We’ve got a riddle for you. 👀
What do you get when you cross a Google spreadsheet with a database?
On paper, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal. I mean, who doesn’t love an intuitive user interface, clean lines, or that butterfly rush you get from being organized? 🥰
But while the Airtable project management software ~excels~ as a powerful database and spreadsheet management tool to organize your project data, that’s pretty much all that it can manage. 😕
The Airtable database app simply doesn’t have enough key features to help you run a successful project from start to finish.
Because of this, many teams eventually start looking for an Airtable alternative—just like you! And trust me, there are a lot of alternatives. 😳
Luckily for you, we’ve already done the homework on each one to bring you the 15 top, well-rounded project management software to scale with your growth and cover your bases much easier than Airtable can. 💜
- What Is Airtable?
- Why Do You Need An Airtable Alternative?
- 15 Best Airtable Alternatives for Project Management 2023
- Which Airtable alternative takes the cake? 🎂
But first, let’s cover our basics.
What Is Airtable?
Airtable is a management tool that lets you add numbers, figures, and formulas as you do in a normal spreadsheet, but there’s a twist—you can also add images, PDFs, checkboxes, and tags in the cells of the spreadsheet (known as Airtable fields.)
This can help you easily uplevel your simple data entries or to-do lists with media and organizational features to add context and even an extra dash of productivity to your typical spreadsheet.
Additionally, you can even create an Airtable form and capture the entries into your database.
Here’s what an Airtable user can do:
- Store all your project files in an Airtable base (workspace)
- View all your Airtable data in a grid (similar to Microsoft Excel), calendar, or a Kanban board
- Create and use cool spreadsheet templates from the Airtable universe
- Extend its functionality with an Airtable integration or use an Airtable API
Note: Airtable integrates with quite a few tools like Evernote, Slack, and a few other software options from this list, like Basecamp.
For a deeper look at this spreadsheet tool, check out our detailed Airtable review.
Why Do You Need An Airtable Alternative?
1. Lack of task management features
Technically, an Airtable base does allow you to create a spreadsheet grid where you can assign tasks, but it’s not a built-in feature.
So when you want to assign a task, you’ll have to use and edit the Airtable grid manually. And if you’re a user who has to assign tasks to your team regularly, things can get real tedious, real fast.
To create a single subtask, you would have to create and link another table or spreadsheet containing those tasks, which can just be needlessly complicated.
2. Lack of communication features
With the rise of teams making a permanent switch to working from home since the start of the pandemic, Zoom fatigue is now an everyday struggle. 🥵
That’s why you should prioritize finding a project management software that offers multiple ways for your team to communicate and collaborate.
But so far, the only way to collaborate in Airtable is through comments.
Comments can be helpful for sharing basic feedback, but for complex discussions, you’ll need to rely on other collaboration tools, or worse—email. 😳
Without having a dedicated communication feature, your messages would be all over the place. And trust us, you don’t want to play ‘Where’s Waldo?’ with your team chats.
3. Limited workflow automation tools
Workflow automation is a key feature that every project management tool simply must have. Unfortunately with Airtable, that kind of automation is not available. Automation tools can drastically reduce the amount of time needed to perform tasks and having a tool like Airtable that doesn’t support workflow automations can really set you back.
4. No built-in reports
Airtable doesn’t have a free reporting feature, but that’s okay.
However, Airtable does offer some reports and basic graphs via Airtable Blocks, but they’re not available in the free version. That means you essentially have to pay to know whether your project is on track.
Airtable’s Plus plan starts at $12 per month per user. Per user!
Suppose you have a team of 10, that would set you back $120 a month.
And the Pro plan isn’t cheap either, as it costs $20/month/user and will burn a hole in your pocket.
Fortunately, we’ve found the best Airtable alternatives for your team.
15 Best Airtable Alternatives for Project Management 2023
ClickUp is an all-in-one project management software app designed for all users across industries—from solo entrepreneurs to large enterprises. Unlike Airtable, ClickUp has tons of built-in task management and collaboration features that allow teams to get things done, fast.
