Linking two tables / bug?

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I am having trouble linking two tables. In the first table I have a primary field called “company”. A second field here is “email”. Each “company” has several “emails”. In the 2nd table, I have a primary field with “company”. Another field is “files”. Each investor has several “files” linked to it. I am copying investors in a separate column that I am then linking to the first table. The problem is that the link only works for the first instance that “company” shows up in the 2nd table. Is this a bug? Any work-arounds?
Screenshot 2022-09-16 231134

3 Replies 3

Sorry, not entirely sure I understand what you’re trying to do, but a couple of thoughts occur to me.

First, remember that in Airtable you are always linking to primary columns (primary fields). You don’t pick which part of another table you link to: You link to the primary column, always.

But you can also pull data from other columns. Let’s say you’re linking records in TEACHERS table to records in STUDENTS table. Teacher Smith is linked to students Tom, Dick and Jane and Joaquim. In the record for Smith in TEACHERS, you’ll create a field that links a teacher record to one or more records in STUDENTS. That field will show the names of all the students the teacher is linked to. But now, say you also want to see their phone numbers, or their dates of birth. You could go about this a couple of different ways.

  • If the student’s date of birth is important to that student’s unique identify — say, as a way to distinguish one Jane from another — you might make the primary column in STUDENTS a formula field that concatenates name and DOB.
  • Alternatively, you’d probably use a Lookup or a Rollup field. Lookups are fairly easy, but Rollups can be slightly more complex and you might want to read up on that topic.


Must say that several things about your screenshots make me nervous. I’m afraid you’re not going to get where you’re going, given the way you’re starting. But I could be wrong. As I said I don’t really understand your data-modeling problem. Good luck.


I heard other definition, but they are not counter each other, just a different view. You link to the entire record, and text seen in link is record name. Record name is a value of it’s primary field.
Thus, if your primary filed is not unique, you can’t use easiest way of linking - just turn a column of values into linked field. (the same effect if you copy-paste whole column into new created linked field.
You can of course link manually by ‘+’, it works while you have 10-20 records, but not hundreds. You can use script of automation. By way, maintain links via automation is very simple. The process is a bit harder than set up wake up alarm in your mobile device, you should just try, check, notice possible mistakes and then finally understand how it’s working.

The key is to understand why AT linked in a way, different from your expectation. When you turn field to linked, it’s like you copy-paste a list of values. With “Investor1” value put to link field, AT search for any (usually first-met) record with that name and link to it. Second “Investor1” will link to the same record. And so on. If you put value not existing in table where you link, like “Investor4”, AT will create new record, Investor4 (with other fields empty (or computed, if any) and link to it.

The first workaround here is to create computed primary field to be unique, for example, formula to concatenate name&email. That will also protect from unwanted creation of empty records - computed primary field can’t be auto-created by linking.

Thanks both of you! I am still struggling to understand.
I believe the issue is that the automatic linking only works for the first met record. I guess the only work-around would be to use automation? Difficult to use individual records given the problem at hand…I will try troubleshooting more. Do let me know if you have any solution.
What am I trying to do is to enable companies to view their individual files in Softr. I use Airtable as a base. Each company has several emails and each user is related to one (or sometimes a few) companies and needs to view their indivudal file. Should be a simple problem to solve, but quickly run into limitations in Airtable it seems? Many people must have tried doing something similar?