Quick Method to Setup Single Select & Multi Select Field Value Lists

When configuring Airtable, one of the tedious things to setup are large value lists for “Multiple select” or “Single select” fields.

When configuring these fields, you need to manually add all of the possible values for the field. For a field like Status below, it’s pretty easy.

What if you want to have a field with many 10s or 100s of values? A good, realistic use case for this is an Industry field for Organizations. I really like to align this data with LinkedIn since it’s somewhat of a standard. Well, Microsoft publishes the list of Industry Codes for LinkedIn. It’s pretty tedious to add all of those.

Well, here’s an easier way and the process takes about 3 minutes. Reading this blog post will take you longer than actually doing the work.

1) Create a Field with No Values

Create a new field. In this case, it’s called Industry. Don’t add any values.

2) Put Values into a Spreadsheet

I went ahead and copied the data from the Microsoft website to the Sheet. The column I actually care about is Column C, the Description. This is the value I want in Airtable.

3) Create a Random Value

This step is only helpful if you are configuring a field on a table that already has data in it. Create yourself a random value that is not to be found in the rest of your Airtable data. I used LastPass’ Generate Password feature to make bfTdf35&d324@seK6P. But it can be anything unique to your data.

4) Create a View

I created a View for records where Name is my random value.

5) Copy from Spreadsheet into Airtable

Stay on your new View. Because I am doing that, Airtable automatically populates the Name field with my random value so that my new records meet the criteria of my View.

Now I copy the Description field from my spreadsheet and paste it into Airtable. I should continue with the “Expand the table” option selected.

The paste operation created a record for each Description value AND it added that value as a configuration option for the field.

Delete the Data & View

Using the View I created in Step 4, select all records and delete them.

Then delete the View

Review the Field

Check out the field configuration. Everything is there, all color coded and looking nice. With less than 3 minutes of work, you saved yourself from manually adding 147 unique values one at a time.

Hey Airtable

This entire workaround could be avoided with the simple addition of an option to add multiple values to one of these fields. Clicking this option would bring up a text box that allows an admin to add new values to the field by having each new value on a new line.

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