Looking for something that does what Excel does but… cooler? Airtable may be the solution for you. This cloud-based tool can help you keep track of data, collaborate with others, share schedules, and more, as it combines the functionality of both a spreadsheet and a database in a unique visually-appealing format. Here’s what you can expect from Airtable.
What Is Airtable?
Airtable is a cloud-based spreadsheet-database hybrid. What does this mean exactly? It has the features of a database but applies these features to a spreadsheet. So while you’ll be able to access and input information in Airtable much like you would in a traditional spreadsheet, these cells are also linked to content “types” and can also reference file attachments and images. One of the ways that this can be used is through a “gallery” view that emphasizes the visual content being organized.
How Can You Use It?
Airtable has many built-in features that make it conducive to collaboration, and as such it can be a great tool to use when working closely on projects with colleagues or to have students use as part of your course. Because it’s easy to share views of the data contained in an Airtable database, student work on the site is readily available to you as the instructor, even if you’re not a contributor.
Even better, students can use their .edu email account to get free access to a pro account for two years, as Airtable is offering it as a way to help students stay organized during remote learning (this offer may expire as things return to normal–it’s pandemic-centered).
Here are some ways Airtable can be used:
- Creating study guides
- Planning schedules
- Managing group projects
- Setting and tracking goals
- Developing marketing plans
- Setting up an editorial calendar
Users can work collaboratively on the same Airtable base, and can even change views and settings without impacting how others see the base. Users can also assign things to others, comment on content, build to-do lists and more.
For more ideas, check out Airtable Universe. It’s a collection of ideas and examples from groups and companies around the world showcasing how they’re using Airtable.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Airtable is an incredibly powerful and dynamic tool. It’s easy to create databases that are visually appealing, as well as to collaborate and share information. Airtable is a really great tool for virtually anything that needs to be organized in a central place.
Cons: The biggest con of Airtable is that it can be expensive. To access some of the platform’s best features, you’ll need a Pro account, which runs $20 a month (yep, it’s pricey). Additionally, because there is just so much that you can do with the tool, the learning curve can be a bit steep. Templates help and it is fairly user-friendly but knowing all the ins and outs of Airtable simply takes time.