Link to other base

The lack of this function is a fundamental flaw that contradicts the universal organization of a business.

Business is fundamentally about coordinating tasks between different facilitators (employees) to produce a product. A product has lifecycle stages (production, marketing, sales, customer service) that require different departments to facilitate it’s fulfillment, as well as departments to facilitate internal business items (legal, finance, admin, biz dev, R&D). Departments are grouped based on common skillsets and knowledge and have their own systems/procedures/data/assets etc which require different access levels - because you don’t want your production team looking at your sales pipeline and seeing how much money you make in your financials or viewing employee reviews and sensitive data in HR.

All business data is created around one central thing: the business! Therefore, a business’s data must be collective and relational, yet must be compartmentalized via different departments.

This is the problem with project management software - it is usually created with only one or 2 departments in mind, because it’s extremely challenging to make something that indeed does combine all data yet compartmentalize: you need a database program to do it…

Airtable is nearly the unicorn where you can actually run an entire business with all tasks and data in one place between different departments. The visualizations and functions are unbelievably amazing - yet you don’t allow the compartmentalization of departments through different bases, which fundamentally contradicts business.

To properly have collective relational data you must currently have all departments in one base, which means 1x base is theoretically the equivalent to 1x entire company, which makes Workspaces obsolete, and violates the rule of the need for department compartmentalization.

I would say the day is saved if zapier had a ‘update record then updates another record’ capability to sync records but I only see ‘new record updates another record’ so that means records cannot sync between bases through zapier… I hope I’m wrong and there’s a solution here…???

If you fix this one function a teenager could run a fortune 500 conglomerate from a Starbucks… hope it happens! :slightly_smiling_face:

** Edit - just found @openside.com so that’ll prob do the trick, def a little pricey but well worth it I’m sure.

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For us it’s because we already need multiple tables within one base to manage are Product teams, but we have many different Product teams globally working in different cultures and company environments, so we would like to allow them flexibility (Airtables greatest strength similar to Trello), to do their own thing with admin level and be able to summarise it for example group wide status or gantt chart views

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After several rebuilds I’ve determined a method that reduces tables needed, also eliminating the need for a second base. Requiring only using each record in only one place.

The logic involved requires forgetting almost everything you think you know about database functionality. If anyone is interested I will gladly help.

Airtable should hire me! I’d have a lot of fun evolving it’s uses.

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Any update on this? @Katherine_Duh

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Please!!! And thank you :slight_smile:

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George,
I haven’t made a video or tutorial just yet.

Do you have Zoom? We can set up a call ana i can show you what I’m doing. Otherwise I’ll be putting together a video explaining it soon.

Thanks,

Shawn

Yes, 1, 2, & 3 are all reasons for wanting cross base linking.

Reason 1: Permissions-- I do film & video production. There are all sorts of layers of permissioning requirements. I don’t want my actors poking around my casting data. I don’t want random crew members to have access to an actor’s private cell number. I don’t need the crew to see us frantically tinkering with the production schedule to make our budget. The easiest way to manage permissioning is by base, but if you can’t link the bases together, you have to custom permission each table for every single member of the production team. That’s time consuming and odds are good that you’re going to miss something and private data will slip through the cracks. (You asked about more granular permissioning. For the reasons stated above, I’m not a fan of solving the problem with more elaborate permissioning options. Bases are a much tidier way to visualize the walls between data than permission options. And individually permissioning rows & columns of 10 different tables for a team of 50 people would be a huge headache.)

Reason 2: Manager/Master lists: One of the primary things I manage and track are people. I need to share individual names/contact info across multiple bases and tables. The name/contact info always stays the same (a master list), but that contact info needs to utilized in many different tables, bases, & workspaces. For every single project, I need to assemble a team from scratch. But I tend to draw from the same batch of people-- If I like someone, I generally want to work with them again. So let’s say I have a crew member named Ella. Ella is great with cameras. She’s the cinematographer on one project in Workspace A, the first Assistant Camera on another project in Workspace B, and the camera operator on a 3rd project in Workspace C. But there’s only one Ella. And in every single production in every single workspace, I need to know her e-mail, her phone number, and remember the fact that she is allergic to peanuts so that we don’t send her into anaphylactic shock on set. (Side note, I’d also need all of the data referenced from the master list-- the lookup data containing phone & e-mail addresses-- to work with AirTable blocks-- one of the reasons I downgraded my subscription is that data from lookup fields didn’t work with the blocks. It’s useless to have a roster of crew members that I can’t e-mail in bulk). Having a master list would also help me track lots of other useful info: across all workspaces, how many of my projects as Ella worked on? Let’s say I’m looking for a cinematographer for my new project, but Ella isn’t available. Who should I ask? If Air Table allowed cross linking of bases (and reporting), I’d be able to apply a filter to my master contact table and pull up a list of everyone who’s ever been in the camera department on any of my productions.

Reason 3: Clutter. If I’m one company, and I do 5 productions per year, and if each of those productions requires at least 10 tables, at the end of 3 years, I have 150 tables (aaaaaaggggh!). Yes, I could consolidate the data on fewer tables by adding project columns to track which data go with which production, but then, instead of being overwhelmed with tables, I’m now overwhelmed with table rows. And, we get back to the permissioning problem because unless I set up filtered data views for every single production, and track the permissioning for each of those views meticulously, the camera department for Production B can see all the info from previous production A. It could cause problems like the cinematographer asking me “You got a $2000 lens on your last production, why can’t I have it on this production?” It could lead to errors like accidentally assigning a camera rental package to the wrong production. Or sending the entire crew to a location address from production A, when they need to be at the location address for production B.

