Combining standard records & synchronized ones in one table

Hello,

I’d like to know if it’s possible, in one table, to combine both records added manually and records added/updated using synchonization with other tables ?

Thanks in advance for your help,

Regards.

Nicolas Caplat

Hey @Nicolas_Caplat!

You’ve encountered a rather frustrating design decision that has bugged me for the past year or so.

The quick answer to your question is no. You cannot add records to a synced table.

However…
There are a few possible workarounds. They work, but they’re not the prettiest thing in the world

The one I recommend the most is just to use automations.
Build an automation that looks for new records in your synced table.

  • When new records come in, the automation will create a new record in another table that is not synced.

In its simplest form, you’ll be provided with the initial data from the sync.
However, this method alone will not give you data parity if there are updates in your sync source.

If you need to maintain data parity, you can build a second automation to handle updates. It would look something like this:

There are a few risks that come with this method.
First, unless you tweak the automation a bit, the automation will overwrite changes you make in a field.

  • e.g. Field 1 came from the sync.
    You made a change in Field 1.
    The source record is updated, and the automation runs to update the record.
    The automation updates Field 1 with the new data but overwrites the changes you previously made.

The second risk is that you can pretty quickly burn through automation runs depending on how frequently there are changes in your source record.
This isn’t a problem for enterprise accounts. For lower tiers, you’re playing with fire if you build automations with a possibility of an endless loop.


I’m probably overthinking for your use case, but that’s just where my mind goes.


Edit/Addition:

A quick bit of a side note about the automation risks.
Depending on how many records you’re dealing with, running any automations that trigger off of updates to records from external sources is a harsh lesson I’ve endured many times.

Since syncs are generally run in batches, a slight change in a value in a watched field will trigger an automation.
Even if you’re only dealing with 100 synced records, if there’s a batch update that provides a tiny change, you’re about to incur 100 automation runs regardless of whether or not there’s even anything to update.

It’s particularly harsh because Airtable doesn’t have strong automation failsafe measures or in-depth monitoring/troubleshooting.

1 Like

Wow thanks a lot @Ben.Young for this detailed explanations.
While I love AirTable, I’m sometimes p****d off by its “limitations”. I’m considering moving to multiple syncs in multiple tables, but not sure yet. Dealing with databases isn’t my core skill for sure, so … it’s mostly about trial and errors I’m afraid !

Anyway, thanks a lot for you help.

Regards.

Nicolas Caplat