Updating Airtable Records via Form

We use Airtable for HBCUvc to keep contact info for our program participants. Majority of the data existing in our Airtable was imported from program applications, which was created using Typeform. As programs grow and time passes, we want to ensure we keep our participant data up-to-date. One option is to allow participants to update their own data through a form. However, Airtable doesn’t intrinsically allow records to be updated through forms.

Today, I worked on a small work-around that would send an email to program participants and ask them to update their data via a form. We have a table called Contacts which contains fields such as name, email, and other contact data. I also have a form view in the Contacts table which collects the contact data. I created a duplicate table from Contacts and named it Updates. The Updates table now has the same fields and form view from the Contact table.

In the Updates table, I add the prefilled form block. In the block, I used prefilled data from all the fields in the Update table. The block provides a formula that gives a URL for a prefilled form.

Okay, back in the Contacts table, I create a new formula field and paste in the formula from the prefilled form block. This generates an URL to a prefilled form for each contact record. When the URL is opened by the program participant, it will contain their prefilled contact info. They would have the opportunity to update info that is not current.

Next I created a SendGrid block on the Contacts table. Through this block, I can create a “mail-merge” email to send to each program participant asking them to use their unique url to update their records. When they submit the form, a new record will be created in the Update table.

I haven’t done this last part yet — to update the Contacts records based on the new data from the Updates table (or when a form is submitted), you could create a Zap in Zapier. This Zap would automatically find and update the Contact record when a new Update record is created (form is submitted).

This work-around requires Airtable Pro and a paid Zapier account. In a previous life, I’ve built custom software to help a company send automated emails to update company records. This is an awesome work-around in comparison to a custom software solution.

***This is post 5 in a daily writing challenge. Forgive all typos and misspellings, the goal is to write****

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About Hadiyah

Practicing loving God, neighbors, and myself daily. Leveraging venture capital to advance racial equity at HBCUvc.