5 min read

Introduction to Table Views

Get more out of your data in Coda with connected table views.

We get it: your work—and the data that powers it—lives across a lot of docs, pages, and views. But that doesn’t mean you should have to waste your time making manual updates in them all. Coda was built to power effective, dispersed work for teams; our most basic building block, the table, supports this by giving you connected views. That means that edits in one place will be reflected in all the right places, keeping your data up to date, saving you time and effort, and minimizing accidental data management mistakes.

What's in this guide

You'll get...
  • How Coda table views function
  • Why you should use views
  • When you should use views
You'll use...
  • Tables
  • Columns
  • Table options

1. Why Coda tables feel different.

If you’ve started working with tables in Coda, you might notice that they feel a bit different from the spreadsheets used in Excel or Sheets. From the beginning, we wanted Coda to feel as powerful as an app. To accomplish this, we needed real tables, not sheets. We needed tables with distinctly different roles for rows and columns, with rows representing individual records and columns representing their attributes. So, we modeled Coda tables on relational databases. One of the primary benefits of using a relational database to power an app is connected views ー the ability to see the same data in difference places, across multiple layouts, and still be able to edit the values. Coda brings that ability into your doc with table views ー like having a table of names and dates and being able to edit the date in a table, or by dragging and dropping in a calendar view and having all the values stay up to date. Check it out:

2. Start with a base table.

You can think of a base table as your “master” table — the one that will hold every little piece of data you might need in your doc. This base table should be as clear as possible, with no bells and whistles like sorts or conditional formatting applied. (Save all the beautification efforts for your views 💅) When creating your base table, it’s helpful to think of your data in terms of nouns and adjectives:
  • Rows = nouns
  • Columns = adjectives
For example, if you want to create a table to track your tasks, the task itself would be the noun, and the columns would hold descriptive data about the task, like the status, owner, or due date. To create this table, add a row for each task and fill in the data about the status, assignee, and due date under the relevant column for each row:
Once you’ve created your base table, you can start thinking about creating connected views of this table.

3. Create your views.

Create as many views as you need in order to answer specific questions with your data. For example, if you have a base table of all projects across your organization, you might want to create some of the following connected views:
  • Team-specific views
  • User-specific views
  • Projects with a status of “at risk”
  • Projects with a status of “complete”
  • A chart view of your data
  • A calendar view of your data
  • ...and the list goes on!
Views allow you and your teammates to see and interact with the same data, while using filters to focus on the data that is relevant to you, in the format you each prefer. You can use the slash command / followed by the name of your base table to easily create a view, or type “/table” and select your base table from the menu to create a connected view.
From there, you can add filters, change the layout, and apply conditional formatting to display the data in the desired format for this specific view. Any changes you or your teammates make to the data will be reflected in all table views, so you’re always working with the most up-to-date data without needing to make changes in multiple places.

4. Columns in table views.

Connected tables all pull from the same set of columns, and you can choose to hide or show them based on how you’d like to configure your views. Hiding or showing a column in one view will not affect its visibility in the base table or other connected views. If you change the name of a column or add a new column, this change will be reflected across all connected views. Newly added columns will remain hidden in other connected views by default but can be made visible via the table Options menu. Deleting a column in one view will delete it across all views, including the base table.

5. When to use views instead of stand-alone tables.

More often than not, when you’re working in Coda, you’ll want to use fewer tables and more connected views. Every duplication of a table increases the chance of a mistake since you need to make updates in multiple places. With views, data changes are reflected everywhere, instantly, without needing to make the same update in several places. Views can change the look and feel of your data while keeping the actual data the same, no matter how it’s being displayed. In most cases, not everybody needs access to every piece of data recorded in your base table, or master table, at all times. Remember that you can use table filters and hide columns to create slimmed-down views for specific audiences, change the layout of your table view for better visualization, and apply conditional formatting for quicker visual summarization.

Now what?

  • Say goodbye to monotonous, manual data updates and make way for connected views.
  • Check out our Databases 101 course for more on building amazing tables and databases in Coda!
  • Get to building! Where can you create connected views in your docs?

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