Airtable Importer: Google Spreadsheets add-on


#1

Hi all,

We discovered Airtable as awesome organizational database tool and started to use it extensively. We loved it for the way it’s organized and well-thought.

But what we really missed there is “Google Sheets magic”:

  • Being able to do advanced calculations
  • Data blending
  • Filtering
  • Allowing someone to use data from Airtable without even knowing Airtable exists

With that in mind, we developed an Google Spreadsheets add-on as a missing link between Airtable and Google Spreadsheets.

We made it to solve particular issues within our company and for internal use only. But we thought that this add-on can help other people to make their lives better by combining powers of two great database tools: Airtable and Google Spreadsheets we shared it with other people. So anyone is welcome to give it a try.

Webpage:
http://railsware.com/case-studies/airtable-importer/

Download: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/airtable-importer-by-rail/kngidnifbonbaembhpnjlpeefhmjpegb

Thanks.


#2

Looks rad. Can’t wait to try this.


#3

@Matt_Sayward then go try it, its live :slight_smile:


#4

This is kind of amazing. It solves all the api problems I’ve been having with values that equal zero and subsequent api calls( to return more than 100 entries) returning fields in different orders. I’m not sure how much future work yall are planning to do on the plugin, but if there is a way to add post functionality, that would be sweet.


#5

How did I miss this???

Thanks for releasing this publicly. I need to find time to try it out


#6

Hey Hashim,

Please let us know how is it going? What do you like and what not?


#7

@Larry_Price and by “post” functionality you mean “import back to Airtable”?


#8

@Dmitry_Pliska Indeed, create new records and update existing ones.


#9

@Larry_Price yes, we are considering it for future functionality


#10

@Dmitry_Pliska I’m loving using this for a lot of my smaller bases. I’ve been able to set up some easy reporting for my team without the headaches I was getting from working with the api as a json object. So far, if I had one wish, I would modify either the manual refresh or automated resync.

Since the addon clears the contents of the sheet, I have another sheet running filters and other formulas on the import sheet. From my second sheet, I can’t seem to manually refresh the airtable data. Granted, I could just click over to the import sheet and manually hit the refresh; However, for other reasons, I keep the import sheet hidden. The rest of my team doesn’t know how to hide or unhide sheets much less install or use add-ons with sheets.

All that to say, I think it would be great to be able to be able to manually re-import from another sheet or set the auto sync timer to something shorter than an hour.


#11

@Larry_Price thanks for detailed feedback!
Great to know it helps you to get rid of some headaches :slight_smile:

Yes, our intention was that original imported sheet is kept by itself and another sheet just imports data from it using spreadsheets referring (e.g. using importrange) and performs needed calculations on imported data.

Setting manual timer is something we consider for implementation as well but still hold it back for a while since validation of that field may complicate the flow.

Additionally, now sidebar shows current sheet title it imports data into. And “Add-ons” menu for Airtable Importer has an options “Re-Import this sheet” without opening the sidebar (if you have few imported sheets per spreadsheet, you can use “Re-Import all sheets” option).


#12

Ah, I hadn’t noticed the re-import all. That will definitely work. “Re-Import this sheet” only works on the import sheet, which makes sense. Right now we have import all or import single active one. How difficult would it be to index all your import sheets so you can select which one to update instead of updating all at once? I’m just thinking that it is possible that I might have 10 to 15 import sheets in some cases.


#13

@Larry_Price yes, we thought about this as well but your vote adds the count :slight_smile:


#14

@Larry_Price im glad to inform that v32 of Airtable Importer (released today) includes “Re-Import sheet” from imported sheets index in the nested menu. Just select “Add-ons > Airtable Importer by Railsware > Re-Import sheet > ${sheet_name}” and job will be done on background. Selected sheet should not be active at this moment.

Hope it helps :slight_smile:


#15

@Dmitry_Pliska That’s Brilliant!


#16

Very useful extension to Airtable thank you, particularly the easy refresh. This beats having to re-download an Airtable csv.

It would be good if the auto refresh interval could be longer than one hour as I left my sheet open during the day while I was doing other things and when got back to my PC, there was a message that I had exceeded 12 (I think it was) refreshes and was blocked from doing any more.


#17

@Dmitry_Pliska This add on is awesome, thanks for making it publicly available! I’m using it to add visualisation capabilities to Airtable, so now it’s possible to have dashboards connected to airtable data which is great. Also, I’ve been sending airtable data all the way to Google Data Studio via a google sheet, with the help of your add on :slight_smile:

I’ve got a specific use case which I wonder if you folks can help with. For spreadsheets which have multiple Airtable data sources coming in to different tabs, it seems that we hit errors on the automatic refresh function. In the sidebar, I see a message like: you have too many time-based triggers for this google account.

To get around this problem, is there a way we can refresh ALL the sheets by using a single time-based trigger? I had an idea of attaching my own script to the spreadsheet that triggers the ‘re-import all sheets’ menu item every day… but I can’t figure out if scripts can trigger menu items :frowning:


#18

Hi everyone! I started using Airtable Importer this afternoon and I was totally excited when I saw it working. Now, when playing around with it at home I see strange behavior of the add-on: The menu suddenly only shows “help”. The sidebar seems gone, too. Maybe it’s because I have deleted my shared link in Airtable? Unfortunately I cannot reset Airtable Importer. What happened?

Looking forward to help.

Thanks & best regards,

Kai


#19

Hi Kai,
Thank you for the good feedback.

In order to solve your issue, most likely you just need to make sure you did enable the add-on for the particular spreadsheet like shown here:


#20

Hi Rupert,

As far as I know, this is not possible for the time-based triggers. If that makes it any easier, we do have “re-import all sheets” menu item within the add-on menu but its manual.