When managing a workflow, keeping track of various information is crucial. Understanding which project corresponds to a specific client, or which venue is allocated for an event, can become messy without proper organization.
SmartSuite offers a more advanced linking functionality compared to other platforms. SmartSuite allows you to link records across the entire workspace. This flexibility makes it easier to manage tasks, projects, and other elements of your workflow.
In SmartSuite, not only can you store essential information in a record, but you can also effortlessly connect these records to capture the dynamic relationships between them.
This guide will explain how to link records in SmartSuite effectively!
In this guide, you will learn how to:
Define the relationships between the significant aspects of your workflow
Establish a suitable structure to connect and reference related information easily Maintain data cleanliness and minimize duplicate data entry
Step 1: Define your relationships
Before establishing relationships between your records, it is vital to understand what these connections should entail. The nature of the information you are tracking and how it interrelates depends entirely on your workflow. You might have a list of projects, a list of action items, and a list of clients. Alternatively, you may have a list of events, a list of attendees, and a list of venues.
In SmartSuite, it is best practice to maintain each of these lists in separate tables, allowing you to store every item and its details. However, isolating these lists in separate tables does not mean they should remain disconnected. Projects are associated with action items, events have attendees, and so on. In the following step, we will discuss how to establish these connections within your SmartSuite Solution.
→ Consider your workflow and map out the information you wish to interconnect. Ensure that each piece of information is stored in the appropriate table before proceeding. If you need assistance structuring your Solution effectively, take a look at this guide for more guidance.
Step 2: Create your relationships
After setting up your lists in tables, the next step involves establishing relationships between the pieces of information. SmartSuite's linked record field enables you to create connections between different records, offering two distinct options for configuration.
Option 1: Create a link between two existing tables
The initial step in creating valuable relationships within your workflow, such as projects to action items or attendees to events, is to create a linked record field. Since this link is established between two tables, you can create this field in either of the related tables.
Create the Linked Record field and the field settings dialog will be displayed.
Here you can select which Table you would like to create the relationship with, using the Select Linked Table dropdown.
Once the linked record field is created, selecting the + option will display the records from the linked table for you to choose from. You can now link individual records, connecting a specific project to corresponding action items, for instance. This establishes a connection between the two specific records.
Whenever two records are linked, you will observe that the association is mirrored in the other table. These reciprocal links enable you to view related information in each table, allowing you to identify which action items are related to specific projects and which projects are associated with particular action items!
→ Proceed to create your linked records
First, establish the linked record field to capture the previously mapped relationships between two related tables. Once the linked record field is added, link relevant records from either table (or even a table in another Solution).
Option 2: Convert an existing field into a new linked table
As your workflow becomes more complex, managing additional information becomes essential. Utilizing linked records, it is simple to expand any dimension of your table into a separate, linked table, allowing for the addition of more context.
For example, with a small number of clients, it may be easy to manage client-project relationships with a single select or single-line text field. This limits client information to their name, which is captured in the single select.
However, as your client list expands, you might want to track additional information for each client, such as their address, logo, preferred payment method, or point of contact.
To expand any dimension of your workflow, you can create a linked record from an existing field. This will generate a new table from the values in your existing field, creating one record for each value. The new table will have linked records to the original table, maintaining the existing relationship.
With clients now tracked in a separate table, you can add more critical information relevant to the new dimension of your workflow without losing the connection to your projects.
→ Identify elements of your workflow (venues, clients, products, or anything else!) that would benefit from expanded information tracking beyond a single field. For each identified element, convert that field into a linked record and add additional details to the new linked table.
Step 3: Utilize your relationships
Workflows and the information within them are constantly evolving.
With established relationships between your different tables, you can use linked record fields to view relevant information at a glance, creating a centralized source of truth.
If you wish to view the status of action items related to a project without leaving your table, you can expand the linked record field to view additional fields for each linked record. If you want to focus on a specific action item, expanding any linked record will reveal all its details and fields.
Using linked record fields, you can maintain consistent information across your workflow. By using a lookup field, you can dynamically display information stored in linked records. Any updates to the original field will automatically propagate in the lookup.
Suppose you want to monitor the project due date for your action items. In that case, you can create a lookup field in your action items table that pulls in the due date of each linked project. Any changes to the project due date will be reflected across all action items tied to that project. This approach centralizes your information updates and ensures consistency across your workflow, minimizing the need for duplicate data entry.
→ Experiment with accessing your interconnected information across tables by expanding a linked record to view all its details.
Then, create lookup fields to view relevant information wherever necessary for fields that could be pertinent across linked tables (e.g., project due date, client's email address, assets for a campaign, sprint status, or any other relevant data!). Learn more about lookups in this article.
You have completed three essential steps in linking records within SmartSuite:
✓ You have defined how the significant aspects of your workflow are related
✓ You have established relationships to link pertinent information
✓ Finally, you have leveraged your relationships to easily access relevant information and reduce manual data entry
Now that you have completed these steps, you can effectively manage the various relationships powering your workflow without duplicating information!
If you wish to further explore how to utilize your linked records, take a look at our guide to rollups. If you want to delve deeper into designing your Solution, explore our guide on relationship types.
Linking Tables Across Different Solutions
In SmartSuite, you have the ability to link Tables from one Solution to another. This helps eliminate duplicated data and prevents you from having to replicate data between Solutions.
We allow them to linked to just about anything, and we also enforce permissions if the user does not have access to the linked content.
Here is how to create a Linkage between different Solutions:
In the Linked Record field settings display, from the Select Linked Table dropdown, you have the ability to select the link to any Table in any Solution in your Workspace.
For example, if you have a Sales CRM Solution with all of your Contacts and want to link specific projects in your Project Management Solution that are related to those contacts, you could link the Contacts Table to the Projects Table - across the Solutions.
Linking Contacts with their Projects allows you to drill into the Contact's data directly from the Project Table.
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