Making "Linked to" Fields Filter like "Multiple Select" fields

Is there any way for a “Link” field to share the filter properties of a “multiple select” field?

For example, when filtering a multiple select field, I have many options (e.g., has any of, has all of…) and I can toggle the selected options on/off. Seen in these 2 screenshots:

However, when filtering a linked field, I have limited options and I have to type in the exact thing I’m looking for. Seen here:

Is there anyway to get the link field to act like a multiple select field?
I don’t suspect there is. But wondering what the roadblock is to making this happen. Can that be programmed?

My current solution is suboptimal. Every so often I copy the multiple select field column and paste it into a column designated as a linked field. It works but require a lot of ongoing maintenance and if I change the name in one place, I have to remember to change it in the other field. It’s a hassle.

I would love a way to allow Link fields filterable similar to multiple select fields. Any advice from the community is appreciated, as always. Perhaps a solution with a script?

Correct. Those options can’t be altered at the user level, even via scripting.

If you feel strongly that this feature would benefit the Airtable community, add a post to the Product Suggestions category (though do a quick search first and see if a thread already exists).

Agreed, that’s definitely a hassle. Can you provide more details on why you’re putting yourself through all that? Are you manually changing filter options a lot? If so, is it not feasible to create multiple views with different filter settings so you don’t have to change the filter manually?

Yes, as @Justin_Barrett asked, if you could tell us a little more about your use case scenario, perhaps we could help give you some other options.

In addition to creating different views, you might also want to check out the Search Block or the Record List Block.

Personally, I really enjoy using the Search block, because it operates exactly how I would expect a search tool to operate. I can instantly search across multiple tables and/or multiple fields at once — and it gives me my results in their own separate list. It’s really quick & easy to search with it.

Thanks @ScottWorld and @Justin_Barrett.
I’ll try to explain it in as straightforward of a way as possible.
I am a physician and I use Airtable to help in my practice.

Below are 2 screenshots of a simplified example of how I use it.
I have a Table of “Symptoms” that a patient may present with.
And a table called “Diagnosis” which lists all the possible Diagnoses I treat.

Of course in the reality the list of potential symptoms that patients see me for is around 100 (instead of 5 as shown here). And the diagnoses I treat is around 500, (as opposed to 7 as shown here).

I use the Link field to match symptoms to a given diagnosis. So, for example, a patient that has the diagnosis of “Acute Mastoiditis” typically presents with “conductive hearing loss” and “ear pain.”

I like having Symptoms as a separate table because having a dedicated record for each potential symptom allows me to add additional information to it, such as the pertinent questions to ask and the exam maneuvers to do.

Likewise, I like having a dedicated record for each diagnosis because I can have a field for treatment/management options.

One of the ways I use airtable is to filter the symptoms field in the Diagnosis table, and select all the symptoms my patient presents with, and then it spits out the potential diagnoses that share those symptoms (See the third screenshot below). But in order to do this, I can’t filter by the linked field, but instead my current solution is to copy the whole column of the linked field and paste it to a new column that is designated as a multiselect. You can see that in the second screenshot. The column “Sx-select” is the pasted version of the “Sx [link]” field.

Fortunately, this works OK. But it does require ongoing maintenance… that is, periodically copy and pasting to make sure the multi-select column is “up to date.” It would be much nicer to be able to filter from the linked field directly.

The other reason it would be advantageous to allow Linked fields to filter similar to Multi/Single-select fields is because some of us have LONG lists of options in multi- or single-select fields. (as mentioned, I have at least 100 options in my symptoms lists). And it can be burdensome to manage or edit them when you are confined to doing so through the drop down… and when the only ability to sort them is in Alphabetical order. For people with a long list of potential options in a multi/single select field, it would be much nicer to be able to organize that list of potential variables in a separate Table altogether (where you could sub-categorize them etc.)

I guess I just don’t know what technical barriers there are to my idea.

Thanks again everyone. I appreciate your interest in helping me.

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Unless someone has a better idea, I think you’re doing exactly what you would be required to do, if you want the “filter” area to give you a list of predetermined choices to choose from.

The “filter” area only gives a list of predetermined choices for 5 different types of fields:
Single-select fields, multiple-select fields, ratings, checkboxes, and collaborator fields.

So, what you could do is automate the process of populating your multiple-select field by writing a custom JavaScript with the scripting block. Note that your JavaScript would need to be manually run by you whenever you want to update your multiple-select field with the updated information. But whenever you run it, it could loop through your records and update all the multiple-select field with the values from the linked field.

It would be nice if the Batch Update Block would let us update the contents of a field based on a formula (such as the contents of ANOTHER field), but alas, the Batch Update Block just has very simple functionality.

Alternatively, you could fully automate the process of doing this with On2Air Actions — their tool can perform bulk automations across an entire table. Integromat would be another option, but you would have to manually script your bulk automation.


Thank you. I’m going to think about these different options you proposed and figure out which way works best. Appreciate the reply.

You’re welcome! :slight_smile: If my information above helped you out, could you please mark my comment above as the solution to your question? This will help other people who have a similar question. :slight_smile:

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