Grouping By a multi-select field

This topic comes up frequently so I thought I’d start a thread about it (in fact, searching for a solution to this issue was the reason I first visited the old Airtable community).

Suppose you have a table with multi-select field. For instance, you have a roster of players on a sports team. Most players play a single position, but a few play multiple positions.


As your roster gets large, you’d like to easily see it grouped by position (“who are all my center fielders?”), so you use Group By on the Position column and you get…

Whoops! Much like Excel column filters do, Airtable has created a grouping for each unique combination of values, rather than showing me the groups corresponding to each individual value. There’s a good reason for this: if Airtable grouped by individual value, then Cassie would show up in two places in this view. Still, I find this to be a very common scenario for me and my clients.

Essentially, what we want is a way to be able to stitch together a bunch of filtered views.

Do folks have any great workarounds for this scenario?

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I have not yet seen a great workaround. One option is to use a linked table where there is a new row for each position that a person plays. In this linked table your multi-select field for position would be a single select. Then in your original table, have a lookup of the position. When you want to group by position, do so in the linked table.

In exchange for the ability to group by position nicely you have to have a more complex schema and more records. Editing and maintaining the records is also slightly more difficult. So it isn’t a great workaround. But it does work.