Next actions view

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6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Hi I have a project / task management base that works well, If i can find a solution to the following point I’d be a very happy man.

I have tables for projects and tasks and link the two, in the task view i have a grid view where task are grouped by project. The top task under each project is the next action on it,

i have a process (GTD ish) where I have a list of those next actions across all projects, I currently create the next actions with a tick box I manually set but its cumbersome.

Any suggestions on how this could be automated would be appreciated,


5 Replies 5

There are several different ways this could be done; which one is best depends on how your base is structured. If you could post a link to a stripped-down version (or PM me a link, if it’s too much trouble to sanitize your base enough for public distribution), I could make some better suggestions. (Send a shared base link — that is, a read-only view — with copying allowed; the latter is needed to be able to see into your formulas.)

Alternatively, you could answer the following questions, and I could let fly a few suggestions, base unseen, that might or might not be appropriate.

  1. Is there any knowledge embedded in your tasks that informs them of next/previous tasks (e.g., a {NextTask} field)?
  2. How are your tasks sequenced? The order in which they were entered? Drag-and-drop? A hybrid (that is, order of entry — unless you forgot something, added it later, and then dragged it to the appropriate place)?
  3. How do you mark a completed task? Enter a completed date? Tick a ‘completed’ check box? Drag it below outstanding tasks? Delete it from the list?

Thanks for the response.
link to stripped down base as
in the tasks field there is a Active : Project view where i tend to plan and organise task sequences etc. Also;
1: I currently have a next action tick box which i use in the view above to identify next actions which i filter in another view. It works OK but is a bit clunky, for instance i have to remove it when i complete. Also my projects are quite fluid, things change.
2. I currently drag and drop in the Active :Project View. This works well.
3. I have a done tick box that also records the date its entered in auto done. There is also a task status that has a Done value which sort of conflicts but I live with it.

I have a vague idea about creating a concatenated project/task id with a formula but its not formed into into anything.

The base is in development so needs tidying up, too many views and fields that need clearing

Take a look at this modified base. I’m not overly thrilled with it, because it relies upon autonumber — but on the other hand, it works. It also allows you to drag-and-drop your tasks into the sequence you desire[, work a little mumbo-jumbo,] and have the new order discovered automatically. (Yes, as that clause within the square brackets suggests, the process isn’t 100% automated — but nearly so.)

To make this work, I have added a handful of fields:

  1. {Tasks::Index} - Autonumber.

  2. {Tasks::ActiveIndex} - Formula:

                 {Project Status}&''
  1. {Tasks::Next} - Rollup:
    Table: [Project]
    Field: {MinIndex}
    Aggregation formula: IF(Index=values,1)

  2. {Project::MinIndex} - Rollup:
    Table: [Tasks]
    Field: {ActiveIndex}
    Aggregation function: MIN(values)

Essentially, {Tasks::ActiveIndex} contains the autonumber for all tasks where {Project Status} is ‘In progress’, there is no {Completed} date, and {Done} is not checked; this allows the ‘next task’ process to ignore all completed tasks.

{Project::MinIndex} finds the smallest value of {ActiveIndex} for each project.

{Tasks::Next} flags task records where {ActiveIndex} equals {Project::MinIndex} — that is, the next step for each active project.

You can now filter based on {Next} to show next tasks across all projects.

After rearranging the order of project tasks

Obviously, if you change the order of project tasks, the top-most task — your new ‘next task’ — will have a higher {ActiveIndex} than other tasks for the project. To reindex your tasks and correct the determination of ‘next tasks,’ do this:

  1. In the <Tasks::Active: Project> view (presumably; in any case, in the view where you resequenced the tasks) unhide the {Index} field.

  2. Right-click on {Index} and select ‘Customize field type.’

  3. Change the field type from ‘Autonumber’ to ‘Single-line text.’ Save.

  4. Right-click on {Index} again and change the field from ‘Single-line text’ back to ‘Autonumber.’ Save.

When {Index} is converted back to ‘Autonumber’ a new sequence is generated, one that assigns the top-most task a lower {ActiveIndex} than those of other project tasks.

Again, I’m not incredibly happy with this solution, simply because of this little dance to resequence tasks. On the other hand, it removes the entire ‘next task’ process from the realm of manual intervention — and, still somewhat amazingly to me, it actually works. :winking_face:

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Hi That is clever and works really well, thanks very much

The re sequence is ok, I have tendency to review and plan rather than actually do. I can use that step to move myself into actioning mode.


hi @W_Vann_Hall, i’m a bit of a fan of yours, i read through a few posts you made and think your solutions are brilliant.

quick question, how do you insert lines into your Airtable formulas to make a long complex formula more readable? the only way i know how to do it now is to use an outside editor and then paste it into Airtable, but doing so takes away the formula / field auto-population ability of typing in the Airtable field itself.

i tried command + enter, option + enter, ctrl + enter, shift + enter, nothing work

  1. how do you do it?
  2. is there anyway to do it outside Airtable (if it’s not possible within Airtable) whilst still retaining the auto population abilities?