Two-way syncing in Airtable
  • 23 Aug 2023
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Two-way syncing in Airtable

  • Sombre
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Article Summary

Two-way sync allows existing records to be edited in one or more targets and synced back to a single-source-of-truth table. This article covers configuring an ecosystem of bases and interfaces so multiple teams can have the most up-to-date information. Using two-way sync helps to prevent data silos and other inefficiencies in today’s hybrid work environment.


Plan availabilityBusiness and Enterprise Scale plans only
  • Owners/Creators - Can create, modify, delete, and run syncs in the base(s) they have access to.
  • Editors - Edit records in source or target bases that they have access to as base or workspace collaborators. Additionally, editors can manually run syncs in the target base(s) to which they have access.
Platform(s)Web/Browser, Mac app, Windows App, and the Airtable iOS and Android mobile apps
Related reading
  • Sync overview - For more information on general feature behavior and plan limits.
  • Airtable Sync - Basic setup - If you've never interacted with the Airtable Sync feature before, then it's important to read this article first to learn the basics.
  • Sync permissions - General information about how permissions relate to Airtable Sync.
Airtable terminology
  • Source - A single-source-of-truth dataset that is synced elsewhere in Airtable. You can think of this as the master dataset.
  • Target - A table that has been set up to sync with the source. An indirect relationship with other targets is also established when setting up a two-way sync. Interfaces in targets can be set up to permit edits that will sync back to the source.

Understanding Two-way sync

A two-way sync will always have a single source table where the initial sync share view is created. Edits made in one or more target tables or interfaces in other bases will sync back to the source table. To illustrate how the two-way sync schema works consider the image below. 

There are two overarching concepts worth digesting before moving on:

  • The black two-sided arrows represent the direct connection between a source table and its target(s).
  • The lighter grey and dotted line arrows represent the indirect relationship between targets. Changes made in a target will first sync back to the source before pushing to other targets upon the next sync. 
It’s only possible to add new records in a source base. At this time, targets with two-way sync turned on are only able to edit records created in the sync source. We cover this and other limitations below.

Two-way sync source view configuration

To start, navigate to a grid view of the information you are wanting to enable syncing and click Share and sync and click Sync data to another base. In general, you can follow the setup flow outlined in this support article if you are new to setting up a sync. The main, and very important, difference with two-way syncs is that you need to enable the option Allow edits from other bases. If this toggle is not enabled, then two-way syncing cannot occur.

There are two options below this toggle to consider:

  • All editable fields - All editable fields in the source table will be editable in the target table. Additionally, editable fields added in the source table will be editable in any target tables in the future.
  • Specific fields - Only certain fields in the source will be available for syncing.

An editable field is any field within a table that is not locked. As a reminder, individual field-level editing permissions can be set across the view you are using as the sync source. We cover more on permissions and Two-way sync here

Two-way sync target configuration

If you are looking to adjust a previously configured sync to have two-way sync enabled, you’ll want to click the drop-down next to the table’s name. Then, select the “Update sync configuration” option and toggle the preferred editing access level discussed further in this section.
Step 1: Begin setting up the target

In another base, you can follow the normal flow of adding a new table that will sync with the source table that has been configured. Click the + Add or import button and choose the Airtable base option below the Sync data from section.

Step 2: Choose a source that has two-way syncing enabled

From here, you can either select a view from a base that you collaborate in or use a sync share link that has been shared with you by another user. In either case, the source view you are syncing with must have two-way sync enabled to edit information in the target table.

End users are only able to choose shared views in bases where they have editor-level permissions or higher. More information on this behavior is available here.
Step 3: Select which fields to sync

Click Next and then choose which fields, All fields or Specific fields, you would like to sync over from the source to this target table. Even though you might be able to see a field in the target table, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be editable. Editability is dependent upon the configuration made in the source as well as an upcoming step in the target sync’s setup.

Under the “Advanced” section, you can choose which field from the source you would like to set as the primary field in this target table. By default, the primary field will match the source table’s primary field. More information about this option is available here.

Once the field selections have been set, click Next to move onto the final setup screen.

