Re: Best way to update a field in a record

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Still a newbie, learning steadily. But now that I have 700 records, each with 10 or so fields, including 5 or 6 linked fields, I am mystified to how to update any one field in any one record. For instance, since my base is my records and inventory of vintage fountain pens, I sell a pen and need to update its status from For Sale to Sold. I find the pen in its group and make the change, and it changes the status for the whole group. I expand the record for that one pen, and it shows me that pen in its status, plus all the other pens with that status, so I can’t change that one pen’s status without changing all the others as well. AT won’t let me make the change right in the record/field cell in the base itself. What am I missing?

Many thanks,

8 Replies 8
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Hi Tim! :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:

What do you mean by “5 or 6 linked fields”? Linked to what? How many tables do you have?
What do you mean by “the pen in its group”? What are your groups?

Many thanks.
Each pen (record) has characteristics: linked variables brand, model, status, origin country; plus several additional descriptors that are not linked. I’m using AT’s term for linked, as in the master base links to subsidiary bases to standardize my naming of brand, model, status, and country of origin. At this point I have 150 unique brands and 325 unique models, and maybe 10 different statuses. My need is to be able to go into a record and change one of the linked fields for that pen – like change a pen from for sale to sold – and only affect that one pen. Currently I have 19 pens for sale, sold 2, want to change status for two from FS to S without changing all 19, and that doesn’t seem to want to happen.
Groups: Again, I’m using AT’s term for grouping, which I see as sorting and separating rather than just sorting within the master base.

It is very simple to change the Status in one record from “For Sale” to “Sold” without affecting the other records. Given that you can’t, it means that you’re doing something that is fundamentally wrong.

Is “Status” a field in your “Pens/Inventory” table? Can you change the data in other fields without affecting other records?
What other tables (not “bases”) do you have?
Which field(s) are you using when grouping?

Do you have a table “Status” that is linked to a “Pens” table? If yes, did you consider using a Single Select field instead?

Many thanks.
Status is a field. I appear to have the same issue with the other linked fields.
I’m wondering if the single select field might be a better way to handle these fields, except that I linked them all because I want to make sure that consistency is managed among the brands, models, and statuses. I can definitely see how using the single select would be helpful for data entry, but can I report on it as easily as with the linked records?
Tables: I have Master, with everything; brand, model, status, country of origin. Each of these others is simply the array of its contents, each record unique and representing one to many records in Master.
Generally, when I group it’s by inventory source (not linked), and status. The key for me is categorizing my WIP and upcoming listings versus what is currently available for sale or archived sales.
So, I guess it comes down to what I get in reporting from linked fields vs single select.
That said, how do I change the linked field in a record? Is there a way to isolate one record?
Many thanks,

I’ve found the articles about relationships and how they play out in AT. Think I need to read those carefully and have them guide me. Think I went too quickly into linking when other relationship types might have worked better.

I’m glad that my comments have helped in some way but it’s clear that you still need to learn a lot about how to set up a base in Airtable. Besides learning about relationships, you should look at Tables, records and fields, and the other help topics.

As for linked fields vs. Single Select, the decision involves three considerations:

  1. Whether you need additional information about the field
  2. How many choices there are the field
  3. How often you’ll be adding options or editing them.

For example, you probably should have “Brands” as a separate table:

  1. You’ll want info about each brand (e.g. logo, company info and details) so you can create fields for that info.
  2. It would be difficult to use and maintain a Single Select field with 150 items, and colors probably won’t be helpful.
  3. As you discover new brands, you can easily add records to the Brands table, instead of having to modify the field in the Master table.

With “Status”, it probably makes more sense to have a Single Select field.

  1. It’s unlikely that you have to specify additional info about each status. (I can imagine that you might want that additional info, e.g. instructions on what to do for each Status, in which case you can create another table (“Status”) and link it to Master by using a linked field.)
  2. You have only 10 different statuses. The colors can be helpful.
  3. It’s unlikely that you’ll be adding statuses so you don’t have to worry about reconfiguring the field.

The reporting from within the Master table will be the same whether you use Single Select or a linked field.

You can change a linked field to Single Select and your data will remain intact.

Take a look at this: Guide to filter and record visibility.

One more thing: If you are considering making major changes to your base, first make a copy in case you make some serious mistakes that can’t be easily reversed. See Duplicating an existing base.

Hope that helps.

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Many many thanks… I read the articles. Have kept Brand and Model as linked fields, but changed Status and Country to Single Select. It’s pretty clear that if I were building this from scratch I would have set up a true many:many base, to match pens with a unique item number and status to their combination of brand and model. However, my Master is what came in as a flat spreadsheet, with the owners and the identifying numbers, so I think I’ll keep it that way for now.
However, to separate them later, can I simply create a new base with brand and model and the unifying pen item number and link them via that number? Or, I’ll find the article about that.
Many thanks again.

With thanks in advance, Claudio’s help got me on the best path two years ago. I’ve now lived with my base for two+ years, want to do some cleanup.
The base is an array of fountain pens, with linked bases called “master”, “brand”, and “model”.
A number of my “models”, with several to many pens in “master”, are too specific and others are insufficiently specific.
How best to move items to different models? and
How best to change the name of a model without losing its items?