Spreadsheet versus Database
Goodbye, Spreadsheet!

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Surprising differences

Things that are easy in Sheets and hard in Coda.

Live Computation

In your spreadsheet, you drag your cursor across B2 and C2, and the task bar on the bottom will show you the sum of these two cells.
Instead of directly highlighting the desired cells, you’ll need to reference these within your formulas. See more on this below.

Direct Cell referencing

In your spreadsheet, you type the text “Next week, I’ll focus on”, and then in the next cell you type =A2.
Your intent being to reference the task name that is living in A2.
That’s easy to do in a spreadsheet, you simply need to click your mouse cursor on A2.
Because Coda is set up as a relational database, however, it equires you to think a bit differently about what to ask for in Coda.
So instead of getting the value for A2, with Coda you achieve that by getting the status field off the row reference of the task you want.
=[Tasks Table].filter(Due Date =tomorrow).tasks name
(in short: Coda, go to the tasks table, filter the entries to return only those that have their due date set to tomorrow, and show me each task’s name.
Now, at first glance this is SO.MUCH.HARDER than just clicking your mouse on A2.
But, a solution that will provide you with vast advantages over your current set-up (see ), obviously won’t be exactly the same as your current solution.
We have merely become so used to the way that spreadsheets work, we no longer question why it is that we type in formulas that are neither intuitively understandable nor easy to read.
Nobody bats an eye when a formula states:
A23 * C10
Unless you stare at the screen in front of you and trace your eyes back to the origin cells, you won’t have any idea what said formula does.
Now, compare this with a formula in Coda, that will read like this:
Invoice Amount * Number of Items
Anyone, novice or expert, will immediately know that the column calculates a purchase amount.
By leaning into tables, rather than the spreadsheet grid, Coda was able to unlock the real magic of relational tables that is not possible in geometric-based systems.
Because of this decision, you are now able to access all of these wonderful features with your data

Running Totals

Setting up a running total in Coda is possible, yet
neither as self-evident as it is in a spreadsheet,
nor the best structure for one’s table.
This community post contains detailed information on the topic,
If you’d prefer the TL;DR, see the sample below:
Sample Table, Running Total
Items to buy
Price Per Item
Running Total
Order ID
There are no rows in this table
Create a column called Order Id with the formula: thisTable.Find(thisRow)
Create a column called “Running Total” with the formula:
thisTable.Filter(Order ID <= thisRow.Order ID).Price Per Item.Sum()
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