Ability for ReadOnly Users to Sort or Filter or Resize or Group in Columns?

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I am a consultant and was very hopeful that I could use airtable to build a solution for a client to replace their access database that had two tables in it. I have now pretty much given up on using AirTable but thought I’d ask in case I am overlooking some feature that could make this work.
My client has 10 users that modify data, and 300 that look at the data. The people doing the looking never edit, but they would need to be able to change the sort order of the views, and ideally resize columns and filter what is in the views. This does not seem to be possible if they are “readonly” users. I don’t see any “Blocks” that support this either.
So it appears the only option would be to make all those 300 users “commenters”. But that has two big problems. The first is that they don’t want to spend the additional $6,000 per month (300 users * 20 each) to support that - we can make other solutions much cheaper. The second is, even if they did pay, every user still has to create personal views (which can be done from existing views, but is still an extra training hurdle).
I just wanted to make sure I understood this correctly before giving up on AirTable for this project.
The other feature that is a problem is that Forms are pretty poor. I see some blocks that can display the data as readonly that would really help with readability. When I say Forms are poor I mean that there is a lot of space between each field/row on the form and also that the forms only appear to allow one field per row unless I am missing something.

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Instead of making the people read-only collaborators, you could create a sharable link to the whole base. People would be able to resize fields, apply sorts, and filter the data. They would not be able to re-arrange columns.

If the client is on the Pro plan, you can even restrict the sharable link with a password or limit users to a domain.

You are correct that the built in forms do not have much formatting. If you need more robust forms, you can use a third party integration.

Thanks for that feedback kuovonne! The shareable link turns this project into a viable option again. I think it is good enough that I can present it to my client for consideration.

I’m glad shareable links will work for you.

I’m also curious how your client had an Access database with 300+ viewers sorting and filtering data. Or is that a new functionality that you are trying to add by moving to Airtable?

The 300 users are not all in the Access database at the same time, probably just 10 to 20 simultaneously at most, and they are just viewing data, not editing. And, even that causes some .mdb corruption at least once a week. We are looking for a robust solution, and hope airtable can be it.