Two-way sync overview (Beta/Limited availability)
  • 29 Sep 2022
  • 6 Minutes to read
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Two-way sync overview (Beta/Limited availability)

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    Light

NOTE
Two-way sync is only available to a limited number of customers. We welcome your feedback about this feature.

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.


Introduction

Plan availabilityCurrently in limited beta availability
Permissions
  • Owners/Creators - Can create, modify, delete, and run syncs in the base(s) they have access to.
  • Editors - Edit records in source or destination bases that they have access to as base or workspace collaborators. Additionally, editors can manually run syncs in the destination base(s) that they have access to.
Platform(s)Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows App 
Related reading
  • Sync overview - For more information on general feature behavior and plan limits.
  • Airtable Sync - Basic setup - If you've never interacted with the Airtable Sync feature before, then it's important to read this article first to learn the basics.
  • Sync permissions - General information about how permissions relate to Airtable Sync.


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. 
NOTE
It’s only possible to add new records in a source base. At this time, destination bases with two-way sync turned on are only able to edit records created in the sync source. We cover this more in the Two-way sync dependencies article.


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

NOTE
If you are looking to adjust a previously configured sync to have two-way sync enabled, you’ll want to click the drop-down next to the table’s name. Then, select the “Update sync configuration” option and toggle the preferred editing access level discussed further in this section.
  1. 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."
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
    NOTE
    Under 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.
    Once the field selections have been set, click “Next” to move onto the final setup screen.
  4. 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.
      NOTE
      It’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.
  5. 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.


FAQs

Are there any best practices or callouts to consider when enabling two-way sync?

We cover dependencies and best practice considerations in a separate article.

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.



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