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SamJones3's avatar
Qrew Cadet
6 years ago

Sneak Peek: Type-Ahead Search Picker

While we at Quickbase love to work on great new features, like Kanban reports or Automations, we also take time to focus on the fundamentals. And what could be more fundamental to Quickbase than quickly and accurately entering data? 

So many of our customers tell us they come to Quickbase apps because they've outgrown spreadsheets and need to move to a relational database to handle the complexity of the work they need to track. Recently, we've been taking a hard look at how we can improve this fundamental activity of Quickbase apps: relating data.

What did we find? After talking to customers with big data sets and small, we realized our record picker needed to be better at finding records quickly and making sure users knew exactly what record they were picking! 

If you're not familiar with our record picker, here's a crash course. (You can find out more about configuring it in Quickbase University.)

When you're working with a relatively small data set, we show a simple HTML drop down. It works well if you've got some easily discernible records and you know what you're looking for, but if you've got a larger set of data, it can be much harder to find what you're looking for.

Now, one of the things we all love about Quickbase is how deeply customizable it is. So what if I want to only pick from records which meet a certain criteria? Or if I want to make sure the most likely to be picked options are at the top? Quickbase has a solve for that! In the form properties, you can choose a report on which to base the record picker, which allows you filter and sort the field. 

It's great that you can apply sorts and filters, but unless you really trim down the columns, it can be really hard to read for end users. Beyond that, they may not understand what data is displayed in the list and given that each record displays all its data on one line, it can be hard to match up values to compare them.

In addition, our users told us they expected to search through these records to find what they were looking for, but our simple record dropdown doesn't support that. For search, we need to go into the record picker pop-up. 

In field properties, you can configure this relationship to always use our record picker pop-up but getting to it requires more clicks and takes the user out of the context of the record they're editing.

What we found in talking to customers was that their teams needed a faster way to search their data.

After seeing all this, we got to work. Presenting the new Quickbase Type-Ahead Search Picker:

If your app builder has chosen to display only one field to pick records on, we're now going to present a fast, searchable picker, very much like the new field picker we rolled out back in spring or the user picker we've have. 

If your app builder has chosen a report or the standard record picker to select from, you'll see a multicolumn picker, able to display up to nine fields of relevant data, with each column labeled so users clearly can see what they're picking from.

We load the first 50 results automatically, so users can browse. As you search, the list updates in real time, pulling in more records and highlighting the matching terms, very much like our user field type. 

This new picker will be rolling out to all users in the coming months. If you'd like a sneak preview, we have it available in early access starting the week of September 24th. Just have your realm administrator open a support ticket and request it at

Thanks for reading and be on the look out for more posts and previews about our new type-ahead search picker!

Sam Jones
Quickbase Product Manager

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