While you can use Coda as a simple writing surface, we find our users get the most out of it when they use it to manage data. For this purpose, you can use Coda anytime you'd pick up a spreadsheet.
These items can take many forms - perhaps they're a list of things to-do by a team; or a list of customers to reach out to, or to manage; or a list of candidates whom you may want to hire. When you've moved beyond raw brainstorming with freeform text or a bulleted list, it's time to add a Table to your Coda doc.
Adding a Table
For your first foray into structured data in Coda, add a Table. Then label your columns so they are clearly identified. Since Coda's Tables behave more like databases than spreadsheets, you can label the columns directly instead of referring to them by letter, as you would in other spreadsheet products.
Manipulating your data
With your data in a Table, you can now add columns to edit or calculate based your data. Coda has a wide array of formulas, including most everything you'd find in competing spreadsheet products like Microsoft Excel, as well as formulas that allow you to pull in data from the web, like Google Maps data. A full list of Coda's formulas is available here.
Coda's formula language allows you to manipulate and calculate data as you would in Excel, with some key differences: you can use named objects to refer to columns, instead of using letters; and you can use a dot operator instead of needing to nest formulas within one another.
Editing the Table to make it yours
Once you've entered all your data in the Table, you can manipulate it to show things that are most important. Try dragging-and-dropping columns or rows to reorder things, or hiding columns that aren't very important. You can even Group columns to organize by a particular column's attributes.
You can also add conditional formats to make certain data stand out - maybe a particular to-do is greyed out when done, or bolded when important.
Creating Views of the Table
Once your data is in a Table, grouped and formatted the way you want, you can add Views of the table to showcase different things about your data elsewhere in your Coda doc. Maybe you want each page to show each teammate's to-dos by person; or maybe you want to split your CRM list by geography in different pages. You can add a View of a table to have the perfect view for every meeting, team, or person.
The backbone of your Coda doc
While people use Coda for many different reasons, the fundamental structure of each Coda doc often starts as explained above: adding data, manipulating that data, and then creating Views of that data to structure the Coda doc the way you want.