Feature Request - Full record search when adding linked records, not just the primary key field

When I selecting linked records in a field, the search function only allows me to search based on the primary field. However, my primary field names are not informative (AB001, e.g.). What I really need is to search by one of the other fields of the linked record. This should be possible. When there are so many linked records to search, you have to be able to do better searches. Google Tables allows this and so does Ninox, so I know it’s possible.

Do we have a formal feature request queue for Airtable to send directly to the developers?

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Yep, people have been requesting this one for 4+ years.

Airtable has ignored all of our requests for this, even though all competing database apps have this capability. Airtable tends to have very little regard for user requests, which is a real shame and is my least favorite thing about using Airtable.

The best you can do to workaround this problem is to create a primary field that is a formula field that combines all the other fields that you would want to search.

You could also create your own sort of “linked record app” via a custom JavaScript — or an external automation using Integromat — that manages the searching for you.

It’s useless. They don’t listen to user requests. It’s a dead end. But you can try to email them at support@airtable.com, though. You’ll get a generic response: “Thanks! We’ll look into this!”

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Thanks @ScottWorld . That’s really depressing. I’ve chosen Airtable as my DB app because I perceive it as having the biggest user base, most funding, and most likely to persist into the future. I’m dismayed by the lack of some really basic features like the one we’re discussing. Before adding silly apps or other stuff, they need to get the basics right. I’ll send an email, see what happens.

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I think that Airtable is a really fantastic tool for lots of different teams, and I do believe that they will continue to grow and be here in the future. Airtable users are very passionate about it, despite its major limitations.

But I also agree with you 100% that they need to spend less time on silly apps & bad interface decisions (like only letting the “view” popover window work if you approach the “view” button from a certain direction) — by spending more time on core functionality of the product.

Agree.

Yep, and it’s entirely possible in Airtable as well; just not the way you would like (no-code).

A script to make this possible could be created in a script block or in a custom app. Ideally, it would generate a true inverted index (like Lucene or ElasticSearch) and it would allow you to choose arbitrary fields to search. Selecting a record for linking purposes is very simple once you know the record you want to link.

I recently wrote a little bit about inverted indexes here.

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Thanks @Bill.French. I’m glad to hear it’s possible. But this is such a basic function, I don’t think it should require paid users to make scripts for it. If this were more of a niche request, I can see warranting a script, but this is a core feature, IMHO.

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So many core features are missing. I fondly refer to Airtable as “the platform of limitations”.

Much of my job as a professional Airtable consultant is coming up with “creative workarounds” for the limitations of the platform.

Two of my favorite no-code tools are Integromat and MiniExtensions.com, but there are other tools as well — such as custom Javascripts.

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Agree.

No argument. Search is not Airtable’s strength and why this exists and keeps me busy.

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Seriously? I’m pretty sure that scripting and automations (just to name a couple) were user requests somewhere along the way, and they were added. We might not get specific feedback on requests, and we might not get things when we want them, but as I see it saying that the devs don’t listen at all isn’t true.

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And things like scripts make it possible to expand the possibilities. If you’re sad that a feature doesn’t exist, it’s important to realize that Airtable painstakingly undertook the development of a framework for making everyone’s missing features a reality with some exceptions.

This is the difference between waiting for the vendor to do exactly what you want [someday] and enlisting the aftermarket community to help users achieve whatever they may feel is critical and on their timeline. It’s why RegEx, Charts, Web Clipper and a huge number of half-baked brain-fartisan ideas should never have preoccupied Airtable’s development horizon.

Instead, they should continue to focus on ways for aftermarket developers, clever technicians, and power-users to help themselves to build whatever they might imagine. Create a platform whose very core is designed for extensibility, and the platform will thrive!

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I wonder why this happens with a relatively new product. I understand when Microsoft does not respond, but in this case :man_shrugging:

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