Feature idea: text fields that auto-trim leading/trailing whitespace

If you do a lot of importing/exporting of CSV or Excel data with Airtable, you know that invisible leading or trailing whitespace can wreak havoc on your work, especially when you try to use text data from outside Airtable to match existing single-/multi-select fields or link fields. I’ve spent many hours tracking down these kinds of errors with imported data. While you can use TRIM formulas and the like outside of Airtable to clean the data beforehand, that’s not always convenient if you don’t control the source of the data (or that data changes frequently). What about an option on single line text fields in Airtable to automatically trim leading/trailing whitespace characters once the user is done editing the field? Seems like it would save a lot of headaches and would be easy to implement.

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I totally agree that this would be an incredibly valuable feature to have!

Particularly because Airtable doesn’t even visually show you if you have a leading space in your fields when you leave the field! This is extremely problematic for our clients, because you can’t even visually see when you have a problem in a field — unless you actually click into the field.

(It is unfortunate that Airtable overlooks many small details like this throughout the product, which can sometimes make it a challenging tool for my clients to use for important business tasks.)

For others reading this thread:

Currently, Airtable’s only option for “auto-trimming” leading/trailing whitespace would be to create an automation that runs a custom JavaScript script that trims all of your fields for you. It can only do this one record at a time, so you would need to figure out HOW and WHEN to trigger the automation on a per-record basis. (Also note that there is a limit to the number of automations that you can run per month, so you probably wouldn’t want to excessively trigger the automation multiple times for the same record.)

Alternatively, for a no-code, non-JavaScript, easier way of doing this, you could turn to Integromat, which is an external automation platform that doesn’t require any knowledge of coding. Integromat can actually operate on MULTIPLE records sequentially, so it’s a pretty nice tool for batch-operating on multiple records. And Integromat has a built-in “trim” function that can easily trim the leading & trailing spaces in any of your specified fields.

(Note that I am an Airtable consultant and a Registered Integromat Partner, and that link contains my personal referral code.)