Airtable newbie - evaluating Airtable

Hi there, we are looking at Airtable which appears to be an interesting and exciting platform. I have many questions,some which I will answer by reading, researching and experimenting, but there will inevitably be some where experienced users can help.

I am working with a colleague, and we want to address the problem of software or sprawl, using Airtable to consolidate a series of “best-in-breed” solutions with our own customised approach. This may be asking too much, and one area of great interest is how extensively others have been able to put together an “operating system” for their business using Airtable.

Airtable is not the only platform we are considering, but it looks like a strong candidate.

My first question concerns Sync functionality. We are likely to use the entry-level paid subscription, Teams, which (from the docs) can only support one sync source per base. I am not clear yet how much of a limit this is… but one likely cenaro we can envisage is a client/contact/project database in Airtable which is the single source of truth for other Airtable systems. So if we had a marketing base, marketing activities would be linked to records from the main three entities in our client/contact/project base. This appears to “use up” our single source for syncing, but there can easily be other things we would want to sync. Are internal links between Airtable bases treated as sources? Is there a different way to do this?

One approach would be to build a monolithic base for all of our functions (companies/clients/project; marketing; helpdesk; asset management; configuration records; project management (different to simple and central list of projects/work packages;etc; etc; etc). This doesn’t seem wise!

Another is to store redundant data across functional apps. :frowning:

We don’t want to go to the Business plan at more than twice the cost and even here there is a limit of 5 sources per base.

I am sure this is not a new problem, so any thoughts would be appreciated.

My second question (for now :wink:) is about email integration. I have read some of the possibilities, but if we were to use Airtable to replace our current CRM - replicating only the limited functionality that we use - one essential thing is to record all interactions with companies and contacts, and we would expect to see email interactions recorded in this way in our CRM. it is not obvious from the docs, examples and resources that there is any straightforward way to do this. Let me know if I haven’t explained this requirement clearly enough, but if it makes sense, again, I would be interested to hear what approaches are possible. I do realise it may not be possible.

Thank you in advance for any insights you can give.

Welcome to the community, @AyDee!

In general, if your tables are all communicating with each other, then it is often best to try to build one monolithic base for all of your tables. That’s because you can unleash the full power of Airtable by having everything in one base.

And then, if you’d like to shield certain users from seeing certain tables in your base, you can use interfaces for that. (You can do this by removing your users from their base access first, and adding them only to certain interfaces.)

Syncing is different than linking records. You can link as many records as you want, but linking records is much easier when everything is in one base. Linking records across synced bases opens up an entire host of challenges that need to be accounted for, which is one of the reasons why it’s typically better & easier to keep everything in one base (if you can).

What’s frustrating about Airtable’s support articles is that they are often incorrect. Even though that support article says that you are limited to one sync source per base on the Team plan, I have never seen that limit enforced. I have clients on the Team plan who have 5 different sync sources per base, and it might be possible to have even more than that. The business plan says that they offer up to 50 sync sources per base.

Regarding your email monitoring question:

Airtable’s automations offer the ability to monitor an Outlook inbox for incoming emails, but that’s all that Airtable offers natively.

For anything more advanced than that, you would need to custom-create your own email tracking system.

I’ve heard good things about TaskRobin, but I’ve never used it personally.

For my Airtable consulting clients, I’ve setup advanced email tracking systems that monitor both incoming & outgoing emails — and use other email services besides Outlook — by using Make’s automations & integrations.

If you’ve never used Make before, I’ve assembled a bunch of Make training resources in this thread: - Basic Training & Navigation Tips

For example, here is how you would instantly trigger a Make automation from Airtable: Instantly trigger a automation from Airtable (i.e. sending Airtable data to an external webhook such as

I also give live demonstrations of how to use Make in many of my BuiltOnAir podcast appearances here.

p.s. If you’d like to hire an expert Airtable consultant to help you with anything Airtable-related, please feel free to contact me through my website: Airtable consultant — ScottWorld