Interface Designer overview
  • 12 Nov 2022
  • 6 Minutes to read
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Interface Designer overview

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Interface Designer is a powerful way for creators to work with their collaborators without requiring those collaborators to navigate the full complexity of a base. You can create multiple interfaces on top of the same base to ensure collaborators always see and interact with the information most relevant to them. Airtable’s Interface Designer offers flexible ways to simplify workflows, visualize data, and tailor information to different audiences across organizations. In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know to create your first interface!

Introduction

Plan availabilityAll plan types/levels
Permissions

Please consult this support article for a breakdown of Interface Designer permissions.

Platform(s)Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows app
Related reading

Consider looking over our guide on building new interfaces

Airtable terminology

Interface - An interface is a curated representation of base data created using Interface Designer. Interfaces are fully customizable and can contain various visual elements, data sources, and permissions.

Interface pages - Interfaces break up information into one or more interface pages. And while an interface always contains at least a single page, creators can add more pages.

Layout - Layouts are the design space framework within a given interface page, filled in with elements. There are templated layouts to choose from. You can also build an interface from scratch with a blank layout.

Element -  Elements are the essential building blocks of interfaces. Builders can add visual elements like grids and timelines, design elements like text and dividers, and functional elements like buttons and comments, to present their base data in a customized way.


Creating an interface

  1. The first step is to click on the Interfaces option on the top left side of an open base. Then, click Start building.
    NOTE
    If you don’t see the Start building option, then you likely don’t have creator permissions in the base to be able to build new interfaces.
  2. Next, give your interface a name, designate its background color, and choose an icon. Click Next when you are finished choosing.
  3. Choose a layout to use. For this example, we will use the Record review layout. Then, click Next.
    all_layouts
  4. Connect the layout to a table from the base. Additionally, you can set filters, sorts, and groups or copy the same settings from a view that already exists in the base. Then, click Next. Note that if you selected the “Blank” layout, you would skip right to step 7 below.
    NOTE
    Each interface page can only have one layout and you cannot switch to another templated layout for an interface after the interface has been created. You can always feel free to create a new interface page if you’d like to try a new layout.
  5. Choose fields and elements to display on the interface. Then, click Next.
  6.  Last, name and describe the interface. Descriptions are optional but highly encouraged. Then, click Finish.
  7.  This will bring you to the interface editor. At this point, you can preview the interface 1 or choose to view what another user would experience 2 when seeing this interface. You'll need to publish 4 and share 3 the interface before others can view or interact with it. Here you can also make further adjustments by adding more elements 5, reconfiguring/moving or deleting existing elements 6, and adding new interface pages 7. Finally, you can click the interface dropdown 8 to star/favorite this interface or return to the base connected to this interface. At any time, exit the interface editor by clicking Done 9.
NOTE
Changes are auto-saved as you build and edit interfaces. Press CMDZ to undo an edit you've made.


Interface Designer notes and dependencies

  • Though each layout is connected to a single table from your base, you can fully customize and add new elements to your layout. Each element can be configured to draw from a different table in your base, with the information filtered or sorted according to your needs. To learn more about configuring the elements in your layout, please see this support article.
  • If you created your interface using a templated layout, each piece of that layout is an element. Clicking on any element on the page will open up the “Properties” panel which will allow you to edit what is displayed in that element.
  • While in editing mode, you can drag and drop your element anywhere within your interface, and your interface will automatically make space for it:
    move_that_Zeeb
  • Not only can elements display information, but they can also be interactive. You can create editable elements to allow collaborators to update information directly from an interface, allowing them to update the data for the underlying records within your base. You can also use elements to change the information displayed on the screen by allowing the user to select records, create their own filters, or comment directly on records. 
  • There are many different types of elements that can be configured and combined to make your perfect interface. To learn more about elements, you can read the adding and formatting elements and the configuring elements support articles.
  • Users will be unable to see your new interface outside of editing mode until you publish that interface. To learn more about editing, previewing, publishing, and sharing interfaces, please see this support article.
  • Unless your organization is on a Pro or Enterprise plan, only base collaborators can see interface groups on a connected base. More on Interface Designer permissions here.
  • From the share menu, you can share an interface group via email with an individual Airtable user or a user group.


FAQs

Who can create new interfaces/interface pages?

Collaborators with “Owner” or “Creator” collaborator permissions on a base can create new interfaces and groups of interfaces.

When should I create a new interface versus a new interface page?

The key here is understanding the audience that will ideally be interacting with the interface you are building. Since all interface pages in an interface are shared with users who have access, you can use different interfaces to provide granular permissions to the underlying information from a base. If you expect that an interface page would be best used by a different group of people, then that is often a sign you should create a new interface instead. 

Are there any limits related to how many interfaces or interface pages I can create?

Yes. For functional reasons, we've capped the number of interfaces per base at 50. Additionally, there is a limit of 50 interface pages per interface.

Can I share an interface without sharing the base?

While interfaces are available to all customers on all plans, the ability to share interfaces separately from the base is restricted to Pro & Enterprise users only.

If I share an interface with another individual or team, can they see the underlying data?

Not necessarily. It depends on whether the option to allow access to the base was checked when the invitation was sent. Ultimately, only base collaborators can view the underlying base.

What happens if more than one collaborator is editing an interface at the same time?

Interface Designer will always save the most recent changes to an interface. So, if more than one collaborator is editing the same interface, Interface Designer will reflect the last changes to both collaborators.

If a base collaborator has “Commentor” or “Read-only” base permissions, can they edit an interface’s “Editable” fields?

No, a base collaborator with “Commentor '' or “Read-only” permissions on a base can't edit or modify a base’s records through an interface.

 I updated an interface's appearance. Why isn't the change visible to my collaborators?

If you made a change to an interface or to the elements contained in an interface itself, you must first publish the changes for that interface in order for other collaborators in a base to see those changes.

What happens if someone who is not a base collaborator tries to navigate to an interface URL?

Please consult the Interface Designer permissions article.

Can I duplicate an interface into another base?

We do not support duplicating interfaces into another base at this time.

How do field and table permissions impact Interfaces?

Field and table permissions set in the base will extend and be respected in Interfaces as well.

Who can share Interfaces?

All Interfaces users will be able to share the Interface further at their permission level or below. For the Enterprise & Pro plans, if workspace sharing restrictions are turned on, then only workspace owners can share the base. See this workplace restrictions article for more information.

Can I only share a specific interface page from an interface? 

No, sharing an interface will share all published interface pages on that interface.


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