Relations and Rollups in Notion: Quick Guide for Beginners (+ Easy Tutorial)

notion relations rollups

For Notion beginners, the concepts of relations and roll-ups can seem daunting. In this article, we will demystify these features and provide you with a step-by-step guide to use relations and rollups effectively in Notion. Feel free to follow along as we explore the intricacies of relations and roll-ups.

Key concept: Relation and roll-ups in Notion

With databases in Notion, you can create a centralized hub to collect all your information, making it easy to access and manage your data in one place. More importantly, you can use relations and rollups to leverage the power of databases and get your data connected and displayed across databases

Relations: Notion allows you to establish connections between different databases, making it easy to associate related data. The main goal is to determine what kinds of databases are to be created and how to connect them or find out which data from one database can be connected with the other.

Rollups: this is a powerful feature in Notion that allows you to gather and calculate data from related databases. Once you have set up relations between databases, you can use roll-ups to retrieve information from those related databases and perform calculations based on that data. Roll-ups provide a convenient way to display and analyze data from related entries, allowing you to perform calculations and gain insights based on the connections established through relations. By utilizing roll-ups, you can enhance your organization and data management capabilities in Notion.

Case example of how we use relations and roll-ups in Notion

To demonstrate a practical way to use these concepts, we created a simple video tutorial to show you how to apply these concepts in real life. In the video tutorial, we use “Relations” to link the recipes with matching ingredients. Then we will use rollups to calculate the total prices of ingredients linked to a recipe, by retrieving the prices of all ingredients associated with a recipe and then applying an operation like “Sum” to calculate the total price.

We recommend you open your Notion workspace and follow our video at the same time so you can learn faster by building. We hope this tutorial will help you get more used to using relations and rollups in Notion.

1. Create databases and set up relations in Notion

  • Create two databases: one for “Ingredients” and another for “Recipes” and set up properties for each database
  • Add a “Relation” property in the Recipes Database:
  • When you create a relation, you’ll need to specify the database to which you want to relate it. In this case, choose the “Ingredients” database.
  • Set the relation to “No Limit” to allow multiple ingredients to be linked to a single recipe.
  • Optionally, enable “Show on Ingredients” to display which recipes are related to each ingredient.
  • Once you’ve added the relation, a new column appears in your Recipes database, allowing you to link ingredients to recipes.
  • In the Ingredients Database, you will notice a new column for “Recipes” (or whatever you named your relation) in the Ingredients database. This column shows which recipes are associated with each ingredient. By establishing these relations, you can quickly see which ingredients are used in a recipe and vice versa. The bidirectional connection ensures that changes made in one database are reflected in the other.

2. Show and hide relations in Notion

To keep your workspace clean and focused, you can hide the relation columns in your databases. This action hides the column from view while retaining the underlying connection.

  • Click on the three dots (…) next to the “Ingredients” column.
  • Select “Properties.”
  • Choose “Hide” for the “Ingredients” column.

3. Using Roll-Ups in Notion

Now that you’ve set up relations, you can use roll-ups to gather and calculate data from related databases. In our example, we want to calculate the total price of ingredients in each recipe.

  • Click the plus sign (+) to add a new property in the Recipes Database. Select “Roll-Up.”
  • In the Roll-Up configuration, choose the related database (Ingredients), and set the property to “Price.” This Roll-Up retrieves the prices of all ingredients associated with a recipe.
  • Customize the Roll-Up by choosing “Sum” to calculate the total price.
  • Rename the property to “Total Price” for clarity. With the roll-up in place, each recipe now displays the total cost of its ingredients. This is a powerful feature that allows you to perform calculations based on related data.

4. Two-Way Relations in Notion

Relations can be two-way, meaning you can create connections within a database. In our example, we related recipes to themselves to identify suitable side dishes.

  • Add a new property in Recipe Database, and select “Relation”
  • Choose the “Recipes” database as the target.
  • Set the relation to “No Limit.”

This two-way relation allows you to connect recipes to other recipes, indicating which ones pair well together. It’s a useful way to organize and categorize your recipes.

Key takeaway about relations and rollups in Notion

Mastering relations and roll-ups in Notion can significantly enhance your organization and data management capabilities. In this article, we covered how to establish relations between databases, hide relation columns for a cleaner workspace, and use roll-ups to calculate and display data from related entries. Additionally, we’ve explored the concept of two-way relations, which can help you categorize and organize your content effectively.

We recommend you check out our tutorials and build-with-me tutorial series to learn Notion more efficiently by practicing and building. Keep experimenting with Notion functions and you will surely find a way to adapt them to your specific needs!


For other resources, check out Notion’s official guide on relations and rollups! 


If you have any questions or find certain aspects confusing, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification from us!

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