Airtable Review

by Formagrid, Inc.last updated October 13th, 2020
4.1/5
starting from$0
Layer 1
Offers free trial

RESULTS Score

4.1/5
Lydia Pang

reviewed by

Lydia Pang

Pros

Works like Excel and Google Sheets
Great for data manipulation
Rich in field types relevant for storing and categorizing data
Multiple task views
Customizable templates

Cons

No in-built messaging
Limited external collaboration tools
Not suitable for companies looking for an all-purpose project management software

Overview

Airtable is a spreadsheet-database app that empowers its users to organize anything and everything. It functions like an Excel spreadsheet, while also featuring project management functionality such as visual organizations of data and customizable templates. Though not a conventional project management tool, teams using Airtable can arrange and systemize data in a visually appealing manner. Airtable’s features include Kanban, Gantt charts, note-taking, and project budgeting. 

While it does not have an in-built messaging system, teams can use an external integration with popular communication tools such as Slack. Airtable is geared towards businesses that require complex data manipulation and classification. 

In this Airtable review, we will explore project management features, pricing, ease of use, add ons, and more.

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What is Airtable?

Airtable, legally known as Formagrid, Inc., was founded in San Francisco, California on a simple motto: delivering the power of a database with the simplicity of a spreadsheet. Founders Howie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, and Emmett Nicholas spent three years building a prototype before releasing it on the market. To date, the company has over $350 million in funding.

Over 170,000+ companies use Airtable, including big-name corporations like Shopify, Expedia, Time, and Netflix.

Facts and Figures

Employees300
Customers Worldwide170000
Founded2013
FounderHowie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, Emmett Nicholas
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
CEOHowie Liu

Airtable Project Management Features

With a strong focus on numbers and complex statistics, Airtable’s project management features are geared towards companies that deal with a large volume of numerical data. Airtable takes away the complexity of a spreadsheet tool and presents data in visually appealing formats such as Kanban and Gantt charts. It also has collaboration features such as a dedicated area for discussions and comments, a custom form-builder suitable for external collaboration, and native time-tracking capabilities. Airtable helps teams analyze complex data and empowers them to complete projects successfully.

Project Planning

As Airtable functions more similarly to a spreadsheet than a conventional task management tool, its project planning features are also a little unusual. Teams that use Airtable will nonetheless appreciate features such as Kanban and Gantt charts. Airtable also offers Calendar and Gallery views, giving teams different ways of visualizing their projects. When integrated with an external add-on like Zapier, teams can also introduce automation recipes to their workflows and benefit from increased efficiency. 

Gantt Charts

Though available only in the Pro and Enterprise plans, Airtable’s Gantt Block is a lightweight but powerful tool. In order to create a Gantt chart, the table must first have a subset of records with their start and end dates. Project managers can also customize the Gantt chart with the Gantt settings function and add in fields such as task dependencies and critical paths. 

If a project has been delayed or extra tasks have to be assigned, Airtable allows project managers to update these changes effortlessly. Changes are updated in real-time, keeping everyone in the loop.

Kanban

Airtable’s Kanban view encourages flexibility and accommodates users who are visual-oriented. A user can see the status of tasks according to their progress, i.e. “To Do”, “Doing”, “Ready”. Moving tasks across different tables is also possible via drag and drop. If a Kanban board gets too long, it can be easily collapsed. 

Team members can customize cards by adding pictures, descriptions, notes, links, and more. Cards can also be filtered and sorted according to their labels. 

Task Management

In addition to Kanban and Gantt chart views, teams using Airtable can also display project data in Calendar and Gallery formats. The Calendar view allows teams to look at tasks and records on a calendar whereas in the Gallery format, teams can view records as large cards. The Gallery view in particular highlights attachments, making it easy to look for images, files, documents, and more. Finally, Airtable also offers the Personal Views feature, available in the Pro plan. This feature allows users to view tasks only assigned to them, group records together, and filter out unwanted data. 

Airtable also offers an extensive domain of templates for customers to choose from, ranging from content planning to bug-tracking to product launch. Users can tweak the details of a template. Airtable Universe, a platform for users to submit and publish their own project templates, is also a great starting location to search for template inspiration.

Airtable does not support workflow automation on its own. However, with third-party integrations, Airtable’s local abilities are expanded. For example, with an automation tool like Zapier, teams can add a variety of automation recipes to Airtable. Other third-party integrations can also enable teams to collect customer feedback, receive messages directly from Slack, and simplify tedious business operations. Airtable offers over 1,000 third-party integrations, ensuring that a user can find any integration they need.

