Column Grouping

I see this was originally posted almost 4 years ago. I just logged in to make this same suggestion. It would be extremely useful if we could

  • group columns,
  • name the groups, and
  • collapse groups

I imagine it work kind of the way that tab groups work in Microsoft Edge:


image

In that screenshot, I’ve got two tabs (one for IMDB and one for Amazon Prime Video) open, grouped, and the group is named “entertainment”. I can click the green “entertainment” button to hide that group. Not a big deal with only 2 tabs but becomes much more useful when there are five or ten tabs in a group and more useful still when there are many groups. Apply the concept to grid views in Airtable.

I see someone responded (long ago) to the OP by asking, Why not just create more views? That would work if we could somehow link a group of views to the same filter, but we can’t. Every view can be and inevitably will be filtered differently.

Let me illustrate. I’m working on a project for a school. They Students table is moderately “wide”, that is, it has maybe 40–50 fields or (in grid view) about 40–50 columns. The columns have pretty clear groupings:

  1. Personal info (FirstName, MiddleName, LastName, Sex, DOB, SSN, etc)
  2. Parental info (Parent names, addresses, emails, phones, etc)
  3. Enrollment info (DateFirstInquiry, DateApplicationMailed, DateApplicationReceived, DateAccepted, RegistrationFeePaid, RegistrationFeeAmountPaid, etc)
  4. ClassAssignments
  5. EmergencyInfo

And so on. Now say my user (a staff member at the school) wants to get info about a student, or to enter a new student. If I create five different views corresponding to the groups I just described, and if my user wants to review all the info for a student and possibly edit fields that she notices need editing, she has to find the same student record over and over as she switches views — either by filtering each view (if there aren’t many users using the base) or by scrolling through list of 200 currently-enrolled students over and over again to find the record for Susie Schwartz, or by going the same find over and over.

The ability to group, name, and collapse groups of columns in grid view has exactly the same benefits that being able to collapse sections of fields on a form has: It makes everything much more efficient.

And it would have the side benefit of obviating the need to create so darned many views, which is one of the worst aspects of Airtable’s UX.

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I love the way Ableton Live works with Field groups (or in Lives instance, “Tracks”);

Nested tracks within a group;
image

And that same group collapsed via that little circle icon.
image

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Never heard of Ableton Live (just read about it for first time) but yeah, that’s exactly what I think Airtable needs. Frankly, I think it would be a Killer Feature improvement and the programmers at Airtable should stay up all night tonight and tomorrow night and knock this out tout de suite.

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Yah, and working on my base this morning, I think I struck the most common user case for needing the ability to group fields - writing formulas.

Below screenshot shows 3 lookups that are then concatenated within a formula field. I have no real use for the lookup fields other than to provide their returns for the formula - it would be great to tie/nest/collapse these lookup fields within the formula field itself.

image

+1 here! I get having different views, but sometimes you want all your data visible… Even if you could colour the columns this would help!

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Another +1. Would love this feature!

This feature is really becoming a must have. I create VERY complex tables for my clients, some of them with 100+ columns. Making them belong to a GROUP of columns is essential so you don’t get lost.

Airtable’s rising challenger - Timetonic - has this feature built in so it also makes displaying records in “card” mode really handy because you can then simply decide in which order the groups appear, which group not to display. So handy. See attached, the group name is actually mentioned on the left so you can jump from section to section easily (and yeah Airtable, it’s time you did something about the record view).

PLEASE Airtable do something about this !! Allow column grouping (and naming such groups) so we can move / display / hide entire groups of columns.

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