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Over the years, I have worked with numerous project management software and collaboration tools, giving me a comprehensive understanding of the features, functionalities, and real-world applications of these platforms. In this review, I will delve into Airtable's capabilities, usability, integration options, and its suitability for different project management scenarios, shedding light on its strengths and potential limitations. By the end of this article, you will have a well-informed perspective on whether Airtable aligns with your specific project management needs, allowing you to make a confident purchasing decision.

Airtable software review, a screenshot of the tool's design projects dashboard
Airtable has an interface designer where you can build custom boards using the dashboard layout.

Airtable Product Overview

Airtable is a collaborative, cloud-based database and project management tool that enables individuals and teams to create custom databases, organize and track information, and streamline workflows. The platform caters to a broad audience from small businesses to enterprise-level organizations and offers flexibility in data structuring, easy customization, and real-time collaboration, making it an accessible solution for diverse project and data management needs. Airtable addresses the pain points of data disorganization, lack of customization in traditional spreadsheets, and the need for seamless collaboration by providing a user-friendly platform with features like drag-and-drop interface, template libraries, and integration capabilities.

Pros

  • Customization: Airtable provides fields plus different views that you can customize, catering to unique project needs and ensuring relevant data display. This versatility allows you to adapt the tool to almost any workflow.
  • Integration: Connecting this platform to other collaboration tools means you can manipulate Airtable’s information outside of the software and also bring additional functionality to the platform.
  • Templates: A diverse range of templates is available, supporting quick project setup and adherence to best practices across various industries. These templates can go from simple Kanban boards that have a pre-built workflow to complex projects that require multiple bases and the use of a relational database, such as a human resources and PTO tracker.

Cons

  • Learning Curve: Airtable’s plethora of features translate into a steep learning curve, potentially deterring new users seeking immediate proficiency. However, small teams might face less of a struggle adapting the tool to their operations.
  • Advanced Features: Certain advanced features and integrations are gated behind higher-tier plans, limiting accessibility for smaller budgets.
  • Mobile Experience: While functional, the iOS and Android mobile app lacks the full functionality and ease of use seen in the desktop version.

Expert Opinion

In weighing Airtable against other cloud collaboration service offerings, its multifaceted feature set stands out, catering to a wide spectrum of user needs with finesse. The pricing structure aligns with the tool's capabilities, and the level of support, integrations, and onboarding processes are well-executed.

However, when measuring its ease of use and immediate accessibility, there's room for improvement, especially when considering the initial learning curve. In my assessment, Airtable shines in environments where customization, integration, and workflow automation hold paramount significance, outperforming competitors in these areas.

Airtable: The Bottom Line

Airtable uniquely melds the simplicity of spreadsheets with the complexity of robust databases. This fusion facilitates a versatile environment where data organization and project management thrive. Its noteworthy ability to allow users to customize and integrate extensively gives it a competitive edge, providing a tool that readily adapts to diverse professional demands and workflows.

Airtable Deep Dive

Product Specifications

  1. Task Management - Yes
  2. File Sharing - Yes
  3. Real-Time Collaboration - Yes
  4. Commenting/Feedback - Yes
  5. Calendar/Reminder System - Yes
  6. Access Controls/Permissions - Yes
  7. Automated Workflows - Yes
  8. Gantt Chart Views - Yes
  9. Integrations - Yes
  10. Reporting - Yes
  11. Time Tracking - No
  12. Mobile Access - Yes
  13. Offline Access - No
  14. Custom Fields - Yes
  15. API Access - Yes
  16. User Forums/Community - Yes
  17. Built-in Chat - No
  18. Email Notifications - Yes
  19. Role-Based Permissions - Yes
  20. Templates - Yes
  21. Document Storage - Yes
  22. Single Sign-On - Yes
  23. Project Tracking - Yes
  24. Version History - Yes
  25. Customer Support - Yes

