Populating changes from a single record in Table A into linked records in other tables based on certain rules

I am screwed. Reached 50 automations. Now what.

I like to automate things with convenience. So I have a table setup called Variable Table and it has a single record. Let’s call it master record.

Other tables in the base e.g. A, B, C, D etc… have all their records to that single master record in the Variable table.

The master record in Variable table contains:

  1. some master variables (which is determining condition how the automations are supposed to behave)

2… and other normal variables (which are just values that will need to be populated to other tables, they are single select fields mostly, or checkboxes).

If certain conditions are met (e.g. the master variable in Variable table meets certain condition), then if a normal variable changes in Variable table, the corresponding lookup field for this variable field in the target Tabla A will trigger my automation as long as the condition in the master variable is met. The automation would take value from a normal variable in the Variable table and copy it across all the records in the target Table A that meet the criteria set by the master record in Variable table.

Each scenario with variable in Variable table I want to populate has a separate automation setup. I do not want one automation to handle copying of all variable fields at the same time. Only the changed variable in Variable table needs to be populated to other Table A.

It’s a bit complicated but once setup it is super convenient. I know I can kind of achieve similar things through an extension, but that extension is not that convenient to use.

It’s like a control table that runs changes across other tables and records based on dynamically selected criteria.

Perhaps one day this would be handled by AI. so I would simple write a prompt and AI would do that easy peasy. But for now I couldn’t find another way doing this.

So I don’t know if anybody was able to follow me, because it is a bit confusing, but I am wondering if there is another more effective way to set up my automations in Airtable. The issue is, every possible scenario, requires a separate automation to setup.

I can’t use repeating automations because because I can’t really set them up to only run on certain records. And even if I figured out how to do that, unfortunately it seems only 1 repeating module is possible per automation. So I can’t chain repeating automations. And I can’t use conditional module either because of same issue, I can’t really make a condition to run the way I described.

Zapier and Make could be used but I thought first to see if I can keep the automations inside Airtable. I need to change the setup frequently and tweak it, so it is more preferable to do that in Airtable than dig through Make or Zapier which is more like set it and leave it situation.

The 50 automations limit is the issue.

I remember not a long ago it was 25 automations and I was like … wow, that will be enough forever when they increase to 50. But that doesn’t seem to me like a lot today.

I think using Find record steps could possibly solve this because I can add condition into the Find record step, but Find records step seems makes the automation quite slow.

Here I described how I have it setup in more detail:

I tested using Find records step and it may resolve the issue but it seems automation refuses to run.

The automation watches for trigger in my Variables table, then searches record in target Table A based on criteria based on the list of records in the Linked field. I added some conditions. That works.

Added the conditional steps but they don’t work and I can’t figure out what is wrong.

The conditional step is updating values in target Table A based on the variable field in Variable tale. Both are check boxes.

I tried even update the target Table field using a static value. Doesn’t help.

It tells me received invalid inputs. I am afraid what is actually doing it is trying to copy an array of values into that target field and not a specific value.

It doesn’t look like Find records solves anything here. I see now it is limited to 100 records. I need to have multiple conditional groups in my automation. Even if I re-run the automation, I can’t get the Find records function to provide me each time a fresh batch of not yet modified records, it’s always seems going to be the 100 records will always be the same records every time I run the automation.

Meeh… That is a dead end I guess.

So back to individual automations.



I had a hard time following what you are doing, but it sounds like you are using a [Variables] table with a single master record to contain variables, and you are using automations to copy values from that master record to other tables.

Is there a reason that you are not using rollups and conditional rollups to bring your variables into the other tables?

Unless you only have a few records per table, I don’t recommend linking all records to a single master record. If you have thousands of records linked to the same single record, it can slow down calculations, especially if you have back and forth rollups.

It sounds complicated. I wonder how hard it is to maintain, how hard it is to teach to someone else (if you ever want anyone else to use/maintain the base), and how the system will scale.

Thank you for taking time to read. Yes you understood it correctly. That’s exactly what I am doing.

Let’s say I have products to sell. They are in item table A. I want to list them to Etsy. But I only want to do that with the items that are ready to be listed to Etsy.

