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A way to write free text into cells (not related to table data) like Excel

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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

If you ask me what’s the biggest difference between Microsoft Excel and Access I would say the ability to write anywhere in Excel vs the rigid column definition of data in Access. Excel is so simple and most people use Excel as a database anyway. Database purists would point out lots of disadvantages doing this but Excel is popular because it is WYSIWYG: after you put data in the table, add a title in the row above the table and set the font size / bold / underline. Add a second table directly below the first one, also with a freetext title. No table definitions, messing with report layouts, records, joining tables, union… etc. If you share the spreadsheet with your team, write BIG RED TEXT on the first row telling them what to do/not to do. Again it doesn’t mess up the table definition or requiring a pop-up code to display this extra text. Simple. Effective.

It leads me to think if there could be a way to be able to achieve this in Airtable. Say I want to segment my rows into sections, each with a freetext section heading. Sure I could use Group By column, but I’ll need to make a new column that’s not related to my record. Also I can’t customize the text/font/spacing of these headings. Or simply adding a non-data row with rich text formatting? Of course sorting could lead to problems. But the potential gain is enormous: people can write their instructions, section headings etc. that encourage non-techie users to use Airtable more. (Currently there is a ‘column description’ function hidden away, but nobody reads that.