Communication & Collaboration

Airtable enables teams to collaborate internally and externally, removing communication barriers and information silos. Airtable’s comment feature provides an exclusive area where users can come together and discuss a task, whereas the Forms feature allows teams to set up custom forms to receive personalized feedback from clients. Note-taking and rich text formatting are also supported, ensuring teams can jot down important information and express ideas in different ways. 

Airtable enables users to work with external collaborators, especially via their Forms function. Teams can use the Forms feature to collect information from visitors and all responses are automatically saved to a base. Team members can also rearrange and remove fields in a form depending on their needs. A private, read-only link can also be sent to users outside of Airtable. This function allows an external user to view the content but not edit it.

While Airtable’s Forms are a great way of collecting feedback from customers, it does not support other external collaboration features, such as client proofing. 

Discussion

Airtable’s comment feature is easy to use. Project managers can create a collaborator field when assigning a task, which automatically generates a dropdown list of team members who can be assigned to a task. All comments are time-stamped, providing context to team members joining in a conversation for the first time. Tagging a user with the @ symbol is also possible. 

Nonetheless, Airtable does not support in-built messaging, which is a disadvantage to companies that require close communication. The only workaround to this issue is to install a Slack integration.

Note-Taking

Since Airtable is a spreadsheet-based tool, teams can take notes within text fields just like in Google Sheets. Airtable supports markdown syntax for rich text formatting and this feature is available in base descriptions, long text fields with rich text formatting enabled, and the web clipper app. 

Airtable also periodically takes snapshots of a team’s bases so that earlier versions can be restored at any time.

Resource Allocation & Planning

Teams using Airtable can make intelligent, data-driven decisions with its projecting budgeting and time management features. Teams can start an expense-related spreadsheet from scratch or choose a pre-built budget template. Users can also start and end a timer while completing tasks and Airtable automatically logs the duration. 

Time-Tracking

Airtable’s time-tracker app is part of the Pro plan and allows users to measure the amount of time spent on a task. Project managers can add collaborators to tasks and track the total amount of time spent on a task, set start and end dates, and track time in existing records. Once the timer is stopped, Airtable will automatically add a value to the designated duration field without additional input from the team.

Project Budgeting

For teams looking for spreadsheet software to manage budgets and expenses, Airtable is a great candidate. Teams can create a budget table from scratch or select one from Airtable’s template repository. Airtable also offers a wide variety of project budgeting templates such as a personal budget template and a small business budget template. 

Expenses can be tagged and classified according to labels such as “Rent”, “Health and Personal Care”, and “Interior Design”. These labels can be customized and set up according to a team’s preferences.

Airtable Pricing

Layer 1
Offers free trial

Airtable offers a free version and three paid plans. Its free version includes essential features such as rich field types, several task views, real-time collaborating and commenting, and two weeks of revision and snapshot history. On paid plans, teams gain access to additional color and styling options, personal and locked views, advanced calendar features, and more. 

Airtable’s paid plans start at $12 per user, per month on the Plus plan and $24 per user, per month on Pro plan. Teams on annual subscriptions save 17% and nonprofits and educational institutions also receive a 50% discount on their Airtable subscriptions.

Enterprise

Contact Airtable for custom pricing

All the benefits of the Pro plan, and
1000GB attachment space per base
3 years of revision and snapshot history
Dedicated customer success manager
Individualized onboarding and training
SAML-based single sign-on
Federated company account
Unlimited workspaces
Payment by invoice
Enterprise-wide admin panel
Enhanced deletion recovery

Pro

from $24 per month, per user

All the benefits of the Plus plan, and
50,000 records per base
20GB attachment space per base
1 year of revision and snapshot history
Additional color and styling options
Advanced calendar features
Custom branded forms
Personal and locked views
Password and domain restricted shares
Early access to new features
Priority support response

Free

Unlimited bases
1,200 records per base
2GB attachment space per base
2 weeks of revision and snapshot history
Rich field types, including file attachments, checkboxes, dropdowns, and mores
Grid, calendar, form, kanban, and gallery views
Web, desktop, iOS, and Android apps
Real-time collaboration and commenting
Email support and self-serve knowledge base

Plus

from $12 per month, per user

All the benefits of the Free plan, and
5,000 records per base
5GB attachment space per base
6 months of revision and snapshot history

Airtable Security

To protect customers’ data and ensure that it does not fall into the wrong hands, Airtable employs state-of-the-art security protocols. Data at rest is protected with 256-bit AES encryption, whereas data in transit is protected with 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption. Airtable is also GDPR compliant. All data entered into Airtable remains the property and rights of customers and will not be accessed by anyone unless necessary.

