Feedback requested: Simple tables

:wave: Hi makers — I’m Teresa, one of Coda’s PMs. Our team is working on improvements to how tables work in Coda, and we want to hear from you! If you’ve ever wished to be able to use a “simple table” in Coda instead of a database, fill out this form to share your thoughts on what this would unlock for you. You can also feel free to share thoughts in a reply to this post.

As always, we appreciate your input and look forward to hearing from you!

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You are going to make a lot of people very happy!! - people have been passionate about requesting this.

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^Agreed - PROPS, Coda!

I’ll respond, but when creating pages with simple text presentation, documentation, etc., just being able to throw some items into a simple table is really nice, and a very common use case!

I def consider a simple table as a major component that goes along w/bulleted lists, callouts, collapsible sections etc.

An element that organizes a collection of items with isolated / adjustable spaces, along w/no concerns about duplicated text, or other no-no’s when entering data into a database table is important.

Tables are commonly used in MS Word and others all the time, to organize and arrange a collection of numbers, images and text - I use Coda for extensively now for my application development documentation, which has totally replaced my use of MS Word and/at times, EverNote.

What exactly is meant with “Simple tables”?

Sincerely
Jannis

I hope this case will move forward) I’m surprised that simple tables were not in Coda from the beginning)

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A simple table is used for organizing say text and images into rows/columns w/o concern for formulas or database related operations (no duplicated row IDs etc.)

Think of Microsoft Word where you drop in a table to organize information on the page:

^Anyone that’s ever played “Wing Commander” space game back in the day will remember those lovely “Arrow” light fighters :sunglasses:

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You can achieve simple tables by using the embed() function, right? It takes a bit of work but it’s not that complicated.
Wouldn’t it be more interesting to have simple formatting options for the actual table? Font sizes, page break, etc

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You get to enter your own definition in the feedback form! So share what you want “simple tables” to mean.

Not familiar w/the Embed() function? I have yet to use it?

It concerns me when you say “…it takes a bit of work but it’s not complicated”?

The fact that the majority of us here have been hoping for something, ahem, simple, like the common tables found in other applications such as MS Word, OneNote, EverNote, and others, belabors the request?

IMO Coda has a gorgeous presentation layer - there’s not much missing when it come to making gorgeous looking pages, wo/even thinking about its powerful database features and formula language.

I’m simply looking for Block of layout functionality that allows me to arrange text and images into a grid structures to organize information into resizable row / column or tabular means w/o the weight and chrome that comes along with the Database tables.

You can’t even have DB tables with the same name - that fight alone (coming up w/unique names), is something I’d rather avoid from the gitgo!

I don’t even want to have to name a simple table, to be honest…

Edit: “Wouldn’t it be more interesting to have simple formatting options for the actual table? Font sizes, page break, etc…

HECK-YEAHs, Having that for DB tables would be a nice kit too!

I’d really like to see some sort of page break functionality, especially when creating PDFs - I find I can rarely use PDF exports from Coda because the breakup of the information is rarely the way Id like, and I have no way of controlling it.

I haven’t tried but it should work. You create a Google doc table, then publish it to the web. You then wrap the created link in the embed() function in Coda.

Thanks Breno for the use case on using the Embed() function, yes so far, I have yet to need to embed - though I was enjoying the ability to add my Figma drawing into my pages recently! :grin:

…C’mon Coda, I’m thanking you ahead of time! :wink:

Look at what’s required to hopefully do what I posted in the pic above - we need that Simple Table Block to add onto our pages!

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:eyes: Justing replying to add steam to the conversation-- I also believe simple tables are badly needed!

Not to be super vulgar here by mentioning the productivity N word, buttttt, I would like them to work just like Notion’s simple tables, with the ability for the cell to accept a canvas formula!

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LOL, productivity N-word too funny.

I never really got the chance to use Notion when I discovered it nearly a year ago now (late Oct. / early Nov.) because I ended up seeing a YouTube video come across my feed “Notion vs Coda in 2022” and dropped Notion like a hot potato, never looking back - especially after seeing the formulas, packs and how Coda was stone-cold WINNING!..

I do keep one Notion page as a widget on my Galaxy phone’s home page w/a bulleted notes / todo list since it works so well as a widget.
(And def believe I’m waiting to replace that w/something Coda as well.)

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Oh yes, cells accepting canvas formulas. Wouldn’t have thought of that for my own wishlist. Brilliant! @Micah_Lucero

Off the top of my head:

  • Formatting (background and text) for entire rows/columns
  • Re-ordering of rows/columns (just like DB-tables)
  • Accept canvas formulas in cells as suggested by @Micah_Lucero

Cherries on top:

  • Cell padding and alignment
  • Automatic zebra pattern
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^ I like ALL of the formatting suggestions above - zebras, padding/alignment and text formatting!

I’d say be careful with the formulas - simple tables are, in my opinion, only for tabular organization of text, images, etc., on a page - once you start asking for formulas, you may be getting into a more complex ask from Coda…

I have used formulas right in the middle of text on a page, so hopefully that wouldn’t be too complicated to include into a table block?..

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This thread sparked a few ideas for me that are related to the concept of “simple tables” but are not in-and-of themselves “simple tables”.

The one thing I would prefer to NOT see is having “simple tables” being used to layout content in a page/canvas. People used to design web pages with HTML tables before there were better options. The table itself was unaware of how data in different parts of the table related to each other, and people wrote complex tables to get pretty designs that were hard to maintain and didn’t translate well to different sized screens. I would rather see different ways of laying out content where the content knows what type of content it is and how it should flow compared to other content. Tables should be structured. If you want to present info differently (such as William’s “Wing Commander” card) use a different view.

One of the reasons that people want more free-form tables is so that they can do things like having a “total” row at the bottom of a table. This is very common in spreadsheets. Instead of doing this as a freeform “simple table”, I would like Coda to introduce the concept of summary header/footer rows. A table could have multiple header/footer rows and when defining a column, you can put in a formula to calculate the value for that summary column. For example, a summary footer row could show the sum of all the values in the column, the average value, etc. When a table is grouped, the summary row could show results for the individual group. A view of a table could choose whether a summary row is a head/footer/hidden. Formulas could access the value of a summary row.

Another reason people may want “simple tables” is because of the proliferation of copies of tables, such as when a table is in a canvas column of another table and duplicated for each new row. You end up with a zillion tables in the doc map with names like “task list 46”. Instead of using “simple tables” to avoid having these zillion tables in the doc map, introduce the concept of “scope” for tables and controls. Each table/control could have global scope (default, current behavior), or you could limit the scope to the parent page/canvas. This would mean that when writing a formula, you wouldn’t see tables/controls that are out-of-scope. This would also mean that you could be sure that a table/control is not used in an unexpected place outside of the parent page so you could freely change it without worrying about side-effects outside the parent page. It would also mean that you could have tables/controls with the same names in different scopes. This concept of scope lets you retain the ability to refer to the table in formulas/buttons on the same page/canvas, which is super useful.

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Agreed wit @Kuovonne re: the proliferation of tables when you use “Canvas templates” that include a simple table (e.g. a task list, or a scene list when you write a video script). You end up with tons of tables called “Scene list 234” that don’t add anything to the overall architecture of your doc because they will never have to be referenced anywhere else and we don’t need to make “views” of them in other places. It’s just a simple table to organize information.

My second (and actually much bigger) gripe with tables at the moment: if you combine text and tables in a canvas column, the table contnet can’t be fetched with the API. The API just completely ignores that there’s a table in the canvas.

So if you create, say, blog posts in Coda and want to push them to Wordpress or Ghost or anywhere else, you’re out of luck; you’ll have to manually copy-paste the tables from Coda. IMO, this completely misses the mark. Not every table is a database; sometimes it’s just a formatting option to make content visually pleasing (e.g. a Spanish word list in one column with its translation in another column)

In other words: we don’t always need “pretty-looking tables” or full-on databases. Sometimes I just want to be able to have a simple, structured “table formatting” layout like in Google Docs or Word or in Wordpress that can easily be fetched by the api through markdown. Markdown syntax supports tables so I don’t see why this shouldn’t be possible.

Hope this gets implemented!

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:wave: We are introducing an opportunity to provide feedback on an upcoming Coda feature: Grid. We’ve heard feedback that Coda users want the ability to layout information in a tabular format without all the advanced table features. Now, with grid you are able to do just that! Add almost any Coda building block to your grid to create beautiful layouts.

How is grid different than Coda tables today?

  • UI designed to layout information, so no filters, sort, views, table names, column names or any other advanced features you’ll find in Coda tables. Grid won’t be visibile in the doc map or / command.

We’re excited to hear your feedback and see how grid helps you create more beautiful docs!

If you’re interested in joining beta, please sign up here.

Once you’ve signed up, we will enable grid for your workspace in the coming weeks.

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:open_mouth:… oh my goodness… i’m so happy this will be a thing :smiling_face_with_tear:

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