Share manual reordering between views

I’m modeling a process in a table. Each record is a step in the process, there’s a field “Group” for steps done sequentially as a unit, and a field “Phase” that collects groups done in a particular order. Since it’s a process, it’s important to show the steps in the order in which they must be done in the group and the groups in the order in which they must be done in the phase.

I’m adding step records to a grid view and want to show them stacked by group in a kanban view. It seems like by default, the items in a stack are shown in creation order in the table. That means if I figure out a step I forgot in a group, I add it to the grid and manually reorder it to be at the right spot in the grid view. It’s still at the end of the group in the kanban view though, so I’d need to manually reorder it there, too.

Given that I’m going to have a bunch of kanban views and that I’m going to have a fair number of editors, I don’t want to trust that everyone will remember to go in and update every kanban view every time they insert or reorder a step. I don’t trust myself to remember to do that.

To be able to share an ordering across views I’ve added a “Process Order” int field that I fill to be the order the steps are done globally across the process. That lets me sort by Process Order in every view and get a consistent ordering. It means all my editors need to know to update Process Order when they’re adding steps or that they need to update it if they want to reorder steps. It’s a complicated thing to explain.

Being able to share the order from one view with all the others would make this way easier. Is that possible somehow? Or is there a way to do this that’s less clunky than having an artificial, hand-maintained sorting field?

Welcome to the community, @Charlie_Groves! :smiley:

The {Process Order} system that you created is your best option when it comes to keeping a consistent order across multiple views. Because Airtable’s data storage setup is closer to a database than a spreadsheet, records have no inherent knowledge of each other, so any order that you set via manually dragging records is only maintained for display purposes. It’s not stored or shared between views. Sorting by a specific field is the only way to keep the order consistent.

Having established that sorting by a field is the only way to maintain order, the question ultimately becomes: how can that sorting order be set more easily than manual entry?

I can think of some possible ways to do this via scripts in the Scripting block. However, it would also mean that you and your collaborators would need to use the provided script(s) and their interfaces for creating steps and setting their order. Do you feel this would be a workable solution?

Thanks! And thanks for the explanation of what Airtable’s doing under the views. That’s helpful on its own.

It could be! I’d actually been thinking of writing some scripts to validate properties of the table that the editors would run post-edit. If the sorting could run as part of that validation, it could link up with that workflow nicely.

The other thought I’d had to make this a little more user-friendly was to make the order field only apply within a particular group. I’d stack by group and sort by process order inside of that and users would only need to fill inside a group, not across the ~200 records in the table. Is it correct that the ordering of a single-select field is shared across views?

I’m not sure what you mean. A single select field just lets you pick one option from a collection of options. The order of that collection in the field setup is used by some views (like Kanban) to drive certain parts of the view. That order is set at the field level, which is effectively the table level. There aren’t different orders applied to different fields. Does that answer your question?

Re: the grouping/sorting combo, any time you apply both grouping and sorting in a view, grouping is done first, and sorting then happens within each group. Whether you choose a numbering sequence for all records, or a different sequence per group, it doesn’t really matter, again because sorting happens inside each group, independent of the sorting inside other groups.

Yep, that confirms what I was asking, that changing the order in a single-select field will change the order in a view grouping by it. Thanks!

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