Filemaker Migration - Merging with Lookup Fields

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hello Airtable Community,

I am currently facing a challenge with importing data into Airtable and properly linking it to existing lookup fields. I have a set of customer names that I've exported from a FileMaker database into a CSV file, and I'm trying to import these names into my Airtable base. My goal is to link these imported names to a lookup field that references customer names in another table.

Here's a brief overview of my setup:

  • I have a table (let's call it "Customers") that contains a list of customer names.
  • There's another table where I'm importing my data (let's call it "Orders").
  • In the "Orders" table, I have a lookup field that should display information from the "Customers" table, based on the customer names.

The issue I'm encountering is that the imported customer names from FileMaker are not correctly linking to the existing customer names in the "Customers" table, hence not populating the lookup field as expected. The names in my CSV file match the names in the "Customers" table, but the linking doesn't seem to work automatically.

Here's what I've done so far:

  • Ensured that the names in the CSV file exactly match those in the "Customers" table (including spelling and formatting).
  • Imported the CSV file into the "Orders" table, mapping the customer names to a field intended to link to the "Customers" table.

Despite these steps, the lookup field in the "Orders" table isn't showing the linked data from the "Customers" table. It seems like the import isn't establishing the links as I expected.

I'm reaching out for advice or suggestions on how to resolve this issue. Has anyone here faced a similar challenge? How did you manage to ensure that imported data correctly links to existing records in a lookup field? Any insights, tips, or step-by-step guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your help!



3 Replies 3
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

It sounds like you’re taking the right steps, but I’m not 100% sure from your description. Do you have any screenshots? Or a Loom video would be even better than screenshots.

Airtable handles linked records very differently than FileMaker (and other database systems). One key difference is that a linked record field can only link to the PRIMARY FIELD of another table.

BTW: I believe that I am the world’s only expert at both FileMaker and Airtable. I was a Certified FileMaker Developer for 30+ years, and then I switched to becoming an Airtable consultant in 2018. Companies often hire me to help them migrate their data from FileMaker to Airtable, or to help them get FileMaker & Airtable to communicate with each other.

If you have a budget for your project, and you'd like to hire someone to help you with anything Airtable and/or FileMaker related, please feel free to reach out to me through my website: Airtable Consultant — ScottWorld

Hi ScottWorld,

Thanks for your reply. I've attached two images below. One is of the FM export, and one is of my Airtable fields that aren't migrating (besides notes, which is a text field and is uploading fine). Let me know if this information is helpful in showing my limitations.



Did you import your records into text fields first, and then convert the appropriate fields (one-by-one) to linked record fields afterwards? That would be the best & most foolproof way of doing it.

Also, most importantly: Make sure that the primary field in your OTHER TABLE isn't a formula field. Otherwise, Airtable won't be able to add new records to that other table if it can't find a match for an existing record. You might think that the matching record already exists, but small typos (such as trailing or leading spaces) will prevent a match from happening.