Hi. I have a base with a Table "Projects" with a multiline text field where I add simple updates on the progress on that proiect. These updates are generally brief but vary in length. There will be a lot of them over time.
I have that field linked back into the table, where I would like to only show the most recent update, is there any way to acheive this please. Can you format that linked field to display the primary field only to a specific character as a thought?
In the longer term I'd like to find a more elegant solution overall as appreciate this is basic but having something in place for the short term was my thinking.
It sounds like your main goal is to be able to easily see the most recent update. There are several possible approaches.
My favorite approach is to have the linked updates sorted in reverse chronological order, so that the latest update appears first, which is the opposite of the default behavior. To achieve this, I sell an automation script that sorts linked records automatically. Note that this automation script will only sort records on an ongoing basis--to sort existing records, I have the sort linked records extension, which requires a premium license for views with more than 5 records.
If you do not have budget for these scripts/extensions, you still have other options.
It is possible to have a lookup or rollup that shows only the most recent linked update. This system typically involves a system of back-and-forth rollups in order to identify the latest linked record. This technique has been described before on this forum, and I believe that it has also been featured in the BuiltOnAir podcast.
If there will be hundreds of linked records and many updates, the back-and-forth rollups can involve a lot of recalculating, which can slow down a base. In these situations, I sometimes use a checkbox field to identify the latest linked record. The checkbox is managed by an automation. When a new linked update is created, the automation looks for an existing linked update with the checkbox, removes that checks from the other record, and then sets the checkbox for the new record. This can be a bit tricky to get the trigger for the automation and the automation actions correct. (This system can also be adapted to fill in a second linked record field with only the latest linked record, but I do not like this system because it clutters up the schema with a second set of linked records.)
Finally, to answer your actual question: No, you cannot change what the"backlink" field to shows. It always shows the entire primary field of all the linked records. Instead, you can use a different field, such as a rollup or formula field to show something different.