Step 4: More configuration options

Before creating your synced table, there is a setting that allows you to choose who can edit source records. Click Change below the Edit source records toggle to make adjustments based on your needs. This option is specific to the two-way sync feature.

It’s possible that not all of the workspaces that you collaborate in will have two-way sync functionality. If you don’t see the option to set who can edit source records, then it’s likely the case that the target base you are trying to create the two-way sync in resides inside a workspace that does not support this feature currently. To remedy this, you may need to reach out to an admin to make a change inside Admin Panel, specifically, the global Synced view restrictions setting outlined in the accordion in this section of the support article about the Settings page in Admin Panel.

There are three options available for source editing:

  1. Allow creators and above in this base to edit source records
  2. Allow editors and above in this base to edit source records (Default)
  3. Don't allow anyone in this base to edit source records

Two-way sync permissions have many considerations, we recommend consulting this article to dig into permissions dependencies more deeply.

The other two options in this section should not be changed. Changing the sync frequency to Only sync changes when requested or the record deletion option to Leave the records in this table will cause two-way syncs to break and render as a one-way sync. 
Step 5: Create the table

Once you’ve selected your desired settings, click Create table. It’s a good idea to check that the functionality of the table matches your expectations. If you need to adjust any parameters of this synced target table, then click the drop-down next to the table’s name and select the Update sync configuration option.

Two-way syncing in interfaces

Once a table with two-way sync enabled has been set up following the steps listed in the section above, interfaces can be configured to allow edits to be made from an interface page. These edits will sync back to the source just like edits made in a target table. There are two general interface surfaces where two-way syncing can be enabled:

  1. Visualization layouts - These layout types offer quick configuration options and an experience similar to views in Airtable bases.
  2. Interface elements - The following interface elements support two-way syncing: Grid, Record detail, Calendar, Kanban, Timeline, Gallery, List, and Record picker.
Enabling two-way sync editability in visualization layouts

There are two surfaces within visualization layouts that allow end-users to edit records. You can choose to use one of these options independently, or both of these options together:

  1. Click into record details - Setting up this option allows end-users to open up more details for a specific record. Builders can customize this record detail page as a sidesheet or fullscreen experience. Each field that you want end-users to be able to edit will need to be configured individually. From the customization screen for the record detail page, click a field that you want to make editable. Under the Permissions section change the setting to Editable.
    If you see a message that "This field is synced from a source that doesn't allow it to be edited," then there are likely field editing permissions in the source base preventing the field from being set as Editable.
  2. Edit records inline - You can choose to also make inline editing possible for all available fields from the source. To do this click on the Edit records inline option and then toggle on the option that appears in the settings.
Enabling two-way sync editability for supported interface elements

Individual interface elements can be set as editable as well. Under Permissions, choose the Editable option to allow editing for all available field from the source. In certain elements, like the record picker element, you can also choose to allow records to be edited. However, to accomplish this, each field that you want end-users to be able to edit will need to be configured individually. Click each field to change it's Permissions settings to Editable.

Tips and notes for two-way syncing

Below we’ll cover some helpful best practice tips, limits, and functionality notes. These are worth digging into and fully understanding as they will help you create more efficient workflows that involve two-way sync.

