Open Database Import/Export Format


Please implement import/export formats beyond CSV. Being able to migrate to/from tools like FileMaker and Access is critical. Hell, even XLS export would be an improvement. CSV is of course clean, but it’s OLD, and removes 100% of database functionality upon export. Thus, it is not a valid backup format. We require offline file-based backups. Thank you!


Hey Andrew, mind clarifying a bit on how XLS would preserve more database functionality? We defaulted to CSV for our export format because afaik it is the most universal format (for instance, it’s the primary or only format used by Salesforce, Google Contacts, Trello, etc).


Not sure if you’ve seen it, but Airtable friend Tim Dietrich put together a migration guide here:


Apologies if this isn’t what Andrew is requesting. I don’t intend to hijack his thread. One example that my company recent encountered was we needed to import an excel document with images in the cells. Since Airtable was unable to do that we had to manually place 800 images into individual cells which was (surprise) very time consuming.

That may be unrelated to what Andrew is referring to, however, so again please ignore if this is not the same issue.


Hi David, you nailed it in regard to the value of XLS import/export. Images within fields is a big one for us. Agreed that XLS is not a database format, but it does support much more capability than CSV, and is pretty broadly supported. Personally, I’m a Numbers '09 person, so XLS is a go-between. And as mentioned in other topics/threads, I prefer Numbers to all other spreadsheet apps due to it’s superior page-layout and formatting capabilities.

Howie, to be clear, CSV is indeed super-useful and definitely the lowest common denominator across most platforms. But it’s optimized for true data, not content like imagery/attachments.

Thanks all!


Hi, I’m currently evaluating whether to migrate my organisation to Airtable. Just wanted to register that the prospect of being able to export in a database format would be important – otherwise it feels like we would more or less be irreversibly committing ourselves to a product no matter what may happen in the future.


I really think we should be able to import XLSX files, as Airtable claims it is an improved Spreadsheet. So, importing an XLSX would be an easy task for the system. Or is it just a different concept?


Same boat as Thomas_Dale - I’m currently evaluating a move to Airtable and one of my biggest hesitations is the lack of export options. Table to table relationships are going to be very important to our data structure and, while I’m not a database or .csv expert by any means, I’m not sure how that would be preserved in a .csv export. Perhaps there’s some way to have limited conversion to SQL databases?


Hi, I have the same issue. I need to transfer 28k records with 1 to 3 images attached to each record. Anyone ad any success with migrating to AirTable?