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Re: Best practice with empty fields when filtering and grouping

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Rill
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

From what I understand Airtable advocates using as few tables as possible. I have also come to love the working with grouped and filtered fields in Airtable.
Potentially this could make it easy to filter out empty records and use one table like a catchall that could be used for multiple purposes by grouping and filtering.

But from my limited knowledge about databases and spreadsheets, I have the impression that you always should avoid empty anything. Is the best practice to avoid this in Airtable as well?

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kuovonne
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

If you have “rivers” of blank cells that flow across columns, that is a sign that you should consider a base re-design to normalize your data. However, blank cells themselves are not bad. Often that simply means you don’t have that information yet.

You might be confusing the idea of having as few tables as possible with the idea of not repeating data. Sometimes a base re-design will involve combining multiple tables into a single table with multiple views. Sometimes a base re-design will involve creating more tables to reduce storing duplicate data in multiple records.

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kuovonne
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

If you have “rivers” of blank cells that flow across columns, that is a sign that you should consider a base re-design to normalize your data. However, blank cells themselves are not bad. Often that simply means you don’t have that information yet.

You might be confusing the idea of having as few tables as possible with the idea of not repeating data. Sometimes a base re-design will involve combining multiple tables into a single table with multiple views. Sometimes a base re-design will involve creating more tables to reduce storing duplicate data in multiple records.

Rill
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Thank you very much for the clarification @kuovonne, this in particular was very helpful.

You might be confusing the idea of having as few tables as possible with the idea of not repeating data.

Sometimes a base re-design will involve creating more tables to reduce storing duplicate data in multiple records.

It all makes so sense now :grinning: