Unlike a spreadsheet, Airtable fields (columns) have specific "types" that allow you to store rich content in each record. For example, a table can contain records (rows) with attachments, long text notes, checkboxes, and links to records in another table.
With all of these different field types, you can configure a table to perfectly fit your needs! You configure the field type in the field customization menu.
Here's a brief overview of each field type you can use to make the perfect table for your use case:
A linked record field is a powerful way to link together related tables in a base. To learn more about this field type, read the article on linked record fields.
A single line text field accepts a single line of text for each cell. You can put any text value you want into each cell.
The single line text field is best for short, unique pieces of text, such as the names of your friends, the names of your cats, or the names of your friends' cats. If you notice that you're repeating the same text values frequently in a column, you may want to consider using a single select, multiple select, or linked record field.
A long text field is great when you need to keep notes or multiple lines of text in each record. You can enter new lines into a long text field, and even @mention a collaborator inside the text.
Expanding a long text field (which you can do by clicking the expand cell button or by using the keyboard shortcut ShiftSpace) gives you plenty of room:
An attachment field allows you to attach multiple files directly to your Airtable records. If the file is an image, the cell will show a nice image thumbnail of the files you've attached.
For most document attachments, you'll see a preview thumbnail of the document.
Clicking on an attachment preview will open up a full screen lightbox attachment browser that will allow you to view every attachment in the cell. From here, you can download or remove the attachment by clicking the icons in the bottom right corner.
You can also reorder your attachments from the expanded cell view by clicking and dragging.
The lightbox view also supports reordering by clicking and dragging the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen:
Watch a short tutorial below.
A checkbox field is useful for true/false values within a record. For example, a task tracking base might have a checkbox field called "Done" that you can check off when a task is complete.
When your cursor is over a checkbox cell, you can hit enter to check/uncheck it. Alternatively, you can click on the cell to check/uncheck.
A single select field is ideal when you want to be able to select a single option from a set list of options. When you edit a cell, you will be presented with an autocomplete menu. You can select the desired option from the dropdown menu, or type to narrow down the list of options.
You can add, remove, and edit select options in the field configuration menu.
You can also reorder the select options from within the field configuration menu by clicking and dragging on the reorder icons, which appear when you mouse over the left-hand side of each select option.
You can also create a new select option without going to the field configuration menu by typing in the name of an option and selecting the "+Create a new option named ..." item.
If you're wishing you could store additional information related to each select option, you might consider converting the single select field into a record link. Then, you can have a full record for each option.
A multiple select cell is basically the same as a single select except it allows you to select multiple options. Each select option is displayed as a small token that can be removed by clicking the x.
You can reorder your multiple select options from within the expanded cell by clicking and dragging.
You can also do this from within the field configuration menu by clicking and dragging on the reorder icons, which appear when you mouse over the left-hand side of each select option:
As with single select, if you find yourself wanting to keep track of more things related to each select option, you should probably convert the multiple select field into a record link.
The collaborator field lets you refer to a team-level or base-level collaborator in a cell. It automatically creates a drop-down list of the people with which your base is shared.
When someone adds you to a cell, you'll receive a notification that you were added. You can toggle this feature in the field customization settings.
For more detailed information about the collaborator field, please read the Collaborator field type article.
A date field allows you to easily enter a date and optionally a time into a cell. When editing a date time, you will be presented with a calendar widget that makes it easy to select a specific date.
In the field configuration menu, you can configure the date field to also store a time.
You can also click the dropdown menu under "Choose the date format" to choose between various different date formats.
Date cells will now show date and time fields.
A phone number field will format the text in each cell as a US/Canada phone number, in the form (XXX) XXX-XXXX.
Phone number fields are particularly advantageous on mobile, where you'll be presented with a specific phone keyboard when editing the phone number. You can also tap buttons to call or text that number.
A email field is intended to store a single email address in each cell. Clicking on an email address within an email field will open up your computer's native email client with the To: field addressed to the email you just clicked on.
A URL field is intended to store a single URL in each cell. Clicking on a URL will bring you to that URL.
A number field will only accept a number value, and provide formatting options for the number.
A number field can be formatted as either an integer or decimal. For a decimal, you can specify the number of significant digits. You can allow negative decimals or integers by checking the "Allow negative numbers" box.
A currency field is a specific type of number column that formats the number as a currency amount. You can specify a currency symbol (the default is "$"), the number of significant digits, and whether or not to allow negative currency amounts.
A percent field is a specific type of number column that formats the number as a percentage. You can select the precision of the percentage in the field configuration menu. You can also choose to allow negative percentages by checking the "Allow negative numbers" box.
Formula, rollup, lookup, and count are all computed field types. These fields compute their values based off of other fields in the same table or linked tables.
To learn more about these computed field types, please read the Guide to formula, rollup, lookup, and count fields.
The created time field type will automatically show the date (and optionally, time) that a record was created. As with the date field, you can customize the date format, choose to include a time stamp, and choose whether to use the same time zone for all collaborators. Note that since the created time for a record will always be the same, there is no way to directly edit the contents of the cells in the created time field.
An autonumber column automatically generates a unique, automatically incremented number for each record. Autonumbers can be helpful when you need a unique identifier for each record, or when using a formula in the primary field.
Note that the autonumber field is not designed to count the number of records in a table. When a record is deleted, the remaining records are not re-numbered. This leaves gaps in the numbering.
To re-number an autonumber column (in order to remove gaps, for example), you can either delete and re-create an autonumber column, or convert the column to a different type and then back to autonumber.
If you use the mobile Airtable client, then you can use the camera in your mobile device to scan several types of barcodes and QR codes.
While you cannot scan barcodes directly into the desktop version of Airtable, any barcodes scanned in the mobile version will appear in the web client, and can be altered manually from there.
The full list of barcode types that the barcode field supports is:
- PDF417 (Macro)
- QR (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji)
- UPC-A 1D