Airtable Feature Overview

  1. Task Management: Airtable organizes tasks effectively, ensuring projects remain on schedule. Each task within Airtable is an individual record that holds all information related to it, such as notes, checkboxes, attachments, due dates, and many more things you can think of using custom fields.
  2. File Sharing: Files are easily shared and attached to respective tasks or projects. Additionally, its ample attachment space lets you keep those files, centralizing information and materials.
  3. Real-Time Collaboration: Collaborators can engage in real-time, fostering an environment of immediate feedback and streamlined communications. In line with other PM software, it also provides a chat-like feature where users can add comments and @mention other team members.
  4. Automated Workflows: Automation within Airtable is achieved through an automation builder that lets you select triggers and actions from dropdowns and connect to other apps. It helps optimize repetitive tasks, boosting overall productivity.
  5. Custom Fields: Airtable allows for extensive customization of fields, ensuring relevant data collection and presentation.
  6. Gantt Chart Views: Visual project timelines via Gantt charts enable enhanced project tracking and management.
  7. Integrations: A variety of integrations are supported, ensuring a cohesive and interconnected tool ecosystem.
  8. Reporting: Comprehensive reporting features offer insightful data presentation and analysis. This includes a no-code UI where you can build dashboards to track the information that is important you your organization.
  9. Access Controls/Permissions: User access can be meticulously managed, ensuring information integrity and security.
  10. Templates: Utilization of templates streamlines project initiation, ensuring consistency and adherence to best practices.

Standout Functionality

Airtable's customizable views, strong automation of workflows, and vast template gallery differentiate it from other tools in its category.

First, the customizable views enable users to interact with data in various intuitive ways. Whether you are working on a waterfall project or using an agile methodology, having access to different views will help you properly handle the information according to your use case.

Then, its automation capabilities streamline operations by minimizing repetitive tasks. The level of flexibility Airtable provides through custom fields and drag-and-drop builders, lets you automate more than just tasks.

Finally, the template gallery supports users in quickly starting projects with pre-established structures. Templates can go from simple survey forms to complex multi-database systems.

Integrations

Airtable offers 30+ pre-built integrations that include social media platforms, Google Drive, Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft Outlook and Kanban project management software like Asana and Trello.

Additionally, you can find a different set of pairing options when you look for this platform on the Zapier website. Although it requires an additional subscription, it can facilitate connecting with Google Sheets, HubSpot CRM, Webflow, and other apps.

Finally, Airtable’s API allows you to create custom integrations, enhancing its flexibility and applicability within various workflows. Additionally, there’s a marketplace where you can find and use apps to extend Airtable’s functionalities.

Pricing

Airtable pricing is divided into four paid plans that go from a free version of the software to an enterprise plan.

The free plan is great for both testing the software and covering the potential needs of small teams. It will give you access to a workspace where you can create unlimited bases and see for yourself how to create and use the calendar view, grid view, and Kanban view. However, you will have to upgrade to the Team plan if you want to see timeline views.

The Team plan starts at $20 /seat/month when billed annually, while the Business plan starts at $45. The main difference when upgrading these plans is the number of automations you can run in a given month, the number of records per database and mild upgrades to the syncing capacity with integrations.

Finally, the Enterprise plan requires you to talk to their Sales team so they can properly dimension and quote your requirements.

Ease of Use

Navigating through Airtable feels intuitive, but mastering the platform might present a learning curve due to its wide array of features. The onboarding process is fairly straightforward, but the plethora of customization options can be overwhelming for new users.

Customer Support

Airtable offers comprehensive customer support, including a rich knowledge base and an active community forum. They also provide email support, ensuring that users receive the necessary assistance. However, the absence of a direct phone support line might be a limitation for users seeking immediate, real-time assistance.

Additionally, Airtable offers both build and advisory services. Build services will give you access to people from Airtable who can help you build the apps you need to start doing your work. However, if you want to be the one building and just need advice from someone with more technical knowledge, you can use the advisory services instead.

