Sorry, you've exceeded the usage limits for this base Airtable - 500 fields maxed out - Sorry but I do think it's a flaw of design in Airtable

I maxed out 500 fields. It’s disappointing cause I didn’t know about it or I missed it wherever it’s mentioned. At least the Account overview should warn me earlier I am maxing out the number of fields. It doesn’t say anything about that. Now I have to spent days and days to redesign the table, maybe weeks…

I have lots of fields primarily because of many complex formulas I have. I rather do multiple steps with formulas so that it’s easier to fix them or update them, given how unhelpful the formula editor is in Airtable.

Now I will have to fold many of these fields together to free some space. I have alone 30 fields taken up with formula to generate separate URLs for attachments in the attachment fields (Yes I know there is an addon)… and so on.

If I sound a bit frustrated, yes I am. That’s SILLY this 500 fields limit. If it was 1000, fine. But I would have thought maybe 5000 or unlimited.

I have lots of formulas and dozens of automations… It will take me weeks to fix this.

This is an issue for Airtable database design.

I already have 15 linked tables also with 100’s of additional fields there. So it’s not like I am not taking advantage of additional tables.

From what I see, even if I upgrade to the highest Airtable plan, I can’t remove this limitation. It’s a design limitation.

This is bad bad… If I sound frustrated … YES I am :unamused:

Simple mention of database limitations would solve it. There’s place for this in the account overview. So if Airtable is quick pointing out the benefits of an upgrade to higher package, it should also point out the obvious limitations of records. If this was a time-sensitive thing the user putting together such a database would be screwed.

Now in this situation it doesn’t make it easy to redesign things, looking at this hairball it’s a major redesign. There is a thick line on the right of left long table and that is made out of 100’s formulas. That’s the problem.

Previously discussed here…

It is an infrastructural limitation, that much is clear, seeing how no amount of money lets you buy your way out of this one. Given how long this has been an issue and considering how arbitrary it is, I’m not expecting it’ll ever get fixed. Not unless the whole stack is redesigned and we can’t be sure if it was ever even designed so meticulously in the first place.

Every tech hits the point of diminishing returns. With Airtable, that point became clear fairly early on, but given how it’s a soft cap, it’s not really that threatening to their sustainability as a business. Given the main target demographic, that is.

Tl;dr. the year is 2021, if your technical requirements regularly keep you north of the 50,000-record database land, then stay there instead of dragging the convoy down south. Keep away from Airtable or call the corps and Alicia Keys, in that order, to assist in your garbage collection strategy. Because you’ll have to get both real aggressive and real creative to make it work. Plus, you know, it’s just not worth it.

50,000 mark makes it look obviously like the wrong party to be at. Spreadsheet like interface database and instead it’s barely beating Lotus 1-2-3 Spreadsheets from 1990’s. That had 256 columns, I remember that well, I was sold on Excel waiting in line in the store.

Yeah, I’m not saying your expectation is unreasonable, just that the handicap is probably here to stay for good.
I won’t ask what you’re tracking but out of curiousity, is it some client that’s insisting on using Airtable or are you just that entrenched in the platform? How long did it take you to hit the 50k cap? Anything more than a week of runtime and I’d say it’s feasible to design an automated framework that manages itself without losing too many of your current record relationships. But feasible only in the sense that if the job demanded it and the budget was there, I’d say it might be worth the headache. That’s usually not the case lol.

Maybe try the Google Airtable clone? Or the Microsoft one? Both offer much deeper integrations with their sister services and can probably handle themselves better in demanding scenarios seeing how they’re being run on in-house server farms.

It’s not the 50,000 rows limit. I only have a few 100’s records, that is few 100’s rows. The limit I am hitting is the 500 fields, that’s the columns. I am building for myself an application for ecommerce and neither Google or Microsoft worked due to their user interface limitations. I need something that is quick and has a good user interface out of the box since I am the intended users of it. I am not a programmer. A programmer would build a proper database and perhaps some web interface for it. If this becomes something workable I may be looking at ways to commercialize it in the future. But right now it’s primarily for myself. Airtable is a great fit for this hobby-making and really the only issue is the 500 fields limit (columns). I will never reach the 50,000 rows limit for sure.

If you wish to continue with Airtable, you will have to work within the 500 field limit. It is unlikely to change any time soon.

You say you prefer to have formulas that are spread out across multiple fields. This is one area for consolidation. Yes, the built in editor is difficult to work with. I highly recommend using a separate text editor to write formulas. I find a well-written, well-formatted, multi-line formula easier to understand than a long chain of formulas where it is difficult to track all of the dependencies.

You also indicate that you have few records. It isn’t clear if you have so few records because you have yet to enter the data or if the base will never have many records. Often a very “wide” base with many fields and few records is a candidate for a base redesign, especially if there are many blank cells in the grid view. Without knowing more about your base it is impossible to tell if this is the case for your base.

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kuovonne, thank you. Yes I’ll combine the formulas. The reason I kept separate steps is because it’s still work in progress and it’s easier to fix things. Big formulas big headache. I can live with that.

I did a bit of looking around and I didn’t know Microsoft and Google came out almost simultaneously out with an Airtable clone, the lists and table product. One could argue otherwise but Airtable was inspiration for sure. It’s still the best product I would pick hands down at this time over Microsoft’s and Google offering, although their integration with other products they have have some advantage.

So yes, I would say Airtable priority is other stuff now to worry about.

I think you are being unfair on AIrTable - Good design of any software solution has proper capacity management as part of the specification, before you start any coding.

