What is Airtable
- Easy answer: Airtable is a database-spreadsheet hybrid. It combines the features of a database with the convenience of a spreadsheet.
- Technical answer: Airtable is a lightweight cloud-based relational database with a spreadsheet interface.
- Pros and Cons:
- Pros: It’s one of the most convenient ways to store your data as an early startup or when starting any project. Everyone knows how to use a spreadsheet, right?
- Cons: It’s weak to explore your data and build dashboards.
Airtable is super convenient to store data but you’ll realize that it’s weak to explore it and build dashboards. Airtable is not as powerful as a spreadsheet. You need something else to transform your data. You might want to look for Airtable integrations to export Airtable to Google Sheets.
Export Airtable to Google Sheets
Airtable is an awesome database tool. And I bet you also find it easy-to-use and convenient. Who doesn’t love Airtable? But there's one feature missing in Airtable. It's to be able to explore your data. Spreadsheets are awesome to explore data. You have filters, pivot tables, query function, visualization tools, etc.
To transform your Airtable data, you want to export it to Google Sheets. There, you'll be able to work some spreadsheet magic on your data. It's also great to backup your Airtable data.
Here, I present the 3 best tools to export data from Airtable to your spreadsheet. I detail how Zapier, Airtable importer and Actiondesk work.
Zapier allows you to push new Airtable data to Google Sheets with one zap. Then, they're 3 possibilities to consider:
1. You're starting to build up your records
That's gonna be an easy one! You can sync Airtable and Google Sheets together. You will reflect any change you make in Google Sheets back into Airtable. It's great when you start storing your data in Airtable from scratch. As you build up your records in Airtable, you replicate these new records into Google Sheets.
2. You already have an Airtable account filled with data
Damn. You cannot push existing data to Google Sheets. I actually found the presentation in Zapier a bit leading. “Popular Ways to Connect Airtable and Google Sheets” they say. Well, it doesn't mean you can copy your whole database. In reality, you can only export new records:
3. You use linked record fields in Airtable
One tricky part about working with Zapier is Airtable’s linked record fields.
Let's say your a music producer. You have a table listing your artists. And you have another table listing the albums you produced:
We see here that Tyler Swift released the albums Reputability, 1998 and Blue. And Boardi C released Intrusion of Solitude.
All these albums are linked record fields in Airtable. The problem is it doesn't translate into Google Sheets. It converts into a string of numbers, an array that you can’t do anything with. There’s nothing you can do in Google Sheets with the data because of this array. Have a look:
1. if you are NOT working with:
- linked record fields
- or multiples results for one Unique Identifier
2. AND you are also just starting to use Airtable
👉 THEN this is the tool for you as it is very easy to set up.
Airtable Importer is a Google Sheets add-on which makes it super easy to set up. You can dump current tables into Google Sheets. You can re-import your data back into Google Sheets too.
Beware that, if you add a new row or edit something, it won’t sync live to your Google Sheets. You’ll need to reimport the whole table.
This is a great tool for seeing your data in a spreadsheet format. But, since you can't unnest it, there’s not a whole lot of transformation you can do with your data. Check out how it looks like in a spreadsheet:
Actiondesk is a slightly different option because it’s not a connector to Google Sheets. It's actually a spreadsheet software on its own. Yes, a full fledged spreadsheet software. That is natively connected to Airtable. Meaning no more CSV copy-pasting. You connect your Airtable account once. The data gets imported directly in your spreadsheet. That’s it. You can dig in the data to help you get your head into the numbers and build dashboards. And then, whatever you built is automatically refreshed 😎.
Let me underline the main difference. The usual way, you have (1) an Airtable account, (2) a spreadsheet and (3) a connector to link them both. The new way, you have: (1) your Airtable account and (2) your Actiondesk spreadsheet. That’s all’ And that because the integration is an integral part of Actiondesk. Good news: you've created your dashboard once and for all! It now updated itself automatically by retrieving data from Airtable.
Want to request access to Actiondesk? Go to: https://www.actiondesk.io/request-access-to-actiondesk. You have a 14-days free trial and then, if you like the product, it costs $20/month.
Use Airtable Importer if you want to move your data into Google Sheets and don’t want to do transformations on it. For more advanced analyses, I would use Actiondesk (but of course I might be a bit biased.) I hope you found these tools reviews helpful to save you time analyzing your Airtable data. If so, please share this article, it could help someone else!