Airtable Use Case

Who Would Be A Good Fit For Airtable?

In my assessment, Airtable fits snugly into the operational fabric of dynamic teams that prioritize flexibility, customization, and integrative capabilities in their project management tools. Particularly, professionals in creative industries such as marketing, event planning, and content creation find Airtable to be a robust ally.

Small to mid-sized companies, or teams within larger organizations that manage multiple projects concurrently, seem to extract significant value from Airtable’s offerings. The tool also seems to resonate well within environments that demand visual project timelines and diverse views of data, assisting in meticulous project tracking and management.

Who Would Be A Bad Fit For Airtable?

Airtable is not a good option for companies that prefer straightforward, linear task management software with minimal customization, Airtable might seem a tad overwhelming. Larger corporations with highly structured and rigid workflows might find its flexibility more of a hurdle than an advantage.

In scenarios where quick adoption and simplicity take precedence like in the case of teams with transient members or less tech-savvy users, the learning curve of Airtable might pose challenges. Businesses primarily needing simple list-making or task-checking functionalities might find Airtable’s rich feature set excessive.

Airtable FAQs

What are the main functionalities of Airtable?

Airtable combines spreadsheet and database functionalities, offering a versatile platform for project and task management with rich customization and integration capabilities.

Additionally, custom branded forms can help you feed information to the system from external users in a way that is more user friendly.

Is Airtable suitable for large enterprises?

While it’s robust enough for various uses within large enterprises, its best fit remains within more dynamic, flexible, and creative professional environments.

Does Airtable support real-time collaboration?

Yes, Airtable supports real-time collaboration, allowing team members to work on projects concurrently and easily.

Is there a mobile application available for Airtable?

Yes, Airtable offers a mobile application, that enhances accessibility and flexibility for users on the move.

Does Airtable offer API access for integrations?

Yes, Airtable provides API access, allowing for a multitude of integration possibilities.

Are there templates available within Airtable?

Yes, Airtable offers a variety of templates to streamline project setup and management processes.

Is offline access available in Airtable?

No, Airtable doesn’t support offline access to its features and functionalities.

Does Airtable offer customer support?

Yes, customer support is available, inclusive of resources like a knowledge base and email support.

Alternatives to Airtable

  • Trello: An option that shines in simplicity and straightforward task and project management, suitable for users who prioritize quick adoption and ease of use.
  • Asana: A powerful tool for task and project management, Asana excels in structured task management and clear, hierarchical project organization.
  • Monday.com: Well-suited for teams seeking visually appealing and intuitive interfaces coupled with powerful project management capabilities.

Airtable Company Overview & History

Airtable was cofounded by Howie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, and Emmett Nicholas. It has its headquarters in San Francisco and 5 other locations across the US and the UK.

Airtable operates with the mission of democratizing software creation and embodies a vision of enabling anyone to create software, emphasized by its flexible, grid-based interface. The platform has gained a diverse user base, including startups, non-profits, and Fortune 500 companies.

Summary

Navigating through the landscape of cloud collaboration service tools, Airtable emerges as a beacon of flexibility, customization, and integrated functionalities.

Airtable is a highly customizable tool focused on improving workflows. It is best known for helping teams across creative industries automate repetitive tasks so they can be more productive.

The platform offers great integration capabilities and can provide robust insights from its relational database backend. These insights can come from reporting features or personalized dashboards that you can custom-build using a no-code user interface.

Despite its wide popularity with small and mid-sized businesses, Airtable serves Fortune 500 companies where teams of thousands of people have access to improved workflows and security features that keep their information safe.

Galen Low
By Galen Low

Galen is a digital project manager with over 10 years of experience shaping and delivering human-centered digital transformation initiatives in government, healthcare, transit, and retail. He is a digital project management nerd, a cultivator of highly collaborative teams, and an impulsive sharer of knowledge. He's also the co-founder of The Digital Project Manager and host of The DPM Podcast.