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Search in related records but not in the Primary Field

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Hi all!
I need users to be able to re-relate records between two tables (for which I built a nice interface). What’s the best approach to make the re-linking as easy for humans as possible? I recently switched out all my primary fields to be the UID instead of something human-readable but non-unique because the hunan readable format was non-unique and led to duplicates. So I was thinking the best would be to be able to filter the “link-to” dropdown via a different field than the primary field, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. Suggestions?

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Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest & most frustrating limitations of Airtable. You can only search linked records based on their primary field value. You may want to submit this as a feature request to support@airtable.com.

The workaround for this is to use a formula field for the primary field that concatenates all of the fields that you would ever want to search on.

Alternatively, for a paid solution to this problem, you could install the On2Air Amplify extension, and do all of your data entry through the extension (instead of the normal Airtable grid interface). This extension allows you to search ANY field when linking records.

However, note that interfaces don’t currently support extensions, but On2Air Amplify gives you its own interface builder.

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5 Replies 5

Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest & most frustrating limitations of Airtable. You can only search linked records based on their primary field value. You may want to submit this as a feature request to support@airtable.com.

The workaround for this is to use a formula field for the primary field that concatenates all of the fields that you would ever want to search on.

Alternatively, for a paid solution to this problem, you could install the On2Air Amplify extension, and do all of your data entry through the extension (instead of the normal Airtable grid interface). This extension allows you to search ANY field when linking records.

However, note that interfaces don’t currently support extensions, but On2Air Amplify gives you its own interface builder.

Hi David, could you tell me more about the workflow you’ve created to re-relate records between the two tables? (Screenshots would be great!) With that information it may be possible to create a weird workaround of some sort

Off the top of my head, assuming you’re allowing the user to pick a record that needs to be re-related from Table 1, and you’ve got a Grid element to Table 2 that allows users to filter / look for the records it needs to be related to, you could:

  1. Add a checkbox to Table 2 and ask your users to mark that checkbox
  2. Create a button on the Interface that will run an automation that would look for all records in Table 2 with a marked checkbox and the link them to the record in Table 1

This assumes only one person will ever be doing this at a time though

Hi there @Adam_TheTimeSavingCo I am currently using a workaround, but i was asking if it was possible to avoid that, to do it natively.

Your workaround seems unnecessarily complicated if i understand it correctly. I simply added a second link field (“temporary link field”). Whenever someone links a record via this field, an automation is triggerred which will simply take that link and overwrite the original link field with that link. No need for more buttons or checkboxes or so…

PS: to clarify: the interface i build (using airtables “interface” feature) is used for screening and verifying records irrespective of this re-linking issue. the fact that a record might be linked to a wrong record in a different table is just one of the checks that the people screening the records are doing. the interface is not solely for re-linking, it is for screening records in general.

FYI
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Hi David! Hmm, I believe I misunderstood and thought we were looking for a way to:

  1. Filter records in Table 2 that matched criteria we wanted
  2. Have that filtered set of records linked to a single record of our choosing
  3. Do this via an Interface

Sorry about that!

Can you provide a small example or a bit more detail on how this would work?  I've got a primary record with three fields concatenated, but I'm having trouble linking to them. Is there a specific way to use the link?