Categories to populate linked fields--possible?


#1

I’ve created a customer database that lists each of the periodicals my customers are subscribed to. Sometimes, a customer subscribes to periodicals by a grouping. For example, they might select “Gaming” as a category which means they want a selection of 4 periodicals about gaming. Not all customers subscribe this way though, so right now I’m using a field linked to a list of periodical titles and I add their periodicals individually, but this means I (and my staff) have to know in our heads which titles “Gaming” refers to.

Would it be possible to somehow link to a grouping that would populate this field with periodical titles? Would it have to be a separate field since the current one links to individual periodical titles (and most customers do subscribe this way)?

I hope this makes sense. It’s so hard to discuss database relationships abstractly! Thank you for any help you can provide!


#2

You could try this - it may or may not alleviate your situation:

  • Create a Single select field, called “Type” or some-such, where you can label a “Subscription Option” as either a Category or a Periodical
  • Create a Linked record field, called “In Category”, or some-such, that links to another “Subscription Option” record(s) [ie, it links within the same table], and allows you to add a Periodical to one or more Categories

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  • Now in your “Customers” table, where they submit forms, the subscription options available to them will include both categories and periodicals; but you’ll have to find a way to make that clear to subscribers:

  • If it makes it easier to scan/think about on your end, you could easily flip the “In Category” linked record field to be a “Category Includes” field, and link it to periodicals that are in that category (ie, the field contains children, rather than parents):

  • Subscribers still see the same thing in the form when you do it this way.

And, if you are a “Pro” subscriber to Airtable, and have access to Blocks, you can use the “Org Chart” block to turn this into a visual diagram of what periodicals belong to which categories.


#3

Thank you SO MUCH. This is very clear and very helpful! I’m going to try this with the latter option of “category includes” and see how that works for us.

Greatly appreciated!


#4

A somewhat more complex rendition of this method to make the peridical/category display names shown in the form view more clear:

Duplicate the “Title” field to a new Text field and make the Primary Field a Formula field type with a forumla akin to the following:
{Type}&": "&{Name}&IF({Type}="Category", " (includes "&{Category Includes}&")")

^ This will have your form display subscription options like so:

  • Category: Gaming (includes IGN, TableTop)
  • Peridical: IGN