Airtable is an amazing way to manage, store, and organize data, but from an interface perspective, the spreadsheet/database hybrid is not the most aesthetically pleasing, especially for the less technically inclined users.
This step-by-step guide shows you three ways you can build an attractive interface for your Airtable data:
How to build an interface in Airtable with the Airtable Interface Designer
The most straightforward way to create an interface for your Airtable data is to use Airtable’s native feature: the Interface Designer. It is accessible from Airtable and allows you to create a front-end interface using the data in your Airtable base, including dashboards, graphs, charts, and other data visualizations.
The interface creation process takes around 5 minutes, and the feature is included in Airtable’s free plan, although some options—such as permissions settings and other advanced controls—will only be available for subscribers to Airtable paid plans starting at $20/month.
Follow the next steps to learn how to create an interface using the Interface Designer.
Step 1: Select your Airtable base
In Airtable, click on the Airtable base of your choice. We will build an interface using the data from that specific base. For this example, we’ve selected a Sales Dashboard we recently built with Softr and Airtable.
Step 2: Click on “Interfaces”
In your base, select the “Interfaces” tab at the top of the screen.
Step 3: Click on “Start building”
Read the description provided by Airtable, and whenever you’re ready, click on the button to start building your interface.
Step 4: Name your interface
Give a name to your interface, assign it an icon, and click on “Next” to go to the next step.
Step 5: Choose your interface layout
You have several choices of default layouts to build your interfaces. Some of the layouts offered by Airtable include:
List, a layout to organize and prioritize items;
Gallery, an image-first visualization of your records;
Kanban, a column-based visualization for project management;
Calendar, a time-focused structure including month, week, or day;
Timeline, a linear time-based project visualization
Dashboard, an interface to show numbers, charts, and visualizations
Form, to collect and organize input from users
Record review, to review details of many records at a glance from one table
Record summary, to get detailed overviews of one single record
Blank, to start with a clean canvas.
For this tutorial, we chose to go with a Kanban layout. Once you’ve made your choice, click on “Next.”
Step 6: Connect your layout to a table
Select which table of your base should be displayed in your interface. In this example, we want to showcase the deals in our database on a Kanban board in order to have a bird’s-eye view of where our deals stand. When you’re ready, click on the “Finish” button.
Step 7: Get more from your Airtable interface
The first iteration of your interface is ready, but you can do a lot more. Here are a couple of examples of actions you can take with your Airtable interface.
Step 7.1: Customize your interface
Upon clicking on elements of your interface, you have the ability to customize it by changing its layout, changing the types of fields displayed adding filters, and more.
Step: 7.2: Add a page to your interface
Your interface doesn’t have to be a single-page front-end. By clicking “Add page” in the right-side panel, you can add additional pages, repeating the process of choosing layouts, elements, etc.
Step 7.3: Generate a preview
As you build your Airtable interface, you can visualize what the final result will look like once published. To do so, click on “Preview.”
Step 8: Click on “Publish”
Once you’re happy with your interface, click on “Publish” in the top right corner of the screen. You’ll be invited to share the interface.
How to build an interface in Airtable with Softr
Softr helps you create interfaces based on Airtable data, from client portals to internal tools and dashboards. The entire process takes around 10 minutes and is entirely free using Softr’s free plan.
The level of customization and granularity offered by Softr makes it a very compelling option to build an interface in Airtable. The platform lets you share that interface with specific permissions and offers avariety of pre-made templates to get started with.
Follow the steps to create an interface on Softr based on your Airtable data.
First, let’s create an application on Softr. For the sake of this example, we chose to start with a template that will give us a great Airtable base to work on, as well as a corresponding application on Softr.
Step 3: Select a template
You can use the search bar or browse the available templates. For this example, we chose to use the Employee Directory template, which helps organizations view and manage their company and employee information in one place.
Step 4: Click on “Use Template”
Let’s get started with our employee directory.
