Airtable makes it easy to get started with data from an existing spreadsheet or CSV file. You can either upload a CSV file or paste cell data directly from a spreadsheet program.
For more on creating a new base by importing an existing spreadsheet, you can also watch this short video walkthrough.
To import an existing spreadsheet or CSV, open the new base dialog by clicking the New Base icon:
Clicking this button will open a dialog with three options—click the option to Import a spreadsheet.
This will open the import spreadsheet dialog.
From here, you have two options.
To import a CSV file, just click the "Choose a .CSV file" button. From the attachment upload dialog, you can select a CSV file from your computer (or from a variety of other supported services).
Note that there is currently a 5MB limit on CSV uploads.
In a spreadsheet application, select a range of cells and copy them using C.
You can then paste that data into the text box in the Paste Table Data section of Airtable's Import Spreadsheet dialog using V.
You will be shown a preview of the header cells that will be created in your new base based on the pasted data.
If the first row in the pasted table is not a header, you can uncheck the "First record is a header" option, and every row pasted in will be added as records to the table.
Once you've imported your CSV or pasted data, a new base will appear called Imported Base.
If you go into the base, 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, where appropriate.
Some examples of conversions you might wish to make:
- 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 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)
And so on.
An important thing to note if you want to convert a field from a single line text field into a multiple select field or linked record field is that Airtable will read commas as separators and create an appropriate number of select tokens/links based on the number of commas.
This means that if you wish to create a link to a record with a comma in its name, you will need to delimit the desired record name with quotation marks.
So if you wanted to create a single record for the city of Denver, CO, you would need to delimit the text strings with double quotation marks so that "Denver, CO" becomes a single record, [
Denver, CO], rather than two records, [
Denver] and [
Suppose you have a table of countries, which includes a Region field that has several recurring values, such as Eastern Europe, Oceania, and South America, Central America, & the Caribbean. Since you would like to have a separate table of Regions, you decide to convert the Region field (which is currently a single line text field) into a linked record field.
When doing this, you would like to create a single record titled
South America, Central America, & the Caribbean
If you attempt to convert a field with cells that say South America, Central America, & the Caribbean (without quotation marks around it), you will create three separate records:
& the Caribbean
This is not what we want at all!
In order to make sure that we're creating one record instead of three, we need to go in and put commas around the instances of South America, Central America, & the Caribbean and turn them into "South America, Central America, & the Caribbean".
- Sort on the Region field alphabetically
- Change one instance of South America, Central America, & the Caribbean into "South America, Central America, & the Caribbean"
- Copy "South America, Central America, & the Caribbean"
- Paste "South America, Central America, & the Caribbean" over all instances of South America, Central America, & the Caribbean
Once you've done this, you'll be able to create the desired single
South America, Central America, & the Caribbean record when you convert the Region field into a linked record field.