How to merge cells

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hello everyone? I there any way to merge cells and split cells in Airtable? Like in Word or Google Sheet? I want to combine two cells into one? What can I do?

6 Replies 6

The spreadsheet metaphor is both a blessing and curse for Airtable (the company).

When thinking of an Airtable equivalent, don’t think ‘Excel’ or ‘Google Sheets.’ Instead, think ‘Filemaker’ or ‘Access.’ Each cell represents an individual field in a relational database. If you had to combine fields in Filemaker — well, there’s probably a command or utility to do that these days, but to do so in an early version of Filemaker, you’d have to create a new calculated field that contained a summation (or concatenation, or some other form of combination) of the two original fields and then delete the originals, leaving the new combined one.

The process is the same for Airtable, with one small, but vital, difference.

I am going to assume your two fields are both single-line text fields, for simplicity’s sake. If not, things may change slightly; provide a little more detail, and we’ll try to refine the answer. For the same of this illustration, I’m using the cleverly mnemonic names {Field1} and {Field2}.

  1. Create a new formula field called {Field1+2}.
  2. Configure it’s formula to read
    {Field1}&' '&{Field2}
    As soon as you save the new field definition, it creates a merged field from the two original ones.

If you want both the component fields and the combination field, you’re done. Continue to enter data in {Field1} and {Field2}, and {Field1+2} will continue to be created automatically.

If you have no need for the source fields, and you intend to enter any additional data directly into the combined field, you can delete {Field1} and {Field2}after you do one more thing.

  1. Right-Click on the header (that is, the name of the field) for {Field1+2} and select ‘customize field type’. Change the field type from formula to single-line text. This will convert the formulas to a static (unchanging) representation of the formula value. Save the changes.
  2. Right-click on {Field1} and select ‘Delete field’. Do the same for {Field2}.

If you didn’t do Step 3 before deleting the fields, when you deleted {Field1}, its contribution to {Field1+2} would disappear from the combo field.

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

I have two columns (both are LINKED fields). I’d like to merge them into one column but retain their LINKED capabilities. Is this possible?

Sadly, no. Airtable seems to operate based on a REST API structure, which means that when you set up a Linked record field, you are telling it what table ID to query in the REST API when looking for potential records to link to. It can only ever query that table, and therefore only ever link to records from that table – and this may be a hard limitation of the way Airtable is built.

And presumably, the Link record itself is carrying the other half of the REST API path for retrieving the record from the table. If you were to merge two Linked record fields into a single Formula field in such a way that the records retained their ability to link, the Linked record objects would have to carry both pieces of that REST API path (the table ID and record ID) with them – but it appears they don’t/can’t.

I could be wrong about all of that – it’s only speculation based on my very limited understanding of web technologies and experience of how Airtable works. Perhaps it is a possibility to add this sort of functionality - and if so, I hope, right along with you, that one day Airtable will make it possible…

I have a table in production and in heavy use by a team of 10-15 people that has links out to 65 other tables in an attempt to model a “polymorphic” style of data. If I could combine all 65 of those into a single linked record field it would make the lives of the technicians that use the table approximately 65 times easier :laughing:

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

My situation is super confusing - to me at least: I want to merge two fields: One field is called “Company Type 1” for field type it says “link to Company type” -

the other field is called “Company type” - for field type is says “link to job function” - and I have no field with that name currently - (I may have renamed "job function to Company type 1!)

thoughts on how to merge?

Hey, this is super helpful! I am trying to do this, but with two fields, one is a single-select, and the other is a multi-select. So I’d like the results to end up being comma delimited, so that when I convert from the formula to multi-select, all should be well. Can you provide some advice on how to structure the formula? I’ve been trying to drop commas in there, to no avail. Thanks!

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

But what about the initial question? The solution described in the answer still does not fix the problem. I understand that Airtable thinks differently than excel does, but in its own different way of thinking, how to tell Airtable to merge two title cells together while maintaining the two separate columns down below?