Re: Inserting into Multiple Select Field Types

1870 2
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Hello Everyone,

I’m a teacher & I am tagging teaching materials with a “Multiple Select Field” type column.
I forgot to add a tag and I would need to add it to many Tag cells. Is there a way to add one element (tag entry) to many cells without replacing the various other elements (tags) already existing?

Any help is much appreciated!

9 Replies 9

Here’s what first occurred to me; there may be ways to streamline the process, but this is reasonably quick.

  1. Duplicate the multiselect field, copying cell data. (Strictly speaking, this is an optional step, as you can convert the original field in place. Me, I like the security of working on a copy of the data.)

  2. Convert the duplicate column to be of the single line text type. This will result in each cell now containing a concatenated list of tags, separated by commas.

  3. Create a new column of checkbox type. Check the box for each record needing the new tag.

  4. Create a new column for formula type. Select the formula to
    {original tag string} & IF({needs new tag},",[NewTag]","")

  5. Duplicate the formula column you just created, copying cell data. (Again, an optional step, as you can convert the column in place.)

  6. Convert the duplicated formula column to the multiselect type. This will return each tag string to the corresponding grouping of multiselect tags.

  7. Once you’re happy with the results, delete the original and all intermediate columns, leaving only the updated multiple select field.

One caveat: This will likely break if any of the original tags contains an embedded comma. If that’s the case, as Step 0 edit the field configuration and change the offending tag.

Initially, I created the new tag column as a text field and simply Ctrl-V pasted the tag into the appropriate rows; the subsequent formula merely concatenated original and new tags with a comma separator. The checkbox method, though, requires even fewer keystrokes.

I realize these aren’t the clearest of directions, so I’ve implemented a demo base showing intermediate steps here.

Thank you @W_Vann_Hall
I was hoping for something simpler.
I’m a bit surprised that there is no simple function for this built into Airtable.

7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Depending on how many changes you need to make, it might be faster to add the new element to one record and then copy and paste to those other records that require the same elements.

Hi Christoff,

Wouldn’t a copy and past eliminate other tags I added that are not equal to
the other entries?

Thanks for your help!

7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

You would need to copy and paste different sets of elements, depending on the current values in a record and the new elements that you want to add. I am assuming that several records will have the same set of elements, so you won’t have to enter the new element into each record.
But, if there are many combinations of different elements, this could take a long time, in which case @W_Vann_Hall’s suggestion is better.

Thanks for the detailed instructions. Hoping something simpler should be available in the near-future

You are responding to a very old thread from many years ago.

You can now easily do this with one simple step by using the Batch Update App.

Alternatively, you can also automate this with Airtable’s automations as well. In automations, just take the existing field value, add a comma, and append the new value.

Thanks, @ScottWorld for sharing better approaches to accomplish this.
Yes, noticed now that it’s an old thread.
Google Search landed me here :slightly_smiling_face:
If you could share some resources that would help use automation to accomplish this, that would be helpful

You can learn about Automations here: