Linked Records Create New Records instead of Matching

I’m having a heck of a time trying to create a sort of CRM in Airtable. I have a table for contacts (faculty names) and another table for courses. I’m trying to link the courses table to the faculty table by using the faculty ids from our directory. The goal of this would be for the records to match up so that I can see “so and so is teaching this course and here is their faculty info”.

When I “link to a record” and pair the primary key from the faculty table – it automatically creates them new instead of linking to existing. What the heck am I doing wrong here? No matter what order I try and do it in – it always seems to result in that.

You can’t automatically match records based on an ID in Airtable. There is no automatic linking in Airtable.

Unlike other database systems, all Airtable linking is done manually… and all links are to the primary field of the other table. You aren’t linking to a specific field in the other table, you are only linking to the entire record.

So you would need to manually go through your records and manually link your records.

Alternatively, you can do a one-time-only automatic linking of your records if you convert a text/number field to a linked records field, in which case it will match any pre-existing records in the other table — as long as the field value you’re matching to in that other table is its primary field. You can’t link to any other fields.

Hi @ScottWorld – thanks. I saw that note about no automatic linking and I’m familiar with that. What I’m trying to do though is what you describe here:

Alternatively, you can do a one-time-only automatic linking of your records if you convert a text/number field to a linked records field, in which case it will match any pre-existing records in the other table — as long as the field value you’re matching to in that other table is its primary field. You can’t link to any other fields.

For whatever reason – it’s not matching the pre-existing records from the primary key of that first table. It’s not doing any matching and instead creates all of them as new duplicate records in the other table with that same primary key.

There are no primary keys in Airtable, but I think you’re referring to the primary field.

You aren’t able to do an automatic linking based on the primary field of your first table. You would need to take a DIFFERENT field (that’s NOT your primary field), convert it into a linked record field, and then Airtable links that field to the primary field of the OTHER table.

if this isn’t working for you, please upload some screenshots or a video demonstrating the problem you’re having.

@Adam_Nemeroff Were you able to find a solution to your problem?

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