Airtable was founded by Emmett Nicholas, Howie Lu, and Andrew Ofstad in 2012 and the software company is headquartered in San Franciso.
The company’s valuation amounts to $11 billion and its total funding amounts to $136 billion to date. Airtable’s mission helps them democratize software creation by enabling people around the world with tools to meet their needs.
|Ease of use
Getting Started With Airtable
This section gives a detailed walk-through on how to get acquainted with Airtable.
1. Select Sign up for free on the right side of the screen.
2. Input your work email and click on Continue.
3. Input your full name and password and select Continue.
4. Select the team you are on and select Continue.
5. Input your teammate’s email address for collaboration and select Continue.
6. Select how you want to get started by selecting any of the two options. I chose Build from scratch and select Continue.
7. Select projects you wish to explore. This will be different and based on your team. Select continue.
Note: You can choose/change your team by clicking on your team.
8. Indicate what you want to work on and pick a theme colour that can be changed later. Select Continue.
9. Add some information you’ll like to track and select Continue.
10. More tasks and information you’ll like to track to make it personalized and customized. It can be picked and more can be added when you onboard. Select Continue.
11. Select automation that will put workflows on autopilot. Select Continue.
12. Select your POV – a way you’ll like to view your data or work. Select Continue.
You onboard Airtable with a 14-day trial of the Pro Plan.
Airtable has 4 pricing plans and they include:
a. Free Plan
This plan is for individuals or very small teams that are just getting started with Airtable. It costs $0.
b. Plus Plan
This plan is for teams that are looking to create connected apps to manage their own workflows. It’s billed at $10 per seat/person/month annually and $12 when billed monthly.
c. Pro Plan
This plan is for teams and departments who need to build connected apps that will power their most important processes. It’s billed at $20 per seat/person/month and $24 when billed monthly.
This plan s for departments and organisations that need a secure, scalable and customisable app platform to move work forward and stay aligned. You’ll have to contact Airtable sales team to get a billing statement.
How Airtable’s Dashboard Works
1. The View button/icon is to choose a particular view among the options – Kanban, Gantt, Form or Grid.
2. Selecting Automations helps to automate your workflow, create automation or create a section.
3. Selecting Interface helps your complex workflows become easy to read.
4. Selecting Tools helps you manage your fields, and understand and improve base health.
5. Selecting your account helps you set up your notification preferences, upgrade your account, and view connected and third-party integrations.
Features of Airtable
When you’re logged into your Airtable account, there’s a Welcome back form that lets you pick up from where you started when you were getting started with the platform. set up the columns and fill in the rows or create a table.
1. Project Creation
This involves creating a project and entails creating deadlines, assigning tasks and checking for project status.
How It Works
Ensure you’re logged into your Airtable account. At the right bottom end of the screen, there’s a + option. Select it and input the name of your project and select Enter.
Click on the expand arrow beside your project and make necessary edits – input who you’ll assign the project to, the project status, the start date and the deadline. You can add a new field and field type to the table. Each field (Name, Department) can be edited.
This project can be duplicated, sent, printed and the URL copied. You can edit the project given to you together with the free trial.
2. Views (View projects)
This feature helps with how you choose to view your project.
How It Works
Select views under project. You choose any of the available views given to you or you add more views to your collection. My project is in the Grid view.
This is the Kanban view.
This is the Calendar view.
This is the Gallery view.
This is the Form view.
When adding a new view, you select who can edit – either collaborative or personal.
3. Interface Designer
Click on Interfaces and select start building. Pick among the options that you want to work with. In this case, I selected choose a use case; rename your interface and select Next.
Select a layout from the option (you can select from Record review to Form) or you can start with a blank canvas by selecting Blank. I chose blank and selected Finish. Select Let’s go on the onboarding page and familiarize yourself with the worksheet.
Click on +Add elements to add either a text, divider, view (Kanban, Calendar or Grid), chart, record picker or a button. Added elements can be edited, enlarged and duplicated.
When I selected the count number element, I can choose how to make it appear (either light grey, green text, yellow text or grey text. I can also choose what kind of records I wish to see or I can edit specific records. Specific records entail me showing records assigned by different fields ie start dates, tags, and departments. I can also add users.
When I selected the Project element, it’s currently viewed on the Calendar view. I can choose to view it in either Grid, Galler, Kanban or Timeline. I can also choose what data I can see (either new or outgoing) and permissions can be view-only or editable. All views can be visible or you can hide some. Projects can be sorted via fields (name, tag, start date). I can choose how I want each row and colour to appear.
When I select Charts. I have the option of seeing my projects in a bar chart, a pie chart, a donut, a scattered chart or a line chart. Colour schemes or tones can be applied to this chart feature and it depends on the chart you select.
Your status orientation can be at the top, at the left, at the bottom or hidden. More elements can be added; however, each element comes with a different kind of edit and mode of appearance. When you’ve made necessary edits and changes, select Done at the top of the worksheet. Your interface can be shared by email or by creating a new link.
Interfaces can be shared.
