Format for names - and how to add new names

Hey Codans!
I’ve made a really basic doc to show whats going on.
In my doc, I’m forced to have first and last names separated. We have a large external selection of names both in Xero and Harvest which are all in separate first + last name formats, as well as email contacts. So any attempt at keeping the data sync’d means I have no choice.
However, its causing a pain point.

We use the quick add ALL the time.
And it works great for things like adding new clients (see the demo gif below)
But because our name in coda is first+last name added together in a formula, you cant quick add on a lookup.
Makes sense, but there has to be a clever way around it (although I haven’t figured it out.

You could just say I should keep first and last names separate, but then how do people search for them (when our lists are more than 500 people long. The first + last name column together makes searching great… sometimes you know the first name, sometimes the second name!

See also this gif.

Has anyone else come up against this before? Or have a solution?


Dear @Brendan_Woithe,

Just spontaneous reaction, not able to play around at this moment :thinking:

Searching with this method as posted here:

Hey @Jean_Pierre_Traets - many thanks. This is a great link to read.
And its somewhat of a solution - but I think I’ve come up with something perfect.
I’ve managed to make 2 automations that allow me to have both split names (over two columns) and full name (one column) inside my contacts table - and it auto updates whenever one is changed.
So no formula in the combined name column like it has been. Which completely solves my issue.

I’ll try make another gif a little later to show what I’m doing, but once I’d set the two automations up so they didn’t just keep triggering each other (not too hard really) it all worked great.
Also got to figure out how to split names up (ie, what to do with 3 word names with only first and last columns etc! Was a fun challenge - but turns out, not too difficult at all.

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Dear @Brendan_Woithe,

Credits to @Asaf_Dafna for the below post: