Why I am disappointed from coda

I’ve been using coda now for a few days in order to get our project management done via coda.

Before we used Retool to create internal tools, but it was always very messy when it comes to design and usability. And for that reason we decided we don’t want to pay that much money anymore and just move on to use coda for our needs. It looked like coda is able to do the basic stuff we need, like lead management, management of our employee and some project management here and there.

But the moment I’ve started to deep dive, I was in shock. No option to sync with Google Sheets, I should’ve checked that one before. Okay but there are packs for that, right? RIGHT?? There are packs, but they cost monthly and can’t be used as a internal table, it just loads external data into coda, but I can’t edit them then in coda…

Since I am able to read and write a bit of Javascript, I thought I go on and create my own Pack then in order to get what I was looking for. I even thought I could sell it then for a one time payment, nope monthly or free is the only option… But okay, lets see what we have there. Poor documentation on how the data are handled, but thats fine, I use make.com in order to handle such stuff, so I thought I will just send data and see what I get there. Triggered the webhook and got… nothing, at least not what I expected. If I send “thisRow” via Webhook, I only receive the display column. I thought I did something wrong, so I’ve started googling.

After 2h I came across this post and it’s not possible to get the full row that easy, you either have to be better at JS I think, then you could operate even without knowing the columns or your can just use fixed column names, which makes the Pack useless for other users. I did a workaround in the end, but it was just disappointing to see that such a basic feature is missing.

Ok lets move on. After struggling to get nested Profile data up and running, like adding documents for employees within their profile but also separated so that we can use them outside of the profiles as well or the option to add children and partners to the employees (again different table but fully connected without the step of selecting which employee is linked to which partner or child), I wanted to show a Callout Box on top of the Profile if there is an empty but necessary profile field. But only then, not all the time. Easy, there are Formulas and they have the option to use “If” so thats easy. Surprise, its not. You can add a static callout, but where is the formula for creating a dynamic one? Google again, I just stumbled across this post. There @Brian_Klein says:

Good things are indeed coming — no formula necessary though.

And now that statement annoys me! It might not be necessary, but what if I do want to have it via Formula ??? If I want to create a static document, I would use Google Docs or Word. I came here to have dynamic values all over the place.

Remember my text about the partners and children within the profile? I do have a checkbox if they’re married, if so, then show me the column for partner data, if not, I don’t want to see unneccessary column in the profile. So lets find out if we can view those data depending on something else.. If you check the source, you’ll not only see that this feature was requested 5y ago, you’ll also see that its “logged for the roadmap”. 5y ago, very easy feature that could change a lot, not happened. Even though that it was requested by more than just the OP.

I’ve spend now too much time on coda stuff to get rid of it and my coworkers love the app (for lead calls for example). But I as a creator just hate it. Its just full of workarounds if possible, but its not even possible to create a workaround for everything.

For example we use coda now for application management. We have one doc for applications and one for our employees. If I want to move someone from applications to employees, i can’t do that with coda. The automations only work for tables within the doc itself. I have to send my coda data to make.com and then make.com sends it back to coda… that workaround works, but is uneccessary. My google sheet issue from the beginning? I had to throw the idea over board and now i just have to live with a one side sync.

Maybe I am using coda completely wrong, but I don’t see the point of it anymore. Especially the “experimental” or what I call it hidden formulas like Button(). There is no documentation at all for it. Why does coda, which would be pretty good for documenting stuff, don’t use any documentations on most of their features or limitations and so on?


Sorry you’re having a rough go with it. I strongly recommend spending some more time with the program. You might have to tweak the way you think about things a bit to better fit the coda platform.

As far as Google Sheets go, I agree it’d be great if they had their own pack for it. But you if you’re comfortable with JavaScript, you can follow this article to implement two way sync with Google Sheets.


hi @Simon_Gerle ,

I understand your feeling, In general: the coda documentation on functions is not great, packs have a better documentation. However the pack ecosystem adds complexity as it adds features (like the access to data living in a different application) and requires you understand the problem the pack maker tries to solve and packs are by their nature limit in functionality. Second the voting system only seems to be put in place to permit makers to vote. So far I have not observed that Coda took these upvoted suggestions serious. You will only see a tiny bit of the Coda future based on the beta testing, but for all the rest you won’t know. This means that if Coda is not doing the job for you as it is today, you may or try harder as suggested or look for a tool that does a better job.

