Conditional Linking

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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Hi Community,

I am attempting to develop a QC DB for my international QC inspectors, in my dept we manage over 18,000 unique item id’s manufactured by over 400 factories, in 20 different countries . I keep a list of Item IDs and Factory IDs on a source of truth database which I have synced to my prototype inspection DB.

For Simplicity Sake, these two tables, within source of truth DB, are as follow,

Item IDs Table
Primary Field( ITEM IDS)
Secondary Field(Factory IDs-linked to Factory IDs table)

Factory IDs Table
Primary Field(Factory IDs)
Secondary Field(Item IDs-linked to item IDs table)

Within my inspection database, I’ve created 2 linked fields within the inspection table.
Filed One(Factory ID-linked to factory IDs)
Field two(Item IDs-Linked to item IDs)

I would like the QC inspector to enter a factory ID in field one… after which I would like the QC inspector to select an item ID in field two… And alas we reach the issue, how the heck to I configure field 2(item IDs) to only populate with item Ids associated with the factory ID selected in field one!!

Is this type of conditional linking do-able within Airtable? I would do this by having an outsourced data enterer create views for all factory IDs, but I cant seem to find a way conditionally link to views by referencing a field?

If not currently possible, has anyone heard through the grape vine if conditional linking and looking will ever be a thing?

10 Replies 10

Sadly, that is not a feature of Airtable, even though it is a feature of all other database systems. You can “sort of” hack it together using the methodology below, but there are limitations (such as only one person can be adding new records at a time):

Thanks for sharing so quickly after posting!!

I actually had come across the post a few weeks ago. Aint going to cut it given the scale of my organization, too many moving parts to assure our global inspection process, quick way for me to get canned.

Major bummer, hopefully google’s new airtable thing will put some fire under their butts so they spend more bandwidth on critical features such as these rather than rolling out attachment commenting.

Sorry @airtable if that was harsh, love the platform, hate its limitations.

Thanks Again ScottWorld, come across any whispers of this on their road map? from what I’ve gathered most is under lock and key…

Yes, I tend to agree with you that Airtable is a platform of limitations. I haven’t heard any whispers about this feature being added into the product line.

Actually, if you are okay with your users adding new records via a form, the MiniExtensions form does offer this conditional ability.

And On2Air: Forms offers the same capabilities (which uses JotForm).

Oh, actually, it looks like I was wrong about MiniExtensions offering this capability. It looks like only On2Air: Forms + JotForm can provide this functionality.

@Moe, this would be a great feature addition!

Thanks for all the help Scott, wasn’t expecting the community to jump right in and help me out. really, much obliged!

Just to toss this out there, I recently discovered a way to set up conditional linking using a simpler technique than the system that @ScottWorld shared earlier. I plan on sharing the details sometime soon-ish, but it still has the limitation that only one person can be using this setup at any given time. If multiple people are editing records in the same table, the system won’t work.

That said, @kuovonne saw a quick demo I did of this setup in a Zoom session, and extended it to create something that looks like it might work in a multi-user scenario (I only quickly skimmed her website article that describes the setup, but that’s my impression at first glance).

Thanks @Justin_Barrett for mentioning my article.

One issue with W_Vann_Hall’s method is that when multiple records have different categories, but no subcategory, it is impossible to pick a subcategory.

Justin’s and my systems have a slightly different issue. When multiple records have different categories, but no subcategory, all of the possible subcategories for all of the categories show up for all records, which means a category mismatch could occur.

For our three of our systems, the limitation is not on the number of users, but rather on the number of different categories that are selected without a subcategory selected.

Both my system and W_Vann_Hall’s systems include an extra error checking field that will notify you if there is a mismatch between the category and subcategory. Justin’s probably does as well.

Another difference between my method and W_Vann_Hall’s is that I do not use a control record, making my method slightly easier to configure.

Sadly it doesn’t. In my case, I’m the only user, and I designed it to be used in a very precise way, so I didn’t bother with error-checking. I might delve into that as I look at making it more broadly useful, but my time is so tight these days that I’m lucky I got my own version working at all.

This idea of selective linking with many records needing subcategories caught my interest, and I decided to make a version 2 of the system posted on my website.

Here is video demo of version 2. However, it is far too late at night for me to do a write-up.

This version of my system is designed for when you have many records with different categories, but no subcategory. It is a bit more involved than my previous version. It uses a control record in a control table that must be linked to all records in the main table (which can be maintained with an automation). It has some issues, but it should be useful for some cases.