Wrap Text within column

Hi kinda new to airtable,
Am I understanding that you can not do a hard return within a cell?

Was in google sheets, needed to do some organization of multiline information across several products, to allow myself to see a lot of information at a glance.

“Let’s try Airtable” I’ve heard good things, that it’s a lot more flexible than sheets. Sign up, create a table, enter some multi-line information. Try to find “wrap text” or “variable row height”, can’t find it. Google it, get led here… “What? I can’t do that? Only short/medium/tall/extra tall? And it applies to every cell?”

Back to sheets. Literally turned away a new user within 10 minutes.


My gut says that whoever told you that Airtable is “a lot more flexible than sheets” forgot to mention that Airtable is a database, not a spreadsheet. Is it more flexible? In some ways, yes, but because it’s a database, it’s also very different at its core, so some spreadsheet-standard features just don’t exist.

It’s unfortunate that you were given the wrong expectation, but I hope that you’ll take the time to learn more about Airtable, find those areas where it really shines, and be able to use those to your advantage.

1 Like

A perfect response. There are use cases I would never use Sheets for that are perfect for Airtable, and vice versa. The products simply do different things.

While I think it would nice to have a “full height” option in addition to the small, medium, tall, extra tall options, I recognize that no other database solution I’ve used displays rows at full height.

I just did the same thing - Google led me here. Was coming in from Notion, where this is an absolute core functionality. Hardly would say that Airtable shouldn’t have this as it’s a db, not a spreadsheet, as @Justin_Barrett is suggesting. I see this more as a UI drawback. Don’t really know why you shouldn’t be able to elegantly wrap columns in Airtable, other than they just haven’t implemented it…

I too really am held back by this. And was here due to years of considering AirTable and thinking that today with the big news I might be able to finally jump in…

In fact both Notion and Coda do this…with today’s huge release clearly those two are in the crosshairs, yet they have AirTable beat in this regard. Again disappointed to see this is a fundamental feature of AirTable that doesn’t exist yet, any insight out there as to whether they have it on the roadmap? Makes such a difference when viewing data that gets otherwise cut off.

I will try to work past this as I’ve been waiting so long on the ability to connect bases to each other!

1 Like

I’m pretty sure what both Justin and I were getting at is “X has it therefore Airtable should too” becomes less compelling the more dissimilar X is to Airtable (spreadsheets like Sheets vs wikis like Coda vs wiki-database hybrids like Notion vs databases). Further, Justin was specifically responding to the very vague claim that “Airtable is more flexible than Sheets”, not the general topic at large. I know I for one was thinking of “literally-just-a-database” platforms like phpMyAdmin or Access when I said “database solution I’ve used”. Neither of us was suggesting that “Airtable makes databases therefore it should never ever wrap column titles”.

1 Like

Ok, well I am a prospective client with a start up, and bottom line is I was also drawn to this post via Google when I was running through my test account and looking at the awkward way long text strings don’t wrap, so I looked up “AirTable wrap text” in google and was directed to that particular post, not even this thread in general. And I had the same reaction when I realized that AirTable doesn’t do this, but Coda and Notion can.

There is no question that Airtable and Coda and Notion are the three “big boys” in the same market right now, all with huge rounds and huge followings and vying unquestionably for a slice of enterprise customers to make their valuations work. Comparing AirTable to Access is not really what this is about. I am sure @S-M is like me and looking to improve process run in older tools like Sheets or Excel, and now comparing these three tools, possibly some others. For all the hoopla of today’s funding, you have here 2 users who would like simple text wrapping, that Coda and Notion do hands down. To have the Airtable community bark at you for bringing up what the Product Managers at AirTable should be trying to get done is just another turn off…

I hope you didn’t take my reply as a bark. I was just trying to explain that 1.5 years ago when I made the comment you quoted, I was comparing (in my head) Airtable to Access, not services like Coda.

Is there any ‘auto row height’ option? The row height is responsive based on how many lines inside of the cell?

Welcome to the community, @FF_2020! :smiley: Row height is currently only a manual setting. On a side note, your question appears to be off of the original thread topic. There are other threads where row height is discussed that would have been a better place for this question.

1 Like

Is there any solution for the same problem in kanban view? This blocks me to moving from Notion to Airtable.

Welcome to the community, @Alejandro_Marco! :smiley: Unfortunately there aren’t controls for the kanban view to drive the height of selected fields.

I wonder why the developers ignore this problem?

1 Like

Yeah, it’s surprising that this hasn’t been addressed over the years. Having a UI that allows people to read the contents of the page is a fundamental ux best practice and should be expected at the bare minimum.

Open and clicking details for record sometimes is okay, but when you tag longer answers it’s very painful to do it every single time. Especially if you have more than 10 records to tag!

I am in full support of variable row height as an option and I feel that an extremely useful and standard functionality like this should not be kept from Airtable Customers just to prevent user-error (on a manual choice, no less). I’ve set up up an infrastructure that adds lines for each item of an order, and it’s a smidgen of what it could be because A. There’s an incredible amount of wasted space here and B. If the amount of items exceeds 6 then my team will have to click and expand at least 5 cells, which is just unnecessary. A variable row height option would instantly make this setup buttery smooth and really nice on the eyes to look at and process.

The expanded record view does not help present this data at all, really. It’s a lot of stuff going on, and the expanded record view requires scrolling and occurs in a smaller vertical space.

Through my searches on the forums, it’s clear to me that people really want the dynamic row height feature. Even if we have to go into a hidden menu and unlock this feature, so as to keep people from unintentionally bloating their databases with it, I think a whole lot of Airtable Customers will be very happy.

1 Like

I am trying to embed content into a public website.

Each embed will contain many records records (anywhere from 1 to 20), so users will need to scroll down to find the one they’re looking for. We do not ALSO want users to have to pop out a record or scroll through the information. The tallest cell option is not tall enough.

Additionally, formulas do not seem to be supported in the gallery view that supports multiline text, and the data is combined from many fields across many tables.

There does not seem to be an easy option to avoid truncation of the text, rendering the embed less than user friendly.

To be clear, formulas are supported in all views. If you need to add line breaks to a formula’s output, insert the \n escape code into your string whenever you want a line break. For example:

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 6.56.00 PM

To insert line breaks between the retrieved values from other fields, do something like this:

{Field 1} & "\n" & {Field 2} & "\n" & {Field 3}

That being said, there’s still no way to control how the cards in a gallery view appear in terms of the available space for fields containing long text, whether they’re formulas or normal long text fields. You might need to look into tools like Softr that allow you to display Airtable data in a more web-friendly fashion.

1 Like