Let's make a base, Part 4 Collaboration
  • 30 Jun 2022
  • 6 Minutes to read
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Let's make a base, Part 4 Collaboration

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    Light

It's all well and good that you've learned how to use linking tables to make useful, intuitive bases. But what if you wanted to show your snazzy base to someone else? What if you wanted to work together with someone else on the same base? Worry not, for Airtable was designed to support collaboration from the ground up. After this tutorial, you'll be working together with friends, co-workers, and possibly even frenemies to make the best Airtable bases you can make!

Workspaces and workspace collaborators

Airtable bases are organized into workspaces, and all workspace collaborators for a specific workspace have access to all the bases in the workspace. You can think of a workspace as a collection of bases shared among a group of people working together. You could have a workspace for you and your friends to plan a cross-country road trip, a workspace for you and your co-workers to work on company marketing, or even a workspace just for yourself (because, hey, we all have secrets).

To create a workspace, go to the home screen and scroll down until you find the + New workspace row—it'll be at the very bottom.

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Tap the + sign to make a new workspace. By default, the new workspace that's created will be named "New workspace," and the only workspace collaborator is you, the person who created it. Let's change the settings by tapping the dropdown arrow next to the name of the workspace. This will bring up the Edit Workspace menu. From here, you can tap the Name row to rename the workspace to something a little more descriptive.

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Tapping the right-facing arrow in the row under Workspace Collaborators will bring up the Manage Collaborators menu, which will allow you to add workspace collaborators and change the permissions for current workspace collaborators (more on permissions later). To add workspace collaborators, tap the Add workspace collaborators row.

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This will bring up a menu where you can type in someone's name or email address. The search list will automatically populate based on people you've already collaborated with using Airtable. Tap the name of the person you want to invite if you see it—otherwise, you can type in a person's full email address and tap the row that reads Email an invitation to "[email address]".

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Permissions

Once you've tapped the name of your collaborator or sent out an invitation, you'll be prompted to select your collaborator's permission levels. When you've selected an appropriate permission level, tap the "Add" button in the top right-hand corner.

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The differing permission levels are as follows:

Creator

If you are a creator, you have full access to the workspace that has been shared with you. You can:

  • add, delete, and modify records (rows)
  • add, delete, and modify views
  • add, delete, rename, and change the types of fields (columns)
  • add, delete, and rename tables
  • rename the base
  • modify the base guide
  • add and delete bases
  • rename the workspace
  • add or modify the permission settings for yourself or other collaborators

Owner

A workspace owner has all the permissions of a creator, except that a workspace owner has the ability to modify billing settings and upgrade the workspace to premium for use with the desktop client. However, since you can only modify billing settings on desktop, there is currently no functional difference between owners and creators on mobile. Note that you can have multiple owners of a workspace.

Editor

Collaborators can have the more limited permission level of editor, which gives them a restricted set of permissions for the workspace. If you're an editor, you can do the following:

  • add, delete, and modify records (rows)
  • add, delete, and modify views
  • add another editor

But you are not allowed to:

  • add, delete, rename, or change the types of fields (columns)
  • add, delete, or rename tables
  • delete or rename the base
  • modify the base guide
  • add or delete bases
  • rename the workspace
  • change the permission settings for yourself or other collaborators

Read only

The most limited permission level is read only, which allows collaborators to view but not edit bases. Read only collaborators can add other read only collaborators.

After adding new workspace collaborators, your Manage Collaborators menu will look something like this:

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Tapping the "Manage" button next to each workspace collaborator's name will allow you to alter the permission levels for each collaborator, or even remove a collaborator if so desired. Returning to the Edit Workspace menu will now show you the updated count of total workspace collaborators.

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Now that we've fixed up our new workspace, let's move our Mascot Recruiting base into the new workspace. To move a base from one workspace to another, simply tap and drag the base from the old workspace and drop it into the new workspace.

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Note that moving a base from one workspace may change which collaborators have access to which bases. Please see the permissions article for more information.

Base collaborators

Instead of making someone a workspace collaborator, you can also make someone just a base collaborator. A base collaborator has access to an individual base, without having access to all bases in a workspace. Let's say that we'd like to bring in an outside contractor to help assess our mascot candidates, but we don't want her to have access to our players' files, or our marketing strategies. In this case, it would be best to invite her as a base collaborator just for the Mascot Recruiting base.

To add a base collaborator, go to the base to which you would like to add a collaborator, and select the collaborators button in the top right-hand corner (it looks like the outline of two heads placed together, with a plus sign). This will bring up that base's Manage Collaborators screen.

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The Manage Collaborators screen shows you how many people have access to the base. The top part of the screen shows you who has access to the base as a result of being a workspace collaborator. The bottom part of the screen shows you how many people have been granted access to this base just as base collaborators.

Adding a base collaborator is extremely similar to adding a workspace collaborator—you tap the Add base collaborators row, type in the name or email address of the person with whom you wish to collaborate, select the appropriate permission level, and tap Add when you're ready.

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Likewise, tapping the Manage button next to each collaborator will allow you to change base collaborators' permission levels.

The major difference between workspace and base collaborators is that a base collaborator (regardless of their permission level) cannot see or otherwise access the workspace in which the base is located, nor can they access any of the other bases in the workspace. Otherwise, the privileges are largely the same.

On iOS, you can also create an invite link. Invite links are often shared in emails and lets anyone with that link gain access to the base. For more information on generating invite links and adding base collaborators, see Airtable for mobile: Add a collaborator.

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Commenting and @mentioning a Collaborator

You can communicate changes, elaborate on issues, and collaborate with other people who have access to the base using comments. To comment on a record, expand a record card and tap tap on the record activity button in the top right-hand corner (it looks like the outline of two heads with a text box). This will bring up the record activity, which will show a log of the date, time, and author of edits made to the record.

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To add a comment to the record, tap on the "Add comment" box, type in your comment, and tap "Send." Comments show up in blue speech bubbles to visually differentiate them from edits.

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You can also @mention anyone with access to your base to get their attention. Tap the "@" symbol above the keyboard and it will bring up a list of the collaborators on the base. Tapping the name of person you wish to @mention will put their name in your comment and will send them a notification on their Airtable account.

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Commenting on records makes it even easier to get things done with your bases!

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