AirTable is my go-to app for creating databases. If you’re new to the concept of a database, think of it as a structured set of data held in a computer, especially one that is accessible in various ways. Well, that’s what Google says anyway. If you’d like to hear about what makes AirTable a great app and service, tune in to our podcast. Here’s a link to Episode 19 where I rant and rave about how great AirTable is.
AirTable offers a wide variety of example databases to start with. Anything from Mascot Recruiting to Wedding Planning. In my own business I use it to track client interactions (CRM) and expenses. Regardless of how you start your database, it’s quite handy to make a change and add a field to alter the type of data you want to capture. Let’s look at adding a field in a demo database: “Photogs Gear Tracker”. This database is for keeping track of your photography gear and upcoming shoots. It gives you plenty of default fields to get started, that includes:
- Name (of gear)
- Picture (of gear)
- Category (what type of gear it is)
- Thread size (for lenses)
- Bring on these shoots (locations of places to photograph)
- BONUS there is another database table at the bottom for “Shoots” if you didn’t catch it
This is a good basic list, but let’s add a new field; “On Loan?”. Perhaps we want to track how many pieces of gear we’re using on loan from a colleague. For this field, we’ll add a simple Yes/No field to determine if the the piece of gear is a loaned item. Let us begin!
How to create new fields in AirTable
- Tap once on the “Bring on these shoots” field (we’re choosing this field in particular to put our new field next to it)
- Choose Insert Right to start creating your newl field to the right of “Bring on these shoots”
- Change the field name to read “On Loan?”
- Change the field type to “Checkbox” by tapping on the dropdown arrow
- Tap “Save”
Now your newly created field is available! If you’d like to indicate that a piece of gear is on loan, simply tap the “-” on the piece of gear you’d like to indicate is on loan. This will bring up a number of options for that piece of gear, including a checkbox button that you can turn on. Once you return to your database, a checkmark will appear indicating that piece of gear is on loan.
Quickly adding fields in a database makes them infinitely more valuable. With this basic building block, you can even make a database from scratch – every field is made just like the one shown above. As you become more advanced, you can even link tables to really explore your data. AirTable offers a web interface (the most robust) as well as iOS and Android apps.
Have you tried using AirTable to make databases?
Have you tried using AirTable in your personal or professional life? What databases are you going to make? Let me know in the comments below!