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Improved Find / Search

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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

The “find in view” feature could be a lot better. Here are the problems I see:

Search text obscures field names: when you click the magnifying glass or type ⌘+F, the text-entry window covers up the field names. You can’t tell what field you’re looking at unless you scroll left/right to get around the search window.

Search only returns “perfect match” results: If I search for “John Doe” I also want to see results for “John S. Doe,” “John Q. Doe” and “Dr. John Doe.” As it is, these variants are outside of my search results. Unless I know their middle initials or titles and know that they were entered into Airtable with those variants, I have to search for “Doe” and look through every single Tom, Dick, and Harry “Doe” to find the John I want.

Search is limited to a single field: Similar to the above, I want to find a 2016 transaction made by Jane Smith, but if I search for “Jane Smith 2016” no results are found.

Search results should be more like filter results: My people table has 5,000+ contacts and three different formula fields that incorporate their name. So if I search for “John”, I find a lot of Johns distributed throughout my base and have to click through “John” three times in each record until finding the one I want. I often end up creating a filter just for the purposes of finding a single record. It’s beautiful the way a filter eliminates everything you’re not looking for and collapses all the “Johns” into an easy-to-scan group of records. But it’s time-consuming to create a custom filter for the purposes of locating a single record. Couldn’t search work more like the filter?

Anyway, those are my observations/suggestions. Overall I think Airtable is terrific and I love seeing it get better and better.

1 Comment
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

+1 for improving search, to behave more like filters.

The biggest issue we have is that the Search functionality is really weak, for such a powerful tool. It just highlights matching rows in the grid view, and you have to click to view each matching result in turn.

What we’d love is for the Search to act as a global filter - i.e. hide all rows that don’t contain the search term.

We’re trying Airtable for project management, and sometimes will have a key term in the task title, sometimes in the notes, and sometimes in the comments/discussion. We thus can’t create a filter that searches all of these fields (or any field overall) for records matching a search term.

Use case: we want to quickly find if we have any existing records for a bug/task. Having to click through one row at a time is much slower than skimming a short list of results.

I’m aware of the Search Block, but:
a) it’s only available on the $20/user/month plan, not even the $10 plan (which BTW should have more features to compete with Asana/Wrike etc)
b) it shows results in a different/limited popup view compared to the normal grid/kanban view, which isn’t easy to work with