Records can only be created in the source view
  • Explanation: Like any other sync setup, the source table is meant to be the main source of truth for the information that is being stored within Airtable. For this reason, it is only possible to add new records to the source, not target tables.
  • Workaround: There are several workarounds for this. Depending upon the way that your team is using two-way sync you might consider using Forms, Interface designer, or even setting up another sync. In most cases, creating a “record creation” form in the source table usually works as a solution.
Fields created in target syncs do not sync back to the source
  • Explanation: New fields can be created in target tables, but they will not be “syncable” back to the source. New fields will merely enrich existing synced data like any other sync setup. A few things to note on this behavior:
    • Synced field names won’t match if the same field name is added to a target before it’s added in the source base. 
      • Example: If you create a field named “Date field” in target base C, then a field created in source base A named “Date field” would sync over to the target as another date field, but will be named “Date field 2”
    • Field names won’t match if they are changed in targets, even if they are changed back to match the naming in the source sync.
  • Workaround: Create a form for other teams can use to request “global” changes be made to the source base instead of adding “enriched” fields that won’t sync back to the source or other targets. Additionally, consider using a naming structure for target bases to help prevent field names syncing in a way that doesn’t match.
Customized fields in target bases become non-editable
  • Explanation: We cover synced field customization in this support article. Fields that are customized in a target will no longer match the source. This causes any customized fields in a two-way sync target to no longer be editable. However, the field will still sync with the source and update similar to a one-way sync.
  • Workaround: There are many potential workarounds for this depending upon the particular scenario you are encountering. If you find this to be a blocker, then please provide feedback to us in the form listed near the top of this article.
"Side-chaining" two-way syncs is not possible
  • Explanation: For security reasons, tables in target bases with two-way sync enabled will not be able to be “side-chained” with other bases. For example, let’s say base A is the source of the sync. Three target tables (inside bases B, C, and D) are connected to the source with two-way sync turned on. If you then wanted to set up any of these target tables to have two-way sync enabled in another base (base E), you’d be unable to do so. 
  • Workaround: Sync the other base (base E) with the original source sync (base A) that was set up. Note that if base E only needs to be a one-way sync target, then it’s fine to sync from any of the base targets (bases B, C, or D).
Multi-source syncing is possible, but there are considerations
  • Explanation: For syncs that utilize multi-source syncing, the expected behavior may not be apparent. 
  • Example: Let's say there are 2 source bases (base A and base B). Base A has two-way sync toggled on, however, base B does not have 2-way sync enabled. In the target, base C, every source must have two-way sync enabled in order for the table to be editable. In this example, base C would function as only a one-way sync from both sources. To remedy this, an owner or creator from base B would need to turn on two-way sync in order to allow base C to utilize two-way syncing functionality.

Using Automations with two-way syncing

Two-way syncing supports certain Airtable automation runs. It's important to note that:

  • Edits to synced tables are now possible via the Update record action. 
  • Edits made via custom scripts leveraging the Run script action are not supported at this time.
  • Automation actions that edit synced fields cannot be followed by any other automation action(s).
  • Due to a delay in syncing, outputs shown in automation test results or the Run History may not be the most current value.
  • The Edit source record permission setting on synced tables must be set to Allow Editors and above to allow edits by an automation.
  • All other permissions that apply to a two-way synced table apply to automations as well, such as field permission settings.


We cover these limitations in more detail as well as dependencies and best practice considerations in a separate article.

  • Edits (two-way syncs) are not allowed in Gantt views.
  • New records cannot be added from a target base.
  • Linked record, user, and attachment fields are not editable.
  • Linked record and user fields sync as text fields.
  • Button, formula, and other computed field types are not available for syncing purposes since they can rely on information that is unavailable in targets.
  • Fields that are added, or customizations to fields (e.g., adding a select field option) in a target table will not sync back to the source.
  • Two-way sync sources containing more than 200k cells (e.g. 10k records x 20 fields) are not available.
  • Sync may take a few minutes to propagate in both directions.
  • Edits cannot be made using API calls in target bases.


How often does synced information update?

When you configure a table sync, you can choose to manually or automatically sync changes to your base. Automatic syncing occurs in real-time1.


Time-based formula fields (and all dependent columns) will not be instant – instead, they will periodically update. Table syncs with Field Type Customized Linked Records will not be instant – instead, they will periodically update.

Is there a limit on which sync sources can be used for two-way syncs?

Yes. Views containing more than 200,000 cells (e.g. 10k records x 20 fields) are not available for use as a two-way sync source.

Will the person who made the edit appear in the record activity log?

Just as with one-way sync, in the target table, any changes will be attributed to “Table Sync.”

Can I build an interface that allows edits in the target?
If I add a field in the target, will it appear in the source?

No. Just like in a one-way sync, that field will appear in, and be owned by, the target base.

If I edit a field’s configuration in the target (e.g., adding a select field option), will it be reflected in the source?

Field type customizations are specific to the target base and won’t apply to source bases.

Can linked records be edited/clicked into in the target?

No. Linked records are converted into unlinked, non-editable text fields in target bases.

Can I create a record in a target table?

No, records can only be created in the source table.

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