Lookup without linking tables


It would be great to have lookup functionality without needing to link table first, essentially a VLOOKUP function. Let’s say I have a table of products:

And I have another table where my salespeople enter customer orders (let’s say they are scanning barcodes using the mobile app)

I want to look up the scanned barcode in the products table without making an explicit link between the two. The way this works at the moment is that you have to link the two tables and search for the product record you want. For speed, I want my team to simply scan a barcode and have Airtable do the lookup in the background. This would need some error handling in case the scanned barcode does not exist in the products table. I could use a formula to, for example, “VLOOKUP” the product name into the orders field to show whether or not the scanned barcode exists.

Just one use case, I can see lots more examples where a VLOOKUP-style function would be really useful.


Unless I misunderstood your request, wouldn’t your problem be solved if Airtable let mobile users link fields using the barcode scanner instead of only allowing typing? Its still a feature request but a far easier thing to implement.


Yes, that would work for the specific use case, although more generally I think a generic VLOOKUP formula could be used in other ways. For example, I’ve got single select field and the values in the select are also in a reference table. If I select “Whatever” from the select, another attribute in the ref table is populated for me. I could see this being useful where the first input field is barcode, single line text, single select, date, maybe others too.



I really would love this tool as well. It would make our lives so much easier!