Are Canvas Columns Erratic or am I?

I’m not sure if I just don’t understand the concept of properly using canvas column templates or if this is extremely buggy.

I made 3 canvas templates and used them as values for new rows on my Main table. I’d expect when a new row is created, I get an exact copy of the templates they are being populated by. Instead I just get garbage canvases that don’t look anything like their supposed source.

What’s up? Isn’t this the very use case the “Value for new rows” was created for?

When I click on a Notes column, I’m expect to ONLY see the Notes template, but instead my canvas looks like a mix of all canvas templates.

Hi @Monroe_Claycomb,

I think the problem why it doesn’t look like you want is because you are using the default layout, which shows all columns below themselves.
You can even see the column headers here:

You have to create an own view for every option in order to not see them below themselves but only one column.

You can then create a button and use it to open the row in the right view.

Another alternative and what I usually do in situations like that is described in this topic. Please take a look at it and check if it fits your use case.

Hope that helps.
Please let me know if you have any more questions.



That helped a lot. Thanks.

I’m still a bit confused as to how the community actually opens their Canvas columns generally. If I have multiple canvas columns, isn’t the entire point of them to be viewed as unique docs/layouts? If I have 3 canvas columns that are generated from a template, I’d expect to open them in my table in the same view they were created–without all the additional columns being displayed.

As you pointed out, they all open to a default view, even though the template wasn’t set up that way. I guess I maybe don’t understand the reasoning behind that functionality choice in Coda, or how that ever would benefit anybody. If I expand 3 different canvases, I’d like to see 3 different views. Instead it appears if you change the view on one, it changes it on all because the table is set up to only expand to one single layout regardless what column you want to expand–which defeats the entire point as I see it.

I love Coda, but the ability to view your data often seems unnecessarily encumbered and messy. It seems very unnecessary to have create 3 different buttons to view my 3 different canvases in the way I set them up. Why can’t every column, when expanded, be opened up to a unique view instead of forcing all columns to open to the same view? Or can it?

Instead of clicking on my canvas columns and getting the desired view results, I now have to hide them as basically content holders only and view them from 3 new button columns. This just create additional columns to my table. This seems very inefficient and makes me question if I truly understand what the intended use case for canvas columns even is.

Nevertheless, this may likely be obvious to most of you, but if someone else runs into this here is how I did it based on how I understood @Jannis’s suggestion:

  1. Set up template canvas, set up new rows to bring in your canvas template
  2. create a detail view of the main table
  3. make a new layout to be used only for this view
  4. choose the canvas column to display (make it viewable)
  5. create a button in the main table with “on click” set to “open row” / “this row”
  6. the important part: Set “View” to the new view from step 2.


STEPS 5 & 6


Maybe there’s a better workflow to all of the above. I’m open to suggestions.

Hi @Monroe_Claycomb,

thanks for the explanation.
You can also use one button instead of three. But you have to find a condition that tells the button what view he should open.


HI Monroe,

When you open a canvas column, by default it opens ALL columns in the table, which includes ALL canvas columns. You would need to create a view for each as Jannis mentioned.
The canvas columns are just another column in the table. And by default, if you “open” a canvas column, Coda shows all the columns.

I do not know why you have three different canvas column layouts? An alternative approach for the Expenses canvas would be to use a subtable, or a link to a table. In the example below I have a link from specific business process row in the business process table, to the batch jobs table:

You could also use a sub table with a relevant filter.

There are many different ways to Coda… :wink:



Same topic, but a different tangent:

In a document I have, I have one table called thoughts, with each row a specific thought type. Two example thoughts are Functional Design Documents (FDD) and the other is more technical, FRICEW.


In the “Value for new rows”, the following formula selects a boilerplate to pull into the row.:

Below is an example of the FDD Boiler plate that is been pulled into the Profit Centre Accounting design doc, and filled in.

The next is an example of a FRICEW.
The layout in the canvas column is different, but it also has a different detailed view/ modal. - All the fields starting with FW are specific to FRICEW rows, and are not used in other rows/ thought types. In the cross reference columns you can see some examples of other thought types, e.g. Links, Tests, Questions and How-to’s. (Not all have specific boilerplates for the canvas columns, some are just generic blank pages. Some thought types like Links do not make use of the canvas column at all, unless I summarize info from the doc that the link refers to.)

1 Like

hi @Piet_Strydom

you may want to simplify the process in the value for new rows, did you try chaining?
[Thought Type].Template

Cheers, Christiaan



I definitely DO want to simplify that!!

Never in a million years would I have gotten to that simplification. Sometimes Coda is just way to clever for me. :wink: