Product Suggestion: Copy and paste field definitions between tables

It would be really cool if we could copy and paste the actual fields themselves (not the data) between tables.

For example, if I have 5 fields that are:

  1. single-select field
  2. multi-select field
  3. checkbox field
  4. number field
  5. formula field based on the fields above

I would love to copy all 5 of those fields and then paste them into another table. (No copying of data is necessary.)

And then, upon pasting those 5 fields into another table, I would end up with:

  1. A single-select field with the exact same options & colors that were in the other table.
  2. A multi-select field with the exact same options & colors that were in the other table.
  3. A checkbox field that is formatted the same way as the other table.
  4. A number field that is formatted the same way as the other table.
  5. The same formula, but referencing the fields in this new table.

This is something that comes up a lot when it comes time to “cleaning up” my client’s Airtable systems. I am often eliminating a lot of unnecessary tables and consolidating tables together. But I have to recreate each field from scratch, and recreate all the formatting/coloring options from scratch.

It’s not too difficult to recreate the select-field options (since we can convert a text field into a select-field), but it would be awesome if we could just copy & paste everything in one fell swoop.

Thanks!

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This would be nice. Right now you can copy a whole table and maintain field configurations, but sometimes you don’t need/want to copy the whole table. The ability to copy one field definition to another existing table would be helpful.

You’re talking about duplicating a table, right?

Yeah, I’m trying to essentially “merge” the fields from 2 separate tables to become 1 table. This comes up more often than people would think. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

While it would be nice to be able to copy and paste field definitions without having to copy data, I find that copying a few cells worth of data in order to copy the field definitions is a close enough workaround for most cases. It doesn’t work well with formula fields and linked record fields, but it works well for other fields.

This post has more information.

I don’t have any data in my fields to copy. I’m trying to copy structure, formatting, coloring, field names, etc. It’s just a pain to have to recreate every single field, one at a time.

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Making the single/multiselect field options mutable via the scripting block would be one way to solve this.

Yes, separating the “data entry portion” of the single/multiselect fields from the “actual options” within the single/multiselect fields would be a good long-term solution for those types of fields.

Copying and pasting field definitions is already possible, though not necessarily for all field types. Here’s a video I made a while ago that demonstrates how. While I was working inside a single base for the demo, it works between bases as well (just tested).

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@Justin_Barrett

Oh wow, this is fantastic! :slight_smile: Thank you so much for sharing your video on this topic!! :slight_smile:

This is amazing, and it is essentially what I was looking for — so it seems like this IS already built into Airtable!! :slight_smile:

What I didn’t realize was that after we copy fields from one table, we had to paste our fields ON TOP OF at least one existing field to make this happen. I was always avoiding this method because it brings over all the records with it.

Also, another cool trick: Let’s say that we are copying multiple fields at once. Airtable lets us paste on top of JUST ONE FIELD — and Airtable will create the rest of the fields for us. This means that we can create just one dummy field, and then paste on top of it.

I suppose that there are 2 little ways for Airtable to make this even better for us:

  1. Let us paste the fields without carrying over the records from the original fields. Just the fields themselves, but no records.
  2. Currently, we can copy multiple fields at once, but those fields have to be contiguous fields (i.e. all adjacent to one another). It would be great if we could select non-contiguous fields for copying purposes.

But, besides those 2 little improvements, I think that this is pretty much perfect!

Thanks so much, Justin! :slight_smile:

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