Today we’re going to talk about something that makes Airtable unique—views! Views allow us to review the information stored in our Airtable base in a variety of different formats. These view types offer a multitude of different ways to see and customize our information. Which in turn allows us as authors to save time when it comes to finding information, as well as keeping us accountable when it comes to our workflow and deadlines.
To access the views in your Airtable base template, go to the Views tab in the menu in the upper left-hand side of the base. From there you can scroll and see the views built into the base already. There is also an option to add more views based on your preferences. Remember that we put our information into a table in our Airtable base template, the information in one table is independent of information in other tables even in the same base. But views in a table are just a different way to see and enter information into a given table. So any previous information entered into a table in any view will appear in all other views unless filters are in place to exclude that information. Today we’re going to be looking at the Grid View, the Form, the Calendar, and the Gallery.
The Grid View
The grid view is where we operate 75 percent of the time. In the grid view, we build out our writing schedule, our administrative and team task lists, enter our financial information, build and schedule social media posts and advertisements, and use custom field types to track and store information relevant for each of our records.
In Airtable there are twenty-eight different options for field types. These field types include short and long text fields to write our copy; attachment fields to upload graphics, videos, or audio; date fields to set due dates and deadlines; and formula fields in which we can enter custom formulas for automation purposes like creating fields that automatically give us our target word count per day based on our release date and what we’ve currently written.
We can also show and hide fields based on what information we would like to see. We can create multiple grid views that have different purposes based on what fields are hidden and shown. For example, we might have one grid view that shows fields that contain our social media posting information, the graphics, the copy, important links to include, etc., and another grid view that shows the insight information like budget, clicks, likes, engagement rate, etc.
In the grid view, we also can set up custom grouping, sorting, and filtering options for complete customization of what information we see, how we see it, and what order it’s sorted in. In addition, we can color all of the records based on a select field type if one is present in the base, or we can choose to create customized coloring options based on conditions we set up.
The Form View
The Form is another useful tool in our Airtable base templates. The form view allows you to create customized forms that you can share with team members or your audience for a variety of reasons. Once this view is added to your base, a form builder will open and you can begin setting up your form. The form builder allows you to build the fields that are present in the table. You can hide fields by clicking and dragging the field to the hidden fields box, and reorder fields by clicking and dragging to the desired location. In addition, if your form doesn’t include the information you need, it can easily be added by clicking the add field button. If you have a pro plan, you will also be able to add customized graphics and a cover image, as well as hide Airtable branding.
The form builder allows for almost complete customization of your form for a variety of purposes. One example would be to create a form for social media posts and ad ideas. Build a form that contains fields related to social media posts, such as intended date, post copy, add graphics, and add a select field that has options for status. You can then share the form with your team by clicking the share form box, from there you can copy the link and send it to your team, and restrict access.
Another example would be creating a form to get feedback from your reader group. Build a form with long text fields that ask specific questions about what they thought of the book or your current work-in-progress, add a rating field, and click the share form box to copy the link and give it to your reader group. We can also do things like setting up a form for email lists and newsletter signups.
Build a form with fields that users could enter personal information like email and phone number, and share it with your audience by embedding the form on your website. Responses to the form will appear as new records in your table. You can also refresh or disable the share link under the share form tab and you can delete the form by right-clicking the form name and selecting delete.
The Calendar View
The Calendar view is invaluable. Based on the records we build elsewhere in our table, a calendar will populate with those records as events if we’ve given them a date. This is particularly helpful when it comes to our social media schedule. Any post created with a date gets added to the calendar view and we can use the view to manage our posting schedule. In addition, it’s helpful for our writing schedule and keeping ourselves on track for our release dates as well as marking the days we need to be finished for editing passes, proofreading, and audiobook production.
When we add a new calendar view it will prompt us to select a date field. We can choose to add an end date field as well for projects that last more than a day, and we can add additional date fields as necessary based on need.
For example, in our Writing Production Schedule, we can use our start date field to be the start date on the calendar for a book, use the deadline date as the end date, and in this specific case since we have formula field deadlines for us, we can add those fields to our calendar as well, so we not only see the start and end date for our book on the calendar, but also all of the little checkpoints along the way to make sure we get our book finished on time and meet our deadline. In addition, just like the grid view, we can filter, sort and color our records on the calendar for ease of use and see specific information. We can set parameters for those in the menu and create several calendars for different purposes.
The Gallery View
The gallery view sets up all of our records as cards and features graphics and specific information that we can customize. Essentially, this view creates a bank of records that we can use for things like social media planning, cover design, character profiles, and more.
In this view, you can filter sort, and color your records just like in the grid view. Filter and sort by a specific field or condition, and color your records based on a field or condition. In addition, you can customize the cards so you see more of your record information. Click the customize cards box and from their choose which fields you would like to be shown on each card, we like to add post copy and post date if it’s a social media post.
We use the gallery for our ad management base to approve our graphics and post copy and match them together in some cases, we also use it as a character profile grid in our Master Character Guide just for a different way to see and visualize our character by key details and their likeness.
If you’re having trouble please reach out to us via our website, also check out our social media, and sign up for our newsletter! In addition, take a look at Airtable’s resources under Airtable Support, there is a ton of articles and forums that can help make the most of your Airtable base template!
Come back next week for the part two to our in depth explanation of the Airtable View Types!
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