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What are controls?

Controls— like buttons, select lists, and sliders— make your doc easier to interact with and more intuitive for your team. For those familiar with programming, you can use controls as the front-end and tables as the back-end to make your doc more like an app for your team. Add a checkbox that filters a table or a scale of coffee cup icons to take the temperature in a meeting.

With controls, you’re able to define how and where others interact with your doc, and create safeguards so your more cautious teammates can add or edit a row without fear of breaking a table.

You may have seen many of these controls as types of column formats within tables, but you can also add these building blocks to other parts of your doc, including the canvas. This makes it possible to setup easily filtered views of your data. To read more about filtering your tables or views with controls, check out this article.

Different types of controls

There are currently quite a few different types of controls to choose from, each with their own powers and possibilities. We’ve listed out the current types below, plus some examples or helpful info (where applicable).

  • Text - similar to a search bar; check out this community post

  • Select - select a single items from a pre-set list of text values

  • Multiple select - select one or more items from a list of text values

  • Lookup - select row(s) from a specified table in the doc

  • Scale - a kind of discrete numeric control; set the range and choose the icons

  • Slider - another kind of numeric control, but with more fluidity; set the minimum and maximum value, plus the increment

  • Date - a pre-built date picker, with the option to modify the date format

  • Date & Time - same as the above, but with time included

  • Date range - a pre-built selection of date ranges, including past, present, and future options

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  • Time - a pre-built time picker

  • Checkbox - a boolean control

  • Reaction - our newest type of control; check out this article

To get a full sense of how each control type works, add them to your doc and play around!

How to create a control in the canvas

On a new line, use the quick insert command “/” then type in “Control” to select a control of your choice.

Once created, right-click on the control to rename it and set your control’s properties. Depending on the type of control, you’ll see different properties and options here.

If you’re wanting a control to filter your table or view, you can alternatively create this control from the within the filter builder for the table. Check out 5:00 of this video to see a walkthrough of this option.

How to create a control from a table

If you’re wanting a control to filter your table or view, you can alternatively create this control from within the filter builder for the table.

Navigate to the desired column with the data you want to filter against. Click on the menu at the top of the column. Choose “Filter,” then hover over “Interactive filter,” and select “Create control.”

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How controls work

Once you’ve set up your control, you can reference that control’s value by calling the control name using formula language. On a new line, or in a formula editor, use the “=” sign to begin your formula and enter the control's name to reference its value in formulas.

Use control references to interact with a table or view filter with the Matches() formula. This makes it easy to match exact values, lists and ranges. Controls used this way are also referred to as Interactive Filters (more on this here).

Table Controls

Right-click (control-click on a Mac) to view the control’s settings. Choose between “Personal” and “Collaborative” mode to determine whether the data filters just for you, or for everyone:

  • Personal: Each user has their own select value. Changes they make affect only them.

  • Collaborative: All users share the same select value. Changes affect everyone.

All existing controls will stay collaborative by default, but new controls will be personal by default.

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Setting a starting value

The field allows you to specify the initial value that is populated until you choose to modify it.

For example, in the “Stage” control below, “Active” is the value that everyone will see if they haven’t modified the control value. Also, any buttons that contain the Reset control value action for the “Stage” control will revert it back to “Active.” Whether this reverts back just for you, or for everyone, depends on the Mode selected in the control.

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