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[SOLVED] Simple checklist within fields

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast
Status: Launched

This would go a long way in letting many of us move completely away from Trello, Asana, Etc. into Airtable. I know there are workarounds (link to another table’s list containing the tasks), but that quickly becomes overly cumbersome. Would love to have simple checklist as a field option!

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

+1 for simple, ad-hoc To-Do/checklists within an airtable entry. These do not need to be relational – nor sure they be. Ditto on the use case from from moving over from Trello…

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Came here because I was looking for a solution - we’ve used Axosoft up until now for project management, and it does a great job of having sub-issues which you can expand/collapse from the parent issue.

I found a workaround in Airtable that works really well for us - may be hard to explain, but here goes:

  • The primary field in our table is called “Sub-Task” - this is the granular level task that needs working on.
  • I then have a field next to it called “Parent Task”. This is an optional field, as I’ll explain below.
  • I then Group By “Parent Task”, which has the effect of separating out all Parent Tasks into their own section. Any sub-tasks that don’t have a parent task are just collected together in their own “Empty” group.
  • Each parent task’s Group can then be expanded/collapsed to view all sub-tasks. And it shows a count of how many sub-tasks there are in each parent task, which is handy.
  • You can then group further by Category or Person (set this grouping before Parent Task), so you could see all “Features” tasks as one group, and inside that would be all Parent Tasks, and then expand each parent task to view sub-tasks.
  • I added a “Completed” checkbox for each sub-task, and then set the Group summary for the Completed field as “Percent Checked” - this shows us % progress for the parent task (and any Grouping above/below that), even when collapsed.
  • Finally, I created a couple of duplicate views, so I can see “All tasks, grouped by Category” (e.g. marketing vs. Features vs. Business), then one for “Tasks per person”, one for “What each person is currently working on” (Group by “Assigned To”, then Group by “Parent Task”, Filter where Progress = “In Progress”), and “My current tasks” (Filter where Progress = “In Progress”, Assigned to = me).

Another benefit is that any single task can easily be turned into a task with sub-tasks, simply by typing something into the “Parent Task” field. Airtable automatically moves it to its own group, where you can then add lots of new rows and type each sub-issue into the “Sub-Task” field.
Added bonus - you can create lots of sub-tasks really quickly. Type all of your sub-tasks into a plain text document, one task on each row - copy to clipboard. Then click in a blank Sub-Task field, and paste. It will ask if you want to Expand the Group by default - that option then creates a separate sub-task for each line of your pasted text.
Thus, the workflow to create a parent task with 10 sub-tasks is super-easy:

  • create a new row, and type something as the Parent Task name
  • grab 10 plain text lines and paste them into the Sub-Task field.
  • Done.

I’ve only just set this up, so will have to see how this works over the long run, but straight away it feels like I have a way of managing my tasks, people, and progress, better than any other tool.

Here’s an example of how it looks:

Unlike Axosoft, which I chose because it’s powerful, the UI in Airtable is easier to use, and seems more flexible, especially with different field types and Views.

Hope that helps anyone trying to manage sub-tasks too!

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Thanks for this work around Claude! It really helped.

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I hope there’s an update for this. Would be great to have multiple checklist within a field. That would make things so so much easier.

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Thanks Claude - very Helpful

One disadvantage is that all “parented groups” of tasks will either be on the top or the bottom - but until Airtable adds it in - this is a good way to go

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Parent-child records are a useful workaround for some cases (we actually do this a lot), but not for most cases where I want a simple checklist. Case in point: our checklists are typically templates that get used over and over (each month, each release cycle, etc.). The heavyweight parent-child approach is hard to use as a template. A simple checklist (e.g., in a rich text field) can be saved as single row/record and simply duplicated to create a new instance to work on.

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

This is probably the only thing my team is missing in Airtable atm. For now we’re using a very simple solution of lists with emojis like :record_button: (unchecked) and :white_check_mark: (checked), which is a bit sub optimal.

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Bump +1 on this as well.

Followup: going along the emoji idea, what about giving a markdown textbox? but ideally would be able to get a completion count

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I am a BIG MAJOR +1 on this!

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Yes. Need. +1,000,000