Let’s take a look at why ClickUp is the best free Airtable alternative:
If you currently use Airtable, chances are, you like spreadsheets.
While there are tons of other effective ways to manage projects, sometimes, you simply need a good ol’ spreadsheet for all your data.
That’s one of the reasons why ClickUp comes with a powerful built-in Table view.
In the Table view, every row is the same height and every field is a column. Additionally, there’s no separation by List or status – making sure you get a condensed, accessible view of everything!
There are more ways to view tasks in ClickUp than there are Backstreet Boys members! Perfect for team members who want to organize their work whichever way they want:
Here are some of the other views you get:
- List view: arranges multiple tasks in neat task lists
- Board view: view all your project tasks in a neat Scrum or Kanban board
- Calendar view: view your busy schedule like you do in Airtable calendars
- Box view: keep tabs on your team member’s work and tasks
- Gantt view: create and manage your project Gantt chart or timeline
- Activity view: track project status updates in real-time
- Me Mode: view tasks assigned to you
Don’t just manage your team, motivate them.
With this key feature, set Goals and Targets for your team to achieve, and see them work towards their Goal in real-time.
Sure, an Airtable base allows you to share feedback via comments, but are your team members actually paying attention to them?
With ClickUp, make sure your team takes action on the comments.
Convert comments into tasks, and assign them to the team. They get instantly notified whenever they receive a comment, so there are no excuses for overlooking them.
All your ClickUp comments and conversations are stored in the Chat view, so you don’t have to spend hours finding that one comment.
You don’t need weekly status meetings to see what’s happening within the project.
Automate your repetitive tasks in just a few clicks.
- Dynamic and intuitive user interface
- Feature-rich free version
- Advanced team collaboration features like collaboration detection, real-time editing, and more
- Can create a stylized and comprehensive knowledge base with ClickUp Docs (similar to a Google Doc)
- Custom Permissions to keep project stakeholders in the loop
- Dependencies help approach tasks in the right order
- Task templates to conveniently create tasks for your workflow rather than starting from scratch
- Powerful Android and iOS mobile apps to manage your projects on the go
- Tons of native integrations including Google Drive, Time Doctor, and Evernote
- Small learning curve for new users
- No Table view in mobile app (yet!)
ClickUp offers four plans:
- Free Forever Plan: Unlimited users and tasks, along with 100 MB cloud storage
- Unlimited Plan ($7/month per user): Unlimited cloud storage, integrations, and Dashboards
- Business Plus ($19/month per user): Team sharing, subtasks in multiple Lists, increased automations and API, and priority support
ClickUp also offers an Enterprise Plan that can streamline your organization’s workflow.
- G2: 4.7/5 (4,040+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,580+ reviews
Like Airtable, Smartsheet is a project management and collaboration tool, with a focus on spreadsheets. Since its user interface is similar to Microsoft Excel, it’s a starting point for project managers unfamiliar with SaaS (software as a service) productivity tools.
Compare Smartsheet Vs Asana!
- Multiple views ranging from Grid to Gantt Chart to Kanban board.
- Project dashboards to track progress
- Workflow automation for repetitive processes
- Spreadsheet attachments
- Simple user interface
- Good features for team collaboration like file sharing, group management, etc.
- User friendly mobile app
- Advanced security features like Google SSO and two-factor authentication
- Complicated project report system
- No real-time communication or chat feature
- No free version available
- Lack of native time tracking capabilities
Unfortunately, Smartsheet is not a free Airtable alternative.
It currently offers two paid plans:
- Individual ($14/month when billed annually): Suitable for small teams
- Business ($25/month when billed annually): Includes workflow templates and reporting features
It also offers an Enterprise plan for large businesses.
- G2: 4.2/5 (2,000+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (1,400+ reviews)
Curious about Smartsheet? Read our detailed Smartsheet review!
ProofHub is a top-rated Airtable alternative that enables project teams of any size to manage various aspects of work from a centralized platform.
It offers you advanced features that let you organize your work in a manner similar to that of a spreadsheet, but with additional tools for visualizing tasks, prioritizing work, communicating with stakeholders, and monitoring team progress.
