airtable-export by simonw

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Export Airtable data to files on disk


Install this tool using pip:

$ pip install airtable-export


You will need to the following information:

  • Your Airtable base ID - this is a string starting with app...
  • Your Airtable personal access token - this is a string starting with pat...

If you just want to export a subset of your tables you also need to know the names of those tables.

You can export all of your data to a folder called export/ by running the following:

airtable-export export base_id --key=key

This example would files for each of your tables, for example: export/table1.yml and export/table2.yml.

Rather than passing the API key using the --key option you can set it as an environment variable called AIRTABLE_KEY.

To export only specified tables, pass their names as additional arguments:

airtable-export export base_id table1 table2 --key=key

Export options

By default the tool exports your data as YAML.

You can also export as JSON or as newline delimited JSON using the --json or --ndjson options:

airtable-export export base_id --key=key --ndjson

You can pass multiple format options at once. This command will create a .json, .yml and .ndjson file for each exported table:

airtable-export export base_id \
    --key=key --ndjson --yaml --json

If you import all tables, or if you add the --schema option, a JSON schema for the base will be written to output-dir/_schema.json.

SQLite database export

You can export tables to a SQLite database file using the --sqlite database.db option:

airtable-export export base_id \
    --key=key --sqlite database.db

This can be combined with other format options. If you only specify --sqlite the export directory argument will be ignored.

The SQLite database will have a table created for each table you export. Those tables will have a primary key column called airtable_id.

If you run this command against an existing SQLite database records with matching primary keys will be over-written by new records from the export.

Request options

By default the tool uses python-httpx's default configurations.

You can override the user-agent using the --user-agent option:

airtable-export export base_id table1 table2 --key=key --user-agent "Airtable Export Robot"

You can override the timeout during a network read operation using the --http-read-timeout option. If not set, this defaults to 5s.

airtable-export export base_id table1 table2 --key=key --http-read-timeout 60

Running this using GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions is GitHub's workflow automation product. You can use it to run airtable-export in order to back up your Airtable data to a GitHub repository. Doing this gives you a visible commit history of changes you make to your Airtable data - like this one.

To run this for your own Airtable database you'll first need to add the following secrets to your GitHub repository:

The base ID, a string beginning `app...`
Your Airtable API key
A space separated list of the Airtable tables that you want to backup. If any of these contain spaces you will need to enclose them in single quotes, e.g. 'My table with spaces in the name' OtherTableWithNoSpaces

Once you have set those secrets, add the following as a file called .github/workflows/backup-airtable.yml:

name: Backup Airtable

  - cron: '32 0 * * *'

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    - name: Check out repo
      uses: actions/checkout@v2
    - name: Set up Python
      uses: actions/setup-python@v2
        python-version: 3.8
    - uses: actions/cache@v2
      name: Configure pip caching
        path: ~/.cache/pip
        key: ${{ runner.os }}-pip-
        restore-keys: |
          ${{ runner.os }}-pip-
    - name: Install airtable-export
      run: |
        pip install airtable-export
    - name: Backup Airtable to backups/
        AIRTABLE_BASE_ID: ${{ secrets.AIRTABLE_BASE_ID }}
        AIRTABLE_KEY: ${{ secrets.AIRTABLE_KEY }}
      run: |-
        airtable-export backups $AIRTABLE_BASE_ID $AIRTABLE_TABLES -v
    - name: Commit and push if it changed
      run: |-
        git config "Automated"
        git config ""
        git add -A
        timestamp=$(date -u)
        git commit -m "Latest data: ${timestamp}" || exit 0
        git push

This will run once a day (at 32 minutes past midnight UTC) and will also run if you manually click the "Run workflow" button, see GitHub Actions: Manual triggers with workflow_dispatch.


To contribute to this tool, first checkout the code. Then create a new virtual environment:

cd airtable-export
python -mvenv venv
source venv/bin/activate

Or if you are using pipenv:

pipenv shell

Now install the dependencies and tests:

pip install -e '.[test]'

To run the tests: