Recommendations for primary field for to do list

I’m a newbie so this may be a dumb question.

I’m building a To Do list. I’d like the primary field to be a Single Select for category (priority to do, shopping list, normal to do, etc.). Since Single Select is not available for the primary field I thought of using a formula that would simple be the name of my category field. This works, but duplicates data in the category field leading to confusion. I thought about hiding the primary field, but this also is not allowed. I then thought of auto number, but this too is not allowed. I tried the function record id. It works, but what it returns is confusing and meaningless to the casual user.

Can someone suggest a better way?

Thanks

Autonumber is allowed. So is a formula, so you can make a formula which concatenates any of the other fields that you would like to see there.

You’ve done a great job of exploring the capabilities of Airtable.

I recommend you go with a variation of this option. Have the formula for the primary field include both the category field and the name of the list item. Then get used to ignoring the primary field value when doing data entry. :upside_down_face:

{category} & " " & {item name}

I’m not sure I like the idea of getting

I’d like to use the Kanban view for viewing as well as data entry. As near as I can tell, the primary field cannot be hidden or moved in grid view. Likewise, in Kanban view it appears that I cannot hide the primary field or move it.

Is there some kind of clever workaround that will hide or at least let me move the primary field in Kanban view?

No, you cannot hide the primary field in Kanban view.

Ignoring the primary field value when doing data entry does take getting used to. Since it is a calculated field, you don’t use it for data entry.

I find having duplicate info on display in the primary field is annoying, but still better than having a field with no meaning, such as an autonumber, record id, or blank field.

I just discovered another annoyance in Kanban view.

Unlike the other fields the primary field does not have a label. I changed it to autonumber and now I just have the number showing without an explanation as to what it is.

I experimented with functions. This one SEARCH(" ", “111”) returns a space. Unfortunately in Grid view the primary field is still there. It’s just empty. Kanban view is worse. What I see there is “Unnamed record”.

Surely others have complained to support about these issues?

Yes. It is an ongoing struggle. You should probably send them an email as well to support@airtable.com, to voice your concerns about this as well.

Airtable uses the primary field everywhere throughout a base to represent a record, and there is no way to hide the primary field, and no way to swap it out with another field. This is especially unfortunate on the calendar views, gallery views, and kanban views.

I know you were asking about kanban views, but in regards to gallery views, we do have an excellent alternative. MiniExtensions has created a fantastic gallery view for Airtable — it lets you hide the primary field, it offers a dynamic height for each card so it can show you all the data typed into your fields (instead of truncating your data like Airtable does), it can hide empty fields and shrink up to fill in the unused space, and more:

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I sent the following email to support.

I’m trying to create a “to do” list with fields such as Category (gardening, general, buy stuff, etc.), task description, priority, etc. The idea is that each to do will be grouped by category. I like the Kanban view since it allows me to drag & drop to rearrange tasks.

I’m having problems with the primary field.

  • When I name my primary field Category Kanban complains. Apparently, the primary field cannot also be used as a grouping field.

  • Single select is not available for the primary field.

    • I thought of using a formula that would simply be the name of my category field. This works, but duplicates data in the category field leading to confusion.
  • Another option would be to hide the primary field, but this is not allowed.

  • I tried the function record id. It works, but what it returns is confusing and meaningless to the novice user of my to do list.

  • The primary field does not have a label in Kanban view. When I change the field to autonumber I just see a number displayed for each task. Again, this is confusing to most people.

  • I experimented with functions. This one SEARCH(" ", “111”) returns a space. Unfortunately in Grid view the primary field is still there. It’s just empty. Kanban view is worse. What I see there is “Unnamed record”.

Please fix this problem or give me a workaround.

The workaround is to use a formula field as the primary field.

I think the main thing that you meant to ask the support team was the ability to hide the primary field on the kanban cards, and/or choose a different field to display at the top of the kanban cards.

Consider what the primary field is used for. Are you going to select a To Do item from another table? If not, the contents of the primary field aren’t that important. You can’t hide it from a view, but you can make it much smaller so that it isn’t so obtrusive.

If you are going to relate to a To Do item from another table, use whatever field you would want to use to select that item. As ScottWorld suggested, it could be a concatenation of two other fields. Use whatever it most useful for your solution.

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