New: Setting custom record terminology

:wave: Hello! I’m Ayesha, a Product Manager here at Airtable. We’re so excited to share a new feature with you that allows you to change the term “record” in the product to a term that’s more specific to your table.

What is this?

When you name a table, you can now optionally select a name for your records from a list of 50+ options. You’ll see that name used in the product where you see your table or view, so you can more easily understand what actions you’re taking.

For example, instead of seeing the generic “Add record” action:

You can now override this “record” terminology by specifying the work that you want to track. If you choose to call your record a “task”, you and your team can now see “Add task”:

How can I set this for a table?

You can select this from the dropdown next to a table name, under “Rename table”:

What options can you choose from?

You can choose from a list of 50+ options, based on common workflows (Project, Task, Event, Request, Campaign, etc.). We do not support the ability to add in your own term.

If you don’t see an option you’re looking for, let us know by filling out this form to request a new term.

We’re looking forward to hearing what you think, please let us know if you have any questions.

This update is available now. If you aren’t seeing these changes reflected, please try clearing your cache.

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ohhhh shiny! Thanks for this, I’ll check it out very soon! :coffee:

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Nice, thanks! Could you perhaps explain the reasoning behind not supporting a custom option? I’m sure there’ll be a lot of requests and it might assuage them?

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Since these terms will appear throughout the product, we wanted to make sure that the options work well everywhere they will show up. In addition, as we think about supporting other languages in Airtable in the future, we also wanted to make sure these terms will work.

We’ll keep an eye on the requests and would love to know if there’s any options you think are missing! We’ll be regularly adding new terms as needed.

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HI @Ayesha_Bose,

A few comments:

  1. The plural of “person” is “people”, not “persons”. If you choose “person” as the term, it says at the bottom “### persons”.

  2. In the lower left corner of the grid view, where it shows how many records you’re currently looking at: Many people get confused if the number is lower than they’re expecting because they don’t realize that they’re looking at a filtered list. They might even think that records have been deleted. What it should say in the lower left is “X of Y records”. Currently, it just says “X records”. But it should say “X of Y records”. This would enable people to know at a glance how many records are in their entire table vs. how many records they’re currently looking at.

  3. Similarly, it would be nice if the views in the left margin would show a number next to them to indicate how many records are currently visible in that view. That number could show up in the tooltip which appears when you hover over a view name.

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@Jeremy_Oglesby Duh. Yes, I know that it’s “grammatically permissible” as the plural form of person. I am a grown adult who is in Mensa and also has a college degree. But it is almost NEVER used in day-to-day language — neither conversationally nor in writing. Try going around saying “persons” instead of “people” in your conversations, and let me know about all the strange looks you get. If Airtable isn’t going to give us a choice of which terms we can use (which is a very strange decision), they should at least give us the commonly-used version of those words.

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Please add multiple language support soon! Thank you :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your response, although I can’t say I’m any clearer on the reasoning? Are we not essentially just talking about setting the singular of a table name? Why would a custom option be any more prohibitive to foreign language support and deeper product integration than custom table names?

I won’t be adopting this feature in this format as only a third of the tables in our main base have an appropriate option and consistency is far more important to my users than nice features (and I do think this is a nice feature). I understand you’re accepting requests for new options but that feels limiting. I don’t want to count on your team agreeing with my suggestion and implementing it in order to have a tightly integrated base.

Again thank you for rolling out the new feature and for answering my questions, but this one feels like a miss and I hope it’s not indicative of a less customisable future for Airtable.

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Minor update but it’s great nonetheless @Ayesha_Bose . My requested feature update is to allow choosing default single select option when you click the button add. It will be quite handy.

In the Delete dialog, the terminology is not applied (“products” in my case):

Captura de Pantalla 2022-08-24 a las 12.49.10

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Thanks, Ayesha — and thanks to the devs for this development. This is something I miss about Knack when I’m working in Airtable. When users are working in “classic Airtable” (grid views especially), stuff looks the same from one table to another and we builders don’t have a lot of options here. Being able to provide clues to our users about what kind of records they’re looking at will be useful.

But I won’t be able to make much use of this on my current project because the terms I need (“Students” and “Parents”) aren’t available. Yes, I’ve completed a request for these, using the link you provided. Thanks for that. As I move some of my law firm clients to Airtable, I’m going to need to ask for more terms. Custom names would be ideal. (By the way that’s how Knack does it: Knack guesses from the name of the table what the singular will be, but you can override with a custom choice.)

Alternatively…

What might be easier and wouldn’t require anything from me, is if Airtable’s use of the word “records” could at least in some contexts be followed by the words “in STUDENTS” or “in ORDERS” or whatever. For example, in my base, when user has expanded a record in PARENTS and goes to link to a new record in STUDENTS, they’d see the option to “+ Add new record in STUDENTS”, which would clarify exactly what clicking that button will do. (See screenshot.)

