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When architecting a database in Airtable, there are many uses for passing data from one table to another. In fact, this is the true power of a relational database. On my team, we call this “spreadsheets in 3D” – when you really start to tap into the relational database element, it’s like working in a spreadsheet that has crazy layers of depth and complexity. The hardest part of that is understanding the difference between Lookup and Rollup fields.

In short, a lookup field looks to a second table that is linked and it returns a field that you specify. The rollup field acts much the same way, with the added bonus of performing some type of “aggregation function” on your data before returning a field.

Each of these field types has its own specific use cases. In this video I outline a few of them, specifically as they pertain to creating proper automations.

Be sure to stick around for the end of the video where I demonstrate a complex use-case. There are many instances where we’ve needed to use this exact (advanced) procedure to establish the proper lookup relationships for our clients – it requires a few extra steps, but be advised that you can easily hide the extra fields from view after you’ve built the proper logical architecture.

What parts of your data presentation and/or automated processes can be streamlined with better use of these complicated field types?

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