Launched: Simpler table setup

As much as we pride ourselves on top quality support at Coda, the best support is an intuitive product that doesn’t need support :wink:. Today we’re announcing a few new features to make it easier to do some previously complex tasks involving tables in Coda (without contacting support).

Find your format

Better column format organization

For starters, we’ve re-organized the add column menu to make it faster to locate formats:

Column format search

You can even search the formats to find the one you’re looking for:

Switch column format

Also, you can now access all these same formats and improved organization from an existing column. This is especially useful when setting the format of a blank column in a new table:

Smarter lookups

The next set of changes involve lookup columns. If you’re unfamiliar with lookups, they create a column similar to a select list format that references information from another table. For example, a table of contacts references a companies table, or an orders table references a customers table. To create a new lookup, add a new column, then choose the lookup format and select the other table you want to use:

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Filtered lookups

Now you can easily filter which lookup items show in the lookup’s dropdown. Previously this required a fairly complex formula. Now, in the lookup options, you can expand items setting and choose custom filter. You can then filter the items available in a lookup column using our newly added filter UI.

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Filter suggestions

There’s a fairly common scenario where you want the options in a lookup to change based on the value of another column. For example, after you select a category, you might only want to see products from that category. Now, we automatically detect those cases and provide a shortcut in the filter dropdown:

Sorted lookups

We’ve also made it easier to sort the options in a lookup select list, just above filtering. By default, they are in the order of the source table, but you can choose to sort them alphabetically, reverse alphabetically, or based off any other column in the source table:

Do more with related data

Part of the power of lookups is the additional information they allow you to access. We’ve simplified a bunch of common scenarios that previously required writing formulas.

Related columns

After adding a lookup column, you can now show additional columns from that table. For example, you may want to show the primary contact’s email address of a company. To do this, go back to the lookup column format and expand related columns:

You can also access related columns by right-clicking on a lookup column name.

Summarizing lookups

If you are using multi-select lookups, you can now summarize the data (e.g. sum, min, max, count, etc.) with just a couple clicks instead of using a formula. An example of this is showing the total price of all items in an order. On multi-select lookups, clicking ‘Add’ will show you a list of summary types that you can show as well:

Referenced lookups

It’s also a common need to show where a row is being referenced. It’s a hard concept to explain, but it makes sense when you think about this scenario: You have a contacts table that shows the company for each contact, and you want to see all the contacts for a given company in the companies table. Setting up this relationship is now easy. When you add a new column on a table that’s being referenced (i.e. being used for a lookup in another table), you’ll see a blue dot next to lookups, letting you know that there’s an option to add a column showing where each row is referenced in a particular table:

That’s it for all the new table updates. But please remember if you aren’t contacting support as much because of all these new updates, feel free to click on the little help icon once in a while and say hi or tell us a joke you’ve heard recently. We may be getting a bit bored.

-TJ
Designer @Coda

29 Likes

Awesome changes. Can already see some that I will be using.

5 Likes

Wow, that’s a lot!

Most of these are super useful, though not a fan of multi-level type selection flow. Now takes noticeably more time and mouse movement to change e.g. Text to Number (super common)

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These are all game-changing updates! I’ve been waiting for the lookup filtering for a while. Thanks!

5 Likes

Swooning with delight here.

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Thank you for all you do! I was wondering though when are we going to get “reporting and tracking” features?

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If you have ideas for these features or can be a little more specific, please start a topic in the Suggestion Box and we can log it there. It will get lost in the midst of a separate topic here.

We’re always looking for feedback!

5 Likes

Sorry if this is a novice misinformed comment, but I think if I read this correctly it is going to be much easier to relate Lookup tables back to the table from which you are creating a lookup. As I understood before, you had to make that relation in the destination table manually. I will be playing with this to see if that’s indeed the case, and if so this is a huge plus for my needs. This was in fact one small feature Notion has that you guys did not that I thought was a nice convenience, but it appears you’ve now added it, which is terrific!

1 Like

Compliments @tjeby and your team :trophy:

A serious :footprints: forward, especial for the new non tech savvy users of Coda :clap:

:bulb:
As @Paul_Danyliuk mentioned, it would be great if this function could be switched :radio_button:, by the user

2 Likes

I am in awe of the size of this chonky update!

Spectacular job Codans, really useful stuff, especially for people just starting up in Coda.

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Goodness Gracious :tada: :grin: ! This is fantastic :+1: !
I really really really enjoy smarts lookups :grin: ! Those really simplify everything :grin: .

Thank you to very very much :+1: :grin: !!!

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Hi,

I tried the new features, but some of them did not work:

  • SORT and FILTER is not showing up under ITEM SETTINGS menu
  • Sum of a lookup field is different from the sum of the same field in the source table

Best,

István

Hi @Istvan_Pesti, can you share a doc with support@coda.io so we can take a look?

Great stuff! All these features are things I do on a fairly regular basis, nice to have it built-in.

1 Like

I think I hit a bug somewhere. I made a lookup column but the filters and sorting in the settings were never applied to the imported values.

Nathan,

Thanks! All problems are solved now.

Best,

István

Az iPademről küldve

Playing around a lot with the “new” lookups yesterday, I had some difficulty with filters and sort too.
Some worked and some didn’t seem to really apply :thinking:

But it’s not something I couldn’t correct manually (by using a Sort() and/or Filter()somewhere) though…

I also had a problem when creating a “reference lookup” where at least once the field couldn’t find the lookup “it was coming from” (not sure how to say this with the right terms in English :sweat_smile:).
But I was also able to correct this manually by re-indicating the “original” lookup field …

I figured out what the problem was. The filter/sorting settings in lookup column only works if it’s an input column (i.e. for items in the drop-down list for you to select from), but not for calculated columns. I assumed that filtering/sorting would apply for calculated values (e.g. Tasks pulled for each User in Users table) as well.

I’d suggest removing / making inactive the “Item settings” section for formula-calculated columns then, because now it’s confusing. One sees the settings and assumes it would further apply sorting/filtering to the pulled-in values.

I’ve ended up with the same conclusion but I couldn’t explain it with the “right words” :sweat_smile: .
And I agree fully about the confusion :wink: