Question about show columns

I have a question as to why show columns require an app formula that isn’t used anywhere? the content formula is the formula that’s displayed so is there a reason for the app formula other than a place you might forget and throw an error?

I believe content is meant for external videos/images but unsure:

You may also want to show a particular image or video within a form view whenever users are creating or editing a record, but without including it in the data as part of the record. In that case you should use the “Show” column type. In the Category field of the Show column choose Image or Video, then place an image link or video embed link in the Content field. Note that the link must be a public URL for the media itself, not to a webpage that displays it (an image URL will typically end with .png or .jpg, for example). This is a common problem when trying to use images from Dropbox or Google Drive.

All columns–regardless of type–must have a column value, even if it’s a blank value.

A Show column may have a non-blank column value, but its value cannot be referenced (i.e., [show-column-name] doesn’t work).

The Show column’s value is displayed if the Content expression is itself blank or produces a blank value. If the Show column’s value is also blank, the column’s name is displayed.

It’s perfectly valid to have a Show column in the spreadsheet or database table underlying the app table. It’s a waste of space in my opinion, but it’s possible.

I prefer to use virtual columns for Show columns, with an App formula of "".


Were these columns virtual columns @Austin_Lambeth???

If you try and create a show column as a virtual column, then you’ll HAVE to have something inside the app formula space - because a virtual column MUST have a formula (it’s just how they work).

Meanwhile… physical show columns don’t need a formula - because a physical column has the physical column allowing to hold space, virtual columns need a formula for them to live.


Yes they are virtual columns, I know virtual columns need a formula but why isn’t this formula whats used instead of the Content field? That was mostly my question cause I can’t edit the content field conveniently so it is a slight annoyance to have to go and make sure that I have both filled out. Most of the time I just copy and paste bc I typed into the formula by accident.

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The Content expression is reevaluated continuously; the App formula expression is reevaluated as any other App formula, so it isn’t as current as the Content result.