Text and table formatting

Same here - being able to center values in a particular field/column would be fantastic for readability! Thanks.

1 Like

Need it too… :confused:

Is there a chance for this feature in near the future?

1 Like

+1

Even basic text formatting like alignment, bold, italics and underline would be good.

2 Likes

I agree. I just started using airtable and I can’t believe you can’t CENTER a column! You’d think how advanced it is, it could do this simple thing.

1 Like

Evernote is an example of an app that does a great job of formatting text and making it look simple, clean and readable with the basics of rich text formatting.

…but I will reference @Kamille_Parks excellent reply from December 2018: RDBMSs typically do not support field-based formatting — it’s almost an oxymoron. Instead, they depend upon the report-writer mechanism — in Airtable’s instance, typically the Page Designer Block — to handle presentation.

That said, most RDBMSs also don’t support such presentation-heavy options as gallery and kanban views, where some field-level formatting would be a boon. In addition, if such formatting is essential to being able to understand the resulting view, some workarounds are possible — if admittedly too much of a PITA for most uses.

I work with several online database / collaboration tools (for clients) in addition to Airtable and they ALL have the ability to store Rich Text in fields (Ninox, Knack, Podio, Fusioo, Bubble).

Given you could argue that AT has the most ‘modern’ feeling UI it’s quite surprising that this isn’t supported yet.

1 Like

I’m not familiar with any of those — but I notice none of them show formatted text in their equivalent of a grid view on their splash pages. (On their more presentation-ish layouts, sure, but not in the backend.)

Obviously, it is possible — Excel has been doing it for years — but it’s not a design I associate with RDBMSs;. I’d like to see at least minor enhancements to the grid view — field-level conditional colors, text alignment, bold and italic — and embedded RTF or Markdown would appear to be a good way to be able to capitalize on existing libraries, although we’re still probably looking at a rewrite of significant amount of the core application in order to be able to separate data from display. (Even Open/LibreOffice Writer can’t seem to do it correctly — and they’ve allegedly supported it for ages.) Still, if I had to choose between making grid view prettier and developing a more robust (and mobile-friendly) Page Designer, I’d go with Page Designer, every time.

One of the problems — and this is far from specific to Airtable — is that nowadays, software tends to be written by people who have spent their careers working for software companies, so often UI/UX reflects other or previous products more so than it does front line industry needs. On top of that, the much-needed shift to Agile methodologies has a tendency to shift too far, diminishing the role of product manager as customer advocate to simply than of another constituent when features and functionality are determined or prioritized. In my experience, what’s gained in faster time-to-market is lost to later rework. (Then, again, I don’t see anyone knocking down my door to beg me
to return to the glamorous, high-stakes world of corporate software development, so what do I know?)

I accept that most of these apps don’t display the rich text in a grid view - one does though, even allowing HTML tables etc to be displayed in a ‘table’ cell.

That’s not the whole point though. Let’s say I wanted to be able to enter some text which would later be merged into an email - often you would want this formatted - and not allowing rich text if fields is not ideal.

I don’t really mind if the formatted text is only viewable in expanded view (although I do also accept the need for cell formatting in grid views).

Of course this isn’t the most important update required AT - I would probably vote for proper security and a move towards a more form based UI above this.

That would be a case where I’d think text formatting would be unwanted, as the mail-merge app or routine should handle the formatting. Separation of content and presentation, right? I can see an argument for content formatting — being able to make currency look like currency, etc. — more than text formatting in such a case…

Of course, what one sees as essential depends heavily on one’s use case (or one’s clients’ use case). For instance, while I agree with the need for more hierarchical, conditional, and record- and field-level authorization and access controls, I’ve maybe created a half-dozen form views in the 2+ years I’ve worked with Airtable — and at least half of those were to troubleshoot user issues; the form UI is next to irrelevant to me. (Admittedly, if it was more flexible and powerful, it would probably become much more important — but for now, I work around it.)

I sympathize with Airtable in trying to prioritize user needs properly, given their broad user base — which is one reason you don’t see me beating down anyone’s door, begging to be allowed to return to the glamorous, high-stakes world of corporate software development. :wink:

Very interested in this feature! Not sure why there has been no more answers on this possibility for so many years, at least a timeline…

1 Like

@Katherine_Duh
Is there any update on where rich text formatting is on the roadmap? We have a need specifically for bold/italic/underline, bulleted and numbered lists in long text fields. This is needed for our business to properly maintain citation formats of references.