Airtable publish the limits quite clearly at Airtable plans – Airtable Support and that was what I used before we started using the system.

If you are thinking about any db of 200/300+ fields then you need to consider a relational db mgmt product perhaps - AirTable is a very cost effective solution where the emphasis is on simplicity rather than large scale db mgmt features.

No I don’t work for AT, and yes I have my frustrations with the product, but please don’t blamer them for a lack of planning or knowledge of your requirements

Thank you for sharing that link. It is much more comprehensive than the listing on the pricing page. However, even that page does not list all of the limits. Here are just a few more

  • limits on the number of automations
  • limits on automation runs
  • limits on the number of synced tables
  • limits on the number of synced sources
  • rate limits in the various apis
  • batch limits in the various apis
  • a huge host of limits in scripting automations

It isn’t appropriate to list every single limit on the main pricing page, That is too much detail. However, finding the right balance of detail can be tricky.

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I can’t think of any one thing that improved my Airtable experience as much as not using Airtable to write Airtable formulas did. :sweat_smile:

The editor’s in a really sad state but I’d say that reflects Airtable’s demographic priorities.

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I’m pretty sure at least one of them even outright admitted it, it’s not like there’s much point in claiming otherwise.

Generally speaking, ideas are a dime a dozen and even bad ones can lead to good things. Airtable’s idea, though? Credit where it’s due, it spawned one multi-billion business, several successful copycats, and even forced tech industry leaders into a mindless pursuit of clones.

Yes, you found the details and they are there once we know. But that information should be on the Account page. That’s what I am asking for. That’s where it belongs. Field limit is as important as row limit.

Just to give an example. I just finished putting together scraping of Amazon product pages using Web Clipper. It’s a primitive outcome to say it very gently but it works decently well and I am able to completely scrape the page into individual fields for product, image, sellers, weight, rating etc and other 20-30 fields … This whole process however requires 100 fields because Amazon pages are inconsistent and the contents end up being in many alternative cells I need to concatenate.

I could outsource it to build something in pyton but I am not a programmer and Amazon changes the pages frequently so I don’t want to depend on someone else if I can do it myself.

Airtable is perfect for what I need. Airtable is an enabler for the non-technical people to create amazing solutions. That’s what they build their success on.

So all I said is the information must be on the account pages for people like me to understand what the limits are because I am not an IT person, I had no idea I need to read the whole support pages or first ask in the forum… And this is not the first time somebody asked about it.

As you say, good design of any software is proper capacity management. That’s exactly what I mean, but I should have to read all support pages to know the constraints.

I apologize if I come across agitated, please don’t take it personally. I just hope Airtable team will add those pesky little details where they belong so that other people who maybe less experienced when it comes to databases don’t do the same mistakes as I did.

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Also this:
Airtable seems to have a hard limit of 353 branches per formula

This is very interesting. Can you share how you discovered this? I assumed that the limit on formulas was based on character length, not number of branches.

I am also interested in your comment about “branches”. I normally do not think of formulas in terms of branches. Care to share more about your formula?

While I was searching if there is any limit to my already long formulas. I don’t want to bounce of the wall again.

Some references…

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@itoldusoandso I’ve been writing some technical documentation in Notion over the weekend and have just learned that their inline tables have no limits on the number of rows you can add to them. That made me remember this thread, so I’m circling back to drop a link in case this functionality solves your issue.

And before anyone asks, Notion is not exactly great at making databases accessible. Plus, their UI is completely unoptimized for this outlier of a use case. Based on the company’s stated mission (modular software is their goal, as opposed to Airtable’s accessible databases), that’s actually a feature, not a bug.

But if you need more than 500 rows to exist, don’t have to access them regularly and aren’t the one footing the electricity bill at the server farm powering whatever Rube Goldberg machinery you might have concocted, you’ll want to take Notion’s free, open-ended ride before paying for Airtable’s linear one.

Edit: plus, if you’re developing some sort of a pre-processing mechanism for a larger pipeline (a telltale sign is a database with more rows than records, especially if it’s like, way more.) the recent addition of an API to Notion finally means you can take your extensively processed data to Airtable and back via a simple webhook. Go, go, gadget API economy!

Just to be clear, are you referring to rows/records or columns/fields? Airtable has a hard limit of 500 columns/fields, not rows.

tl;dr: my bad, meant columns.

Any other typo and I’d say good eye, but you:

  • spotted the inconsistency
  • did not assume I was talking about columns/fields like most people would have done while glossing over the sentiment itself
  • asked for clarification
  • contextualized that ask

If you’re intrigued by the prospects of the media/publishing industry and hate things like money and things that cost money, know that you can land an editor’s gig in no time.

What I think happened here based on my browsing history:

I’m doing something super exciting that totally isn’t procrastinating with extra steps, who said that?

I step into this SERP:
image

Ok, a few surrounding results suggest there’s no limit, but just to be sure, that first one…

… also says unlimited columns/rows but the caveat is that this almost certainly isn’t scalable beyond a few hundred.

… unlimited rows, got it brain, thanks. You can refactor while I go spend the next 10 minutes detailing this discovery on the Internet.

Notion is a great product and I use it myself for what it works best - alternative to Evernote / Asana / Trelo … and ok…a bit of the Coda feeling if one is referring to the design.

Notion would require a great deal of external automation tools via Zapier and Integromat.

Plus the response your attached the screenshot tells it all “the UI is not optimized for this kind of setup”.

The beauty of Airtable is it is like real database made for kids. I never read any user manuals. I get sold on things that are done so well they are toddler safe.

Notion is also toddler safe but it’s just a different tool. I like both. Just for different things.

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