Airtable vs. Coda

 

Whether you’re a medium-sized business, a small family-owned business, or an enterprise corporation, maintaining company data is fundamental to success. If you manage real estate property, run a construction company, or sell goods online or offline, an information management system is a critical part of day-to-day operations.  

Most industries have one or more specific software platforms specific to your category for managing data. Unfortunately, they often lack customization options and are proprietary. They can also be more costly over time while you piece together your specific business requirements.

This is where an easy-to-use custom database solution can be a perfect fit. Airtable and Coda are two online information storage and database software platforms. Both are designed to store your essential data in a structured format helping you make informative decisions to guide your business. 

In this article, we will cover the features of Airtable and Coda and the pros and cons or each so you can make the best decision for your business.

About Airtable and Coda

 

Airtable and Coda are in a similar category of business-based customizable software to store your critical information such as construction projects, residential and commercial properties, or sales data. Both products can provide a centralized location to quickly reference documents and make decisions.

Both are considered ‘no-code/low-code’ platforms allowing non-programmers to create a custom database structure with only a few clicks. Low-code platforms are projected to have a 40% market growth by 2022. (1) 

Airtable is an all-in-one online hybrid database and spreadsheet for managing business data and enhancing team and department collaboration. It was founded in 2012 and is used by over 80,000 companies. Their mission is to democratize software creation by enabling anyone to build the tools that meet their needs.

Coda is an all-in-one document combining spreadsheets, documents, and workflow apps. Coda is made for team collaboration in product management, inventory management, and much more. It was founded in 2014 and stayed in a beta version until May 2019. Coda states they are a doc that erases the boundaries between words and data so you can build a document as powerful as an app.

Why Your Business Needs a Better Solution

 

As a company owner or manager, you oversee the achievements and health of your business. It’s imperative to have a software platform that helps you analyze your company information customized to your specific needs. 

Airtable and Coda offer businesses a solution to strengthen their unique proposition in their respective industry. This is accomplished through better data visualization and an increased understanding of the overall outlook.

 

Why We Use Airtable

At BuiltOnAir, we are Airtable fanatics and use it to run our own businesses. Its customization features and flexibility make it a fantastic solution for companies in all different industries. 

With Airtable, you can store any type of information in its original format. With an easy-to-use interface, you can create your own custom app in a short amount of time. You don’t have to know how to use databases or be a programmer to make Airtable work for your business.  

With Airtable, you can create your own custom layout using the simplicity of drag and drop. Each custom app in Airtable is called a Base. Airtable bases contain Tables and Fields. Fields include a variety of options such as Text, Numbers, Data Relationship Links, Barcodes, Users, Checkboxes, Formulas, and many more. 

Airtable Base Structure

It also has multiple views such as Grid (spreadsheet-view), Calendar, Gallery, Kanban, and Form, enabling you to transform your data any way you like.

Airtable has special app fields that live on top of your Airtable bases called Blocks. Blocks expand your data even further to manage and maintain a dashboard of what’s most important. Blocks include options such as Emailing and Texting directly from your base, Maps, Charts, Scripts (Custom Code), and several other helpful upgrades. Read all about Blocks on their site.

Airtable extends to almost any other software platform you use to run your company with On2Air: Actions. An advanced connector, On2Air: Actions, integrates your Airtable data with over 2,000 additional apps.

Create powerful business processes with almost 20 additional action options beyond the standard Airtable actions. 

airtable to on2air

On2Air: Actions is the solution you need to optimize your systems and enhance the information flow between Airtable and other apps.

To get started with Airtable, check out their Getting Started Guide. Then head over to their extensive collection of pre-made templates and view the amazing community-submitted templates.

Features of Each Platform

Here are the most common features of Airtable and Coda.

 

airtable and coda features

Pros and Cons of Each

Both apps can transform your business. Here are several pros and cons of each. 

 

Pros of Airtable

Airtable is a modern app-like platform allowing you to quickly organize and view your data structure your way. It has multiple field types and multiple views. 

  • Batch updates and deduplication of your data – An important part of business is keeping your data clean and updated.
  • Page designer to create any sort of template to export, print, or send – Create invoices, business cards, or any other document in any size to send or print.
  • Web Clipper through Google Chrome extension – Immediately add any relevant articles or information to your Airtable base when browsing the web with a couple of clicks. 
  • Powerful quick database creation – Use pre-made templates or create your own structure quickly. You can set up multiple databases in just a few hours and get back to business. 

