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Column basics

Learn about the basics of adding columns to tables, changing column types, auto-filling columns with data, and more

Updated over a week ago

Rows make up the horizontal element of your tables, while columns make up the vertical elements. Use different columns to add different attributes to your data.

A range of column types provides various ways to format your data, allowing you to store data in the way that makes the most sense. The days of your numbers mistakenly turning into dates are gone, instead of keeping tallies for a vote, try using a reaction column! Column types allow you to change the column to fit your data, rather than change your data to fit a cell.

Within this article you’ll find...

Create a column

In Coda, a row is a single, structured data item in a table. Rows compose the horizontal elements of a table. Columns are the vertical elements of a table, which allow you to store more information in your rows. Column types allow you to add various attributes to your row data.

To create a new column, click the + icon in the upper right corner of your table. From here, you can type or select the type of column you would like to create. Give your new column a title!

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Change column types

The various column types allow you to store data in a way that makes the most sense for the data. When you create a column, you can select which column type you want, but you can change this type at any point in time!

Should you decide you would like to change the type of column you’re using, click on the column type icon on the right side of the column title, hover over the Column type option in the menu, and select the column type you’d like.

With over twenty different column types supported, there is a column type out there for your data. Pair your column types with formulas and relations, and the options are endless! Below are some of the most popular and powerful columns we support, but be sure to check them all out yourself. To see all of the columns available, right-click on a column header, and hover over Column Type.

Edit column options

To open the settings for a column, just right click on the column header, then select Edit column. Here you’ll find two tabs: Settings and Fill values.


Each column type has their own unique list of settings. For instance, Date columns will include a setting to specify the format of the date. People columns will include settings regarding notifications. Select list settings allow you to create and edit selectable values. If you’re unsure about a particular setting, you can typically hover over the ? next to the setting to learn more.

The one setting that all columns share is the Value for new rows setting. This determines what value - if any - to assign to newly created rows. You can learn more about this setting here.

Fill values

For most column types, you will have a Fill values tab. This is where you can determine if and how the column values should be automatically filled for each row. If you want to be able to manually fill this column for each row, you won’t select any option from the Fill values tab. But if you do want values to be dynamically filled, you have three options:

  • Calculate: Calculate values based on a formula. This formula can reference other columns and row properties. For instance, maybe you want to calculate the End date of a project based on the Start Date and the Duration (other columns in your table). The structured builder makes it easy for you to set up this calculation - even if you aren’t familiar with our formula language. Read all about this calculation builder here.

  • Compose: Automatically write (and format) text based on values in other columns. You might want to use this if you’re trying to dynamically generate an email message based on other values in a given row. Check out this article to learn more about the Compose feature.

  • AI: Prompt AI to fill this column. Learn all about Coda AI here.

Hide (and unhide) columns

Just like you can change your view to have a filter or different display type, you also have the ability to change which columns in your dataset are visible in each view. Learn more about views here.

To hide a column, right-click on the column header and select Hide from the list of options.

To view hidden columns, click on Columns in the right corner of your table. The options panel will open on the right, displaying all of the columns in your table. Columns that are visible in this view will appear with a blue eye next to them, indicating they are visible. Below you will see the columns that are hidden in this view (under Hidden columns). To unhide a column, click the grey eye icon next to the title of the column you’d like to unhide.

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Other column adjustments

When you right click on a column header - before you select Column options - you’ll see a list of other adjustments you can make to your column.

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  • Summarize: You can use this tool to easily summarize data in your column. Check out this article to learn more.

  • Add descriptions: Use this to add a description to your column. This is particularly helpful if you have others collaborating in your table, and you want to make the purpose of each column very clear. Once a description is added, there will be a small i symbol visible next to the column header. When someone hovers over this symbol, they’ll see the description.

  • Freeze columns: If there is a column you would like to freeze to the left of the table, you can do so by clicking the column type and selecting Freeze, you have the option to freeze none, 1 column, or 2. The column(s) will display regardless of scrolling horizontally.

  • Wrap contents: You can adjust the size of your columns by dragging them. You can wrap the column name by dragging the bottom line of the column title down. You can control whether or not the content in the column will wrap by right-clicking on the column header and selecting Wrap.

  • Display column: The display column, denoted by the small ribbon icon, should house the most unique information to the dataset. The display column is the default column that referenced in a relation column (learn more about relations here). You can change the display column by right-clicking on the column header, and selecting Set as display column.

  • Delete: To delete a column, right click on the column title, and select Delete. This column will be deleted in all of the views of this table throughout the doc.


Why am I not able to see all of my columns?

If you are not seeing a column you’d expect to, it is often times because the column is hidden. Learn more about hidden columns here.

How do I add an image to a table?

Right-click on the column you would like to be an image column, hover over column type and select Images & Files, select which type you would like.

Now, simply paste the links to the .jpg or .gif of the image, and you'll see them render in your Coda doc

How can I rearrange the order of my columns?

If you decide you would like to rearrange the order of your columns, you can simply drag and drop the columns from the headers.

How do I set a default value for a column?

You can use the value for new rows field (within column settings) to specify default values for new rows. Learn all about this setting in this article.

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How can I wrap column headers?

To wrap your column headers, simply drag the column header down to create another line or two. Then drag the divider between column headers to the left or right to resize the width of the header.

What are some common column types?

You can see all the column types by searching within a column in Coda. But here are some of the most common and most powerful:

  • Text: A text column is the foundation of many tables, great for display columns.

  • Number: The tried and true, a number column can be as simple or complex as you’d like it to be. You’re no longer committed to integers though, try out a scale or progress bar!

  • Canvas: Canvas columns are like the older sibling of a text column, allowing you to store bodies of text, images and even another table, within a single row. They are also collaborative and can be edited by multiple people at once - it’s a party!

  • Date: While the days of your numbers being mistakenly turned into dates are over, there are still instances you may want the date format, luckily we support a variety of dates types.

  • Time: Find the Time column type under the Date options.

  • People: Instead of typing names over and over again, the people column type allows you to put names into your cells easily, and opens opportunity for the popular User( ) filter and easily enables you to notify people.

  • Reaction: Reaction columns allow you to easily survey votes or react to data, rather than using tallies and counting manually.

  • Relation: Empowering anyone to build a relational database since c. 2015!

  • Button: Take actions from your table by using buttons!

  • and many more!

How can I pre-fill my columns?

If you want to automatically fill all the values in that column, you can do so under the Fill values section of the Column options. You can read more about this in the section above.

If you want to assign a default value to new rows while still being able to edit and override those values, you may want to use the value for new rows features instead. Check out this article to learn more.

Can I use different column formats for different rows?

A column type is uniform for the entire column, meaning you can not have different formats in different rows of one column.

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