Importing third-party data into Airtable
  • 31 Jan 2024
  • 10 Minutes to read
  • Dark
    Light
  • PDF

Importing third-party data into Airtable

  • Dark
    Light
  • PDF

Article Summary

Airtable makes it easy to start using data from an existing CSV file, Google Sheet, or Excel files within Airtable. This article overviews how to import third-party data into new and existing bases.

Plan availability All plan types 
Permissions Creator permissions are required when importing third-party content into an existing table.
Platform(s)Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows app 
Related reading
NOTE 
Please note that the CSV import extension row limit is limited to 25,000, and CSV imports are limited to 5MB. Suppose your data set grows beyond the limitations. In that case, we recommend splitting your information into multiple bases and then syncing it into one base as needed. Read more about Airtable sync and multi-source sync for additional information.

We recommend breaking up your data into smaller amounts to import independently using our CSV import extension. Data can also be divided into multiple bases and synced into one base as needed. Read more about Airtable sync and multi-source sync for additional information.

Importing Google Sheets into Airtable 

NOTE 
Remember that once you have imported data into Airtable, any changes made within Airtable will not be reflected in the original Google sheet. Check out our Google Workspace support article to learn how newly added rows in Google Sheets can be automatically added to your base's table through automations. 
Importing Google Sheets as a new table in a new base
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage.
  2. Create your new base. 
  3. Click + Add or import. 
  4. Click Google Sheets. 
    1. A new window appears asking you to "Select a Google Sheet."
  5. Click the icon next to "Select a Google Sheet account."
NOTE
If you previously connected your Google account to Airtable, skip steps 6-7. 
  1. Click Connect new Google account and select your preferred account.
    1. A new window appears stating, "Airtable wants additional access to your Google Account."
  2. Click Continue to confirm. 
  3. Click the icon next to "Google Sheets account."
  4. Click Google Sheets account.
  5. Click the name of your preferred Google Sheet, then click Select
    1. A new window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  6. Click Import
Importing Google Sheets into an existing table
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage
  2. Open your preferred base and table where you want to import your Google Sheet.
  3. Click + Add or import. 
  4. Click Google Sheets. 
    1. A new window appears asking you to "Select a Google Sheet."
  5. Click the icon next to "Select a Google Sheet account."
NOTE 
If you haven't previously connected your Google account to Airtable, see steps 6-10 in the Importing files as a new table in a new base section. 
  1. Click the icon next to "Google Sheets account."
  2. Click Google Sheets account.
  3. Click the name of your preferred Google Sheet, then click Select.
    1. An "Import your file" window appears asking, "Where do you want to import into?"
    2. Click the icon and select your preferred existing table.
    3. The "Import your file" window appears a second time asking, "Where do you want to import from?"
    4. Click the icon and select your preferred sheet.
  4. Click Next
    1. A new window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  5. Click Import
Importing Google Sheets into an existing base as a new table
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage.
  2. Open your preferred base where you want to import your Google Sheet.
  3. Click + Add or import. 
  4. Click Google Sheets. 
    1. A new window appears asking you to "Select a Google Sheet."
  5. Click the icon next to "Select a Google Sheet account."
NOTE
If you haven't previously connected your Google account to Airtable, see steps 6-10 in the Importing files as a new table in a new base section.
  1. Click the icon and select "Google Sheets account." 
  2. Click Google Sheets account
  3. Click the name of your preferred Google Sheet, then click Select.
    1. An "Import your file" window appears asking, "Where do you want to import into?" 
    2. Click the icon and select Create a new table.
  4. Click Next.
    1. Another window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  5. Click Import

