How to Search Table for Multiple Keywords

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast


Can I search my tables for multiple keyword entries at once?

For instance, I have a large number of members of my teachers’ union on a table that includes a bunch of info about them, organized by 1 entry per individual with all their details as fields in that entry.

I’d like to look up phone numbers for 50 people, but I only have their employee ID.

Employee ID and Phone # are both fields for each entry, but I’d prefer to copy paste the 50 ID#s into a search that calls up all the entries, than have to copy/paste one employee ID at a time.

I have been using the Search extension, but it seems to only take one keyword search value at a time.

Is there someway I can search multiple values at once?


2 Replies 2

Hmm, the three ways I can think of are:

  1. If the primary field of the table you’re looking up is the employee IDs, you could make a new table, link it to the table you’re looking up, and paste those 50 ID#s into the linked field, resulting in 50 records all linked to the right teacher record. You’d have this table set up with a lookup to the phone number field
  2. If the primary field isn’t the employee ID, you could make the table mentioned above and paste those 50 ID#s into a text field instead and use automations to find the records based on said ID and output the phone number. This assumes you have automations to spare though
  3. Write a scripting extension for it:
    scripting extension

At scale, not without an inverted index. If scale and user convenience is required (sort’a like a Google search) you need a full text index the likes of ElasticSearch and maybe something akin to this design.

In a query, users should be able to select or specify the fields and the values where * = wildcard. It troubles me that Airtable has not tried to provide this.

field1: <value> and field2: <value*>

As @Adam_TheTimeSavingCo has demonstrated, there are all sorts of ways to create more findability, but these approaches are bound to the design of the table and typically work the underlying platform hard because every seek is physical, not virtual. If you manage to build something really useful, it will likely impact user performance at scale and it will certainly become slower as the data collection expands.