- Table view and custom fields for efficient data tracking and management
- Advanced task management features like Kanban boards and Gantt charts
- Project calendar for work scheduling and milestone tracking
- In-built team communication such as personal and group chat, real-time discussions, and @mentions
- In-depth project reports and dashboards
- Powerful data customization with custom fields and workflows
- Intuitive interface with little to no learning curve
- Easy task management and work scheduling
- No single sign-in on Google
- Notification management could be improved
ProofHub’s paid plans start from $45/month, billed annually (no per-user fee).
- G2: 4.5/5 (60+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (65+ reviews)
Bonus: Airtable Vs. Coda
Originally created as a bug-tracking tool, Jira evolved over the years to become a highly customizable management software.
- Flexible Agile views with a customizable Scrum and Kanban board
- Detailed reports including velocity charts, burn up charts, burndown charts, etc.
- Customizable project dashboards
- Power search to find a specific task
- The roadmap feature allows teams to tackle large scale projects
- Great for software development and issue tracking
- Advanced workflow automation templates
- Offers 3000+ native integrations including Evernote, Slack, and Google sheet
- Isn’t well suited for non-technical teams
- Complicated user interface and difficult onboarding process
- Lack of in-built collaboration features
- No built-in idea management feature like notepad or docs
Jira offers 1 free and 2 paid plans:
- Free plan: includes basic Agile project management features for up to 10 team members
- Standard Plan ($7/month per user): includes 250 GB cloud storage for up to 5000 users
- Premium Plan ($14/month per user): has additional functionality and unlimited storage
Note: Jira is free for any open source project to use.
- G2: 4.2/5 (3,600+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (8,900+ reviews)
Here’s our in-depth review of Jira in case you wanted a closer look.
5. Zoho Sheet
Zoho Sheet is part of the Zoho suite which contains other SaaS tools like CRM software, Zoho Books (for accounting), etc.
Zoho Sheet Zoho Sheet lets you automate your spreadsheets and import data from various sources, including Excel.
- Task lists, subtasks, and comments for easy task management
- Gantt chart feature for managing dependencies
- Timesheets allow you to track and create reports of your team’s working hours
- Cloud storage for project documents
- Easy to schedule tasks and projects
- Advanced time tracking and invoicing features, suitable for remote teams
- Super detailed reports and project dashboards
- Affordable for small teams
- Steep learning curve
- Limited Agile project management features
- Complex and clunky user interface
- Expensive for big teams
- Contact for pricing
- G2: 4.0/5 (150+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.2/5 (200+ reviews)
6. Google Sheets
Google Sheets is a free spreadsheet program available to any user with a personal Google account or for businesses using Google Workspace. Google Sheets is a fairly well-known software that contains the user-friendly live-editing, save button-less, and shareable features we’ve come to recognize from other Google Doc Editors web-based products.
- Real-time online actions that can be accessed from virtually anywhere
- Save your work automatically—consider Google Sheets the cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Excel
- The Google Sheets explore feature allows you to access additional functionalities by asking questions that Google Sheets will solve for you
- Integrate Google Sheets with other Google apps like Form, Finance, Drawings, etc.
- Quick to pick up and start using Google Sheets
- Easy to share via URL and add collaborators to your spreadsheet
- Offline mode extension available
- Accessible and free for anyone with a Google account
- Difficult to efficiently manage projects and tasks in Google Sheets alone
- Can take a few clicks to access reporting dashboards or other views like Gantt
- No Kanban board view
- No time, goal, or dependency tracking features
Google Sheets offers four plan options
- Free for personal: 15 GB storage per user in Google Drive
- Business Starter ($6/user per month): 30GB per user cloud storage, custom business email, standard support
- Business Standard ($12/user per month): 2TB per user cloud storage, ad-free email, digital whiteboard
- Business Plus ($18/user per month): 5TB per user cloud storage, auto accept invitations, site website builder
Google Workspace also offers an Enterprise plan upon request.
- G2: 4.6/5 (39,750+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (119,990+ reviews)
Trello is a kanban board-style project management tool for task management and collaboration. It’s also quite simple to learn, too. Imagine a cluster of sticky notes on a whiteboard where each sticky note represents a task that you can move around and organize based on status, due date, etc.—that’s Trello.