Airtable_PrintEditorialCalendar

Airtable “Print Editorial Calendar”

 

Pros of Coda

 Coda is a document containing multiple sections in one. You can organize by table, section, integrated apps, and create automations.

  • Buttons to initiate tasks – Create buttons for a variety of pre-made tasks.
  • Inline formulas – Add formulas next to a piece of text to summarize data wherever you need it most.
  • In-app automation – Create simple if this/then that automations inside the document.
  • Custom in-app connections to other apps – Multiple custom-coded app connections specific to the platform.

Coda_Property Manager

Coda “Property Management”

 

Even though both are customizable solutions for your business, no software platform is perfect. Let’s look at the cons of each app.

 

Cons of Airtable

 

  • Fewer third party in-app integrations 
  • No in-app automation
  • Lacks cross base linking
  • Mobile app needs more functionality

 

 Cons of Coda

 

  • No in-app option to add JavaScript scripts
  • New – Just came out of beta mode in 2019
  • Complex and messy
  • Less database feel, more notebook feel

Platforms Available

 

Airtable is available as a web app so you can use it anywhere you have access to the internet. They also have a macOS app, Windows app, and it’s available on both iPhones and Androids. An extra feature is their Google Chrome extension, which allows you to grab anything from the web and add it to Airtable.

Coda is a web app so you can acess it from most major browsers. It’s also available on both iPhone and Android. They do not have a macOS or Windows app. They have a new Google Chrome extension with limited features.

Airtable and Coda platforms

Ratings 

Let’s rate the most common functionalities a business looks at when searching for a reliable software platform. These include ease of use, extensions and add-ons, price and value, and support.

Ease of Use

Airtable

Airtable’s modern interface feels like many other apps you already use. It’s easy to navigate and with a few simple instructions to start, you can get your entire company on board quickly.

Airtable Quick Base setup

Adding a template base in Airtable

 

Coda’s interface is modern but there are so many different options, it can be overwhelming.

Extensions and Add-Ons

Both

Both platforms have a large ecosystem of available third-party apps to extend their functionality.  

Airtable integrates with Slack, Google Drive, and JotForm. JotForm’s integration with Airtable can be extended for maximum customization using On2Air: Forms

Airtable also has integrations with Sendgrid and Twilio so you are able to send text messages and emails directly from an Airtable record. Some of these integrations vary by price plan.

Coda has multiple in-app connectors such as Figma, Intercom, GitHub, and Google Search Console. These are specific to the price plan you choose.You can drill down further with pre-made buttons depending on the connection. They also have Packs which connect to more apps.

Price and Value

Airtable

Both apps have similar pricing structures depending on your individual or team’s requirements. However, Airtable has a lower price point for team use than Coda.

Airtable offers a free tier for individuals to use as long as they need with many of the great features included. Airtable has a $10 a month paid annually Plus plan best used when you need to store more data.

They also have a Pro plan with upgraded features for $20 a month paid annually or $24 paid month-to-month.

Pricing - Airtable

 

Coda has a free tier with lower table, automation, and button limits. Their Pro plan unlocks unlimited doc sizes and a medium quota on automation. The Pro plan is $12 a month or $10 per month paid annually.

They also have a Team plan at $36 per month or $30 a month paid annually. The Team plan includes being able to lock sections, unified billing, and unlimited automations.

Coda pricing table

 

Both platforms have optional Enterprise plans for larger organizations.

Support

Both

Airtable support is available by chat or dedicated support on the Enterprise plan. Airtable replies within 1-2 days or quicker with priority support. Coda support is available by chat option.

User Reviews

Airtable

Airtable has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on G2 Crowd.

airtable_rating

Common positive reviews state Airtable makes managing projects and collaborating with other users much easier.

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 Timothy D., Developer, praises the product’s performance, “This is a very robust framework that enables you to do many things without having any inconsistencies or getting messy or sluggish. It does everything necessary for the success of complicated projects but retains a functional and customizable interface in a clear and optimized fashion, without letting information escape.” 

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Avantika S., who works for a small business, loves the simplicity, “Airtable is simple to use and is a great platform for team collaboration. Having multiple view options under each base works great to adapt to the needs of each team member. There are also many templates available under the template library and this is very helpful to guide us in creating helpful systems.”

 

Negative reviews claimed a need for a better mobile app and an offline option.

