Launched: Select List & Lookup Improvements

Hi all,
We want to share a handful of improvements that make it simpler to create the best structure for data in your doc, and adapt it as your doc grows.

(1) Convert select lists to tables

Select lists are great for quickly specifying values that are repeated throughout a table, like priorities for a task. As a doc grows, sometimes it becomes valuable to move that information out of the column and into its own table.

Say you start a Tasks table and add a select list column for each task’s team. Later, you want to start tracking additional information about each team, like its members or location.

Or, say you have a select list of company milestones that you use in a Projects table, and now want to use the same milestones in a separate Goals table.

In both of these cases, the best option is to move the values of that select list into a separate table that other tables can lookup values from.

That’s now possible in one click. Just open the format column dialog and choose “Convert to table”. You can also optionally adjust the name for the new table and its location.

Not starting from a select list, but have the same need? It’s still a few steps, but you can first change the column format to “Lookup from table” and then choose “Create new table” from the Table dropdown.

(2) Start from the best structure

Sometimes when adding a new column, you know right from the start that it would be best for its values to lookup into a new table. You can also do this in one step, without losing context.

Just click the + button to add a new column, and choose “Create new table” from the Lookup flyout. You’ll get the same options for what to name the table and where to put it, and stay right where you were. And you can add new values directly from the table you’re working in.

(3) See the connection

Once you have a lookup column, it’s now easy to jump to its source table when you need to see or edit its values. Just open the format column dialog, and choose “Open table”.

We hope these changes make it a bit easier to work with the best structure for your doc, both from the start and as it grows.

22 Likes

That is great! I have done the same process manually couple of times already. Thank you :))

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Excellent! Funnily enough, this was exactly something I realised I needed to do last night for a list I’d made for status progressions. Thanks!

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@Elislav_Atanasov @Chris_Thornett Awesome to hear about how this is valuable for you! Keep us posted on how these flows feel and impact your workflow when you’re making and using your docs. It really helps us drive conversation about even more improvements moving forward :smile_cat:

2 Likes

One thing I have noticed with lookup tables is that they don’t take the order of the lookup list, e.g. I have a list of attributed writers and when I add new ones to my lookup tables it is automatically sorted into alphabetical order. However, the dropdown list in my table that’s referencing the lookup puts them in the order that they were added to the lookup.

I have been shown a work around, but it is irritating that this doesn’t work directly with lookup. I have to use select list and add a sort formula when I feel I should be able to just use lookup from table. There should be options to indicate how that lookup is presented in a table (as I appreciate not everyone will want them sorted the way I want them).

Coda is a GREAT tool. Still there is a huge dealbreaker that needs a fix and it’s the following.

The best improvement on select list and lookup would be a sorting option when needing to pick values from the dropdown menu in a cell. At the moment it’s quite unusable when the list is long enough AND unsorted alphabetically (it’s sorted according to row creation time, which is unpractical most of the time).

@Moriah Since one of the purposes of coda is managing a lot of data easily don’t you think it’s relevant?

Thanks !

@Chris_Thornett @Rolando_Guerrieri Definitely!! Awesome suggestions, and you’re right that it’s a pain to not get your lookup dropdown sorted the way you want it. We’ve got this task on our list to fix up sometime soon as part of a project to fix annoyances that make it a pain to do simple stuff. (sometimes we call them papercuts :page_facing_up::hocho:). Would love to give you a heads up when this one is fixed!

4 Likes

This improvement would be possible also with table from others documents. Es. We use a document/app to manage contacts and i would like to link a contact with a task managed into another doc/apps.