It also offers a Table view that connects your work across boards to see your work to a spreadsheet-like view.
- Create commands to automate repetitive actions with Trello’s Butler
- Free preset templates publicly available to be copied for design, sales, team management, marketing, and more
- Add descriptions, attachments, subtasks, due dates, and assignees to task cards
- Enhance Trello’s project management abilities with multiple “power-up” app add-ons
- Clean interface and easy-to-learn kanban approach for agile workflows
- Able to organize and break down larger tasks into smaller steps
- Multiple views including Board, Timeline, Table, Calendar, Dashboard, or Map view
- Multiple ways to communicate and track feedback with the team, even surface upcoming deadlines for awareness
- If you want or need integrations to make Trello work for you, you’re going to need a lot of power-ups which will corner you into one of Trello’s paid plans
- Trello’s free plan limits you to its board view, so to access features to make Trello a competitive Airtable alternative, you will also need to look at Trello’s paid plans
- Trello is not ideal for large projects
- A little too simple for true team collaboration
Trello offers four plans:
- Free plan: Unlimited cards, up to 10 boards, Power-Ups, activity log
- Standard plan ($5/month per user billed annually): unlimited boards, Custom Fields, advanced checklists
- Premium plan ($10/month per user billed annually): multiple views, templates, observers
- Enterprise plan ($17.50/month per user billed annually): unlimited workspaces, Power-Up administration, permissions
- G2: 4.5/5 (20,400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (12,400+ reviews)
Asana is a project management tool for teams to coordinate tasks, stay on top of deadlines, and delegate responsibilities. It offers tons of integrations and a streamlined interface to organize your work as a spreadsheet would—but with additional options to view, prioritize, and monitor progress for teams who are outgrowing Airtable.
- Multiple views to visualize your tasks including list, Kanban board, timeline, and calendar
- Reporting features to see your progress
- Custom rules to automate common tasks and reduce errors
- 50+ project templates to help you get started
- Integrate Asana with tools like Basecamp and Microsoft Teams
- Avoid burnout with Asana workload management systems
- Quick to pick up with a simple and intuitive UI
- Track your goals and manage personal progress
- No timeline view in free version
- Limited file exporting formats
- Can’t assign multiple people to the same task
- No native time-tracking feature
Asana offers three plans:
- Basic (free): unlimited projects, messages, and tasks
- Premium ($10.99/user per month billed annually): custom templates, milestones, reporting across unlimited projects
- Business ($24.99/user per month billed annually): Jira cloud & server integration, forms customization, goals
Asana also offers an Enterprise plan upon request
- G2: 4.3/5 (8,150+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (10,400+ reviews)
Read more about the top Asana alternatives.
Nifty is a project management software that lets you work on large-scale projects with multiple team members. It offers a collaborative workspace for you and your team to organize tasks, track time, and manage documents.
Like Airtable, Nifty allows you to view your tasks in a list or in a kanban board and is equipped with file storage abilities. But for the same Airtable functionality with invoicing or back-office tasks, Nifty suggests using their Airtable integration.
- Milestones for project planning
- Portfolio management features with automated progress overviews, timelines, statuses, and overdue notices
- Time-tracking and reporting
- Different user roles and permissions
- Great for team collaboration
- Different views that allow you to work with data
- Tons of imports and integrations
- Several levels for customized control access
- Not able to customize or build your own automations
- Lacking in idea management features like Mind Maps
- Limited free plan
- Expensive paid plans to access some essential features
Nifty offers five pricing options based on the number of team members and features needed:
- Free: unlimited team members, 100MB storage, limited to two projects
- Starter ($39 per month, billed annually): 10 members, 100GB storage, 40 projects, unlimited clients
- Pro ($79 per month, billed annually): 20 members, 500GB storage, unlimited projects
- Business ($124 per month, billed annually): 50 members, 1TB storage
- Unlimited ($399 per month, billed annually): unlimited use of features
- G2: 4.7/5 (300+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (120+ reviews)
Wrike is a task management software that helps you organize your projects, collaborate with your team, and track work progress. It’s a great option for small agencies looking for customizable workspaces to organize shared calendars with ease, and its visual markup tool is helpful for expediting feedback.
But it lacks idea management features like note-making and mind maps.😕
- Create forms with conditional logic
- Share tasks, files, and reports with ease
- Unique dashboard with a three-pane view
- Interactive Gantt charts for project tracking
- Integrate Wrike with over 400 different SaaS apps with the Wrike Integrate add-on
- Track time spent on tasks and projects with the built-in time tracker
- Flexible tools that can scale with your team
- Multiple views including an Airtable-like table view
- Steep learning curve for new users
- Limited features and integrations in free version
- Lacking in some collaboration and chat features
- No independent note-taking feature
Wrike offers three pricing options:
- Free Plan: task lists for a small team of up to five people, task and subtask management, real-time activity stream
- Professional Plan ($9.80/user per month): shareable dashboards, advanced integrations, Gantt chart functionality
- Business Plan ($24.80/user per month): time tracking, branded workspace, custom fields
- G2: 4.2/5 (2,360+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.2/5 (1,700+ reviews)
Freedcamp is a free project management tool that can organize schedules, tasks, wikis, and more to complete a project on time and within budget. It also has a wall for social communication and private tasks, along with white labeling for client spaces, invoicing, and CRM capabilities.
Combined with third-party integrations, Freedcamp gives users the big picture of their day’s top priorities.
- File storing and organization
- Multiple project templates
- Custom widget boards
- In-app time-tracking
- Access unlimited tasks, projects, and storage in all plans
- Manage billing processes with CRM and invoicing features
- Access your work almost any time with offline mode
- Designed for small to medium sized businesses
- Not ideal for idea or portfolio management
- Lacking in budged management functionality
- Limited free plan
- Advanced features only available at extra cost
Freedcamp offers four pricing options:
- Free: unlimited projects, tasks, storage, and users
- Pro ($1.49/user per month, billed annually): in-app email, additional integrations
- Business ($7.49/user per month, billed annually): wiki, issue-tracking, reports, CRM
- Enterprise ($16.99/user per month, billed annually): all features
- G2: 4.5/5 (100+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (450+ reviews)
Notion is a popular project management and collaboration tool best known for outlining tasks, note-taking, and creating wikis and richly formatted documents. With a clean Kanban board interface, Notion simplifies the process of creating, storing, and collaborating over detailed project documents.
Still, some users have found it a bit complicated based on the variety of ways you can use it.
- Notes, checklists, and documents features to organize project details
- Comments and mentions to help you get more done with other people, wherever you are
- Admin features help to manage multiple permissions
- Real-time collaboration on Notion pages and its database
- Powerful note taking with rich text editing to make pages as detailed and data-filled as you want
- Create team wikis so that your team can access everything they need to know about your company or project
- Use templates to get started on notes, knowledge bases, blogs, and more
- Multiple views like list that resembles the top-to-bottom look of a list in Airtable
- Missing key features like goals, time tracking, and Gantt charts to be totally effective as a project management tool
- Some Notion customization features are complicated and difficult to learn
- Does not integrate with Google Calendar
- Admin and security tools only offered on paid plans
Notion has three pricing options:
- Personal Plan (free): unlimited pages, unlimited blocks, sharing with five guests
- Personal Pro Plan ($5/month): unlimited file uploads, unlimited guests, version history
- Team Plan ($10/user per member): unlimited team members, collaborative workspace
Notion offers an Enterprise plan upon request.
- G2: 4.6/5 (400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.8/5 (490+ reviews)
Basecamp is a super simple project management and team collaboration software. Unlike any other management tool on this list, Basecamp is focused on minimal design. This is useful for small teams who just require a key feature or two, but for everyone else, Basecamp might not be a good fit.
