Record templates overview (Beta)
  • 29 Sep 2022
  • 6 Minutes to read
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Record templates overview (Beta)

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    Light

NOTE
This feature is in a limited-access beta phase and is currently being developed. Please provide feedback here.

Airtable's record templates are a no-code way for you and your team to automate repetitive record creation. Once configured, a record template can create a predefined record and/or set of related records (sub-records) with a single click, ensuring consistent data and increasing the efficiency of your workflows. In particular, project management or marketing campaign "one-to-many" use cases that often involve the same set of tasks, subtasks, or milestones will benefit from implementing record templates.


Introduction

Plan availabilityCurrently private beta access only
Permissions
  • Owners/Creators - Can configure new record templates, modify existing templates, delete record templates, and add or apply them to the base.
  • Editors - Can add or apply record previously configured templates to the base.
Platform(s)Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows App
Related reading
Definitions
  • Template - A template is a predefined schema of static (default) information that can create the same set of records over and over again by utilizing linked record relationships.
  • Sub-record - Using the parent/child relationship schema, sub-records are the child. Linked record fields are necessary for sub-records to be configured and created.
  • Apply - The action of having a record template's configuration overwrite a given record. If sub-records are involved, then applying the template will also create those predefined records associated with the template.


Example use case and sub-records

NOTE
Before configuring a record template for the first time, it's important to think a bit more about your particular use case and how sub-records (linked records) might fit in. No generic example will cover the needs of every workflow, but the project tracking use case is best for understanding the general foundations and benefits of setting up record templates.

Let's say you manage a product team. You track product releases in an Airtable project tracking base that has two tables. One table is named "Projects" which acts as the parent and another is named "Tasks" which has a linked record field connected to the "Projects" table. Records in the "Tasks" table will act as the child sub-records. Each time your team is tasked with bringing a new product to market there are some common tasks that occur leading up to a launch. To simplify let's say that there are 5 tasks:

  1. Create design mock-up
  2. Engineer beta version
  3. Feedback and bug bash
  4. Final touches and staging
  5. Launch/Release

With a record template, instead of having to go create these 5 tasks (sub-records) in the "Tasks" table and then manually link each task to the corresponding project/product in the "Project" table, you would configure the template one time and then simply add the template or apply the template to your base with the click of a button. Let's throw one more complexity into the equation though. Let's say there are two different teams that may work on a product release project. If a product release is in a certain category then "Team 1" would work on it, in other instances, it would be assigned to "Team 2." In this case, you could build out one template for "Team 1" product releases and another for "Team 2." As a manager, you can now choose which set of records will be created depending upon which template you use. Consider the image below and then move on to learn how to configure a template in Airtable.

NOTE
Note that the yellow field information in the project table is configured differently depending upon the team template being created, but the general tasks (sub-records) remain the same. For simplicity, the fields in the green sub-records are not shown, but that is also configurable with record templates.


Configuring a record template

NOTE

Currently, field and table level permissions aren't supported by record templates. This means users who normally can't create rows in a table can create them with record templates. Also, users who can't normally populate cell values in a field can populate them with record templates. In most cases, this behavior is non-blocking and just something to be aware of while this feature is in a beta state.

We're actively gathering user feedback on what a good permissions model for Record Templates would look like and would love to hear your thoughts here.

Follow the general steps below to build out a record template in your base. 

  1.  Open the base where you want to create a record template.
  2.  Find the "Record templates" feature near the upper right portion of the screen.
  3.  If this is the first template being created in this base, then open up whichever table you'd like to set up a record template in. Then, click "Get started" and you'll see a pop-over to insert the name and description. You can always edit the name and description at a later time. Click "Next."
    Otherwise, if this isn't the first template, then click the dropdown to choose which table to set up a record template. Once you have chosen the table, click the "New template" option and fill in the name and description of the template.
  4. Clicking "Next" will open the template configuration window. On the right side, you'll see fields from the table you've chosen to create the template in. Now, you can input data into whichever fields you always want this template to fill information into. You can always create more templates if this template only satisfies one use case. Also, you should note that certain fields (computed fields like formulas, lookups, rollups, etc.) will not be visible/editable.
  5.  At this point, depending upon your needs, you could be done building out the template. This kind of template would create/apply the schema to just one record. However, the real power of record templates happens when you utilize the "+ Add sub-records" option on the left side of the configuration window. Using this option requires there to be at least one linked record field in the table you are creating this template for.
  6. To create a sub-record click the "+ Add sub-records" option. This will open up a dropdown menu where you will select which linked record field to use. Click "Done" after selecting the appropriate field. Now, the right side of the configuration window will show the configurable fields in the table the linked record is connected to. After configuring the necessary fields for the particular linked record you are wanting to create, click "Done." Repeat this process as needed.
  7.  Now, you can click "Done" to create the template. Creators can always modify the template at a later time by clicking on the template.


Using a record template

There are two ways to utilize templates. You can either:

  1. Add the template to the base - Adding a template to a base will cause a new parent record to be created along with any sub-records that have been configured in that template. To add a template to the base, click the "+ Add to base" option from within the record templates sidebar. Remember, that templates will be organized by table. Click the dropdown next to the name of the table to choose a different table.
  2. Apply the template to a record that has already been created- Applying a template to a record will have different behavior depending upon the field types that are configured in the template:
    • Empty non-array type fields are filled according to the template's configuration
    • Array type fields are always appended to and deduplicated
    • Non-empty, non-array type fields are ignored
    • Computed field types cannot be directly modified by templates
    To apply a template, right-click on the record you would like to apply the template to then click "Apply template." This will open a pop-over window where you can choose which template to apply.


FAQs

Are record templates records?

No, they are not. Record templates are separate from records and won't appear in the underlying data of the table. But they follow the same schema of the table they exist in.

Are there any limits to the number of record templates that can be created in a single base?

For the private beta, the limit is 100 record templates in a base, across all tables. Each sub-record added to a template is its own individual child template and will count towards this 100 record limit.



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