Step 5: Choose Airtable as your data source
In order to choose Airtable as the data source for your interface, click on “Airtable” and then on “Continue.”
Step 6: Choose your authentication method
You have the choice between using a personal access token or your API key. Follow the steps on the screen or the next few sub-steps below to get your Airtable API key.
Step 6.1: Go to your Airtable Account
In Airtable, click on your icon in the top-right corner and then click on “Account.”
Step 6.2: Go to the Airtable developer hub
From your account page in the “Overview” tab, click on the “Go to developer hub” button.
Step 6.3: Copy your API key
Select and copy your API key, a string of letters that will allow you to connect your Softr and Airtable data.
Step 6.4: Paste your API key on Softr
Head back to Softr, paste the API key to the relevant field, and click on “Continue.”
Step 7: Click on “Copy base to your Airtable account”
Copy the Airtable base that is part of the Softr template onto your Airtable account. This will redirect you to Airtable.
Step 8: Choose the workspace on which to add the Airtable base
Use the drop-down list menu to choose on which workspace you’d like to add the Airtable base that is part of the Softr temple. Then click on “Add base.”
Step 9: Your interface is now synced with your Airtable data
Changes in your Airtable data will be reflected in your new interface created with Softr.
Step 10: Customize your Softr interface
With Softr, you can do much more with your Airtable data, including customizing your interface to your liking. Check the following steps for some examples.
Step 10.1: Add new blocks to your interface
As it stands, your interface is based on a template, but you have the freedom to change it a lot. Softr lets you add blocks, which can be either dynamic or statics, forms, tables, lists, charts, and Kanban boards, among others.
In order to add a block, click on “Add block” and select which block you want to add in the panel that appears.
Step 10.2: Set permissions for each block
By clicking on individual blocks of your app, you can select the “Visibility” tab and pick who should be able to access that content. This is particularly useful when it comes to sensitive information.
In our example, the HR manager and an employee shouldn’t have the same level of permissions and see the same information.
Step 10.3: Publish your interface
Whenever you’re ready to set your interface live for the world to see, click on “Publish” in the top-right corner. Softr will offer the option to set up a custom domain and/or subdomain. Once you’re set, hit “Publish” again. Your interface is live!
How to build an interface in Airtable with extensions from the Airtable Marketplace
Another option to create an interface in Airtable is to find an extension in the Airtable Marketplace that allows you to do it. These extensions are free but are sometimes dependent on another tool that requires a subscription, so be mindful when getting started.
Adding an extension to your Airtable from the marketplace is straightforward and should take around 5 minutes to set up.
Browse the various categories or enter a keyword in the search field to find an extension for your base. For this example, we chose to go with the Miro extension, which helps you visualize your records in the collaborative whiteboard tool.
Step 3: Add the extension
On the extension page, feel free to read the description. When you’re ready to get started, click on “Add extension.”
Step 4: Select your base and click “Add extension”
Select the base for which you want to create an interface.
Step 5: Add the extension to your base
Once you’ve gone over the fine print and are ready, click on “Add Extension.”
Step 6: Setup the extension
The process to set up the extension will be different for each. In the case of our example, it involves logging in to Miro and adding a board to Airtable.
Start by clicking on “Add a Miro Board.” You’ll be redirected to Miro.
Step 6.1: Select which Miro board to embed
Once redirected to Miro, you’re invited to select which of your Miro boards to embed. Select an existing one or create a new one.
Step 6.2: Set permissions level and embed board
Select the permission level of visitors—whether they can edit, view or require access to the board— and then click on "Embed board."
Step 6.3: Your Miro board is now embedded
You can access your Miro board directly from the “Extensions” tab on the right of your table in Airtable.
Step 7: Take advantage of your newly created interface
The extension panel will be on the right side of your screen. In our example, where we added a Miro interface using our Airtable data related to sales, salespeople can use this interface to keep the customer journey in mind when checking their KPIs.
Each extension will bring different benefits, so ensure you browse the Airtable Marketplace to find the one that fits your needs.
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.