Can't figure out how to do a simple percentage calculation in Airtable


#1

So far I’ve had no trouble entering text and currency into Airtable bases, but I’d like to calculate simple percentages from my numbers. I’ve looked everywhere and can’t figure out how to do it in Airtable. I know how to do it in Excel and Apple Numbers. But among all the templates, I haven’t seen any with percentages. I’m starting to think that it’s not possible to calculate simple percentages in Airtable. Or am I missing something?

Thanks very much in advance for any help with this.


#2

Number Field TOTAL = 100

Number Field PORTION = 75

Formula Field PERCENTAGE, formatted as % with this formula

(PORTION * 100) / TOTAL

= 75%


#3

Hi Jeremy,

Thank you so much for your help, will try this now. :slight_smile:

Nick


#4

Hi Jeremy, Quick question, should my spreadsheet then look like this?

Please correct me if i’m wrong, but it sounds like I need to have a “sum” column and insert the sum figure next to every yearly total like this in order to be able to calculate the percentages? So if any yearly totals changed, I would have to manually change the grand total next to every yearly total.


#5

Nick,

I’m not sure what your goal is in using Airtable, but it seems to me like you might be better off just using a spreadsheet application like Numbers, Excel, or Google Sheets.

The hard truth that I’ve tried to get across to many people in these here forums is that Airtable is not a spreadsheet application. Despite all of their advertising of Airtable as “looking” or “feeling” like a spreadsheet, Airtable is a database. It behaves like a database, and it is ultimately structured like a database. Records (what look like “rows” in a spreadsheet) do not have the kind of awareness of their spatial relationship to other records (rows) like the rows in a spreadsheet do. You can’t tell “cell A1” to reference “cell D7” in a calculation. You can’t tell “cell D24” to sum all the cells above it. Each record exists as an independent entity, and formulas can only reference other fields within the same record.

Because I’ve had this conversation so many times, I’m going to go ahead and pre-empt the question – “Well then what the hell good is Airtable???” – by saying it’s plenty good for many many different use cases; just maybe not yours.

That all being said, there are ways to do what you want to do. There are ways of building budget systems in Airtable that automate balance keeping. It just requires adopting a different mindset about how to structure the data. I’d love to offer more specific help, if you decide you want to adopt that new way of thinking in order to use Airtable, but first…

…some recommended reading:

And just in general, search for keywords in the forums that relate to what you are trying to accomplish and see what others have said in the past.


#6

Hi Jeremy.

Thank you very much for those useful tips and links, and for taking the trouble to explain all of this to me. I understand that Airtable wasn’t really designed to be a spreadsheet and is more for general databases. Going forward I’ll keep that in mind and will use it as such. It is a remarkable piece of software in any case and so much easier to use than Filemaker Pro! Thanks again for all your help.