Anytype Feature Review: Simple Tables (Desktop 0.27.0)

I was thinking of making feature reviews, focussing on a single feature, writing a small review and see how it compares to a handful of other apps. This first one is for simple tables.
!! Note, these are not feature requests or bug reports. !!

As of version 0.27.0 we can enjoy simple tables in Anytype and I must say, from all the new features up until this point this one is the most complete and solid feature added so far.

It is as you expect a simple table! You can add rows and columns and adjust the width of the cells by simple dragging the border behind a cell. You cannot adjust the height of the cells. The height is based on the amount on content in a cell (ctrl+enter allows for empty rows within a cell).

You can only add text and (@)mentions to cells (for now) that you can add some basic styling and color too like bold/italic/backgrond color/etc. Sadly no images, callout blocks, cards, bullet points, toggles, checkboxes, etc can be added nor can you merge cells into one (like excel). Which is a shame and is something I hope gets added in the future.

But there are also few surprising features like, sorting of columns (A-Z and Z-A), horizontal AND vertical alignment in the cells and being able to make any row a header row. Excluding it from sorting and placing it at the top. You can even add multiple header rows.

Another cool feature is you can easily drag and drop rows and columns to change the order which does have it’s use cases (change order for a simple task manager for example) and feels really polished.

Overall simple tables feels really solid and feature eventhough there are a few things left on my wishlist.

How does Anytype’s simple table comparer to other apps?

Notion’s simple tables might be most comparable to Anytype. It has the same interface and features with a few additions like you can add a header column, change the table width to page width and it’s standout feature would be to turn any simple table in an inline database (and turning a database back into a simple table)!

Coda doesn’t have simple tables.

Evernote’s simple tables compare a lot with Anytype. It’s biggest advantage is that you can combine cells (in a row) to a single cell and you can adjust the width to page width or screen width.

Notesnook (Evernote alternative in development) has more basic simple tables. It only has merging of cells as a standout feature to Anytype but feels much less polished.

Onenote’s simple table is a completely different beast. You can add ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in a cell including new tables and with the ability to hide borders you can create almost any template/screen layout you wish (table-ception)! This makes Onenote’s simple tables stand far above it’s competition in my opinion.

Obsidian’s simple tables are markdown tables making them very cumbersome to edit and set up and very basic without plugins. I wouldn’t say these have any standout features other then plugins but that is more a feature of the app then a feature of the simple tables.

Roam Research’s simple tables are like Obsidian but even more of a weird beast that I would not compare to Anytype.


Thanks for this writeup! I would be happy to see more of these reviews on other features :slight_smile:

One thing I found interesting is your praise for OneNote tables. I love OneNote and I use it a lot, but I find it’s tables quite frustrating to work with. Copy-pasting content often inadvertently leads to nested tables. Adding new columns or reordering columns requires so many clicks. On the other hand, it also does certain “simple table” things well, like automatically determining the width of columns (although it can also be a source of frustration).


What is the use-case for a table?
This is something I never understood in Notion because why would you want a table when you could have a database complete with formulae and tags and the ability to turn any row into a page if needed.

With AnyType perhaps they have more utility as each set object is it’s own object already.
Could tables take more advantage of formulae with being able to pick cells in different rows?
eg my fuel economy spreadsheet that automatically calculates the difference in miles between the current and previous refuel.

Is there a plan for our tables to include excel style formula input? Or will formulae be reserved for sets like in Notion?


I don’t know if Anytype will ever add formula’s to simple tables or if that is the usecase for it. For me it wouldn’t be simple tables anymore and become a spreadsheet. (There is a notetaking app that can turn a page into a spreadsheet, can’t remember the name of that app.)

I use tables for layout, creating columns, highlighting, etc.

Onenote examples:

A lot of those usecases can be done in Anytype (or Notion) with blocks and both ways have pro’s and con’s. A table a row is a row, with blocks that is not always the case (when you open the page on mobile for example).

Other usecases are making lists that just don’t need all the features of a database or set. It’s faster, make table, fill in a few fields and done. No need to make a type, pages, views and sets. For example a quick list to compare laptop prices:

And I bet there are many other usecases that I can’t think of at this moment.


I think being able to merge cells would be an awesome feature. I am a medical student and use tables a lot in my notes to help me differentiate and group drug classes together. Is the merge feature something that is being talked about within Anytype team.


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Thanks for your feedback @nikm07

When @Jeroen was referring to “merge” cells, I understood that he was still describing formulas. For example like a monthly expense report which would combine/total the numbers of a grouping of cells in a column.

But what you describe sounds more like merging the actual content of the cells, like highlighting several cells in a table, right-clicking and having an option to merge them together. Or how do you imagine that working?

@LiteLotus suggested something similar:

Maybe @ignatovv has some insight as to what’s on the table, for Simple Tables? :wink:

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To be honest, I what I was meaning was to turn 2 cells next to eachother into one cell. And not formula’s. Sorry if I was not clear about that.

Like this:

While I would love formula’s, I think they are better suited for either databases or full spread sheets and not for simple tables (then it becomes less simple haha).


To be clear, i was referring to merging “actual content of the cells, like highlighting several cells in a table, right-clicking and having an option to merge them together”. @Jeroen in his latest post on this thread has shown a picture and thats what I had in mind.
Sorry for the confusion.

Keep up the great work.

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Dont get me wrong i would love formulas too but I think something like that should be saved for sets or something like complex tables. i was indeed talking about visually merging the cells