Best ways to build an Airtable front end (with real-life examples)

Thierry Maout • Updated on August 27, 2023 • 7 min read

Airtable Softr integration

By creating a front end for Airtable, you are able to turn your data into a user-friendly interface, easier to navigate and caters to the specific needs of your users. Additionally, you can control who accesses what parts of your data, and who can update what data with granular access controls, and leverage it accordingly (by creating user-specific dashboards, client portals and internal tools as examples).

Airtable is a powerful database/spreadsheet platform that has a simple and intuitive interface, which allows you to quickly build a database that can then be used to power visualizations, build automations, as well as set up integrations for different use cases. As powerful as it is, however, most users will agree that Airtable is lacking in the front end, access-controlled capabilities of your data. Until recently, with the introduction of their Interface Designer, it wasn't possible to create a graphical user interface (GUI) for your Airtable base, turning your data into a digestible interface.

In this article, we will look at some of the reasons why you might want to consider implementing an Airtable front end, other than using their GUI Interface Designer, what are some of the things you can build, and finally the options at your disposal to get started.

Let’s get to it!

5 Reasons why you need a front end for your Airtable data

The first, obvious reason why anyone would look at implementing an Airtable UI (front end) is simple: the limitations of Airtable as a platform.

While you can do a lot within an Airtable base, some things are inherently limited and call for a front end solution to be added. Some of these limitations include:


Airtable is still a database/spreadsheet platform and adding different colors in your rows won’t change the fact that it’s quite austere. We love spreadsheets as much as the next accountant, but not everyone shares that viewpoint. And it comes as no surprise that many use Airtable as a database when creating a website.

It can really do magic when paired with a decent front end solution such as Softr, which we'll discuss a bit later. Thus, in many cases, Airtable can be viewed as a backend and there are different ways of adding a front end on top of it.


Having all your backend or sensitive information in one place sure is handy, but not the safest way to go about data safety. Especially when sharing external access. Implementing a gated front end is a way to control who can access what.

Permission-based access

As a direct follow-up to the previous point, you might want to show certain information to certain users and limit access based on different Airtable permissions. This can be difficult to implement on Airtable without a lot of leg work.

Focus and compartmentalization

A typical Airtable base contains a lot of information about a given project, not all of which needs to be shared. You might want to keep some of your backends… well, in the background, right?

Airtable UI potential

The other, more positive reason why anyone would think about building a front end for their database is Airtable's great potential:

  • Powerful: Airtable is an extremely rich platform and can easily serve as a backend for entire projects;
  • No-code/Low-code: At its core, Airtable is a low-code platform suited for application development. On one hand, it has a large set of no-code features that let users without technical background build applications and set up automations. On the other hand, Airtable provides more advanced users with the possibility to apply their technical skills to produce more custom solutions.
  • Team-work: Airtable holds a lot of data that can be useful if shared with stakeholders;
  • Integrations: From Google Workspace to Slack, Facebook or Twitter, Artable benefits from a rich ecosystem that can be connected to a lot of other apps;
  • Automation: The ability to set up triggers to build multi-sequence workflows or receive automated responses can turn your project into a well-oiled machine.

Are you starting to imagine some of the things you could build with your Airtable data? Let’s make it easier with some examples.

4 Approaches to building a front end for Airtable

Now, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty: How to build this front end project for your Airtable UI. There are four main ways you can go about it. Let's look at each in detail.

1. Softr, a user-friendly solution without code

Our first (and favorite) option is to leverage a no-code platform like Softr, built specifically for the purpose of creating Airtable UI (among other data sources).

The easiest, fastest way to build a web app without code, Softr uses Airtable as a backend and allows you to manipulate 100+ pre-built blocks to organize and customize every element, without any technical skills required. On top of that, you’re then able to integrate with out-of-the-box memberships, payments and business logic to build actual, full-fledged professional apps.

For Airtable users looking for an easy-to-use, turnkey solution to create a front end for their data, Softr is the way to go.


  • No-code, accessible for non-technical teams and individuals;
  • Create stunning and powerful custom interfaces with a broad range of layout and design options
  • Affordable, starting with a free plan, then $49/month.
  • Save costs of editors/collaborators you would have to pay Airtable, if they don’t need to edit data.