Airtable’s production data is regularly backed up to a separate location and the data centers are equipped with around-the-clock security detail, automatic fire detection and suppression, and strict controls for physical access. In case of emergencies and disasters, Airtable also has disaster recovery plans which are regularly reviewed and rehearsed. Finally, all Airtable employees undergo background checks and complete annual security training where they keep themselves up-to-date with the latest security and privacy laws. 

For greater account security, customers on the Enterprise plan can also set up two-factor authentication and SAML-based SSO.

Airtable Integrations

Connecting Airtable to external applications allows users to make the most of Airtable’s native functions. Airtable has robust built-in support for many integrations such as Slack, Asana, Basecamp, Dropbox, Zendesk, and more. Here are other integrations are compatible with Airtable:

  • Mailchimp
  • Evernote
  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Zapier

Interface

For those migrating from spreadsheet software such as Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel, Airtable offers clarity and an easy learning curve. It maintains the useful functionalities of Excel but without the added technical complications. Since the main purpose of Airtable is to store structured data - which can already be confusing on its own - Airtable keeps its interface clean and easy. It also keeps its terminology jargon-free and intuitive so that new users do not get overwhelmed.

Airtable features an intuitive design that functions with different types of users in mind. It relies heavily on visual cues, using custom color-coded labels and distinct icons to help with orientation. Airtable also allows the same data sets to be visually reorganized in multiple ways, allowing teams to view the information as they prefer.

Mobile Apps

Airtable is a cloud-hosted database, which means information and data can be accessed from a web browser and mobile devices such as iOS and Android phones as long as the device is connected to the internet. 

Airtable is a cloud-hosted database, which means information and data can be accessed from a web browser and mobile devices such as iOS and Android phones as long as the device is connected to the internet. 

On mobile devices, Airtable features remain largely unchanged. Elements such as bases, tables, and fields can still be viewed on the mobile app, but they cannot be created on the go. Moreover, the Airtable app on Android lacks certain features that the iOS app has, such as granting users access to a base. The mobile functionalities are ultimately not as broad as the desktop version.

Airtable Support

For all of its plans, Airtable provides email support and a self-serve knowledge base where common questions and answers can be found. Currently, Airtable does not offer phone support and response times via email range from 1-2 business days, which is a long waiting time if there is a technical issue that requires immediate attention.

On the Pro plan, users receive priority response support and users on the Enterprise plan are paired with a dedicated customer success manager who can provide individualized onboarding and training.

Airtable Alternatives

Airtable is a robust database and project management application for companies that require a systematic classification of data. However, teams looking for project management tools that go beyond the scope of Airtable may consider these suggestions: 

Verdict

In a world where information and knowledge are right at the fingertips, storing and classifying data is important. Airtable offers a product that lets users do exactly that. It is a fusion of spreadsheet and database software, allowing for even the most complex data manipulations. In addition, Airtable also provides different approaches to looking at data, such as Kanban view and Gantt charts. Templates are also a cornerstone of Airtable, ensuring users can build a structure for their data in mere seconds.

On the other hand, Airtable does not have an in-built messaging tool but users can install a Slack integration as a workaround. While project managers can organize sections of their project in different bases, there is currently no solution to link them together. Finally, time-tracking and budgeting features have to be installed via third-party integrations on the Pro plan. However, for companies who want to take advantage of Airtable’s specialty as a spreadsheet and database tool, it offers a lot of utility.

FAQ

At the heart of Airtable is a spreadsheet and database hybrid software that helps users and organizations stay in control of complex data. It is a great way to store and classify information, numbers, statistics, dates, and more. It also boasts task management features such as Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendar view, and list view.   
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application that is appropriate for running calculations, accounting reports, planning budgets, and other fiscal activities. On the other hand, Airtable is suitable for tracking and storing data such as dates, timesheets, product inventory, etc. It is user-friendly and also offers a few ways of visually displaying data, rather than relying on a fixed grid view like in Excel.   
Airtable offers a free version, which includes unlimited bases, 2GB attachment space per base, rich field types, attachments, and more. On the paid plans, teams can unlock advanced features such as custom branded forms, persona and locked views, and additional color and styling options. Airtable’s paid plans start from $12 per user, per month on the Plus plan and $24 per user, per month on Pro plan.