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A lot of the questions I get about Airtable have a recurring theme. I received a great message from a YouTube viewer the other day that addressed this ‘theme’ head-on. He wrote the following:

Gareth,

I’m giving airtable a trial, and came across your youtube channel. I’m trying to find info on a common capability in other databases, but can’t find how to accomplish that in airtable. I want the list in a single select or multiselect field type to be dependent on the value in another field. For example, let’s say I have a state field, and city field, and want the dropdown list for city to only offer options that correspond to the state selected. That’s not really my real-world use, but serves a simple example. I have similar applications in which I’d want a multiselect list to have a dependency as well. Could you direct me to a resource on how to do this?

Thanks for your videos and your time responding.

I’m willing to bet that a lot of new Airtable users asked this very question. The truth is, Airtable doesn’t currently offer this functionality. But that’s the short, easy answer. The more thorough answer would insist that we go deeper into the types of fields that Airtable makes available to us. In a recent update, Airtable named a type of field as editable. However, with my background in math, I’ve adopted the term independent – that is, a field that doesn’t rely on other fields to derive its value. Of course, this would also infer that we have another type of field, a dependent field.

This video goes into depth about identifying the independent and dependent fields in Airtable, as well as what you can expect from the two major field types.

How does this reframe the way you think about building your databases?

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