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Features I wish Airtable had

Matthew Gira
7 min read

Airtable can be a one-stop shop when it comes to managing a business or organization of any type. It can help manage events, a content calendar, or act as a public database. There are thousands of different use cases that Airtable provides which is a result of all of the features Airtable has.

All of these features are a lot and can definitely be overwhelming when you are first getting started with Airtable. Especially as Airtable is always adding to these features.

If you’ve been around Airtable for even 6 months, you know they constantly are updating the tool. Honestly, it feels like every month Airtable is changing. For example, Apps are now extensions, the Outlook email automation is significantly better than it was a year ago and there’s now conditional automations?!?

Even with all of these wonderful updates that Airtable is constantly shipping, there are some key features I really wish they would ship sooner than later.

So, in this post, I’m going to cover 3 key areas of features that I wish Airtable had.

Feature I wish Airtable had: Better Forms

Credit: Airtable

The first feature I wish Airtable had is better forms. Airtable forms have been a sneaky good feature of Airtable for a bit now and has been tremendously valuable to the work I’ve done in Airtable. Over half of the bases I’ve now built have had a form in it. They help with onboarding, keeping information consistent, and allow for more control over inputted information when needed.

With all of these good things, I have some big time frustrations with forms. The biggest frustration is not having the ability to have sections in an Airtable form. If you’re used to Google Forms, you know that you can create sections which is really helpful if you have questions that are conditional. In Google Forms, you can have certain questions in a particular section and if someone answers one question one way, they see one section and if they answer another way, they see a different section of questions. Sections are really nice to keep questions and forms organized.

In Airtable forms, there are currently no sections whatsoever. You can have conditional questions, but you can’t set them all at once based on one particular answer like you can in sections. You have to manually click a few times on each question you want as a conditional question for multiple questions to be conditional one particular question you asked previously.

Airtable saves me so much time in general, but this part of Airtable adds time which has been real bummer.

The other part of forms that I wish was just automatic would be having the ability to just have an original status created when a form is created. Yes, you can set this with a very simple automation in Airtable, but it gets old after you’ve done a few forms and have to create this same automation each and every time. If it was just a simple toggle at the bottom of a form like they have for the Airtable branding or the response someone gets when they submit a form, that would make life a lot easier. It would be fewer clicks and one less mundane automation to create.

Feature I wish Airtable had: Improved Synced Tables

Credit: Airtable

The 2nd feature I wish Airtable had is improved synced tables. A slight caveat to this wish: this is a feature that Airtable just recently said they are actively working on.

Synced tables in Airtable can be really helpful when you are pulling information in from other sources like a Google Calendar or Google Drive for example. Instead of you having to go to your web browser, type in Google Drive or Google Calendar, and click around a few times, you can just have one click and bam, everything is in Airtable.

Synced tables are also great if you have a lot of different Airtable bases using the same table. You can sync the same table across different bases with synced tables.

There’s been one big issue with synced tables though: they are currently only a 1-way street. You can’t update them 2 ways. With the new updates coming out in 2023, Airtable says that synced tables will be a 2 way sync. However, does that mean that’s only internal Airtable tables or does that mean integrations with other partners such as Google Drive too?

Currently, if you do have Google Drive or Google Calendar synced to an Airtable base, you can’t add a new event or a new file from Airtable. You’d have to back to the source, in this case, Google, add the file or calendar event, and then you can re-sync the table and the file will appear.

You can add files and calendar events via automations, but the ability to be able to have synced tables as a 2 way street would be such a gamechanger. Similar to what I mentioned about forms and original statuses, if I can make one less automation, I would love that.

I get how that feature might be complicated with external software like Google Drive and Calendar, but I’m nonetheless excited about two way synced tables within only Airtable tables if that’s the case in 2023. If you use Notion, you know this is a big value as you can have 2 way communication between databases and views which is partly why Notion is such a good tool.

That goes without saying, there are benefits to being able to only sync one way as data isn’t altered if you don’t want it to be, so I hope that won’t disappear completely when the new 2 way sync feature goes live.

The last part about synced tables that I wish was a thing that I recently ran into is the ability to sync tables within the same base. For example, I’ve been working on a base to help me manage my content calendar for YouTube, my blog, and my Instagram. Yes, I could have all of this data as one table, but I felt like each was a different type of data so I kept them as separate tables with the idea that I could create automations to just add and update posts in one combined table.

I did this, but it hasn’t worked out very well with automations. It would be amazing to have a synced table with multiple data inputs from the same base. That would make this content calendar base significantly better and more useful.

Feature I wish Airtable had: Documents

Credit: Airtable

The last feature and honestly, the most important feature I wish Airtable had is the ability to have good documents within Airtable.

Currently, there a few different ways to create “documents” in Airtable. You can create an automation to create Google Docs, you can use the Page extension to create PDFs, or create an interface which is kind of a document in some ways?

All of these options to create documents in Airtable aren’t great. The best one that I’ve used but am not thrilled about it is the new create a Google Doc automation in Airtable but it’s a very basic automation at the moment. You can create the document, only enter in some basic text, and insert it into the record you want it to update. Similar to other automations that Airtable has rolled out previously, I’m guessing this Google Doc automation will be much improved 6 months from now. When the Outlook email automation came out, that originally wasn’t very good either, but now that automation is so wonderful and robust.

Currently, the Google Doc automation doesn’t allow for images or tables and for me, that’s a big feature that is missing in that automation.

At the same time, I wish there was an ability to just create pages without the need for Google Docs. There’s the pages extension in Airtable, but it hasn’t been updated in a while it feels like and it’s so disconnected from the actual tables. You can’t insert it into a record and it really only lives in the extension. It’s only really useful if you create invoices or the same document over and over again that you need to either save as a PDF or physically print out. I’ve yet to actually use this feature in Airtable because of its limitations. I’ve tried, but it’s not great.

For Interfaces, they’re definitely not documents in the traditional sense, but Airtable Interfaces feel like Airtable’s version of creating something similar to Notion when it comes to blocks and pages. Similar to the Google Doc automation, I have a feeling this part of Airtable will be significantly different even 6 months from now. Will it compete with how Notion creates pages though? I have a hard time believing that.

Even with all of this criticism of Airtable, it’s still one of my favorite tools to use because it does have plenty of other useful features that many tools can’t compete on. The automations, views, and synced tables make Airtable a one-stop shop when it comes to managing a business or an organization. As I mentioned earlier, Airtable is constantly improving the product and I would guess that some of this criticism will be outdated in as little as a year from now. Heck, it was even becoming outdated as I was developing this post.