Transition from Airtable - Many to One and Many to Many Relationships

Hi there! I came over because I was thinking of moving our big old spreadsheets from google sheets to Airtable, where we can have multiple tables reference each other, but where we wouldn’t be charged for having more than 1,200 records between tables in any given database or make charts. (G Suite for Nonprofits has spoiled us rotten). Airtable costs money for such things, Coda beta doesn’t. So here I am!

We run personal development classes for federal criminal defendants. Just to give an outline of the data, we have participants in classes taught by two volunteers, each participant with their own lawyer(s) in different districts, different judges presiding over their cases, info specific to their work in class and of course contact information for all of the people involved. My plan was to take this sprawling sheet and turn it into interrelated tables, one for each of the following: Participants, classes, volunteers, lawyers, judges. Each participant would be down as being in a class (referenced to the class table). Each class would have two volunteers (referenced in the volunteers table). I want to be able to set such a thing up and easily see a view with all the participants that any given volunteer has taught.

In Airtable, you can insert, as a column type, a column from another table. It looks like you can sort of do this using Lookups and maybe @mentions, but I’m not clear on how it would be done. Any suggestions on how to do this?


Hey Joel, thanks for message! I’m the resident Excel nerd here at Coda :grin:

From what you described, sounds like you probably have multiple tabs in Google Sheets that are doing VLOOKUPs to each other and then perhaps separate sheets for Pivot Tables to get the customized views of the participants you want without changing the underlying data. Does that sound about right?

The column type in Coda, as you mentioned, would indeed be Lookup from Table format. So in your Class table, you would have a column that does a lookup to the Volunteers table which would allow you to select one or multiple volunteers to associate with that class.

If you run into any snags along the way or need help setting up the relationships between all your tables, feel free to reach out!

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