  • Another tool to add to your stack.

We might be a little biased, but building a front end without code on top of your Airtable data is our bread and butter, and our 200,000+ customers seem to agree.

To learn more, check out our extensive documentation and sign up to Softr for free to try it out for yourself! Below, you can also find. a step-by-step video tutorial on building an Airtable front end with Softr.

Connecting and using Airtable as a Data Source in Softr

Create an Airtable front end in minutes

Softr is the most rebust no-code platform to create client portals and internal tools, powered by your Airtable data.

2. Airtable Interface Designer, the native option by Airtable

airtable interface designer

Image Source: Airtable

Airtable has recently released its very own Airtable Interface Designer, a new feature that allows users to create an Airtable UI on top of their data.

Optimized for collaboration, the Airtable Interface Designer leverages what makes Airtable databases great to work with for teams already, such as the ability to manage user rights (so each user only sees what is relevant for them) and the straightforward Airtable UI.


  • Ability to stay within Airtable and avoid adding another tool to your stack
  • Very consistent with the general Airtable UI. If you’re familiar with the tool, you won’t be disoriented.


  • The Airtable Interface Designer is still relatively new and lacks advanced capabilities
  • While it’s nice for the tool to be consistent with the overall Airtable UI, it doesn’t offer a lot of customization when it comes to design
  • Mostly useful for collaboration use cases. Don’t expect to create a fully operational, external front end to use with clients, external collaborators and potential customers, with complex user authentication, or commissioning capabilities.

3. Airtable Extensions from the Airtable Marketplace

Airtable Extensions from the Airtable Marketplace

Image source: Launching Next


Another option available to people interested in creating a front end for their Airtable data is to use an extension (formerly “add-on”) from the Airtable Marketplace.

The Airtable Marketplace features a number of apps and add-ons that can help supercharge your Airtable data, from pivot tables to charts or integrations with third-party tools. While there is a lot of choice to explore and many hidden gems, these add-ons can often turn out to be tricky to master, especially when trying to achieve a specific goal.

When it comes to creating an Airtable UI, a single extension might not do the trick beyond creating a few dashboards and charts.


  • Staying within the Airtable ecosystem – no need to add third-party tools, while potentially still needing to add multiple add-ons to get the job done.
  • Some of the extensions might answer your exact specific need


  • Some of the extensions are quite costly and will especially escalate in cost if you need to use multiple add-ons
  • You must be an Airtable user with access to the base data (and pay for all collaborators) to use the add-ons
  • Lack of advanced roles and permissions

4. In-house, building the solution yourself

building the solution yourself

Image source: Unsplash

Lastly, the final option for you to create your Airtable UI might be to code it in-house, whether by yourself (if you have the technical skills) or with a technical team.

Working with developers to build a front end from your Airtable data with code might sound is a lot of work, and takes months to finalise the project. Still, it could be a valuable option to consider if you have extremely specific needs, or if your project requires advanced requirements that the other options might not be able to fulfil.


  • Fully custom and can be perfectly made to fit your needs


  • Very costly to build and maintain
  • Very slow, take time and energy you could use somewhere else

Examples of front end applications you can build using Airtable

Check out these examples of front end GUIs you could build with Softr, using Airtable as a backend infrastructure. They are all available within Softr as templates and can serve as a good base for your own project.

  1. Client Portals
  2. Custom CRMs
  3. Dashboards and Reporting
  4. Internal Tools
  5. Community Hubs

Client Portals

Softr client portal template

Softr's Client Portal Template

Client portals are specific web applications where information is stored for a specific set of users. Client portals are used by organizations to provide a professional service, communicate securely, and collaborate with customers, teams, or community members.

Check out our blog to learn how to create your own client portal. Or, if you prefer video content, take a look at the detailed tutorial on creating a client portal below

How to build a Customer Portal on Softr | Filter Data by Role

yohei nakajima

Untapped Capital VC firm keeps its LPs informed with investor portal built with Softr

I tried other tools, like Webflow and Stacker, but they were either too flexible or not flexible enough. When I used Softr, it was clear immediately that the capabilities went beyond what I found elsewhere. Technology is core to our fund, and Softr is key to differentiating ourselves with a custom client portal that allows us to operate efficiently. 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Yohei Nakajima General Partner, Untapped Capital


Custom CRMs 

client dashboard Softr, chart blcoks

Softr's Sales CRM template

CRM is a technology-driven solution that helps businesses organize, automate, and streamline their customer-related processes.

With CRM, you can track leads, opportunities, and sales pipelines. This transparency helps your sales team focus on high-potential leads and close deals more efficiently.

Check out our tutorial on how to build a sales CRM in Softr

How to build a Sales CRM with Softr

Dashboards and Reporting

client dashboard Softr, chart blcoks

Softr's SaaS Dashboard Template

Dashboards are visual management tools used to display data from your data sources. They provide real-time insights, fostering transparency, customization, and efficiency in client communication.

By offering data-driven decision-making, a competitive edge, scalability, and a professional image, dashboards enhance client satisfaction, making them a necessity for success in today's fast-paced business world.

Check out our article on client dashboards to learn more.

Softr Charts | Improved data visualization for your no-code app

Internal Tools 

Softr internal tool template

“Front end” doesn’t always mean “customer-facing”. Companies need a solid set of internal tools to run efficient processes and productivity. From CRMs to directories, wikis, and more, internal tools come in all shapes and forms, but building your own has its benefits. With Softr, you’re able to create custom internal tools, at a fraction of the cost and energy.

Create an Internal Intranet for your work using Softr and No-Code

Many have already built full-stacked internal tools with Softr.

Here are a few examples:

1. Skylight Ventures

Skylight Ventures created an applicant tracking portal to offer a quick and accessible funding process for refugee entrepreneurs. They've already managed to raise £150,000!

2. Arizona State University's MLFTC

Arizona State University's MLFTC college addressed standardization, complexity, and permissions challenges with a Softr-built educational hub and managed to achieve a 90% adoption rate in the first month only.

3. Untapped Capital

Using Softr, Untapped Capital has been able to build a dashboard for their investors that links to their Airtable CRM.

4. DS Automotive

DS Automotive's internal platform is a great example of an employee portal built with Softr and Airtable. The platform helps make internal business processes more efficient in the company.

These examples show how Softr is helping different companies in various ways. It makes work smoother, helps people learn, keeps investors informed, and helps employees do their jobs better.

Community Hubs

online community example Meta Landing page

Softr's Venture Capital Founders Community Template

At Softr, connecting and nurturing an engaged online community has been key to success and allowed us to reach amazing heights thanks to our user base. Bringing users together on one member-only website using memberships and premium content is a great way to share resources, nurture relationships, and more.

Softr: The Ultimate Frontend Solution for Airtable

Growing out of a shared database and need a front end for your Airtable bases, to handle complex permissions and user authentication? Or tired of waiting for developers to build internal tools to get your job done more effectively?

Softr is the ultimate no-code web-app building platform that lets anyone in your team create stunning, functional interfaces on top of Airtable or other data sources, in minutes.

Whether you're a small/medium business aiming to streamline operations, or an enterprise looking to empower your teams to build internal and external tools without relying on developers, Softr offers the perfect solution.

And the best part, you can start for free, right away!

Create an Airtable front end in minutes

Softr is the most rebust no-code platform to create client portals and internal tools, powered by your Airtable data.

Frequently asked questions about Airtable front end

Here are the top reasons why you might need a front end for Airtable: - Visualization. Airtable is still a database/spreadsheet and is not particularly strong when it comes to visualization. - Security. Implementing a gated front end is a better of controlling access. - Permission-based access. Airtable doesn't allow to apply granular access permissions. - Compartmentalization. Not everything you have in your bases needs to be shared.

Airtable is a database/spreadsheet hybrid with relational database features, which makes it a great backend solution. And front-end tools like Softr successfully integrate with Airtable, using it as their backend for storing data.

Airtable is a low-code platform with lots of no-code features, which makes it a great solution for both tech-savvy users and the ones without much tech background.

Airtable has a free plan that’s perfect for freelancers, entrepreneurs, or small teams just getting started. It includes unlimited bases and up to five creators and editors. You can use the free plan for as long as you want, but they’ve also got three paid plans to choose from when you’re ready to upgrade.

Client Portal | Internal Tools | Web App Builder | Free Website Builder Made with Softr