Create a timeline view from vlookup date field


#1

I’m using two tables to display two different sets of activities for two different teams. There are some scenarios where I want to visualize the activities from each table together, so I’ve create a combined table that uses a vlookup field to combine activites and dates from both tables into one. However, now I want to create a timeline block using the start/end date as the required date field but airtable won’t let me. Is there a way around this?


#2

As far as I know, lookup fields are typically interpreted by Airtable as arrays, even when they are arrays of a single value. (You can check by right clicking on the field name and selecting the ‘formatting’ tab: If it won’t let you select a date format, it doesn’t see it as a date.)

Pne possible work around would be to create a formula field that converts the lookup value to a date using DATETIME_PARSE():

DATETIME_PARSE(
    {Lookup Date}&'',
    'Format Specifier'
    )

By 'Format Specifier', I mean a template that matches the format of the lookup field — for instance, if your lookup field is 4/20/2018, your format specifier would be 'M/D/YYYY'. There’s a full list of all the myriad options here.

Alternatively, you could replace your lookup field with a rollup field. Follow the same link as for the lookup, choose the same field in the target table as you chose for the lookup field, and use the following as your aggregation formula:

DATETIME_PARSE(
    values&'',
    'Format Specifier'
    )

That should return a date field directly without your having to create an additional field for the conversion to date.