Custom Print Formatting of Airtable View

Here’s my problem: I need to periodically print NICE-LOOKING reports from Airtable data, displaying dozens of records on a single page, in spreadsheet form. The standard “Print View” action doesn’t provide enough control (formatting of text, sizing of columns, custom headers & footers, etc). The new Print Layout Designer is a wonderful tool, but it only allows for one record per page.

The best option I’ve found so far is to copy-and-paste data from a given Airtable View into a Google Sheets worksheet. This gives me most of the formatting options I want, but it’s just really cumbersome to do this over and over, and I’m worried about the potential for human error. So, I’d love an automated way of doing this.

Zapier has a similar integration (https://zapier.com/app/editor/template/7324), but this doesn’t work for me, because it only sends NEW records to the sheet. If values change in an existing record (which mine do constantly… it’s exactly what we’re tracking!), the Zapier solution is worthless to me. I understand this is a limitation of the Airtable API, not Zapier.

Does anyone have a solution/idea/product/etc to automatically send ALL data (not just new records) from an Airtable view to Google Sheets or a similar app that gives me robust formatting control? Or even better, a means of converting airtable data into a custom printable format? Or anything else that would solve my problem?

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You’ve got a private message. :slight_smile:

For more detail, this is roughly what I’m trying to do.

First, take a table like this:

… and then (at the push of a button) generate a printable document like this:

Note that in the print version, I’ve added a title, today’s date, page numbers, row numbers, a “notes” column, and a couple of conditional formatting rules (color-coding the “task with” column, and highlighting past-due dates in red).

Maybe this can be done with a script that pushes the data into an app like Google Sheets. Or maybe it can be done with a modification of Airtable’s Print View command. Or maybe it can be done with html or some kind of PDF generator app. Open to all ideas.

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I’m having exactly the same issue. I’m really surprised to hear the Print Designer isn’t going to allow printing in this kind of fashion! For all of AirTable’s loveliness, this is a real sticking point when recommending this product to a client.

Did you get anywhere in finding a neat solution?

Hey Mike. Long story short: I haven’t built anything yet. But I have determined that (with the requisite skills) it IS possible use Airtable’s API to populate data in a web page, and format that for any number of needs. Will probably need a professional developer to help, though.

Here’s one cool example:

And here’s more from a related post:

I have the same exact type of need, as I’m sure others do. The Airtable print function is rudimentary and so un-Airtable-like (not being beautiful.) . I need headers (data pulled from a different table preferably), NO lines, etc. Basically, almost exactly what I’m looking at on the screen, I want to print. I’ve been fiddling with export (don’t like Zapier, won’t use it), and page designer (cumbersome and everything comes out double-spaced, and I will have to recreate it for each new table (which is its own checklist that will need to be printed, and I go through about 20 a month.) Airtable, help! Please create decent print options.

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So, I have managed to use the api to make a webpage in PHP, which can do most of what I’m after. I’m not much of a developer, but it didn’t take too long (<half a day). It’s radically more cumbersome than it would be if it was native, but it’ll do for my needs right now.

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I am setting up member information facilities for a couple of local community groups who are unlikely to pay to upgrade and get access to any print formatting tools so maybe a quick and simple solution for the likes of me would be to reformat (for example) the new data entry email which at the moment looks like this ;


Forename
Richard

Middle Names
John

Surname
Cherry

Gender
Male

DOB
3 February 1944


and make it look like this


Forename : Richard
Middle Names : John
Surname : CXXXXX
Gender : Male
DOB : 3 February XXXX


Still not ideal but it would take far less paper than the current layout.

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Exactly what I am trying to do. Looks like your post is dated two years ago – and it appears that Airtable still hasn’t added this very basic functionality. Am I wrong?

I raised this question myself in this recent thread (June 2019): “Can page designer handle invoice with lots of line items of varying sizes?”

It’s pretty clear that Airtable can’t do this natively, which strikes me as pretty lame. You can print out a sort of spreadsheet style report from a view, but that’s about it. What I wonder is, do Airtable’s many enthusiastic users simply not print? Nobody prints lists of, say, contacts or inventory items or invoices? Do people have ways to export to some other app like Excel or Google Sheets that lets them format and print?

There are a number of things that I really like about Airtable but this weakness is so glaring I feel sure that I’m totally missing something. I am just hoping somebody can tell me what it is soon.

Will (also in Dallas!)

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“There are a number of things that I really like about Airtable but this weakness is so glaring I feel sure that I’m totally missing something.”

You aren’t missing anything, @WilliamPorterTech. Airtable is great (and cheap) for a few VERY basic database functions for a solo user or a small team. But there are too many guardrails up to create anything approaching robust. And their roadmap seems focused on an odd set of toys that I can’t imagine anyone finding useful.

After thorough testing and evaluation of dozens of systems and platforms, my design firm has switched to Filemaker to build a system for project management, contacts & calendars, task management, and cost tracking.

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Airtable please pay attention!!! We love Airtable in many ways, but the inability to have basic print control is a huge gap. I need to print weekly updated views of some spreadsheets, but only a subset of the data. So please develop a “save report” function that allows us to routinely print selected columns, column width, headers/footers, page #, etc. If anyone has figured out a way to do this, other than exporting to Excel and doing it manually, HELP! Page builder is not there yet!

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That sounds like a View to me :thinking: If you design a Page Designer block based on that view, it will update automatically.

@SHC-Admins (et, al):

I do this all the time for various clients using Google Apps Script and a free Gmail account. Here’s an example -

By simply selecting a publish option in a controlling record, my systems spot that status change, export all the data required for the reports, builds them as Google Docs, saves them to Google Drive (for archive), converts them to PDF format, and emails them to target stakeholders. It’s a fully lights-out process and very reliable and fast.

First client I did this for cost them $500 and saved them $25k annually in time/effort.

Doing this as a consultant or showing power-users how to get here is not easy, but I’m working on a tool kit to make solutions like this simplified and easy to repeat.

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Just seeing this for first time (some months after it was posted). I’m wondering, did you ever finish the “tool” you said you were working on? If not, can you throw us a clue about how you did this? Is it all done with Zapier?

I can see from your example that you’re starting with a Long Text field in which it appears you have typed stuff with some manually-entered formatting cues (Markdown + HTML). And I can see how you could export that one field for a filtered set of records, suck it into Google Sheets or Docs and format it from there. But I can’t guess how much of this is automated and how much of it is done manually. My guess is that the document title and perhaps document date (the first two lines of the output file in your screen capture) were entered manually, right?

William

No. There was little demand expressed for it by Airtable users. As such, I continue to build these solutions under consulting engagements.

Yes, but this example was pre-rich-text data type version.

Yep - that’s exactly what I do.

Once a user tags a report record as “ready to go”, the date, title, and everything is fully automated.

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