I work with a lot of very big or very small numbers… representing numbers in scientific notation would really make life way easier.
As I understand it, the only way to represent numbers are with integers or decimals (with customizable precision)… or percentages or currency formatting as different field types. Numbers in scientific notation could be stored in text fields, but formulas don’t work with them.
I suppose I could use two fields with the decimal in one field and the exponent in another…
Really pretty silly that this is not supported…basically makes this product unusable for me.
You are on the right compass heading if you seek a work-around to this limitation. Indeed, the current architecture is limiting. But, expressing data in text is a useful approach if only there were a way to overcome the additional complexity of using formulas with strings.
Hmmm… let’s see - would Script Blocks be able to fill this gap? Indeed it does.
In my world I’m always working with really small numbers. Considering all the stuff that AirTable is really really good at, not having this capability seems like a glaring oversight.
I understand, but let’s be honest - Airtable is designed to be more database and less spreadsheet. If it weren’t it would be a spreadsheet and you’d still be using Excel.
The vast majority of users, use cases, and data in SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) for database operations are generally cast in dollars and cents, integers, fractions with three digits of precision, and of course time with 1 second of precision. As such, any failure to address more complex capabilities beyond these basics probably doesn’t rise to the level of glaring oversight in my view.
Not sure if you’re aware but almost every vastly more powerful (and more expensive) database struggles with scientific notation and conversions at varying degrees.
I [too] would like to see milliseconds and scientific notation would be nice as well. But let’s remember this is a free system with a higher paid tier for more records. It’s simply not an ideal place for precision time protocols (PTP) or complex mathematics, right?
And should you desire really complex math or PTP, there are ways to do it with code either in script blocks or in custom blocks. Custom blocks also come with the ability to inject libraries that embrace complex math and scientific notation.
There is no complex math about it - there are valid usage cases where decisions need to be made around a single number. Some numbers are best expressed in scientific notation.
No formulas… just reporting & tracking.
Okay, so as I said - I get it that you would like this; I would too. There’s at least one feature request for this that I upvoted.
And I also agree that some numbers are best expressed in scientific notation, however, the vast majority of numbers that need expressing in the usual and customary ways that Airtable databases are utilized, do not seem to fall into this category.
But… like SQL databases, there are perfectly legitimate ways of handling them and displaying them in Airtable for external reporting and dashboards.
A script Block (for example) -
Yes! This would be an extremely useful feature! I’m finding the lack of this feature to be extremely limiting. There are many reasons why I’ve exported my data out of Excel / Sheets into Airtable, but being able to enter numbers in scientific notation seems like it should be a given.