Transitioning from spreadsheets to Airtable
  • 04 Oct 2022
  • 2 Minutes to read
  • Dark

Transitioning from spreadsheets to Airtable

  • Dark


Prepare for import

1. Clean your tabs

Each tab should contain one type of information and should have uniform rows and columns throughout.

2. Create consistent columns

Each column should be holding the same type of information for all of the rows in your sheet.

3. Add a header row

Your sheet should contain headers in the first row with the name of each column captured in the header.

Three ways to import

Create a new base from import

Click the new base icon, to open a new, empty base. From the right-hand sidebar, select "CSV / Other". For more detailed instructions view this article.

Import a table into an existing base

Click the add or import icon, select “Import Data”, then select “CSV file", find your file, and import.

Add new records or update records

Use the CSV Import Extension from the Extensions marketplace (Pro and Enterprise plans only).

Best practices after import

After you import you'll see a table comprised of single-line text fields. To get the most out of Airtable, we highly recommend that you take the time to convert fields from single-line text fields to other field types, such as:

  • Changing a field containing numbers into a number field
  • Changing a field containing lists of tags into a multiple select field
  • Changing a field containing defined options into a single select field
  • Changing a field containing long paragraphs of text into a long text field
  • Changing a field containing values that are important enough to warrant their own table into a linked record field (which will create a new table)


Spreadsheet = Base

Each spreadsheet is organized into its own spreadsheet file. In Airtable, each spreadsheet will become its own base.

Tabs = Tables

Spreadsheets contain tabs for different data sets. In Airtable, each type of data is organized into its own table.

Rows = Records

Spreadsheets contain rows of information. In Airtable, those are called records.

Columns = Fields

Spreadsheets contain columns of data. In Airtable, those are called fields, and there are dozens of field types to add formatting to your data.

Do more in Airtable

☑️ Create custom views
Views allow you to customize what information is displayed in a table. All the underlying content in the table will be the same, but how you see that information can differ depending on your needs.
☑️ Add new field types
Unlike a spreadsheet, Airtable fields (columns) have specific "types" that allow you to store rich content in each record. With all of these different field types, you can configure a table to perfectly fit your needs!
☑️ Extend your base with extensions
Extensions allow you to extend the capabilities of a base. There are dozens of extensions for you to choose from—like chart, page designer, matrix, org chart, — and many more to come!
☑️ Streamline with automations
Automations allow you to configure custom trigger-action workflows directly within your base. Save time by automating repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency, and reducing the margin of error.

☑️ Connect data across tables
One of the unique aspects of managing your information in a database is the power of linking records together across tables. Learn how you can put Airtable's linked records to work for you.

☑️ Collaborate and share
Airtable was designed to support effortless collaboration You can collaborate and communicate on the data in your base, and can easily share information with read-only links to bases and views.

More resources

Switching from spreadsheets webinar →

Documentation on spreadsheet imports →

CSV import extension overview →

Best practices for structuring your base →

Was this article helpful?

What's Next