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Custom Print Formatting of Airtable View

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BenInDallas
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Here’s my problem: I need to periodically print NICE-LOOKING reports from Airtable data, displaying dozens of records on a single page, in spreadsheet form. The standard “Print View” action doesn’t provide enough control (formatting of text, sizing of columns, custom headers & footers, etc). The new Print Layout Designer is a wonderful tool, but it only allows for one record per page.

The best option I’ve found so far is to copy-and-paste data from a given Airtable View into a Google Sheets worksheet. This gives me most of the formatting options I want, but it’s just really cumbersome to do this over and over, and I’m worried about the potential for human error. So, I’d love an automated way of doing this.

Zapier has a similar integration (https://zapier.com/app/editor/template/7324), but this doesn’t work for me, because it only sends NEW records to the sheet. If values change in an existing record (which mine do constantly… it’s exactly what we’re tracking!), the Zapier solution is worthless to me. I understand this is a limitation of the Airtable API, not Zapier.

Does anyone have a solution/idea/product/etc to automatically send ALL data (not just new records) from an Airtable view to Google Sheets or a similar app that gives me robust formatting control? Or even better, a means of converting airtable data into a custom printable format? Or anything else that would solve my problem?

14 Replies 14
Tuur
10 - Mercury
10 - Mercury

You’ve got a private message. :slightly_smiling_face:

BenInDallas
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

For more detail, this is roughly what I’m trying to do.

First, take a table like this:
Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 10.55.12 AM.jpg

… and then (at the push of a button) generate a printable document like this:
Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 10.55.00 AM.jpg

Note that in the print version, I’ve added a title, today’s date, page numbers, row numbers, a “notes” column, and a couple of conditional formatting rules (color-coding the “task with” column, and highlighting past-due dates in red).

Maybe this can be done with a script that pushes the data into an app like Google Sheets. Or maybe it can be done with a modification of Airtable’s Print View command. Or maybe it can be done with html or some kind of PDF generator app. Open to all ideas.

I’m having exactly the same issue. I’m really surprised to hear the Print Designer isn’t going to allow printing in this kind of fashion! For all of AirTable’s loveliness, this is a real sticking point when recommending this product to a client.

Did you get anywhere in finding a neat solution?

BenInDallas
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Hey Mike. Long story short: I haven’t built anything yet. But I have determined that (with the requisite skills) it IS possible use Airtable’s API to populate data in a web page, and format that for any number of needs. Will probably need a professional developer to help, though.

Here’s one cool example:

And here’s more from a related post:

I have the same exact type of need, as I’m sure others do. The Airtable print function is rudimentary and so un-Airtable-like (not being beautiful.) . I need headers (data pulled from a different table preferably), NO lines, etc. Basically, almost exactly what I’m looking at on the screen, I want to print. I’ve been fiddling with export (don’t like Zapier, won’t use it), and page designer (cumbersome and everything comes out double-spaced, and I will have to recreate it for each new table (which is its own checklist that will need to be printed, and I go through about 20 a month.) Airtable, help! Please create decent print options.

Mike_Ashelby
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

So, I have managed to use the api to make a webpage in PHP, which can do most of what I’m after. I’m not much of a developer, but it didn’t take too long (<half a day). It’s radically more cumbersome than it would be if it was native, but it’ll do for my needs right now.

Friendship_Serv
4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I am setting up member information facilities for a couple of local community groups who are unlikely to pay to upgrade and get access to any print formatting tools so maybe a quick and simple solution for the likes of me would be to reformat (for example) the new data entry email which at the moment looks like this ;


Forename
Richard

Middle Names
John

Surname
Cherry

Gender
Male

DOB
3 February 1944


and make it look like this


Forename : Richard
Middle Names : John
Surname : CXXXXX
Gender : Male
DOB : 3 February XXXX


Still not ideal but it would take far less paper than the current layout.

Exactly what I am trying to do. Looks like your post is dated two years ago – and it appears that Airtable still hasn’t added this very basic functionality. Am I wrong?

I raised this question myself in this recent thread (June 2019): “Can page designer handle invoice with lots of line items of varying sizes?”

It’s pretty clear that Airtable can’t do this natively, which strikes me as pretty lame. You can print out a sort of spreadsheet style report from a view, but that’s about it. What I wonder is, do Airtable’s many enthusiastic users simply not print? Nobody prints lists of, say, contacts or inventory items or invoices? Do people have ways to export to some other app like Excel or Google Sheets that lets them format and print?

There are a number of things that I really like about Airtable but this weakness is so glaring I feel sure that I’m totally missing something. I am just hoping somebody can tell me what it is soon.

Will (also in Dallas!)

BenInDallas
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

“There are a number of things that I really like about Airtable but this weakness is so glaring I feel sure that I’m totally missing something.”

You aren’t missing anything, @WilliamPorterTech. Airtable is great (and cheap) for a few VERY basic database functions for a solo user or a small team. But there are too many guardrails up to create anything approaching robust. And their roadmap seems focused on an odd set of toys that I can’t imagine anyone finding useful.

After thorough testing and evaluation of dozens of systems and platforms, my design firm has switched to Filemaker to build a system for project management, contacts & calendars, task management, and cost tracking.