If you just completed the Explore Tutorial, then congratulations!
You’ve already taken the first steps to understanding the basics of Ninox and are well on your way to solution mastery.
This tutorial will continue the Ninox journey at the intermediate level. The topics that we’ll be working on together include:
- Creating a table reference
- Working with formulas
- Importing data
- Exporting data
Why wait? Let’s jump in.
Creating a Table Reference
As we mentioned in the Explore tutorial, a table is designed to hold data. In today’s tutorial we’re going to see how tables can bring life to your apps by creating something called a table reference.
Remember when we created the Venue combobox and populated it with venue choices, like “Gold Room” and “Silver Room”? Well, instead of manually populating a field with choices, we’re going to connect another separate table to a field — basically, every single record in this separate table will become a choice in a field.
This table reference process empowers you to link together tables and expand your user’s choices significantly!
So let’s see how this is done.
Creating the "Company" Table
As a first step, we will create a new separate table called Company. We’re going to connect all of the data in this table with a new field in your Events table.
When we’re all done, you’ll be able to click the newly-created field and be able to select a record from the Company table.
Here’s a suggested list of fields to create:
- Company Name (text)
- Industry (choice: combobox → List of industries)
- Event Sponsor? (choice: combobox → Yes or No)
- Address Line 1 (text)
- Address Line 2 (text)
- City (text)
- State (choice: combobox → List of states, provinces, or whatever works for you)
..and also create a section for a Company Representative with these fields:
- Full Name (text)
- VIP Guest? (choice: switch → No or Yes)
- Birthdate (date)
Have another look at the Explore Tutorial if you need a refresher on how to create a table.
Populating Data Fields
If you’d like to download and import sample data for your new Company table, just do the following:
- Download Company table data here.
- Read through the Importing Data section below to learn how to add this content into Ninox.
…or if you’d like to manually populate fields with data, you can make up your own information or copy some of the text below for inspiration.
Here's a look at the left-side of the table view:
...and here's the right-side of the table:
The form view looks as follows:
You can breathe more organizational life into your tables by including Headers! Like the “Company Information” and “Company Representative” headers here:
You can add headers by doing the following:
- From the table view, select the Gear icon and then choose Edit fields…
- On the right-side panel, select Add layout element.
- Drag the Head field on the right to a location in the Fields panel.
- Re-name the field (e.g., “Company Information”) and hit <ENTER>.
Customizing the Header
The next step is to format the header text based on your own personal preferences. In this example, we will just make the text “Company Information” appear in bold lettering, but other customization options include borders, alignment, size, and background color.
- Select the Company Information header.
- Select the Style field.
- In the Font Style field, select Bold.
- Select OK.
- In the field editor, select OK.
- Lastly, finalize all changes by selecting Save changes.
Good work! Your new header is ready to go:
Adding the Table Reference
All done with the Company table? Great, let’s move on.
- Start by bringing up your Events table.
- Then, at the top of the screen, select the Actions gear icon.
- In the drop-down menu, select Edit fields…
As a reminder, it looks like this:
Next we’ll add the table reference:
- On the bottom right side of the Edit Fields window, select Create table reference.
- A list of all tables appears… including your new Company table.
- Just drag your newly-created table to the fields area… just like you are adding a new field!
- If you want to re-name the field, go for it, or you can just name it “Company” like in the sample below. Just remember to hit <ENTER> after you type the field name.
- Select Save changes.
That’s it, congrats! You’ve successfully created your first table reference in Ninox!
Here is How You Use It
After saving your changes in the last step, you’ll return to the Events table.
Start by having a look at the Form view by selecting the Form button at the top of the screen — this displays the form to the right of the table.
You’ll notice that there is now a new selection field called Company.
Just click—or touch—anywhere in this field and you’ll be taken to the Company table!
Simply select a company record or, if your referenced table is very large, enter a search term and matching results will automatically appear.
Here’s what the process looks like:
With your newly referenced table, you now have multiple layers of information! Let’s show you how to “drill down” into your data.
“Drilling down” is just a fancy way of saying, “I want more detailed information.” In the example above, we selected Otis Manufacturing as our selected company. But how can we view more information about the choice we just made? By drilling down!
Your Company field should now list your selection (“Otis Manufacturing Inc. Agriculture…” etc.). Just select the field to drill down into the record to view detailed company information!
Here’s a short visual:
Working with Formulas
Formulas enable you to automatically populate fields based on other content. For example, formulas can automatically format text, perform calculations on values, and even use logic to produce conditional information (i.e., “If this is true, then do that..” type statements).
In today’s walkthrough we’re going to use a formula field to automatically calculate age based on a provided birthdate.
If you replicated the Company table discussed above, then one of your fields should be “Birthdate” (created by adding the Date field).
Here’s a reminder:
Navigating to the Company Table
Start by navigating to the Company table you created earlier. Jumping between tables in Ninox is easy — just select the table name in the Main Menu. After you do that, select Edit fields.
Adding the Formula (Age) Field
Next, we’re going to add a Formula field and call it “Age”. This process is exactly the same as in the Explore Tutorial… we’re just adding a field and giving it a name (just remember to hit <ENTER> after you type “Age”).
Let’s add it directly after the Birthdate field, like this:
Navigating to the Formula Editor
Now that the Age field has been added, we need to define a formula — this is done in the Formula Editor.
- To get there, select the Age field.
- In the Formula window, select the Formula field.
- The Formula Editor appears!
Using the Formula Editor
The Formula Editor is where the magic happens! This is a 100% drag & drop environment. First, let’s have a look at the 4 Navigation Tabs:
- Fields: Displays a list of all fields used in the active table;
- Calculate: Contains tools used to add, subtract, multiple, exponents, etc.;
- Logic: All of the tools you need to create conditional formulas… like if / then / else, and, or, =, ≠, etc.; and,
- Text / Date: All of the text formatting and time-related tools you’d ever need… and also where we will continue our journey.