To create another interface, go back to Interface and select Create New. Rename it, select Next, choose a layout (I selected Forms) and click on Next. Connect your layout to a table by either choosing a new layout or going with the pre-designed layout.
I chose Projects and selected Next. Pick or remove elements for your form, and select Next. Rename your project and add a project description – which is optional. Click on Finish.
Since it’s a long-form layout, you need to indicate/highlight if each field is required. Also, if you wish to make the text bar bigger, indicate. Select Create. Each interface can be kept as drafts and each layout can be previewed.
Drafted interfaces can’t be published. When interfaces are undrafted, click on Publish. You can invite them via email or link.
This feature helps you custom trigger-action workflows and it also helps you cut out the clutter.
How It Works
Select Create automation at the left side of your screen. Rename it or you can leave it the way it is. You can also edit the description.
Select +Add trigger and select any of the options shown – I chose when a form is submitted – and select actions. Select +Add action and choose from the available options given – I chose to send an email.
You can include a description and also configurations and conditional actions. When done, select Test action. To set your automation up and running, head over to your Automation icon and switch it on.
When it’s been switched on, select Test Automation and click on select a record to choose a test date. Pick among the existing records and select Run automation. Ensure each trigger has a green tick beside them to ensure you’re on the right track.
When you log into your Airtable account, you see your Workspace and Interfaces and they are under Bases.
Scroll down and select Start with templates or select Templates besides Bases. When you select any of the options, you have more than 15 categories with a variety of templates under them to select them.
With Airtable’s template feature, you can import data and custom build. The templates range from Product Roadmap, Sales CRM, OKR Tracking, User Research, Product Launch, Job Hunting, Remote team hub, Sales Pipeline and a lot more.
Select from any of the categories – I chose Publishing and selected Content Studio. When you scroll down there’s a little summary about the template and other related templates. Click on Use Template and add which workspace you’ll add this new base to.
With this template, you can choose to paste data and make use of Google Sheets, Excel or CSV to import your work. This template I chose currently has 8 records with their description, content theme (since it’s on a content template) and status for each content theme; it also has content assets (tags) and fields that can be added.
To work on any of the records, select one – I chose Design History, click on the Expand icon to edit the title, choose from the content verticals or create another vertical/content theme.
The Hero art field can be edited and you can select what fields to upload. You can also change the status to either currently publishing or completed run.
The content assets which include keyboard history article, keyboard changes or keyboard history video can be edited under Status, Publish Date and Format. The keyboard history article can be edited to Pre-production, Filming, In edit, Ready to upload or Published. You can browse for artwork or drop a file from your PC. When editing, include the publish date, the format (GIF, blog post, video or image), the channel you wish to upload it on (website, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook), add a producer or writer and an editor and also include a Host.
For this record or template, collaborators can be added and it can be printed and sent. The same edits can be made for the Keyboard history video and the keyboard changes record. New fields can also be added.
The Content Studio has 4 sections that suit any content need. What I worked on falls under the Content themes and shows a base. All bases can be viewed either in a collaborative view or a personal view. Views can also be shared.
If a field isn’t titled after what you want or isn’t here, you add a new record by selecting the + option at the end of your screen.
To use another template, go back to your Airtable homepage and select start with templates or select Add a base and you can see all that you’ve worked on under My First Workspace vertical. This time I chose Social Media Calendar under Popular templates for Marketing and selected Try this template.
This Social Media Calendar is totally different from the Content Studio template. This template has two sections and 2 extensions have been added. To add an extension, you can select from the featured options, Extensions by Airtable, All Extensions, Scripts or you build a custom experience.
Click on Views under Social Media Calendar and there are three views to choose from, they include:
a. Social Media Calendar – this view helps sync your data to Outlook, Google Calendar or Apple Calendar.
b. Manage Content across Channels – This is only viewed in the collaborative view and locked view.
c. Take requests from partners
In this section, we’ll be using the Manage Content across channels view. Each field can be edited. Select any record from the 5 options given. I selected Drone Security. Click on the expand button and make edits if need be.
Records can be grouped together if they are under the same status or tag. Click Group and pick a field to group by.
Select Results and it has two types of views:
a. Check results at a glance
b. Dive into results by post type.
I chose Check results at a glance and picked a record (New products post-launch campaign). Make necessary edits. To add a new record, click the Add record + at the right button end of the screen.
To make use of the Extensions, select Extensions and select any of the two options available. Your records are viewed on both available extensions – Extension rate. To get more variables, click + Add an Extension and pick from the options available to you. I chose Chart under Extensions by Airtable and selected Add extension.
6. Form Creation
This helps in collecting information.
How It Works
Select your Workspace (KPI) or create another base and select New or use your Project and select Views. Click on Forms and select who can edit it (either Collaborative or Personal). Select create new view.
Edit by adding a cover image – this will mean you need to be on the Pro or Plus plan. Fields and form descriptions can be added. You can make a field required and then select Submit.
You can allow applicants or respondents to request a copy of their responses and show the Airtable branding. The forms can be shared via the Share form option.
This feature helps you visualize your data and reports. It also has an interactive interface that provides teams (and individuals) with the exact information they need.