Before I can list to Etsy I need to run a few steps. First I have automation that is copying images if images are missing and then generating temporary URLs if the image was missing (otherwise not)… etc. I don’t want to go into details, it’s complex and not important.

Another step after that is change the marketplace from say Amazon to Etsy for all my listings that are ready. This will recalculate everything, including taxes, exchange rates, fees, shipping charges, storage fees and profit estimates.

Another step is to change the listing status to draft (and not to live) as for type of listing status…

And so on… So these operations are done from my master table.

I could also achieve same that by going in my product table and triggering the changes there e.g. by clicking a checkbox or moving items to different view etc. However I found that too much work to do.

So I setup that Variable table which is a master table controlling what happens with the records in the other table. From the master table I trigger actions in my other table.

Hope this makes a bit more clear.
And yes, it is impossible to explain how it works. But this makes Airtable use really cool. I think I am abusing Airtable into something it is not designed for. But that’s the nice and addictive thing about Airtable, how flexible it is as a modelling plasticine it can get into any shape or form.
And that is just tip of the iceberg, this master-slave table setup of mine is the easy part, the well is going pretty deep :grinning:
I know it’s my explaining is not good. You are experienced at teaching other people and you probably can read people’s minds easily.

How do you mean rollups? Yes conditional rollups, forgot about that. But what about that?
Ah,… okay. So that would be more efficient way to do. Okay, better than linking. So rollups help with the performance. I should look at that. I guess it will not reduce the number of automations, but okay, I will look at conditional rollups.

Have you tried this extension? Automatic Linked Records - Apps - Airtable Marketplace

I ask because it is fairly new, and from what I’ve played around with so far, might be worth testing for your use case to free up some automations.

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Yes, it seems it does - maybe.

So it replaces 2 automations…

  1. linking of records (in my case I do auto-linking when record is created in the table and I just have nested in another automation that I have to run anyhow when the record is created, that is 1 automation)

  2. then multiple individual automations that handle individual selection fields triggers. That is what the 3rd image shows.
    (The 2nd image is just scenario where the trigger values are set individually for each field)

However, from what I see, it doesn’t allow me to select a Linked field to be populated across other linked fields. That’s what I also do. I pick a linked field in the master table (linked field to Table called e.g. Options) and then the automation would populate the target Table A with the selected linked field ( Both my Master table and target Table A have a linked field linking to the same table Options).

From what I see I don’t think this does it. It says… matching will only work for:
SingleLineText, LongText, Formula, SingleSelect field.

It looks it doesn’t work for matching:

  • Checkbox
  • Linkedfield
  • Formula field ( e.g. if I am making selections in my Master table and the selections generate a formula result which becomes then the matching field.)

So it seems to be worth to look at, but there isn’t even a freemium version of it, get to start 10 dollars subscription right away and can’t even test it in a limited way. This type of extension you don’t just buy once, but continue using it because that is what it makes sense. If it was one time use, there is already another free extension to manually change values for fields in bulk.

That’s why I like the how @Kuovonne and others provide the extensions limited and then you upgrade for more features. It’s not a fortune you can earn on Airtable extensions (if it all) but that is not the problem with the approach but with the marketplace design.

So here are the options:


I think the root cause of your problem is each table needs it’s own automation, even group of automations. And if I understand well, these automations are similar for each table, each group of automations per table represents some operations, like take value X from Master table and put it to the Table A, field B, all records (or not all, just filtered by some view).
My opinion - scripts and automations are tools to avoid struggle with routine repetitive actions. If you need to create so many similar automations, you just shift the repetitive part to another level. I’m sorry if I mistaken and have incorrect vision of a tool you constructing, but I just want to share my solution when I faced something alike (the need to create a number of automations, X*number of tables).

I just created a single automation with a little scripting.
Fill field F in table T, scope of records defined by view V, value to fill is X
(a little demo below)

For example, look at the line 2

it supposed to fill this table


Here is automation

The last Update step just unchecks Run and write a kind of log (not mandatory). Populating changes done by script.
Which is quite simple.

So, after I check Run, it works as planned.
You can keep as much patterns as you wish, in each new record, sometimes duplicate and edit them, when the target is the same, but other value has to be written, and just check Run against the row you need.



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