This article is an overview of a feature that allows you to import an Excel file as a new base or add new table(s) to an existing base. With this feature, you can import all worksheets from an Excel workbook into Airtable base by uploading its .xls or .xlsx file. Note that at this time, there is a file size limit of 5MB on Excel file imports.
Create a new base from an Excel file
Starting from the Airtable home screen, select the option to “Add a base”, then “Import data”, choose “Microsoft Excel”, and finally select “Choose an Excel file”.
Now you can select a file from your local device or other attachment sources. Once you upload the file Airtable will create a new base using the worksheets and data in the Excel file.
Add tables to an existing base from an Excel file
Starting from an open base, select the option to “Add or import”, then “Import data”, choose “Microsoft Excel”, and finally select “Choose an Excel file”.
Now you can select a file from your local device or other attachment sources. Once you upload the file Airtable will create new tables in your base using the worksheets and data in the Excel file.
How data is converted from Excel to Airtable
When you import an Excel file, each sheet in the workbook will be converted to its own table. The sheet name will be converted to the table name. For each sheet, the first row will be treated as field names (similar to our CSV import feature). If that row is empty, a fallback field name will be automatically generated.
Supported cell types and formatting
In Excel, each cell can have a specific type which may or may not have a similar field type in Airtable. Our importer will make a best effort attempt to convert cells to the Airtable field counterpart. Below is an outline of how we handle various cell type conversions when you import a file into Airtable.
- If every data cell in the column is a number, the converted field type will be a number.
- If every data cell is an integer, the resulting number format is an integer. Otherwise, the resulting number format is a decimal whose precision is determined by the maximum fraction digits of the numbers in the cells.
- We only recognize US dollars ($) right now.
- A column containing values such as $123, $1,234, or ($1,234) will be converted to the Currency field type.
- A column containing values such as 2020-09-28, 09/28/2020, 09/28/2020 18:01, 2020-09-28 18:01 will be converted to Date field type.
- If any data cell in the column contains a time field, the resulting Date field type will contain a time portion.
- If every date cell value uses US date formatting such as 09/28/2020, the resulting Date format will be “Local”.
- If date cell values in the column use mixed date formats (for example, using both 09/28/2020 and 2020-09-28), the resulting Date format will be “ISO”. Unrecognized date formats will be converted to the ISO date format.
- Time-only cell values such 18:02 are not supported. If a column contains any of these, they will be converted to a Single Line Text field.
The type conversion operates on the computation result of the formula. The formula itself is not converted.
If data cells in the column follow one “convention” to represent true and false, the column will be converted to the Checkbox field. However, conventions cannot be mixed. If a column has both cell value “Y” and cell value “X”, then it is not considered a Checkbox field.Conventions are case insensitive and we support the following:
- “checked” / “unchecked”
- “yes” / ”no”
- “y” / “n”
- “1 checked out of 1” / “0 checked out of 1”
- “[x]” / “[ ]“
- “enabled” / “disabled”
- “on” / “off”
If every cell in the column is a comma-separated string, and does not contain any other punctuations, and no separated token is longer than 20 latin characters (note that it gets tricky with emoji or other language glyphs), and no separated token contain newline character, and no separated token is digits only, and no separated token is repeated multiple times in one cell, the field will be converted to a multi-select field.
Examples that will not be converted to a multi-select include:
- “foo, foo, bar” ← tokens repeated in one cell.
- “foo, bar.” ← punctuations other than the comma.
- “foo, , bar” ← contain one empty token.
- “fooooooooooooooooooooo, bar” ← a token that contains more than 20 latin characters.
- “foo bar, 123, baz” ← a token is digits only.
Google Sheets features 2 types of styling: cell-level styling and text-level styling. For example, you can select a cell and make it bold, and that will be cell-level styling. If you select a few characters in the cell and make it bold, this is text-level styling. If any cells in the column contain text-level styling and are not the first column, the column will be converted to a Rich Text field. Only some inline styles are supported, namely: bold, italic, and strikethrough.
If any cells in the column contain newline characters, the column will be converted to a long text field.
This is the fallback field type if the cells do not follow the rules above.
Can I upload Excel files to an existing table?
We do not currently support the ability to import Excel files directly into a table. However, if you convert your Excel file into a CSV file, you can use the CSV Import App to import that data into an existing table within your base.