Introduction to Airtable Interfaces

This post is an intro to Airtable Interfaces and explains how they work, when you should use them, and offers a step-by-step guide for creating your own.
Taylor Risner
Taylor Risner
Director of Ops at Superchart
March 20, 2023
Introduction to Airtable Interfaces Hero Image

Airtable is a cutting-edge low-code no-code platform that allows technical and non-technical users to compile data in a spreadsheet-style database known as a “base”. Like any database, an Airtable base can contain immense amounts of data and a table layout is not always easy for users to navigate. To alleviate this pain, Airtable recently created an Interface Designer that allows users to create a user-friendly frontend for their base data.

If you're looking for basics on Airtable, check out our Airtable guide for beginners.

What is an Airtable Interface?

An interface is a front-end design for a backend Airtable base. With Airtable’s Interface Designer, users can select from various templated interface designs or build their own from scratch. Each interface is customizable and can contain various components and data visualization options.

What Are the Use Cases for Creating an Airtable Interface?

Airtable interfaces are helpful because they make it easy for people to see and use your data. You can choose from different templates, or make your own, to make the interface look the way you want. This is helpful for people who want to see your data in a way that is easy to understand. Here are a couple of use cases for creating an Airtable Interface.

1) Limiting Base Data

Airtable Interfaces allow users to interact with base data in a front-end format, making it easier to navigate pertinent information. While a base can contain massive amounts of data, an interface can showcase a subset of this data that is pertinent to a specific use case, project, or group of users.

When designing an interface, users have the opportunity to select data from a specific table and filter this data down based on applicable criteria—limiting the total amount of information shown and enabling users to focus on key metrics or records of importance.

2) Permission-Based Access

Interfaces allow Airtable users to share information with a subset of specific users, ensuring that data is only visible to applicable users with relevant permissions settings. Given that a base can contain an immense amount of records, interface permissions allow this data to be scoped down and shared across various teams or departments.

3) Visualizing Base Data

Base data can be difficult to interpret in a table format. Interfaces allow users to visualize their base data in a dashboard that highlights key insights. The Dashboard Interface provides various visualization options that can transform flat base data into aggregated bar and pie charts that allow users to quickly analyze and assess key information.

4) Collaboration and Project Management

An Airtable interface is a great way to look at a subset of tasks that exist within a greater project. The interface can help teams understand specific tasks that are assigned to individual users and stay on top of team objectives and project deadlines.

How Do You Create an Airtable Interface?

Creating an interface in Airtable is simple with the Interface Designer functionality.  Just follow these basic steps.

1. In an existing base, click ‘Interfaces’ in the top level-navigation bar and select “Start Building”.

airtable image showing interfaces tab
Airtable Interfaces Navigation

airtable image showing start building button
Airtable Interfaces Start Building

2. Choose from templated interface layout options or build your layout from scratch

The Airtable Interface Designer has three pre-built layouts to choose from:

  • Record Review: The Record Review allows users to easily navigate between multiple records and drill into a specific record’s summary. This is a great option for users who want to look at records in aggregate and quickly scan and assess key information.
airtable image showing choose interface layout
Airtable Interfaces Record Review

  • Dashboard: The Dashboard layout provides an analytics dashboard that is great for an executive-level view of base data. It provides the ability to highlight key metrics and visualize base data in helpful ways.
airtable image showing dashboard layout
Airtable Interfaces Dashboard Layout

  • Record Summary: If you need to focus on one specific record from a base, the Record Summary showcases all pertinent information from an individual record. Additionally, any changes made in the interface will be reflected on the record in the base as well.
airtable image showing record summary interface layout
Airtable Interfaces Record Summary

You can also create new records using the Form option or build a blank interface from scratch to further customize the UI to meet your needs.

What Elements Can You Use in an Airtable Interface?

The Interface Designer provides a list of elements that can easily be added to an interface canvas. The Interface Designer provides drag-and-drop functionality as well as gridlines to easily format elements on the canvas.

airtable image showing add element to interface
Elements in Airtable Interfaces

Users can choose from the following element types:

  • Text
  • Divider
  • Grid
  • Calendar
  • Kanban
  • Timeline
  • Gallery
  • Chart
  • Number
  • Record picker
  • Filter
  • Button

These elements are built into the template interface options, but if you need a more customized experience the Blank Interface Designer allows users to select any of these elements and build their own interface from scratch.

airtable image showing adding element to interface
Add Element to Airtable Interface

How Do You Share an Airtable Interface?

An Airtable Interface must first be published before it can be shared. The Interface Designer allows users to preview an interface before publishing to get a sense of how the live version will look and feel.

To preview a draft interface, simply toggle the Preview button on:

airtable image showing preview interface
Preview an Airtable Interface

To publish an interface, simply click the blue ‘Publish’ button in the upper right-hand corner of the Interface Designer. Once published, a popup will appear and provide the option to share the interface with applicable users. You will have the option to define permissions for shared users as Editors, Commenters, or Read Only.

airtable image showing share interface
Share an Airtable Interface

Additionally, users can select ‘Invite by link’ and create a link that allows access to the interface once clicked. The link itself can also be set with Editor, Commenter, or Read Only Permissions.

airtable image showing invite to interface
Invite to Airtable Interface

Recapping Interfaces for Airtable

Airtable Interfaces provide a multitude of user-friendly options to visualize and customize base data in shareable front-end configurations. Whether starting from a template or designing an interface from scratch, the Interface Designer allows users to configure their base data in flexible formats—adapting to your specific use case and providing permission-based control over who can see the data.

Check out our Airtable guide for basics beyond Airtable Interfaces.

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