What different ways could you create a lookup table?

  • 8 October 2019
  • 6 replies
  • 1030 views

Userlevel 7
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The lookup table function in the Formatter by Zapier app is super helpful for creating lookup steps (check out this help guide if it's new to you), but it has its limitations.


Users will sometimes want to create a lookup table that will need to be updated frequently, or they might want a lookup table that will need to be used for more than one Zap.


Have you found different ways to create Lookup tables that get around these limitations? Does anyone have a lookup table that can be updated via Zap, for example?



6 replies

Userlevel 7
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Ditto to what @TheDavidJohnson says... if a client is open-minded I'll push Airtable. However some clients are just so comfy with GSheets it's not worth the battle.


Userlevel 7
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@ChrisP Ooh I'd love to know your list of Google Sheet Dos and Don'ts - it would make a great discussion in Tips and Inspiration 😃


Userlevel 7
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I hear you! @Chris

The worst one for me is row hiding. I tell clients "Don't delete rows - just hide them" - but I forget to tell them (or they forget) that you can hide *all but the last row* otherwise Zapier will sneak in that new row before the block of hidden rows, causing all manner of madness 😅


Userlevel 7
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@Andrew_Luhhu The introducing a dreaded blank row by accident is something I've come across often. Introducing out -of-order columns can also break zaps. Setting up conditional formatting and permissions in Sheets can help, but I find I have to explicitly give clients instructions about "Things Not To Do".


Userlevel 5

I'll echo @Andrew_Luhhu here, although I'd probably have a slight preference for Airtable over Google Sheets for this, because it would open up some additional flexibility thanks to Airtable's "Views" and other goodies.

But really any database tool could be used for this, including mysql, since Zapier has a robust integration for it.


Userlevel 7
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I've built lookup tables using Google Sheets before (and Airtable would work just as well).

The great think about Google Sheets is that most users will intuitively understand how to add/remove/edit entries in the table and in theory there isn't really a way they could break it (except for introducing a dreaded blank row by accident).

I've never had the need, but I suppose Google Sheets also makes a good lookup table substitute because you could use other zaps to keep it updated.


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