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Entire database overwritten by a pasted text

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We use airtable for managing our contacts. So we were updating some of the names in our Airtable database. We tried to paste in the new title for one contact, and somehow it pasted that text into every single field in the entire database!

The undo function doesn’t work, and there are no “snapshots” of the dabs we can roll back to, even though they are supposed to be taken automatically form time to time. We can see in the expanded records that the history is still there, but we can’t find any way to restore the data…

Can anyone help?

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Welcome to the community, @Bianca!

Ack, I’m so sorry that this has happened to you! I’m not an Airtable employee — I’m just an Airtable user like you, and I run an Airtable consulting company. (The Airtable employees rarely visit these forums, so it’s just us users voluntarily helping out each other here.)

Just to make sure that this is not a temporary glitch on Airtable’s side, did you try logging out & logging back into your Airtable account? Did you try logging in from a different machine and/or web browser as well?

If you’ve already tried that and the same problem remains, I honestly don’t know if you’ll be able to get any of your data back, unless you’ve manually made a duplicate copy of your base recently that you can revert to.

You said that you’ve already tried undoing by pressing command-Z or control-Z, right? And you said that there are no snapshots at all?

If all of the above has failed, then you’ll need to send an email to support@airtable.com to see if they can do anything for you. Although I wouldn’t hold my breath (they know less about Airtable than us consultants in these forums), and it could also take several days for them to get back to you. It’s highly unlikely that they will be able to help, but it would be the only path to go down if the problem remains.

For what it’s worth, I have been personally complaining to Airtable for years now about their terrible backup/snapshot system. What kind of ridiculous backup system only takes snapshots “from time to time”? It should be done on a regular basis (i.e. daily or hourly)!

The way that Airtable’s ridiculous backup system works is that it silently counts the number of keystrokes that your team makes in your base (for example, 25,000 keystrokes made in the base), and when you’ve gone beyond that threshhold, then it finally makes a backup. It is ridiculous, frustrating, and unprofessional. But they steadfastly refuse to improve how this works.

Moving forward, you’ll need to manually stay on top of your own backups, because you can’t depend on Airtable to do it for you. Here are a few tips:

  1. On a regular basis, you can manually make your own snapshots by going into the snapshot section and taking a snapshot.
  2. Note that snapshots never retain activity history, so if that’s important to you, be sure to make duplicate copies of your bases on a regular basis.
  3. Even better than the above, I would pay for an external backup tool like On2Air: Backups that (a) not only makes automated backups for you on a regular basis, but (b) also stores your backups outside of Airtable so you can retrieve your data if Airtable ever crashes or goes down. If you need to hire an Airtable consultant to help you set this up (or help you with anything else in your Airtable bases), feel free to reach out to me through my website:

Expert Airtable Consultant — ScottWorld

Wow, I did not know that, thank you for letting me know. Is it keystrokes or database writes? If it is data writes could a script write and delete 25,000 records every 24 hours to force the snapshot?

Not sure! It might be database writes.