I don’t think this is necessary everywhere, including at the bottom of grid views. A “student” isn’t quite the same thing as a “record in STUDENTS”. My sense is that users get a little confused mainly when they’re straddling tables — when they’re creating links.

I agree with those who ask for custom options here. That would make this more useful. But still, this is a nice little improvement. Thanks.

William

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I’m missing “Supplier”

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@Ayesha_Bose @Jordan_Scott1

I am posting this publicly on behalf of many people who have messaged me privately about this but do not want to post their thoughts publicly.

In our personal opinions, many of us believe that this new feature is unhelpful, unnecessary, and poorly thought out. (This new feature is also confusing because it now requires additional training to our customers who now have to see this every time they create a new table.)

Additionally, since much of the Airtable product line doesn’t yet refer to these new labels, this seems to have been rolled out prematurely.

Also, the lack of the proper pluralized version of “person” (and possibly other nouns coming in the future) also shows that this was rolled out prematurely, because the code was designed to just tack on an “s” to the end of any noun in the list. There are hundreds of nouns that aren’t pluralized in this way. Man/men, woman/women, child/children, family/families, supply/supplies, syllabus/syllabi, stimulus/stimuli, species/species, quiz/quizzes, diagnosis/diagnoses, and many more nouns that our customers are currently using for their records.

And most of all, it says on Airtable’s About Page:

Airtable was founded on the belief that software shouldn’t dictate how you work—you should dictate how it works. Our mission is to democratize software creation by enabling anyone to build the tools that meet their needs. People around the world use Airtable to do everything from cattle tracking to filmmaking.

We don’t see how limiting people to a small list of preselected nouns lives up to this mission of letting customers dictate how their software should work, instead of the other way around. As the perfect example, your very mission statement mentions cattle tracking and filmmaking, yet your curated list of nouns doesn’t include either “cow” or “cattle”. It also doesn’t contain any filmmaking terms, such as “scene”, “character”, “shot”, etc.

The only way that this feature could be helpful for our customers is if customers can specify their own custom terms, and if the entire product supported it. Right from the very beginning, this feature should have been rolled out to ONLY allow custom nouns: have the user enter the “singular version” of the noun, and enter the “plural version” of the noun.

But even if this was rolled out to be a 100% custom feature, we still believe that this was an unnecessary addition to the product, and we are pretty disappointed that internal resources were dedicated to this feature above any of the hundreds of more pressing needs that customers have been requesting for years. How did this get prioritized over much more pressing needs?

Please note that nobody is criticizing you personally. We are criticizing this feature, and this feature alone. Airtable seems to mistakenly confuse critiques of the product with critiques of people. We are not criticizing the people who probably worked very hard on this feature. We are criticizing the feature itself, and we are also surprised that there was no communication with customers about this before it was rolled out, so we could give preliminary feedback on it before it went live.

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Respectfully disagree. I think it’s nice to be able to specify it, iso always “record(s)”.

Absolutely agree with this though! The list of customer requests, some more simple than others I’ll agree, is just unbelievable…

:zipper_mouth_face:

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Agree with you @ScottWorld, only a custom term for each table, and it will probably come to this because the list is going to be a very, very long list… I need Boxes or Cartons, no sorry Parcels, etc… That’s why I’m not making any request, waiting the “custom labels” for records.

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Yes, I totally agree that it is nice…

…if the entire product recognized the term, if it wasn’t prioritized over more important missing features, if proper plural words were used, and if it was 100% custom.

All those cattle ranchers & filmmakers that Airtable always talks about in their advertisements, in their press releases, in their media interviews, and in their very own mission statement can’t even use this new feature! :sweat_smile:

In the meantime, Airtable has now assigned internal employee resources to curating & maintaining & programming an internal list of terms that will never be all-inclusive. I can’t think of a bigger waste of resources than this. :man_shrugging:

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Perfect example of very common terms that are missing. “Shipment” is another one that is related to these.

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Just a thought. Don’t use the feature if you don’t like it. Just keep using record(s). You didn’t want them to do this in the first place. Instead you complain that it is not full featured enough but also they shouldn’t have spent time on this but now they should spend more time on making it include a plural version of each word and also allow any word/phrase to be used, which could cause issues and vulnerabilities in the code that are unknown. Maybe the fact it was limited is because they only wanted to dedicate so many resources to this project, to your point.

You comments are fine but it seams like this product is not for you. Every feature and product is limited and noting those limits and your desires are fine. But saying this this doesn’t work for you so nobody should get to use this and they should not publish this is not productive.

I love the interface designer but it is far from complete. I am sure glad they didn’t wait until is was 100%. I am getting uses out of it now.

So, I think if it says “persons” my users will be able to struggle through.

Take care Scott.

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:+1: in legal writing “Persons” is not uncommon…

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