Re: Formula for "is subtask" scenario

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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

I have a simple task tracker with a single table containing a list of tasks.  I have a self-linking field to allow for a single level of subtasks.  I primarily use Interface lists to view tasks.  However, I also assign tasks to be completed by varying people.  So when I filter to a list of my assigned tasks, the nesting feature breaks.  Airtable will only show me tasks if they are assigned to me.  So if I am assigned to the parent task, I don't see the child tasks.  And vice versa.

I thought it could be helpful to append an icon to the front of subtask names to cue me that something else is depending on me completing that task (haha) but can't figure out how to write a formula for that!

In the data views, the parent task has the child tasks linked in the subtasks field.  So the child tasks have empty subtask fields.  Therefore, I have nothing to search for.

Anyone have thoughts or worked through something similar?  TIA!

12 Replies 12
Community Manager
Community Manager

Add a lookup field to your linked field called "Parent Task Owner".  Use the Task Owner field.

Then in your interface update your filter to be where "Task Owner" is Current User or "Parent Task Owner" is Current user.   Should work fine.

oh, that's a pretty clever workaround!  unfortunately, it won't work for me because I'm kindof the office manager and I very often create tasks and then assign them to staff members.  so the task owner would just always be me lol.  Any other thoughts?

Hm, I think Dan's assumption is that the "Task Owner" field is the "User" field you're using to assign tasks to people? 

If you could provide screenshots of your setup that'd be very helpful!

Apologies!  I am not using the user field bc we regularly assign tasks to team members who don't have access to Airtable.  But we need to keep track of who is responsible for the different tasks either way, so we just use a multi-select field because also staff members will often work together on certain tasks.  So sorry!

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Ashley_Jackson , I usually prefer to use someones email address when I'm using filters in interfaces.  Rather than use a multi-select field, use an email field with the assignee's email. 

If you want to use groups to allow people to see groups of tasks you can create this in your base and then create an interface filter where the user's group matches the assigned group. 

Hmm, just so we're on the same page, I'm imagining this is what your data looks like now:

Screenshot 2024-04-06 at 12.24.25 PM.png

In the list:
Screenshot 2024-04-06 at 12.22.22 PM.png

And when you filter by "Jerry" this is what it looks like:
Screenshot 2024-04-06 at 12.22.25 PM.png
But you actually want to be able to see tasks "A", "B", and "C" since you're the assignee of the parent task linked to those two, is that right?

Hey, your sample looks right to me!  Only possible difference is I'm using a multi-select for the assignee but I can't tell in the pics if you've set it up with multi- or single-select?

My ultimate goal is to be able to visually tell whether a task to which I am assigned is a parent or a child task, regardless of whether I'm assigned to the opposite.  Here are a couple use case examples:

  1. Your exact scenario where I'm assigned to the parent task and I'd like a visual reminder that there are subtasks under my parent task assigned to other team members.
  2. The reverse where I'm assigned on a subtask and I'd like a visual reminder that there is a parent task "waiting" on my child task.

My original idea was to use a formula to determine if a task was a child task and then add an icon to the beginning of the task description.  So with your sample data, I'd add a field called "description" or whatever and use the ID field as the formula that concatenates description and the icon IF the task is a child task.  Does that make sense?  I'm open to other suggestions if you would approach it differently, though!

Thanks so much!!!

Hmm I think the main thing we'd need to tackle is the fact that the subtasks doesn't contain any data that links them to the main task, which prevents us from filtering the data correctly, does that make sense?

If I were you, I would attempt to tackle this either:
1. Changing the link direction, specifically, instead of having a "Subtask" linked field, have a "Parent task" linked field.  That way you can add a lookup field to display the parent's task assignee and filter by that
2. Create a new field to hold the data of the parent task's assignee, and to populate it I'd have an automation with a repeating group:


Yes, that is exactly the issue I encountered when trying to solve this originally!  Yay, someone understands!  I like your suggestion #1 - do you know how this would affect Airtable's nesting feature within lists?  TIA!