Should I be using MULTIPLE databse files or just ONE file with multiple tabs?

Hi everyone. Recently I tried (and failed) to set up connections between different parts of my glad app. I’m wondering if its because I used (Method B) below and not (Method A). Could you help?

A Little About My App —> My app has 1300 churches in it, and about 600 church volunteers. I want to be able to have a page for each volunteer, and a link from the volunteer’s detail page to the detail page of the church they work at. Seems easy. Click the link on the volunteer’s detail page for church and up pops the church’s detail page.

… couldn’t get it to work…

QUESTION —> Should I be using method A or method B below?

Google Sheets (or AirTable in my case)

(Method A) use one Google Sheet file, with separate TABS (i.e. sheets) in the SAME file for each part of the database (one tab for churches) (one tab for volunteers) (one tab for users)… but all three tabs are in the SAME file.


(Method B) use separate Google Sheet FILE for each item → (one file for churches) and (one file for volunteers) and (one google sheets file for Users)

I used Method B. I’ve gotten GlideApp to do everything I wanted so far … except… connecting things. I’ve even been able to get users with conditional logic going. For example: a button to edit the church details page won’t show unless the the Role column in my Users spreadsheet file is marked (Admin or editor or something like that). That …seeeeems… like a connection but I know its not the same. It’s just conditional logic.

Make sense? Thoughts?

If using Google Spreadsheets, then definitely Method A.

A Glide app/page can only connect to a single Google Spreadsheet, so the only way you’d get Method B to work would be if you used IMPORTRANGE to pull data from the extra spreadsheets into a single spreadsheet. Which effectively would get you to Method A, so would be a bit pointless.

There can be times when it makes sense to split your data across multiple spreadsheets - usually when you’re bumping into row limits or having performance issues. But this doesn’t sound like such a case. The important point is that Glide cannot directly access any data other than via the spreadsheet it’s connected to.


Curious what you are referring to when you say that you are having trouble making connections. If the tables are visible in your data editor, then there shouldn’t be any issues creating relations between tables regardless of the source of those tables. You should be able create relations between glide tables, airtable, google sheets, and excel…as long as they are all part of your project.

I’m uisng airtables. While it may seem obvious that this is the case to folks it wasn’t to me. I would have done it the other way had I realize that from the beginning. Perhaps, per Jeff_Hager’s point below, it doesn’t ULTIMATELY matter when it comes to connecting fields and so thats why instructional videos don’t say ("Hey user… make sure you your User data is stored in the same spreadsheet as your office locations tab is ")

I’m guessing its the same for Airtables. They have Bases and Sheets (? … what I’m referring to by tabs within a single spreadsheet). I’ve used various bases (each image below represents something like a completely separate GoogleSheets file if we were in the google sheets world. If you click on one a spreadsheet opens up with its OWN tabs and such)