Moving From Airtable to Smartsheet - "Link to" equivalent?

Hello community - long time listener, first time caller.

We're considering a move from Airtable to Smartsheet and looking at how to migrate some of our more complex tables. We have several tables that use the "Link To" field type, which allows you to select one or more values from another table. Essentially, you identify the field in Table A as a Link To another table (Table B). When you click on the field in Table A, a list of values in Table B are displayed, which you can select. Once selected, the field from Table B is copied into Table A.

How is this done in Smartsheet?

Many thanks - Doug


  • Stefan
    Stefan ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Doug McCready,

    Smartsheet cell links can only link one cell to another cell.

    Let me start with some questions, as I do not know about your process.

    From your explanation it sounds like you use table B as source for a dropdown menu in table A, right? If yes, are the values in table B the source for other tables/sheets?

    If you do this to get a dropdown menu... are you aware of Smartsheet's column types, of which one is "Dropdown"? If you could use such a column in table A, this would remove the necessity of the values in table B.

    If for some reason you need to keep the selectable values in table B, then you could still cell link the two tables and select the value needed in table B.

    Hope this helps and gives you an idea!


    Smartsheet Consulting, Solution Building, Training and Support.

    Projects for Processes and for People.

  • Good morning @Stefan

    Thank you for your reply. I'll look at SS's Cell Link option - thanks for suggesting that.

    More specifically, TableA is a small table that stores specific information about an ED provider and their shift. The key field in TableA, Provider, is a "Link To" (Airtable parlance) field that connects to TableB, key field Provider-Shift, which contains all provider shift data. TableB contains shift data for the past 2 months, current month and 2 future months, so upwards of 3k records and is refreshed daily.

    When Provider (TableA) is selected, the full list of provider and shift data is shown from TableB and is easily searchable. When a record is selected, the key reference, Provider-Shift, is what is then stored in the Provider field in TableA. You can use that record link to bring additional data from TableB into TableA.

    We have several similar scenarios where we use Airtable's "Link To" functionality to connect one table to one or more tables and where the other tables contains hundreds if not thousands of records.

    Best regards - Doug

  • Hi @Stefan

    A quick follow-up: Cell Linking is not what I'm looking for.

    How would Smartsheet support this scenario?

    TableA contains a comprehensive list of 2500 employees, primary key is Employee ID. TableB stores the computer equipment used by some of the employees, primary key is Employee ID. When you want to add something to TableB, would I already need to know the employee's ID, which would then be validated on TableA using something like vlookup in another field?

    Airtable essentially allows you to click on Employee ID in TableB, which then shows a list of associates from TableA. A dynamic drop-down list of sorts. We use this a lot to manage a sort set of tables that are then used by many tables.

    Thanks again - Doug

  • Stefan
    Stefan ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Doug McCready,

    let me think...

    But as a start, I have no idea how Airtable makes an easily accessible dropdown from 2.500 entries.

    Anyway, if I understood ok, you have all your equipment in B and would like to be able to easily "assign" an item to an employee. All employees are stored in A. Unique key is the ID of the employee. So you scroll through your 2.500 list in A and link the employee's ID to the equipment entry.

    Some ideas for Smartsheet.

    Smartsheet has columns with data types and one of them is CONTACTS. If a Smartsheet admin in your organisation already manages Smartsheet users, then your employee names may already be in Smartsheet. In your equipment table you could simply use a contacts column and in the relevant row you would start typing and select the desired username (much like here, when you use the @mention). If you require the employee ID you could use vlookup to pull it from A into B.

    If your contacts are not managed centrally, or not all entries in table A have a Smartsheet account, you could still use a "personal" contact list. There are 2 "address books" built into Smartsheet. First one is the standard org address book you find in your personal menu under "user management". Second one is a "personal" contact list. Both can be filled with a csv file.

    Good to know: the standard org contact list can be used by anyone in the same org, but the "personal contact list" is usable only by the account it has been created in.

    To be honest I read much about the way you implemented a solution with Airtables offerings. As Airtable and Smartsheet certainly have different capabilities, it will be problematic to simply transfer your concepts from one to the other. I suggest strongly to go back to the layer, where you describe what you want to achieve. That's why I tried to described at the start of my post what I understood from your business process.

    I hope you don't mind my suggestion and that I gave you some food for thinking.

    Have a great weekend!


    Smartsheet Consulting, Solution Building, Training and Support.

    Projects for Processes and for People.

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