If you’re storing job data in Airtable, there’s a great chance that you’ve explored uploading files into your database. This is so helpful and it’s a bit mind-boggling that this wasn’t made possible until just recently (I mean, how long has Excel been out… and you can’t attach files)! So, this feature is definitely a selling point in a long list of selling points that makes Airtable awesome. However, as is true with all good things – this comes with some limitations. Specifically, there are two main factors to consider: accessibility and storage space.
Regarding accessibility, you should consider who you want to have access to your files once they are uploaded. Often times, this answer will be different from the people who you want to have access to your entire Airtable database (different roles in the company) so it’s common that you might not want to upload files into Airtable. If you do, then the result is that you’d need to add those roles as ‘users’ to the database, and this might not be aligned with your organization’s goals.
Regarding storage space, you’ll want to consider the amount of space that Airtable makes available to you, per your pricing plan. At present, the ‘pro’ plan includes 20GB of file storage. This is a fair amount, to be sure, but it might not meet the needs of all organizations. For example, I saw documents stored by an architecture firm… those things were massive and high res! You can imagine that 20GB might not meet the needs of all organizations.
So, this brings us to our tutorial on setting up automated storage space for your projects and tasks. In this video I walk through three different automations that (1) build a parent folder, (2) build child folders, and (3) update with timestamps and user names when files are added.
For this video we use Google Drive, but the same or similar automated procedures are possible with most of the software for online/cloud storage. The big trick (and slightly complicated part) is to properly map the Parent folder when creating the Child folder(s). This works well with a slightly complex formula, as demonstrated in the video.
Once built, this solution provides a complete online storage solution, but allows you to view the engagement with that solution from your Airtable database. Effectively, you get the best of all worlds. Enjoy!