Let's make a base, Part 1 Tables, records, and fields
  • 30 Jun 2022
  • 5 Minutes to read
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Let's make a base, Part 1 Tables, records, and fields

  • Dark
    Light

Now that you know a little bit about Airtable's capabilities, let's try making a base from scratch to fit a specific use case.

Suppose you're the owner of a minor league sportsball franchise. Ticket sales are slumping, and you think a new mascot would do wonders to boost game attendance. You put up a job posting, and the applications start rolling in! But how are you going to keep track of all of your candidates, to make sure you pick the right mammal, bird, or anthropomorphic concept for the job? Why, it's easy—use an Airtable base!

Making the new base

To begin, go to the homescreen. Then, tap the New base button in the workspace to which you'd like to add the base.

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This will bring you to the Add a base screen. From here, you have the option of creating a new empty base, or choosing an existing template to work from. You're feeling pretty confident about your ability to build a base that suits your own needs, so you tap the Create a new empty base button. You will then be prompted to give your base a name. When you're satisfied with your title, tap the "Done" button in the upper right-hand corner. You will then be brought to your shiny new base.

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Customizing your database

You can customize the look of your database by changing its color and icon. You can do this by accessing the Edit Base screen. From the main base screen, tap the dropdown arrow next to the title of your base:

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You can horizontally scroll through the color swatches and tap whichever one you like best. If you scroll down a little further on the Edit Base menu, you can also scroll down to the Icon section and pick an icon. This icon will represent your base on the Airtable homescreen, and allow you to quickly differentiate it from all your other bases.

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This is a great time to also write out a guide for your base by tapping on the "Guide" row so that everyone you invite to this base knows how you are planning to use it:

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This is what your new color and icon selection looks like on the homescreen.

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Naming tables and making your first records

The first table we're going to put together is a simple list of all the applicants who have applied to your company, with their names, resumes, and headshots. Right now, our table is named "Table 1." Let's rename it to be something a little more descriptive. If you tap on the "Table 1" tab, you'll be brought to the "Edit Table" screen. From here, you can change "Table 1" to "Applicants." When you're done, tap the "Done" button in the top right-hand corner.

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Let's start making some records to fill out this new table. Tap the big circular button at the bottom of the screen to add a new record. This will automatically prompt you to name your new unnamed record. For this field, let's put in the name of one of our applicants.

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Now we want to upload a picture and resume for this applicant. The field with the paperclip icon is an Attachment-type field, which means it can support many different file types. Tapping the camera icon will enable you to take a picture with your phone camera and directly attach it to your record.

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Tapping the painting icon will enable you to attach a photo from your phone's files.

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Tapping the ellipsis icon will enable you to upload files from a variety of other sources, including from a web search or from your Dropbox or Google Drive account.

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Once we've uploaded the applicant's files, tap the back button in the top left-hand corner of the record window to return to the table.

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Go ahead and create a few more records to fill out your Applicants table.

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Customizing the fields

Right now, your table is looking pretty good. But it's still a little simple. Let's add some more fields! To edit your field types, names, and configurations, tap the table tab to bring up the "Edit Table" screen. From the Edit Table screen, tap the "Customize fields" row.

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You can also get to the "Customize fields" menu by tapping the "Customize fields" button at the bottom of any one of your records.

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This is the Customize Fields menu:

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Right now, it shows us that you have three fields: "Name," a single line text field in which you can put the applicant's name, "Attachments," an attachment-type field in which you can store applicants' photos and resumes, and "Notes," a long text field in which you can put any remarks about the applicants. Let's put in a new field to mark whether or not you've reviewed a particular applicant's resume.

Tap the "Add a new field" button at the bottom of the screen. This will bring you to the "Add Field" screen. You will then be prompted to give your new field a name. Let's call it "Reviewed?"

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By default, the new field's field type is single line text. Since the answer to the question "Have I reviewed this candidate's resume?" is either "Yes" or "No," let's change the field type to checkbox, which is good for representing binary, true/false data. To change the field type, tap the "Field Type" row. This will bring up the "Select a field type" menu. In the Select a field type menu, tap "Checkbox."

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When you're done naming the new field and adjusting the field type, tap the "Save" button in the upper right-hand corner. This will bring you back to the Customize Fields screen.

You can tap and drag the fields on the Customize Fields screen to rearrange the order of the fields to your liking. Let's move the "Reviewed?" field closer to the top so that we can see it more easily when viewing the records as cards.

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When you're done making new fields and moving them around, you can tap the "Edit Table" button in the top left-hand corner to return to the Edit Table menu. From there, you can tap the Done button to return to the main view of your base. Notice that because we moved the Reviewed? field to the top, it now shows up (in an abbreviated version) on the card.

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Let's say that you've read over Queen Elizardbeth's resume, and you'd like to update her record to reflect this. To do this directly tap the checkbox in the "Reviewed?" field to update her record, or you can tap on her card to expand it before then tapping on the checkbox. The card should now show a green checkbox.

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Now that you've learned how to create a new base, customize its fields, and populate it with records, it's time to learn about the different ways in which you can organize your data using views and sorting in Let's make a base, Part 2: Views.


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