Notion is an innovative, minimal workspace where individuals and teams can get organized. This versatile co-working software has a wide range of uses, from personal planning to professional collaboration and coordination, done with simple text boxes. But when text boxes no longer cut it, you might want to display your data in a more organized manner. This means tables play a key role in managing data in Notion efficiently. But how do you create a table in Notion and tailor it to your needs? And what’s the difference between a table and a database? Read on to find answers and learn how to get the most out of these features.
How to Use Simple Tables
You can use simple tables in the Notion app to give structure to the information displayed. Create as many rows and columns as you want and rearrange them to your liking. Simple tables offer limited features, but that’s what makes them useful. They are generally for less demanding purposes when too many options would just overcomplicate the job. If you end up needing more features, the option to convert your table into a database is always there.
You can create a simple table in Notion in two easy ways.
- Open your Notion desktop or browser app.
- Choose the page to which you want to add your table. To create a new page, click “Add a page” in the sidebar and press “Enter” to start blank.
- Hover your cursor over the default text box next to your blinking cursor.
- Click the “+” sign and scroll down in the pop-up menu to find “Table.”
You can also create a table by simply typing “/” in your textbox and using your arrow key to choose “Table” from the menu. This will place a basic two-by-three table on your canvas.
How to Edit Your Table in Notion
Add a new row to your table by pressing the “+” button at the bottom. You can also add multiple rows at once by holding and dragging this button. Similarly, add more columns by pressing or dragging the “+” button on the right side of the table. To delete rows or columns, hover over their edges until you see the six dots menu and select “Delete.” You can also resize your columns by dragging them. Rearrange your rows and columns by pressing and holding their respective six dots buttons.
The same six-dot menu also offers a variety of other options. Create a header by clicking the menu in the first row or column and toggling the option. Color your rows and columns by pressing “Color” in their respective menu.
Besides the six dots menu, you will also see another small menu pop up while working on your table. Use the opposite-facing arrows to fit your table to your page width. This is a great way to reset your column width as well. The “Options” in the middle of the menu will allow you to toggle your headers. Meanwhile, you will find more features, including “Turn into database,” by clicking the three dots.
You can also format the text in each cell individually by selecting it. Besides the basic text styles, you will also see handy options like “Link” and “Comment.” To change the font in your table, you will need to switch the style of your entire page. To do that, click the three dots menu at the very top right corner of your Notion page.
How to Use Databases
Databases are an upgraded version of simple tables that actually preceded the latter. They allow you to sort your data or filter out the information you need. You can turn your table into a database to access a variety of advanced features and easily convert it back afterward.
If you’re starting your page from scratch, Notion will offer you the Database option on your blank canvas.
- Open Notion and click “Add new page” in the sidebar.
- Find the “Table” option right under “Database” on the newly created page.
- You can select a data source to create a database from an existing page or click “New database” at the bottom of the sidebar.
Another way to create a database is by simply converting a table.
- Hover over the top left corner of your table and click the six dots menu on the left side.
- Select “Turn into database” from the popup.
How to Edit Databases in Notion
When converting your table into a database, some of your text formatting may disappear. In addition, all your data will be considered as text, with the first column categorized as “Title.” You may need to rearrange your columns and adjust property types to make sure everything is correct. To edit property types, do the following:
- Click on the name of the property above the column in question.
- Select “Edit property.”
- Find “Type” in the sidebar and search for the appropriate one in the list.
Some property types, like numbers, will also have sub-types. You will see the sub-type option appear once you’ve selected the main type. Databases offer a myriad of other options. You can add multiple views to your database, make calculations with the available data, and even open each entry as a separate page to see it in detail. You can also turn your database into a page or inlay it within another.
Can I import tables into Notion?
Yes. You can simply copy and paste tables into your Notion page from Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, etc. Notion will automatically convert the table into a database while retaining the property names of the original. But these can be incorrect sometimes so your table may need adjustments. Your numeral data will be entered as text as well so you will need to change the property type of each row as needed:
1. Click on the property name above the column and find “Edit property.”
2. Choose “Type” in the menu and find the property type you need in the list.
You can also turn your imported table into a simple table after pasting it as a database.
Besides simply copy-pasting, Notion also allows the import of several file types. While XLSX and similar files cannot be imported, you can always export your data as CSV which is a supported type. You can also directly import tables from several apps, including Evernote and Dropbox Paper.
You should see a “Turn into database” command when you click your table options regardless of your table size or content. If you can’t see this option, make sure your page consists of a single column only. While you can place several tables next to each other by creating multiple columns, this will prevent them from being converted into databases.
My databases are slow/unresponsive. How can I fix them?
Your app may start struggling when you’re working with a large volume of data. To improve its performance, clear the cache in your Notion desktop app or your browser depending on the version you are using.
Learn the Ropes of Notion
With a blank page in front of you and countless features to try out, Notion can look intimidating at first. However, once you master it, you’ll be better organized than ever before. Exploring all the options simple tables and databases offer is a great step towards getting the most out of your Notion workspace. How do you prefer to use your Notion tables? Do you have any other useful tips to share about this feature? Let us know in the comments.