Duplicating multiple records within one table

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

What’s the best way to go about designing a table so that my team can duplicate multiple records at a time? For context, we are grant writers, and we want the tasks and subtasks for each grant to be the same. So I created a template that has 8 records. Right now, we have to make a copy of each record of the template and assign it to the correct grant. That of course leaves room for error. How can we duplicate the template Tasks at one time?

Thanks in advance.

23 Replies 23
8 - Airtable Astronomer
8 - Airtable Astronomer

Hi Ashley! Welcome to the forum. I’m guessing that you’ll be able to solve this problem by organizing your base differently. Can you provide a little more specifics? What are the record categories that you want to duplicate?

Hi thanks for responding. Sure!
The Tasks tab will be used to keep track of the progress of grants, which we want to have standardized sub tasks for each step.
The preferred view is grouped by grant so all the steps for the grant are together. To standardize the steps, I created a template grant with each step and sub tasks. Each time we add a new grant, we make a copy of each step of the process from the template and then assign it to the correct grant. So the overall purpose of the Task tab is to standardize the writing process, assign sub tasks to people, and for me as supervisor to be able to monitor overall progress of each grant.

Ashley N. Ashe
Gateway Grant Services

Is there a reason why you’ve decided not to add columns which have each of these tasks? Organized this way, you’d have each task replicated each time you create a new grant record. Like this:

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 8.34.10 AM

We did not go that route because there are 8 Tasks with 5-8 Subtasks in each. That would be a really long table and difficult for me as supervisor to visually see where each project is. Also, I’d like to assign each task to a team member.

Can I send you my current setup so you can see what information I’d like to capture?

Sure! Feel free to share here or send me a share link in a private message.

I tried to create what you suggested - it’s Tasks 2.

Hi Ashley, That’s very helpful to see what you’re tracking. Honestly, I don’t think you’re missing any brilliant solutions - it’s just a lot of information to track. It’s almost like you need a table within each row (this would be totally doable in a custom database, but I can’t think of a way to do it in Airtable). One thing that might be useful is to think about which pieces of information are most important to see all together in a summary page, then to build according to that. For example, maybe the most important thing is to have one spreadsheet that shows what each person is responsible for. Then your key spreadsheet that connects everything would be one where the Name column is “collaborators”. Maybe it’s knowing that each grant has all tasks assigned to a person.

If I were designing this system for me (everyone organizes in different ways), I think I might have each grant in its own tab. To create a new grant (and replicate all of the tasks), you would right click the tab, click “Duplicate Table”, and enable the option to “Duplicate Records”. This creates lots more tabs, which might mean that you’d need to separate the grants entirely from the rest of the base, which is essentially a CRM (contacts, foundations, etc), and link the bases via Airtable’s new “sync” feature. I think of this just like organizing parts of my house - I can have a box and a label for everything, but at some point, with enough stuff, I have to either throw things away or find another room! Hope that’s helpful…

Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 3.53.55 PM

Hi Julian,

It sounds like you may be in need of some Airtable Automations. I think your issue can be solved pretty easily by using these, because it sounds like the tasks and sub-tasks associated with your grants stay fairly consistent. I created a test base to show what I mean: Test Tasks Base. Copy it into your workspace and take a look at it.

I have 3 tables set up, 1 for the Project (or grant), another for the major Tasks associated with said project, and yet another for the Sub-tasks associated with each of those major tasks. Then an automation set up. Whenever you add a record to the projects table (ie, a new grant), the automation will run and create tasks in the Tasks table and sub-tasks in the Sub-tasks table. Give it a try yourself by adding a new project.

Creating the automation may get a little messy since you have many tasks, but it sounds like this is on the right track.

Hi Andrew, the original poster is Ashley, who is trying to figure out the solution for projects/tasks. That said, I’m very curious to see your automation - I copied the base, but I’m not sure the automation came through when you created a share link?

You just replied to me so he didn’t get your message :slightly_smiling_face: I’d like to see what he came up with!

Hi, just following up - did you get a response from him?

No I didn’t. @Andrew_Palmer1, Ashley and I are curious about your automation, but I don’t believe you gave Airtable permission to share it as part of your base. Could you modify to include it?

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I must have missed the previous messages – my apologies. It looks like Airtable makes it difficult to share the automatons publicly – you have to actually be a collaborator on the base. To show what I mean, I’ve included a screen recording of how it works.


I have the automation set to trigger whenever a record is created in the Projects table. Then the action taken is to “Create a record” in the Tasks table. I give that Tasks record a name (“1. Lay out grant”) and add in the link back to the record we created in Projects (“Record (Step 1: Trigger) | Record ID”). <-- this is the ID of the record from the first step that triggered this whole thing. Airtable handles all of that automatically, you just have to point it back to the right step.
You can see what I mean in the image below.

After this action, you’d set another “Create a record” action that makes the next task and associate it with the original project, and so on and so forth. Then, in the same automation, after you’ve created all those Task records, you can use more “Create a Record” actions to create SubTask records associated with the Tasks you created. It can get a little confusing to remember in which step you created the task, but after a little digging you can figure it out pretty easy.

Does that make sense?

Thanks for taking the time to send that to me. I figured out how to automate tasks being created, but I cannot get the Project to self-populate on the Tasks tab. I tried to set up my tables exactly like yours, and I followed your steps on the automations. Attaching screenshots.

Screenshot (1).png

Screenshot (3).png

hmmm… I’m not sure what that could be. I’d recommend clearing all records out of those 3 tables and then running the test again. Maybe turn the automation off and back on. Everything looks right to me, but Airtable automations can be a little finicky to get set up. You could also try consulting the official automations documentation – I’ve found it very helpful in the past.

Thanks SO much for your help. You’re right - it is so finicky. I worked on it on Friday and finally figured it all out. Today it wouldn’t let me even start a new automation - all tests failed. I’ve logged out, logged back in, deleted and restarted. It’s just not cooperating today.

It refuses to let me pass this step! Thoughts?!

Screenshot (6).png

I really don’t know why. Have you tried clicking the little “>” next to “Test Failed”? That should give you details on why it failed. The only thing I can think of is you may need 1 record in each table for it to actually run the test on. Maybe try just making a dummy record in each and running it again. Best of luck.