that you can send out to the people you'd like to fill out your form. You can also embed this form in a web page. People with the link will only be able to fill out the form, and will not be able to see any of the contents of your base. If your base is in a Pro plan workspace, you can add an additional layer of protection to your form by restricting access only to users from a certain email domain, or by restricting access with a password.


If you don't want to bring someone on as a collaborator but you do want them to be able to see the contents of a base, you can create a read-only base share link that allows anyone with the link to view—but not edit—the Airtable base. This share link will stay up to date with any changes you make to the original base, and you don't need to have an Airtable account to view the share link.

To create a base share link for a base, go to that base's share dialog by clicking the Share button on the top right of the table. Once in the share dialog, click on the option to create a shared link to the whole base under the preview links header. You can then copy and paste this link to send it out to other people.

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If you want someone to see the contents of a view without seeing any of the other tables, you can also create a read-only view share link that allows anyone with the link to see—but not edit—the records visible in a view. The viewer of the share link doesn't need an Airtable account, and they will not be able to see any fields that have been hidden or records that have been filtered out. The share link will stay up-to-date with any changes you make to the view.
To create a share link for a view, navigate to that view using the view switcher, click the "Share view" button in the view bar, then click the create a shareable view link option. This will generate a URL that you can copy and paste to share with other people.

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Airtable Sync

Airtable Sync improves upon the manual, static sharing models of the past such as CSV exporting/importing. Using Airtable Sync, you can sync records from a source base to one or more destination bases. These destination bases do not necessarily need to reside in a workspace that you have access to, which enables more flexibility and granularity in how you share your important information. Once a change is made in a source base, the destination can be made to automatically sync and update to show the most current data. For more information on how to enable syncing, please read our overview support article here.


Notifications via Automations

Airtable Automations can allow your team to create highly customizable notifications. Your team’s individual workflows will ultimately inform which automation actions to use, but three actions are worth mentioning specifically for collaboration:

You can find a more in-depth guide to custom notifications using automations here .


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