- 22 Nov 2022
- 6 Minutes to read
Two-way sync overview (Beta/Limited availability)
- Updated on 22 Nov 2022
- 6 Minutes to read
Two-way sync allows existing records to be edited in one or more destination tables and synced back to a single-source-of-truth table. This article covers configuring an ecosystem of bases so multiple teams can have the most up-to-date information. This helps to prevent data silos and other inefficiencies in today’s hybrid work environment.
|Plan availability||Currently in limited beta availability|
|Platform(s)||Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows App|
Understanding Two-way sync
A two-way sync will always have a single source table where the initial sync share view is created. Edits made in one or more destination tables inside other bases will sync back to the source table. To illustrate how the two-way sync schema works consider the image below.
There are two overarching concepts worth digesting before moving on:
- The black two-sided arrows represent the direct connection between source and destination tables.
- The lighter grey and dotted line arrows represent the indirect relationship between destination tables. Changes made in a destination will first sync back to the source before pushing to other destinations upon the next sync.
Two-way sync source view configuration
To start, click “Share view” and enable both:
- Allow data in this view to be synced to other bases
- Allow data in this view to be edited from other bases
There are two options below this toggle to consider:
- All editable fields - All editable fields in the source table will be editable in the destination table. Additionally, editable fields added in the source table will be editable in any destination tables in the future.
- Specific fields - Only certain fields in the source will be available for syncing.
An editable field is any field within a table that is not locked. As a reminder, individual field-level editing permissions can be set across the view you are using as the sync source. We cover more on permissions and Two-way sync here.
Two-way sync destination configuration
- Begin setting up the destination - In another base, you can follow the normal flow of adding a new table that will sync with the source table that has been configured. Click the plus sign and choose “Sync data from Airtable base."
- Choose a source that has two-way syncing enabled - From here, you can either select a view from a base that you collaborate in or use a sync share link that has been shared with you. In either case, the source view you are syncing with must have two-way sync enabled to edit information in the destination table.
- Select which fields to sync - Click “Next” and then choose which fields, “All fields” or “Specific fields”, you would like to sync over from the source to this destination table. Even though you might be able to see a field in the destination table, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be editable. Editability is dependent upon the configuration made in the source as well as an upcoming step in the destination sync’s setup.
Once the field selections have been set, click “Next” to move onto the final setup screen.NOTEUnder the “Advanced” section, you can choose which field from the source you would like to set as the primary field in this destination table. By default, the primary field will match the source table’s primary field. More about this option is available here.
- Configure sync frequency - Before creating your synced table, there are “Settings” options that allow you to choose how often you want to sync, how to handle records deleted or hidden in the source, and who can edit source records.
- The frequency of syncing. Right now, the options are manual syncing and automatic syncing (recommended), which happens around every 5 minutes.
- Whether or not deleted records (in the source table) should be removed from the Airtable table. By default, deleted rows will be removed.
- Finally, you can set who can edit source records. This option is specific to the Two-way Sync feature. If you don’t see this option, read the note posted below. There are three options shown in the image below that will help with safeguarding information.NOTEIt’s possible that not all of the workspaces that you collaborate in will have two-way sync functionality. If you don’t see the option to set who can edit source records, then it’s likely the case that the destination base you are trying to create the two-way sync in resides inside a workspace that does not support this feature.
- Create the table - Once you’ve selected your desired settings, click “Create table”. It’s a good idea to check that the functionality of the table matches your expectations. If you need to adjust any parameters of this synced destination table, then click the drop-down next to the table’s name and select the “Update sync configuration” option.
We cover these limitations in more detail as well as dependencies and best practice considerations in a separate article.
- Linked record, user, and attachment fields are not editable.
- Linked record and user fields sync as text fields.
- Fields that are added, or customizations to fields (e.g., adding a select field option) in a destination table will not sync back to the source.
- Sync may take a few minutes to propagate in both directions. Performance may be slower in very large/complex bases (200k+ cells e.g. 10k rows x 20 columns).
- Edits cannot be made using Interfaces, Automations, APIs, or the mobile app in destination bases.
- Edits can be made in grid view and expanded records only. Edits cannot be made in Calendar, Kanban, or Timeline views.
- New records cannot be added in a destination base.
How often does synced information update?
Changes to the source table will usually take a few minutes to sync to a destination table with automatic syncing turned on. Destination bases with manual sync turned on will need to be synced manually for changes to appear. When a change is made in the destination table, it will sync with the source table in close to real time.
Will the person who made the edit appear in the record activity log?
Just as with one-way sync, in the destination table any changes will be attributed to “Table Sync.”
Can I build an interface that allows edits in the destination?
Not right now. Only grid view and expanded records are currently supported in two-way sync.
If I add a field in the destination, will it appear in the source?
No, just like in one-way sync, that field will appear in and be owned by the destination base.
If I edit a field’s configuration in the destination (e.g., adding a select field option), will it be reflected in the source?
Field type customizations are specific to the destination base and won’t apply to source bases.
Can linked records be edited/clicked into in the destination?
No. Linked records are converted into unlinked, non-editable text fields in destination bases.
Can I create a record in a destination table?
No, records can only be created in the source table.