My point is that it is - in my experience - not so easy (maybe even impossible) to find that tool. Yes I am biased, I make a living as a Coda consultant and thus work all day in Coda seeing the good and the bad. My clients complain about Coda: permission management is not good, print (to pdf) is a nightmare, comments are not great, etc. but they stick with Coda.

three principles that guide my work

  • I tell my clients that certain things are not possible and that I am not building work arounds.
  • I don’t use cross docs, I link docs via webhooks.
  • they should train somebody to take over my job and accept the limitations as they are

Hope it helps, bàt, Christiaan


I’ve tried countless tools on the internet, even some of the lesser-known ones, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet.

When building a system, there are three things that I value the most:

1-ease of use for the end user,

2- the ability to automate processes and be autonomous,

3-affordability for me and my growing team as a non-tech giant.

In the market, you’ll find either generalist tools that serve the needs of most people or specialized tools that excel in one area.

However, generalist tools are often inflexible and designed to be simple for their target users. On the other hand, specialized tools tend to be pricey and limited in features.

I found that Coda is the only tool that adapts well to any workflow while remaining accessible, provided you’re a maker and not an user who wants a ready-made solution.

Although it’s not perfect, the other tools in the market can’t compare to what it offer:

-Airtable is very expensive if you want all the features, and I don’t like its spreadsheet interface. It’s formulas are not intuitive and can get difficult if you want to make complex things…

-Wrike is one of the best tools I’ve tried, but it’s expensive (for full features).

-ActiveCollab/Paymo//Teamgantt/Asana… lacks customization, just like other ready-to-use project management tools.

-ClickUp and Monday are only powerful when used in combination with other tools, and they’re not as customizable as they seem. Plus, using multiple tools can get expensive and messy to manage.

My point is, there’s no perfect tool, but when comparing or reviewing we should always consider what’s available in the market and at what price. The biggest downside for me is Coda’s mobile view of docs, which isn’t great, and affect the usability on the end user side

You can fix “Some” missing things with packs or

With workaround

The CFL is very unique because it’s allow you to make awesome stuff inside coda without being a coder, like this workload and timesheet feature :


Whats about you ? Did you found alternatives that are better designed for your needs ?


Off-topic but your Gantt looks :fire: !
Never thought of mixing up items and indicators like that.


I’m just here to say that :innocent:

… there’s no documentation about the Button() formula simply because it was never meant to be used :sweat_smile:.

Users discovered it quite some time ago and shared their knowledge, leading to Button() being exposed to the public and used (as it’s pretty useful in some cases) :innocent:.


If so, I would be there :sweat_smile: But its exactly as you say, too price usually for a growing Team.

Its not the lack of features in the end here at coda, its about the low effort they put into coda. I just don’t get what they try to achieve. You can create packs, but its missing essential features in order to create essential features. You can sell them, but its not up to you to decide how you want to charge, for example I would love to sell my packs for a one time fee, I hate monthly price locks. So I can just give them for free or let it be, which I did because the lack of essential features like getting a row as an array/object.

But what kind of service is that? A hidden “feature” that is useful but not meant to be used, because of “???”.

What about the feature that is missing for 5 years now and is so crucial in getting docs to the next level?

All I am saying is, I am disappointed by the “low effort” solution that coda serves, they could be better than what they did.

And for everyone interested, UI Bakery is pretty good as well. It just didn’t fit because the lack of mobile use.


And I don’t “hate” coda, it has some cool stuff going on, but it could be better by just going the extra mile instead of offering a base service.

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Thanks Paul, I’m honored, especially since it’s coming from you. Do you think we can show a number (hours )inside the rectangle ? i tried with svg but does not work.

I see your point,
Maybe their priority list is not the same as yours or mine.
Or maybe they see the tool used in an different way than yours.

i also wish that they put mobile experience as a first priority to try catch up with Glideapp web app (they even have notification now)

As for the amount of work they put on it,
since i joined the community 3 month ago they kept a good pace for updates wich i found satisfing. even compared to bigger company like Clickup (a voted request for an editable timesheet has been on their “review” for 4 years so i decided to make it myself in coda),

i can’t say about what happened the last 5 years in coda, i didn’t even know this tool existed :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

PS: I looked into UI Bakery, it seems more of a low code (same as Retool) than a No code category of tools, wich put me out as i don’t know how to code.

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