Data-intensive tables are one of the week points of Confluence. Discover why an integration with Airtable might be the best way to go.
In this post, we’ll cover why you might want to replace your Confluence tables with embedded Airtable bases and how to do it. If you’re a Confluence user or admin who wants more control over the data that’s stored in your system, then this is for you!
1. What are the main limitations of Confluence tables
Confluence only supports text. That means you’re stuck with data that isn’t really such. This obviously limits the usefulness of Confluence tables for data-heavy tasks. You can’t really operate with numbers, dates, currency amounts, or any other field types as Airtable does.
Confluence tables are too rigid for managing complex data. You can’t easily filter or create formulas of any sort. And that excludes very attractive and visual actions like color-coding rules!
Usability is also limited! Even for tables that aren’t particularly big, it’s difficult to navigate data when columns grow beyond 6 or 7. It can also be frustrating to edit data when you want to copy/paste it.
For example, if you have three paragraphs in a single cell, double clicking on the content will select only one paragraph. Which means that, in the end, you have to manually highlight everything you want to copy before you can hit Ctrl+C. Now repeat that process several times and you will have a certain recipe for carpal tunnel.
Finally: Confluence tables are not dynamic. You will have to maintain them manually… unless you come up with a fancy workaround to update them using Powershell. But even that hacky approach has multiple limitations — for example, it doesn’t work with pages that contain multiple tables.
2. Why Airtable bases are better than Confluence tables
Airtable has a set of data types that allows you to easily create and manage data. It also provides a variety of functions for data use, calculation, transformation, and sorting. Plus, you can even add custom triggers for each field, so it’s able to interact with your data dynamically.
Besides the most common field types like number, text, percentage, or date, there are multiple others, including:
Here’s just the start of the Airtable Field Types Reference:
This power means you can filter and process your information using different variables simultaneously.
For example, imagine that you set up an employee calendar that follows deliverables or allows to share personal activities. You can enhance it by adding a “location” field to the calendar view and linking it to other records in the same base!
This also gives the ability to customize workflows and link to external tools, like Google sheets, Google calendars, Salesforce, Hubspot, or whatever SaaS services are on your tech stack.
3. Benefits of using Airtable over Confluence tables
Similarly to other competitors like Notion, monday.com or Smartsheet, the same Airtable records can seen in different views, including the following:
This is the most common way to display content, very similarly to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Only, way more colourful.
Watch how your dates sort every item into its position.
Do you like Trello? Airtable can give you very similar functionality if you just swap to the Kanban View.
Track dependencies for time-sensitive projects.
Visualize the file attachments you post in a beautiful layout. Perfect for website and other design-intensive projects.
Keeping the focus on the records
However, in contrast to the competitors just mentioned, Airtable keeps the focus on the datapoints. Instead, monday.com focuses on workflow and process; and smartsheet aims at integrating project components.
The relations that can be established between different fields and variables is what makes the magic. Excel is wonderful for its formulas, but Airtable is even better since it gives a lot more ways to link different parts of your knowledge warehouse.
4. How to replace your current Confluence table with an Airtable base
Airtable is data-centric, while Confluence is document-centric! This means that you shouldn’t ditch Confluence altogether, as it’s a very powerful collaborative wiki.
But wouldn’t it be wonderful if Airtable were used as a replacement for Confluence tables whenever you need to handle a large amount of data?
Actually, it’s really simple with apps like Airtable Embed for Confluence. See, for example, what a sales pipeline tracker looks like:
Let’s now have a closer look at how you can build this integration. It doesn’t require any technical skills!
With this app, you won’t have to play with any complex settings as you will find in other Atlassian Marketplace apps. And your users and internal customers will love the end result!
What actions are possible with the embed code integration
Users have the ability to perform a number of actions, including:
6. Tips for creating a successful, well-designed Airtable form
Airtable can digest a lot of information. Sometimes the challenge is to create the right process to collect data in the first place. That’s what forms are for, and they’re one of the most popular views you can embed in Confluence.
A form is a set of input fields that can collect data when people fill it out. Here are some tips for form design to make sure you get the data you need:
Use cases for Airtable are infinite. In can hold pretty much anything that can go into a list. A structured list, for that matter. As you have seen, embedding Airtable can transform how you’re using Confluence to share dynamic datasets, but also to crowdsource how you’re collecting your data.
If you need more help, we’re happy to support you expanding the integration with new functionality.
We’re actively gathering requirements to improve this pdf Confluence integration. If there is any additional feature that would make your life easier, please contact us and we will discuss it internally in a matter of days!
Start your free evaluation of Airtable Embed for Confluence now