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There’s a solution to this. It’s about how you’re using the product and it’s capabilities.
Please, someone from Airtable, reach out to me. Let’s have a discussion on how to best illustrate what I’m doing to best serve the community.

Until then, I think I can summarize it like this: Use views to create dynamic access the any base. If you must get info from one base to the next, create a form the includes the needed fields in “Base 2”. Add that form into a field within your workflow of “Base 1”. This can be triggered via Zapier, if needed. I personally have determined there to be a need for only one Base for a person. Everything is capable of being limited by view and used as needed for each individual’s unique set of needs and functionality.
Thanks!

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Thanks! I’ll try tinkering with it. Let us know if you post a video demo. I’d love to see it!

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Hmmmm… I was just playing around with this. I can’t quite figure out what you’re doing to make it work. I can use a link to pull up an input form from one base and add it into another, but I still need to duplicate the data. It is true that one can generate a URL link to individual table records, so I suppose there’s some elaborate Zaper/Integromat hack one could put together-- sending links, record by record, from one base into another, then you could use that link to “point” back to the original record. But it still doesn’t solve the problem of cross linking those items within the new base and its tables (or using the data in any way other than looking at it)

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Yes,
Linking data to sync between bases requires automation.

However, I have a method of using data that allows me to only need one base. (Took awhile to illustrate this to others. Our minds are programmed on how data works. That needs undone)

When I wanted to extend a data record into another base I simplified my definition of what was needed. Shortly later I discovered the solution. Everyone’s solution to this will be unique to their needs.

I offered my work to the Airtable team. They don’t have a need for it.
If anyone would like to have a conversation to help you discover your solution, feel free to email me directly and we’ll setup a time. shawnjp@gmail.com

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@Air_Table @Katherine_Duh, If we can’t have the ability to link bases, and if we must stuff everything into one base using dozens of tables, could we at least have the ability to put selected tables together into groups? Having some way to group tables, or having some sort of folder structure for tables would be very helpful. Then, by opening a folder, I could immediately pull up all the tables relevant to a particular project or department (instead of selecting them one by one). It would definitely help with some of the visual clutter. If you added permissioning to the folders/groups, it might also solve some of the problems that people are complaining about in this thread. Folders could act as mini-bases within the larger base. Non-relevant or private tables would be filtered out, but one could still use all the linking features. It would basically be a way of bulk-permissioning tables (instead of needing to permission them one by one).

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Zoom works. Google Hangouts too. Whatever works for you. Always interested in seeing how others use AirTable.

Cheers,

I love airtable for what it is… an easy to setup simple collaborative “database”…ish. It makes my life easy for many tasks that I need to setup quickly and collaboratively.

I was an airtable Pro user for over a year on an oil and gas project. In fact I was the administrator of and owner of the entire IT and workflow process for the project. I got approval to use airtable for the project and we were spending about $300 per month on airtable fees. I had been asking for this feature for over a year, and it would have made our life so much easier.

I ended up starting to convert to ragic.com but the project was over before I was able to complete the transformation. Airtable is good for what it is good for… simple to moderately simple projects.

For more encompassing and customizable solutions Check out Ragic.com … Not as pretty and easy to use, but pricing and customization are far superior.

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We need this feature!

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The ability to connect bases together has been a topic / request for several years. We have the same issue - who wants to have multiple copies of a contact list in multiple bases?

Is there a reason why this can not be added as a native capability in Airtable?

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Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think that groups and folders could go a long way to alleviate many of these frustrations. If we’re stuffing all of our data into one base, we need a way to group together not only different tables, but different views within tables. For example, in video production, I have a rentals table which holds rental info for all my departments. Each department gets its own view within that table (Lighting, Art, Wardrobe, Etc.). I also have a Purchases table which holds receipts and shipping info. Each department gets its own view within that table too. I have a Look Book table, so each department can store reference photos. Again, each department gets its own view. So now, my Lighting, Art, and Wardrobe departments each have their relevant info stored deep down in specific views across several different tables. If I’m having a meeting with the Art Department, how do I quickly pull up all the views specific to that department across all the tables? If I want to set up viewing permissions for the Head of Wardrobe, how do I quickly pull up all of the views in all of the tables that I want her to have access to? There’s no efficient way to do either of these things. The search field only lets you search for one table at a time. And even then, it doesn’t let you search for views within tables. The ability to group various tables and/or views together using folders or tags would be immensely helpful. Throw in some colorful icons for the groups and voilà, you have created mini-bases within the larger base.

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Zoho Creator does link different bases (applications). Airtable should as well.

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I would LOVE to have this feature linking across bases. I’ve already set up a few Zaps on Zapier, but as folks have commented, the zaps are very basic and often break down unless workflows are conducted in a very specific manner that isn’t scalable / enforceable.

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@Katherine_Duh @Airtable_Admin – The inability to link bases is a massive downside to your otherwise amazing product. My agency does collaborative work with many external vendors and clients. We would LOVE to have them manage/edit their own pieces of the work, but we cannot give them Editor access to our base because it contains sensitive data they should not be able to see – it would be detrimental to our business if they got access to our base to see under the hood (so to speak).

Likewise, I have a non-profit outside of work. My team there creates events with various different entities, and we would love to give them the ability to edit their own tasks, but they should not have the ability to see the other events we are working on. So, with a major event at a world famous museum, we have had to create a separate base only to manage the work from that event – separate to the primary base that contains the rest of our data.

Deeply frustrating.

Better reporting functionality would make your product vastly more appealing to commercial / paying users. We have been struggling with this piece for weeks now, and still can’t provide clear and suitable reports to the C-suite.

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