How It Works
Selecting a base under My First Workspace vertical, I chose Untitled Base. Your work should be on Data and you can import data from Google Sheets, CSV File or Microsoft Excel.
I imported data by pasting a table of data and I chose the User research template. The template I chose has four sections – Feedback sessions, Users, Companies & Features and Complaints. Another field/table can be added and data can be imported from contacts, data, XML, Trello, or Apple Numbers or you can request an import source.
You can work with any of the sessions, but I used the Feedback Session. Select Extensions at the right side of the screen and there are four ready extensions. You can select +Add an extension to get more templates for visual reports. I chose Pivot table, read through the summary and selected Add extension.
For this template/extension, I chose what table I wish to view (Feedback sessions), a view (all sessions), Row grouping (name), Order and select Done. The pivot table extension lets you view each record (session) and edit them. You can add more extensions by clicking on +Add an extension.
Airtable helps you integrate/connect your favourite tools and apps. Apps from different categories – CRM, Project Management, Forms, Media, Development, and Customer Support – are supported.
With Airtable, you have some integration options including no code integrations which are services that have been pre-built by Airtable and it allows for quick configuration and customization without any coding experience.
The other integration option is the enterprise tools integration or low-code integration option – which are platforms/services that allow users to build out highly customizable integrations with some development resources recommended.
9. Mobile Apps
You can access, view and update your data (work) whenever you are on your mobile device.
Airtable Rankings & Why We Recommend This Product
Now that we are aware of Airtable being a cloud collaboration tool, does it stack against specific user-centric parameters? These are what we found.
1. Usability & Simplicity
Airtable is easy to use – even for a first-timer. Its onboarding process is straight forward and the user interface is simple.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 5.
You can access your data and reports in real-time. Updates and changes made are saved and accessible when logged in.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 5.
Airtable helps you connect your favourite tools and apps for easy access. You can also make use of your mobile device.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 4.
4. Integration opportunities
You are able to integrate apps from different categories and tools on Airtable.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it
Comparative Analysis: Airtable vs Smartsheet
This section takes a look at Smartsheet as an alternative CRM tool. We’ll cover Smartsheet’s pricing plan and its features.
Smartsheet is a tool used for collaboration and work management. It was developed and marketed by Smartsheet Inc and introduced to the public in 2006.
The company’s founder, Brent Frei, acknowledged that the company’s initial adoption was slow because the offering was too difficult to use. In August 2014, version 2.0 of the Smartsheet iOS app was introduced.
In November 2021, McLaren announced a partnership deal with Smartsheet as the team’s official technology partner at the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Smartsheet is used in collaborating on project timelines, tasks, calendars and other works.
Smartsheet competes with Microsoft Project and combines some of the functionality of Microsoft Project, Share Point and Access.
Smartsheet Features & Services
1. Project Views
This involves ways to view or visualize your project. You have the Gantt, Grid and Calendar forms.
This feature gives you a real-time view of summary reports, KPIs and critical trends. Widgets’ live data, key metrics and charts are displayed and are easy to use.
Also referred to as tags, this feature helps see tasks that are due and also assigned to you.
Smartsheet supports app integrations including Slack, DocuSign, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Suite, Microsoft Teams, and Gmail.
5. Mobile App
You have access to edit, view and update your data on Smartsheet with your mobile device or tablet.
You are able to manage and update work across multiple sheets. Files can also be exported to Excel, Google Sheets and PDF.
1. Pro Plan
This plan is for people and teams that want to track, share and manage projects with unlimited viewers. It’s billed at $9 per user per month when billed monthly and $7 per user per month when billed yearly.
It is for a maximum of 10 users and includes unlimited sheets, viewers, 20GB attachment storage, Dashboard, Reports & Forms, Gantt, Grid, Card & Calendar views, 250 automation per month, Dropbox, Teams, Microsoft 365, Slack and Box integrations.
2. Business Plan
It goes for $25 and it’s billed per user and also billed yearly. The plan is for businesses that manage projects and programs with unlimited editors and more capabilities. It also has unlimited editors with a minimum of 3 users.
The plan comes with everything in the Pro plan including Baselines, 1TB attachment storage, document builder, forms with conditional logic, activity log, publish sheets, dashboards and reports, Adobe Creative Cloud, Tableau and Power BI integrations.
3. Enterprise Plan
You’ll have to contact Smartsheet for a billing statement. This plan is for organisations that run processes at scale with enterprise-grade control.
It comes with everything in the Business plan including Enterprise plan manager, DocuSign integrations, Domain validations, Custom email domains, single sign-on/SAML, Work insights; Curated experiences based on user roles, and Unlimited attachment storage.
Benefits That Make Airtable Stand Out
1. Airtable user interface is dynamic and visually engaging.
2. Airtable has lots of ways of viewing projects or dashboards.
3. Airtable has ready-to-use templates under a lot of categories.
4. Airtable has a flexible free plan and affordable paid plans.
5. Airtable has lots of educational resources like guides and webinars.
We’ve come to the end of this article and have covered Airtable and some features that make it a product worth trying out. Do try it out and we’ll be in the comment section to hear your feedback(s).