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Airtable Review

Database graphic

The level of organization within your business can significantly determine the success or failure of it. Millions of businesses spend huge sums of money trying to add organization to their business. Airtable is a tool that contributes towards such a goal using spreadsheets and databases. It is scientifically proven that a lack of organization can lead to low motivation, which affects productivity and eventually that can bring down a business.

Well, Airtable can rescue an organization from such a fate.

With features such as project management templates and form creation, a business can set up automated workflows with ease. Let’s delve into this Airtable review.

What is Airtable?

It is no surprise that an organization or individual considering a new approach to organizing processes within the business would ask what can Airtable do? Put simply, it is an internet-based data management tool that uses databases to organize different kinds of data.  

Unlike other databases that will instantly give a user headache because of the amount of coding required, Airtable is a low code tool so you do not have to know SQL or any related code to be able to use it. This is designed for the ordinary Joe to use with ease.

How to Use Airtable?

Airtable is a favorite among developers but that doesn’t mean it is as complex as the other tools developers are known to use. You can learn how to use Airtable simply by seeing what other organizations are using it for. Tesla, for example, uses it to keep track of vehicle inventory within the factory. You might choose to use it to keep client records in an orderly fashion or manage orders from clients.

The possibilities are endless!

If you’re familiar with spreadsheets and databases, then you would have no trouble using Airtable’s online spreadsheet. Since it is cloud-based, getting started is a simple process. You just sign up for an account like you would for an email address or a social media account. Then, you can choose to have a paid or free account depending on what you will use it for. If you’re an individual, you may be satisfied with the free account features while a business may benefit more from the paid features.

You may be worried that you do not know the first thing about spreadsheets or databases, but Airtable got you covered as they have several templates that you can use.

Once you have a new account, you can choose from the dashboard whether to use templates, design your own from scratch, or import. Importing a spreadsheet is an option you might prefer if you already have your data in an excel sheet and you would like to transfer it to Airtable.

Airtable Integrations

Airtable Integrations is another way to get the best out of this tool. Integrations allow the user to connect different apps to the database so that you can seamlessly transfer data between apps. For a business looking to improve efficiency, this is a great feature to employ. You can achieve automation in your inventory system by integrating certain apps like Google Sheets, Slack, and Hub (our document automation software) with Airtable. You are able to swiftly put your data to work through integration.

Learn more about Hub integration with Airtable here.

Airtable Plans

There are several Airtable plans to choose from. All plans allow users to create unrestricted workspaces but the number of bases, fields, views, and tables are limited based on the plan chosen. The three plans are:

Free Plan: For an individual using Airtable for tasks like organizing a music library because your night job is playing music at parties, this is a suitable plan. It allows a maximum of 1,200 records, that can be divided into 2 bases with 600 records each. Also, each base is allotted 2GB space for attachments. Some of the restrictions on this plan include no app addition, no customization of forms, or color-coding records and calendar features are also restricted.

Plus Plan: This is a plan with flexible Airtable pricing you can pay $12 a month if you are billed monthly or $10 a month if you are billed annually. With this, there is a maximum limit of 5,000 records, 5GB attachment space, 2 bases with 2500 records each. Every record can be reviewed using the revision history feature that stores records for 6 months. It is disappointing though that this plan doesn’t allow adding apps, customizing forms, or color-coding records. Generally, you are paying for more storage and records.

Pro Plan: For $24 monthly billing or $20 annual billing, you can enjoy all the features Airtable has to offer. 50,000 records, 20GB base, 1-year revision history, app addition, trigger-action automation, color-coding, checkbox styles, and so many more enterprise features. This is a plan every business should consider. An individual might find it overkill.

Is Airtable Free?

Airtable has a free plan which you can use to get used to the online database. This is a restrictive plan and if you want to get more access to other features, you will need to pay for a Pro Plan.

Airtable API

If you have been using a spreadsheet to store and view data, you should try Airtable API to experience a simpler way to view your data. Once you create a base within your Airtable account, you can proceed to enjoy the benefits of a no-code API. Developers will appreciate its features and the ease with which they can integrate and automate different functions including documentation.  

Airtable Templates

Airtable has templates for any situation. To get things done faster, simply go to templates and choose what you would prefer to use. Also, for people who are new to using databases instead of Spreadsheets, it is best to get started with Airtable templates so that you get used to the structure of bases. Templates are easy to understand and a lot of the work is done for the user. There are several templates to choose from you may have never thought of using a database to manage a project like planning travel activities or arranging lists of applicants or even managing animals on a farm. You will find templates for those and more.

Airtable Project Management

We can assert that any project manager would be impressed by Airtable project management features. For example, users can choose between different task lists as well as make use of its task management views. You can also make use of the shared calendar which allows team editing of tasks and every team member can see edits made to the calendar. Other features include:

Airtable CRM

Keeping track of contacts is important for every business. Airtable CRM feature provides a template that can help you keep detailed contact lists of your clients, and anyone you need to keep in contact with. You can integrate this with other apps so that information like phone number, address, and location can be captured automatically. It doesn’t stop there, you can add notes about a contact just like you would in any other CRM. This is a decent alternative to some of those expensive CRMs that are on the market.

Airtable Forms

Collecting data is the first step in managing it. Airtable forms give you the ability to do that. The forms are easy to create and use to collect varied types of data sets. Whether you are using a desktop, Android mobile device, or IOS, you can create forms in a few minutes and make them available for people to provide the information you need.

Airtable Software

Since Airtable software is designed for use online without the need to download and install anything, it is easy to use it on any device without having to worry about compatibility. The developer also takes care of updates and security which makes using it stress-free.

Airtable Zapier

One of the common questions businesses ask is whether the app they are using can integrate with Zapier. If you are trying to integrate different apps with Airtable, then you will be happy to know Airtable Zapier integration is possible, so if you want to share your data using Dropbox or to collaborate with teams on Slack, it is a simple process and it can be automated.

Airtable is a flexible online database software that gives users the freedom to perform several tasks not just within its environment, but also integrate with other apps so that there is continuity. For example, you can link it to your document automation software using Zapier so that the data collected using forms can be used to create a report automatically and sent to the email addresses of stakeholders. It is understandable why it is among the best database software out there.

And, there are multiple use cases you can take advantage of with our Airtable + Hub integration.

Airtable Review

In the end, it is not often that you hear words like fun, flair, and interesting being used to describe a database tool.

There are a few suggestions on how to improve it, for example increasing user permissions and making the task date functions less clunky.

If you’ve just discovered us, we’re excited. Try Windward Hub for free and take it for a spin. Start automating documents in just a few clicks starting today.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

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Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

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Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

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Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

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PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

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Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

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Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

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Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

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Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

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Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Genesis Abel

Written by:_
Genesis Abel
Windward © 2021 All Rights Reserved.

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