Best way to add client notes (via new linked records) on an interface

We have a base that serves as a CRM and application management program for us. I am working on cleaning up the way we take notes on our applicants and clients. We currently have a few different notes fields, but I’m trying to transition us to using a Notes table that links back to the client/application. The problem I’m struggling with is trying to make it as seamless as possible to add notes through an interface.

Let me use a concrete example. We have an interface that is called “Intake Notes”. This interface was set up starting with the Record Review structure and pulls in information from multiple tables. This information is reviewed for accuracy and/or inputted during the intake process. Additionally, there are fields for General Intake Notes and a notes field on Required Documents (in our application process). These are just rich text fields in the interface and easy to add notes to. But if I make these linked records, adding any notes is more complicated, especially without going to a new page.

Another example: we have a dashboard where we review completed applications in the pipeline for review. We have grid view of all these records, and have a field titled “Pipeline Status Notes”. In a meeting with the team that reviews the pipeline, they’ll make occasional notes about various applications in the pipeline. Right now, as it’s a notes field in the grid, it’s easy to do and a seamless part of their notetaking during the meeting.

I have identified a few different options (described below) but all have limitations. Does anyone have options I’m missing or ways they’ve handled this? My preference, for most cases, would be to have a structured form for the note pop up, ideally on the side but at least not on a new page, but I don’t know of anyway to do this.

Identified Options for adding new notes (via linked records)

  1. Interface Button that activates an automation that creates a linked note
  • Minor limitations: 1) Small wait to create (may sometimes need to refresh interface page); 2) After creation, user would have to then click into the record to add
  • Major limitations: 1) I would want to do this on multiple interfaces and each interface button would need a new automation. I’m already above 40 automations in this base; 2) This wouldn’t work at all in the pipeline scenario above.
  1. Interface Button that takes user to a form to create a note
  • Limitations: 1) Opens in a new window; 2) Not automatically linked to record; 3) Have to hit “Create” to create record. (Because everything else in Airtable just automatically saves, I’ve found that this final step is very easy to overlook.)
  1. Current preferred option: Add the linked field as a “Card” to the interface.
  • Minor limitations: 1) Have to scoll past other linked notes, which in this case are completely extraneous, to click “Add note”; 2) After clicking “Add Note”, user then has to click “Create New Note” at the top of the pop up. (I think this is a bug, but you don’t have the option “Create New Note” when the linked field is a “pill” or a card not showing any fields, either of which I would prefer in order to minimize limitation #1)
  • Major limitation: Doesn’t work for pipeline notes scenario above
  1. If it were possible to add new records in the Grid or Gallery View’s for linked records, that would work well in most scenarios, but it doesn’t seem to be possible. (Very weirdly - another bug I think - I can add a new note in the Gallery View when there are no notes linked but once a record is linked, that option no longer shows. And I did verify that the field allows multiple linked records.)

  2. Under some circumstances, it might make sense to automatically create blank linked notes when conditions are met. Then, the blank linked record would be created and a user would just have to click into the record to add the note text. (For example, we have a stage “Intake Scheduled”. When a client reaches this stage, an intake note could automatically be added.) Relatedly, on the Pipeline status example, the only two viable solutions I can think of are: 1) a check box field visible in the grid that would automatically create a note record linked to the specific client. The team would then click into the new linked record to add the text note; or 2) We keep that Pipeline notes field as is but create an automation to duplicate it as a linked note so it can be part of the overall “notes library” for a given client.

Again, any thoughts or approaches you’ve had to address any similar challenges would be greatly appreciated!

(In general, I am trying to figure out the best way to keep and organize notes on clients, especially when these notes span databases. That’s a larger question, but if you do have successful approaches to adding and organizing client notes, especially across bases, I’d love to hear about those too!)

Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this!

Here are some other possibilities to consider:

  • Have a long text field for entering the most recent note. Pair this with an interface button that the user clicks after typing the note. Clicking the interface button creates a new linked record for the note and clears the input field at the parent record level. You could use the last modified time for the long text field and the last modified by field for the long text field to set who/when info for the linked record.

  • Have the linked notes field appear as a grid in the interface. Have an automation that creates new linked notes fields. Either use an interface button that the user clicks to trigger an automation that creates the linked note, or have a automation that triggers when all linked notes have some content and creates a new blank linked note that waits until someone fills it out. You can also have the grid of linked notes open notes into a sidesheet for more editing real estate.

I also like to keep client notes linked in reverse chronological order, with the most recent note first. I sell an automation scripting that sorts linked records.

Sorry I don’t have any good suggestions for notes across bases.


I love these options! Thank you!

I can’t believe it never occurred to me to have a button with an automation to create a new linked record! While that solution isn’t quite as clean as being able to do it directly in a grid or Kanban type element, or even the “open record creation form” button action available only in the pre-formatted Interface layouts, it’s still miles better than any of the other work-arounds I’ve tried to implement. thank you!!!

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