Importing Excel files into Airtable

Importing an Excel file as a new table in a new base
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage.
  2. Create your new base. 
  3. Click + Add or import.
  4. Click Microsoft Excel.
    1. A new window opens, allowing you to drag and drop or browse files to upload.
  5. After selecting the file you want to upload, click Upload file.
    1. Another window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  6. Click Import
Importing Excel files into an existing table
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage.
  2. Open your preferred base and table where you want to import your Excel file.
  3. Click + Add or import.
  4. Click Microsoft Excel.
    1. A new window opens, allowing you to drag and drop or browse files to upload.
  5. After selecting the file you want to upload, click Upload file.
    1. An "Import your file" window appears asking, "Where do you want to import into?"
    2. Click the icon and select your preferred sheet.
  1. Click Next
    1. Another window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  2. Click Import.
Importing Excel files into an existing base as a new table
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage
  2. Open your preferred base where you want to import your Excel file.
  3. Click + Add or import. 
  4. Click Microsoft Excel.
    1. A new window opens, allowing you to drag and drop or browse files to upload.
  5. After selecting the file you want to upload, click Upload file.
    1. An "Import your file" window appears asking, "Where do you want to import into?"
    2. Click the icon and select Create a new table.
  6. Click Next.
    1. Another window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  7. Click Import.

Importing CSV files into Airtable 

Importing a CSV as a new table in a new base
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage
  2. Create your new base. 
  3. Click + Add or import.
  4. Click CSV file
    1. A new window opens, allowing you to drag and drop or browse files to upload.
  5. After selecting the file you want to upload, click Upload file.
    1. Another window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  6. Click Import
Importing CSV files into an existing table
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage.
  2. Open your preferred base and table where you want to import your CSV file.
  3. Click + Add or import.
  4. Click CSV file.
    1. A new window opens, allowing you to drag and drop or browse files to upload.
  5. After selecting the file you want to upload, click Upload file.
    1. An "Import your file" window appears asking, "Where do you want to import into?"
    2. Click the icon and select your preferred sheet. 
  6. Click Next
    1. Another window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  7. Click Import.
Importing CSV files into an existing base as a new table
  1. Visit your Airtable homepage.
  2. Open your preferred base and table where you want to import your CSV file.
  3. Click + Add or import.
  4. Click CSV file.
    1. A new window opens, allowing you to drag and drop or browse files to upload.
  5. After selecting the file you want to upload, click Upload file.
    1. An "Import your file" window appears asking, "Where do you want to import into?"
    2. Click the icon and select Create a new table.
  6. Click Next.
    1. Another window appears that includes the "Adjust your import" section. From here, you can manually select fields to include and toggle ON/OFF the ability to "Auto-select field types" and "Use the first row as headers."
  7. Click Import

Supported cell types and formatting

In Google Sheets, each cell can have a specific type that may or may not have a similar field type in Airtable. Our importer always attempts 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.

Numbers and percents
  • 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.
Currency
  • 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.
Date and time
  • 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.
Formulas

The type conversion operates on the computation result of the formula. The formula itself is not converted.

Checkboxes

If data cells in the column follow one “convention” to represent true and false, the column will be converted to the Checkbox field. However, conventions cannot be mixed. If a column has both cell value “Y” and cell value “X”, then it is not considered a Checkbox field.Conventions are case insensitive and we support the following:

  • “checked” / “unchecked”
  • “x”
  • “yes” / ”no”
  • “y” / “n”
  • “1 checked out of 1” / “0 checked out of 1”
  • “[x]” / “[ ]“
  • “☑”
  • “✅”
  • “✓”
  • “✔”
  • “enabled” / “disabled”
  • “on” / “off”
  • “done”
Multi-selects

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.
Rich Text

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.

Long text

If any cells in the column contain newline characters, the column will be converted to a long text field.

Single-line text

This is the fallback field type if the cells do not follow the rules above.

FAQs

How is third-party data converted when imported into Airtable?

When importing third-party into Airtable, each workbook sheet is converted to its own table, and the sheet name is converted to the table name. 

For each sheet, the first row is treated as field names—similar to our CSV import extension. If that row is empty, a fallback field name is automatically generated.

What is the file size limit per import?

Airtable's import file size is limited to 5MB.

Can I convert a field from a single-line text field into a multiple-select field or linked record field?

Airtable reads commas as separators and creates an appropriate number of select tokens/links based on the number of commas.

To create a link to a record with a comma in its name, you must denote the desired record name with quotation marks.

EXAMPLE 
For example to create a single record for the city of Denver, CO, denote the text strings with double quotation marks so that "Denver, CO" becomes a single record, [Denver, CO], rather than two records, [Denver] and [CO].
Can I copy data from a CSV and paste it into a base and table?

Yes. After selecting and copying a range of cells in your CSV, select and paste your data into your preferred table(s).


Was this article helpful?