Hiding the primary field

I want to be able to hide the primary field when I am sharing specific views. Specifically I would love to do this in the gallery view but ideally in all views.

7 Likes

image

I understand that it’s the unique representation and that it cannot be hidden or moved. The feature suggestion is to allow us to hide it when sharing a view. For instance, If I have a record for a bunch of folks attending an event (where each person’s name is the primary field) and they each provide feedback through a form on airtable, I want to be able to share a view of just the feedback without the names (primary field) to make it anonymous to my team.

1 Like

While it is not possible to move the primary field, it is now possible to “unfreeze” the primary field in grid views so that it does not take up screen real-estate as you scroll horizontally. For instructions on how to unfreeze columns, see the documentation.

There is no valid technical reason for being unable to hide the primary field.

It is an intellectual muddle between relational calculus in SQL databases where a record GUID is required for joins and AirTable’s approach to picking rows from linked tables.

As has been pointed out, AirTable itself does not even use the primary field. It has an internally hidden GUID (guaranteed unique ID) for its operations. The only purpose of the primary key is to provide a visual key.

But, perhaps users don’t need such a visual key. In many cases, the primary key is created as a formula that concatenates the value of other fields. In this case the primary key is entirely redundant for the user. On a view basis, it should be possible to hide the primary key if a user wants to hide the primary key.

I’ll point out that Grist is hardcore SQL (because it runs on SQLite) and they don’t even show the primary key, though you can refer to it in formulas.

So, why does AirTable have it? Some early developer in the days after the founding of AirTable thought it was essential or some kind of heinous unnatural act NOT to have it. (“I mean records have to have keys…”) Now, no junior developer or later hire (as a senior developer) is permitted to contradict that early days developer who is part of the lore of the founding of AirTable. In other words, it’s company culture to have it.

Yes, it’s often useful especially when choosing a record to link to–but that’s a user choice. A really excellent implementation would let users hide the primary field in any (and all) views, but allow it to be displayed in the record picker or the full record view. Easy. No harm; no foul.

So, a bad idea has persisted for essentially religious and historic reasons. A bold team would recognize this and make it optional. A really bold team might gently terminate intransigent members who persist in bad reasoning and resist making this very good product even better.

4 Likes

Yep, makes it nearly impossible to surface a gallery to a webpage. Like team’s primary field is always a personal email, but you don’t want your team’s personal email public on your website.

1 Like

Welcome to the Airtable community!

While there are many reasons why it would be nice to hide the primary field, this particular use case has a workaround. Create a synced table with a different primary field of your choosing. Then publish the synced table.

Clever, but that’s still a primary field. While it’s value could be a single space in every row, it’s still there. Maybe time to stop working around and time to start working on fixes.