Sarah's Best Practices
Behind the scenes

icon picker
One Big Table

Best Practices
Cover Photo
Card Label
If you’ve attended one of my trainings you know outside of building beautiful and powerful Coda docs, I love to cook! An important ingredient in French cuisine is a Mis-en-place, French for “putting in place” or “gather”. Gathering all of your ingredients and understanding how they’ll work together is key to an organized process and desirable outcome.
An important part of building docs is deciding what you want your doc to do and how you want to organize it. Docs evolve over time of course and one doc that starts as a small seedling could grow into a fruitful garden 🌱. Before you get building, I recommend drawing out your structure on a whiteboard or using a tool like Figma or Miro to determine what your doc will do, and how the pieces will fit together. Some tips while you’re doing this below!
Below is an example of a Miro board I created before building out a Hiring Sync Doc for our recruiting team here at Coda. Check out for the final product, you’ll notice the doc evolved a fair amount after the original brainstorming 👀
Customers Sync.jpg

Consider your audience

Consider who will be using the doc, what they will be using it for, and how you want them to interact with the doc. Do your best to shape the path for them to perform the behaviors you desire, in the way you want them to. Want them to add entries to a table? Have them use a button. Is there a particular process they should go through? Outline this in a Loom on the first page. Make it dead easy for them to use your doc.

Utilize an Admin section

You may find yourself creating supporting tables, or pieces of your doc you don’t need everyone to see or use. We always recommend having an Admin section of your doc that is intended for only a select group of people who are using the doc. Pro tip is to hide the admin section (), and bookmark for yourself giving you easy access.

Leverage Page Embeds

Page Embeds allow you to have full pages of other tools in your doc, whether it’s a Project Tracker with a Miro board or a Design Sprint with Figma embeds, you’re able to view and interact with all of your tools in one place - a Coda doc!
embed gif.gif

Screenshot 2023-07-17 at 3.59.08 PM.png
Cover photos, custom icons, callouts - there are so many ways to customize your doc and truly make it feel like a lived-in and loved space, drawing attention to some places and diverting from others. I find keeping my icons, cover photos, buttons, and callouts to a select few makes my docs feel cohesive, zen, and more enjoyable to use.
Screenshot 2023-07-18 at 6.45.53 PM.png

If you’re trying to get real fancy, you can leverage a hidden formula (🤫) to use custom color hexes. Curious to learn how? Copy this doc and check out .

Group 6 (1).png
Buttons allow you to take actions, whether it is in your Coda doc, in another Coda doc, or even in another tool. Buttons can give your doc a very app-like feel, making them more enjoyable to use and interact with, but also bringing a boat-load of power to your doc.
To get started try typing /button or checking out the Insert panel in the upper right hand corner of your doc for some pre-built buttons you can simply drag-and-drop into your doc. You can also learn more about buttons

Find a couple of my go-to buttons below! 📩

Open Hyperlink

Sure, link columns are awesome, no more fidgeting around to get it to hyperlink correctly, just drop it in and boom already hyperlinked. But maybe the blue globe isn’t the vibe you’re going for, or you want to count how many times a link has been accessed via the doc - building a button that opens a link allows you to keep your doc on fleek, colors aligned, and take other small actions under the hood, like tracking the number of clicks
Take me somewhere!

Copy to Clipboard

I often find myself sharing links, whether it is with a colleague or a customer, and having these links stored in a table where all I have to do is click a button to copy to clipboard is a dream! The woes that come with having to hover in the right-click menu and scan all the way to the copy, far too much effort.
Copy link

Open Row

@Tables, tables, TABLES
we cover why tables are more powerful and how an expanded row can allow you to see a whole page worth of information. Building a button to open the row and easily access the expanded row means you don’t need to have allllll of your columns visible in the table view, and you can instead hide them and bring attention to the few that matter most. You can even rearrange this expanded view to look the way you want! The GIF below shows a button expanding a row, and how you can edit the layout.
Curious to learn more about this doc? Check it out

expanded view.gif
Group 4.png
Tables, tables, TABLES
We love that Coda docs have pages and we tend to want to leverage pages to add organization to our information, which is great for smaller docs, but can quickly grow out of control. Tables help you bring organization to your doc, keeping your doc neat and tidy 🧹
To get started type /table in your doc. Tables can start from scratch, come from another tool, or connect to another table. If you have an existing spreadsheet you know and love, try copy and pasting it into Coda and see what it becomes 🤩

What is a table anyway?

While tables look like embedded spreadsheets, they act like databases. Well what the heck does that mean for you? This allows you to store information on a row level, and trust all of the information is tied to that row. In the tables below, you see a meal plan for the week, and with each meal you see a date, the weekday the date falls on, a rating, and tasks associated. If you drag and drop the rows to reorder, you’ll notice all information about that meal (row) come along with it.
You’re also able to have different views of a table. Views can be sorted, filtered, or grouped differently than the parent table. Views also may not always be in the form of a table, you can have a card view, timeline, detail, or chart view of your data as well. Changing your information in one place, will change the information in all views of that data.

Rows, expanded

When you use the yellow ‘Open’ button in the Meals table below, you are expanding the row, allowing you to see information that may be living in hidden columns. A best practice I abide by is keeping columns to a minimum, and leveraging the expanded row view to display information. This keeps docs tight and SPEEDY💨

Tables, connected

Tables are also able to talk to each other via relation columns (like the Tasks column in the table). This allows you to connect your information and reuse values, rather than entering multiple times, and keeping information up to date in many places.

Formula columns

As you level-up your skill in Coda, you may start using the formula language more, information in a table can be accessed and used via the formula language whereas information in the canvas can not easily be referenced in a formula. Play around in the tables below to see some fun features 😃

Group 5 (2).png
Tables, tables, TABLES
There are no rows in this table
Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.