- To-do task lists help you assign tasks and set due dates
- Hill charts offer a unique way to visualize project progress over time
- Group chats and direct messages (similar to Slack)
- Simple reports that show what your team is working on
- Robust calendar tool that can help set up events and meetings
- Handy search bar that lets you find project data in a flash
- Customizable user interface with different views and color themes
- Separate inbox for notifications
- No task prioritization
- No native time tracking feature
- The Basecamp app has limited functionality when it comes to task lists and notifications
- Only one project tracking feature: hill charts
Basecamp only offers a single plan: $99/month for unlimited users, unlimited projects, and 500MB cloud storage.
- G2: 4.1/5 (4,400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (11,900+ reviews)
Want to learn more about Basecamp? Read our full Basecamp review.
14. Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel is likely the poster child you imagine when anyone says the word ~spreadsheet.~
It’s a powerful spreadsheet app with calculations and powerful data analysis and documentation abilities. Plus, Excel offers graphing tools, a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and sought-after pivot tables.
- Excellent offline efficiency
- Excel Quick Access toolbar can pin your most-used functions to save time with easy access
- Highly advanced feature add-ins including power query, power pivot, and power BI
- Automate repetitive tasks, report generation, and custom add-ins
- Advanced data analysis and visualization
- Good for handling complex calculations
- Various keyboard shortcuts
- Able to view progress and reports by creating dashboards
- Difficult to collaborate on an Excel spreadsheet
- Has a lot of functionality but also missing some key features like a forms command
- Not an an ideal task manager
- No time, goal, or dependency tracking
Microsoft Excel is part of MS 365 which offers six pricing plans.
For personal use:
- Microsoft 365 Personal ($6.99/month per one person): 1TB cloud storage, ad-free email, Microsoft Editor
- Microsoft 365 Family ($9.99/month for up to 6 people): AI-powered creative tools, OneDrive advanced security
For business use:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic ($5/user per month): web and mobile versions of Office apps, email protection, Microsoft Forms for feedback
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard ($12.50/user per month): over 1,000 privacy controls, 50GB email mailbox, premium Office apps
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium ($20/user per month): Microsoft Bookings, 1TB OneDrive storage
- Microsoft 365 Apps ($8.25/user per month): includes only premium Office Suite apps, real-time co-authoring, file sync on PC or Mac
- G2: 4.7/5 (2,160+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.8/5 (16,840+ reviews)
Check out these Mac database tools!
Pipefy is an easy-to-use project management tool that can streamline your business processes. With little-to-no coding skills required, Pipefy allows users to deploy digital workflows, simplify request management, and reduce errors by automating otherwise manual or repetitive tasks.
- Custom integrations from chat apps to ERPs
- Service portals to centralize documents, policies, and request forms
- Automated emails along with templates
- Advanced reports filter and combine information from processes
- Create forms with conditional logic to automate task creation
- Detailed reporting to keep track of project statuses
- Connect different processes in the platform
- No assigned comments
- Limited mobile functionality
- Lacking key team tracking features
- Can get a bit pricey
- Starter (free): up to 10 users, up to 50 cards per month, one workflow conection, 15 automations
- Business ($24/user per month): up to 30 users, unlimited workflows, 500 automation calls, data recovery
Pipefy also offers Enterprise and custom Unlimited options upon request.
- G2: 4.6/5 (180+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (260+ reviews)
Which Airtable alternative takes the cake? 🎂
TL;DR: Airtable might sound cool on paper, but by no means is it the perfect project management solution.
While it thrives as spreadsheet software, Airtable lacks a built-in task feature, only offers communication through comments, and is limited in its workflow automation tools—making it less than ideal for effective project management overall.
Luckily, you have an entire list of alternatives to give a try before committing to your perfect software fit, and what better place to start testing your options than at the very top?
ClickUp is a powerful productivity tool for teams across industries to manage projects, collaborate smarter, and bring all of your together work in one place.
With various customization abilities, ClickUp can stretch to any team size and a feature-rich experience to manage your workload, monitor project updates, and communicate with the team—no matter what project style you use.
Best of all? ClickUp isn’t just the best alternative to Airtable by features, it’s also the most affordable!
Access all of these tools plus unlimited members and tasks, and get 1,000 MB of storage in ClikcUp for free, forever.
Import your work from Airtable in a matter of minutes and start taking your productivity to the next level by signing up for ClickUp today!