 

Coda

Because Coda is newer, they don’t have as many reviews. However, combining Product Hunt, G2, and Capterra reviews, it has an average of 4.4.

coda_4.4

Several positive reviews stated it displayed a simple way to see an overview of company deliverables. It also proved useful for linking all data for an easy-to-understand in-context information view. 

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Eber C., Project Director, emphasized, “The capacity of easily managing docs like databases. We use it to keep track of the projects and tasks of our team. I like how tables connect and how you can have different views of them in different pages. Thus, you can have multiple lists using the very same table by filtering each view and hiding/unhiding columns. On the other hand, formulas are very easy to learn and you can relate them to other products like Excel or Power B.”

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Another user was thrilled with the increase in response from her team, “We recently started using Coda to help our customer service team make sure we are followed up with all of our customers and all issues are resolved. So far it has been great! Super easy to use and very helpful for our team. It is nice, at the end of the week we can resolve any unresolved issues.”

 

Negative reviews included an unstable mobile app and performance issues.

How to Migrate from Coda to Airtable

 

If you are ready to make the move and migrate from Coda to Airtable, it only takes a few steps. 

Airtable allows for CSV imports and and Table-style copy and paste imports. 

Coda does have an export option but it’s quite underwhelming. You can only export once per day from Coda and they only export in text format.

The best way to migrate your data is to copy from Coda and paste into Airtable.

First, highlight your Coda table data and press Ctrl+C on your keyboard (You won’t be able to right-click and press Copy when copying from a table. You can right-click if copying from text sections)

In Airtable, click Add a base >  Import a spreadsheet.

import to airtable

Next, you will paste into the Airtable Paste Table Data Here box.

import box

Once added, you will click Import Pasted Data

You can then go into the Base and change the Column Types to fit your specific data needs. 

It won’t be perfect at first and will take some data adjustments. (No software transition is completely seamless!) However, once you begin using Airtable, you will quickly see just how simple and awesome it is!

Additional Airtable Resources and Tools

BuiltOnAir is your resource for all things Airtable. We have a directory of the best Airtable Product Extensions and Tools, Communities, Consultants and Service Providers, and Scripts. If you want to read about specific industries using Airtable, check out our Ultimate Airtable Industry Guides. We also have a podcast featuring Airtable users from a variety of industries and companies.

If you want to stay up to date on all things Airtable, subscribe to the BuiltOnAir newsletter for a weekly update of all things Airtable and community-related. We never send promotions (other than the occasional note from our sponsor, Openside), and do our best to curate the most relevant content in the Airtable space.

On2Air | Openside

BuiltOnAir is proud to be sponsored by Openside, a talented consulting and development company that has built advanced integration and workflow tools for Airtable. 

As the only provider of premium products and services for Airtable, Openside not only builds Airtable integration tools but supports them with a unique array of services and solutions for companies. 

Two of the best tools for Airtable business professionals are:

On2Air: Forms

On2Air Forms combines JotForm’s robust form-building capabilities to pull Airtable data into your forms and then push form responses back to Airtable.

Key features:

  • Pull any data from your Airtable databases into forms
  • Search within databases for form options
  • Auto-populate forms from pre-existing data
  • View names or filters from Airtable in your forms

GO TO THE PRODUCT

On2Air: Actions

An advanced integration and automation tool perfect for workflows. With this tool, you can:

1) Integrate Airtable with a large variety of apps used in your workflows and reduce manual work 

2) Gain access to advanced options (not possible with other Airtable connectors on the market) to make everything more simple and powerful

Key features of the On2Air: Actions tool:

  • Trigger changes to your bases from a large variety of choices
  • Update or delete fields and records according to desired criteria
  • Find or create records according to ID, views, or other options
  • Pull data from external systems into your Airtable schema automatically

GO TO THE PRODUCT

Summary

When choosing an information management software, Airtable and Coda are both helpful tools for structuring your business insight and keeping your company on track. 

Each has a variety of features to use depending on your unique requirements and services. If you want a simple straight out-of-the-box platform with better data organization, Airtable is a top choice. If you want a platform with more of a document layout, Coda would be the solution for you. 

At BuiltOnAir, we are advanced Airtable users and businesses and have seen how versatile it can be for anyone. It’s an innovative online, relational database but practical enough to be extended throughout your entire company. We recommend Airtable as an easy-to-use solution for customizing your business needs.

 

(1) https://go.forrester.com/blogs/why-you-need-to-know-about-low-code-even-if-youre-not-responsible-for-software-delivery/

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