Drag & Drop the Formula
So we need to tell Ninox to determine the age of a company representative based on a provided birthdate. To do this, we’ll use the Age formula and apply it to the Birthdate field.
- Select the Text / Date tab.
- Drag & drop the Age tool to the Formula Editor canvas.
- Next, select the Fields tab.
- Drag the Birthdate field and drop it into Age.
- On the top right, select OK.
A visual look:
Save All the Work
Now let’s save our work. We’re going to click OK three times in a row, so here we go:
- On the top right corner, click OK.
- The Formula windows re-appears. Click OK — just one more to go!
- The Edit Fields window re-appears. Click OK — all done!
Here’s a look:
View the Age Field
- Now just click on a table row and the form will slide into view from the right.
- Tip: Make sure that the Form View is selected!
- There is now a new field called Age that is automatically calculated from the Birthdate. Good job!
Not Happy with Alignment?
The default alignment for some fields, such as the new Age field above, is right-aligned. Would you prefer it to be centered? If so, read on to learn how.
- From the table view, open the Edit Field screen.
- Select the Age field.
- Select the Style field.
- In the Text align field, select Center.
- Select OK, then OK again, and finally Save changes.
Sharing a View
Ninox offers some pretty powerful, and easy to use, sharing functionality. At any time you can easily share a view of your work in multiple formats, such as HTML, PDF, Excel, and even JSON!
When a shared view is created, Ninox creates a web address that can be viewed—and copied—in a website browser.
Here’s a rundown of how to do it:
The first step is to activate sharing. When sharing is activated, it means that anyone who has a web address can look at a view. If sharing is deactivated, then a shared web address won’t work.
How do I activate sharing?
1. From a table, click the Gear icon and select Share this view…
2. In the Activate sharing field, select either Yes or No. It’s that easy!
Creating a Web Address to Share
- So let’s go ahead and select Yes to activate sharing.
- The window then expands to display all the different formats.
- Select a format: HTML, PDF, Excel, CSV, or JSON.
- Ninox will automatically create a web address in the Public URL field.
- Select the Globe icon to open a new website tab featuring the shared view.
- Feel free to copy & paste the URL to share with your colleagues!
Lastly, remember to leave sharing activated so that your view can be seen. To do this, just select OK. If you want to deactivate sharing, just select No and then confirm with OK.
Here’s how to create a web address of your view in PDF format:
So far we’ve discussed a couple different ways to input data into Ninox: manually entering data into fields and using a table reference to add data from another table source.
A third way—and the preferred option for large amount of data—is to import from a CSV (comma-separated value) file. A CSV file is essentially a spreadsheet with rows & columns… exactly the same structure as a Ninox table!
Let’s talk about how to import a CSV file.
Selecting a File
The first step is to select a file, likely from your local computer system or network. You can start the process from either the Table Selection screen:
…or via the Gear icon on a Table screen:
No matter which option you choose, go ahead and select Choose File.
An Open or Select window will appear (based on your browser). Navigate to the location of a CSV file and select it for import.
If you’d like to try using our sample Company data, you can download a sample data file here.
Here’s what is looks like in Google Chrome:
Defining the Settings
Don’t worry, you probably won’t need to change any of the settings! Ninox, though, wants to make sure that you are always in control of how your data is used — so if you want to play around with some settings, go for it!
One field of interest is the Choose table to import data into which tells Ninox where your CSV content should go.
If you want a brand new table featuring your data, then select Create new table from import. This is automatically selected if you started the process from the Table Selection screen.
If you want your CSV content to be imported into an existing table, then just select the drop-down arrow and pick a table to import your data into.
When you’re ready to roll, select Next.
Customizing the Fields
In the next step, Ninox gives you the freedom to customize your field names and field types. Here’s a quick walkthrough:
- In the Please enter table name field, enter a unique name for your newly-imported table. In this example, we used “Company Contacts.”
- In the field name panels on the left, change (or keep) the field names as needed.
- In the drop-down menus on the right, change (or keep) the field types as needed. For example, you may want to change the “Industry” field type from “Text” to “Choice” and, later on, populate the field with specific options.
- When you’re all done, select Next.
Finishing the Import! Nearly Done!
The last screen shows a preview of your table populated with some of your data. Check it all out and see if it’s what you’re looking for. If you’re not happy, you can always select Go back and make changes.
If you’re happy with everything, select Import now.
Here is the left-half of the preview table:
...and here is the right-half:
Select OK and then enjoy your newly-imported table!
Ninox can easily export data into CSV or Excel formats. Like Sharing and Importing above, start by clicking the Gear icon and then select Export data…
Exporting in CSV Format
If you decide to export in comma-separated value (CSV) format, then you can customize your export in a few different ways. like including a header, selecting a separator, selecting a date format, etc.
- Start by selecting CSV export at the top of the Export data window and then try some different configurations to see how they work.
- When all done, select Open.
- Ninox will create the CSV file and it can be downloaded to your system where you can open or view it as needed.
Exporting in Excel Format
To export in Excel format, we follow the exact same process except select Excel import in the Export data window.
If you want to use the same formatting number and date formats used in your Ninox table, then remember to select the Maintain number and date formats checkbox.
Lastly, select Open and download the Excel file!
You’re amazing! Within a short amount of time you implemented all the Ninox features designed to manage different aspects of data, from table references and formulas to importing & exporting data.
Keep an eye out here in the tutorials for a new version of the third stage of our tutorial series, coming soon!