Airtable is not a spreadsheet. It’s actually more a database using spreadsheet user-interface.
Spreadsheets were originally designed to do hypothetical calculations eg if I put $1,000 in the bank at 5% interest rate – what will the return be each year. Then, what if I go to a different bank and get 6% interest rate – what’s the difference. Yeah, I know – 6% interest rates – laughable!
So they’re brilliant for doing this ie test “what-if” scenarios and doing calculations; so excellent for bookkeeping.
You can think of databases generally, or Airtable specifically, as a series of connected and related spreadsheets. People do use spreadsheets as de facto databases, but it’s resource-intensive and error-prone. And there are limits on the amount of data that you can put into a spreadsheet.
Spreadsheets are excellent at doing what they are designed to do.
So that’s a very brief theoretical overview of the difference between traditional spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Excel, and Airtable. A longer more detailed explanation is here.
Airtable excels (pun intended 🙄)
- When you want to view on a mobile device
- When you want to show people just some of your data
- When you want to automate
- When you want to collaborate
- When you want different people to be able to view (and not edit) selected bits of your data via a web-link
- When you want to store links, images, emojis