- 06 Apr 2023
- 8 Minutes to read
Creating custom notifications using Airtable automations
- Updated on 06 Apr 2023
- 8 Minutes to read
Learn how to use Airtable Automations to stay updated on anything that happens in your base by customizing your own email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams notifications for different individuals or audiences.
|Plan availability||All plan types with different automations usage limits|
Owners/Creators - Can create or edit automations in Airtable
|Platform(s)||Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows app|
You can always count on notifications to keep you up-to-date on changes, but they can quickly become a nuisance when you don’t have much control. With Airtable Automations, you can set up a simple flow that puts notifications where and when you actually want them.
You can send notifications via email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams to yourself, your colleagues, or even customers—all without ever leaving your base. Let’s take a look at how you can set up an automation that sends both an email notification and a Slack notification after a request form is submitted.
Preparing to set up the automation
Make a copy of the base below if you want to test out a working setup—or you can follow these step-by-step instructions to create a notification automation in one of your own bases.
In order to build this automation, you’ll need a couple of ingredients:
- First, you’ll need an Airtable account with a base you want to use for this automation.
- You’ll also need an email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams account to receive the notifications.
- Once you have those things ready to go, you’ll also need to determine the condition that will trigger these automations. To do that, pick a field in any of your tables and decide what kind of change you want to track. You can pick virtually any kind of change you like, whether it’s watching for a chosen option in a select field, reaching a deadline in a date field, or matching any other specific state you choose.
For instance, in the embedded base above you’ll find a single select field called "Status," which contains multiple options and an automation that triggers when this status field is in a specific state. The example automation in this base sends notifications when the "Status" field is empty, indicating that a new request has been added to the "Request Log" table but has not yet been prioritized. We’ll continue discussing this example with each step of the process, but remember that you don’t have to adhere to the specifics of this example and can set up your conditional trigger however you like.
- Optional - If you want to set up email notifications, you'll also need either an email field or a collaborator field to ensure that your automated email notifications make their way to the correct people.
Now that you have everything you'll need and know what you want to accomplish you’re ready to create an automation.
Setting up the automation
Open the base that you prepared following the section above, then click the Automations button in the top left of your base. This will open the automations configuration screen.
Once the side panel is open, click the blue “Create an automation” button. If your base already has some automations, you can create a new one by clicking on the “+ New Automation” button above the existing automations.
Now let’s set up the trigger. First, click the blue + Add trigger button and then select the When record matches conditions trigger type from the options that appear.
Next, you'll need to configure the trigger:
- First, select the table you want to work with.
- Then, click the blue + Add condition text, select the field you want to watch for updates from the available options, and choose the condition or conditions that meet your needs.
As you can see in the example above, we’re checking to see if the “Status” field is empty so that notifications trigger whenever the "Request Log" table receives a new request. You can follow this example if it meets your needs, but you could also set up other conditions based on your specific workflow. For example, you could have this automation:
- Trigger whenever the value in the "Status" field is "Needs approval"
- Or you could have it trigger when the date value in the "Deadline" field is less than three days away
- Or you could have it trigger only when both of those conditions are met.
- Before moving on to setting up one or more actions in the automation, you'll want to test the trigger. This test looks for a sample record to use for the action step(s) in your automation, so make sure you have at least one record in your chosen table that matches the conditions you set. In our example, that means we’d need to have a record that has an empty value in the “Status” field. This example base already has a record like this so we don’t need to create one, but if you don’t have a matching record in your table you should create one and click either Use suggested record to have Airtable automatically choose a matching test record for you or Choose recordto pick a specific record that matches the conditions you've configured.NoteIf you have an email field or a collaborator field in your table, your test record should use your email address so you can receive the test email message! You won’t receive any test emails when testing the trigger step, but you will receive the test email when testing your action step/completed automation later on.
Once you have a successful test result, you can click scroll below the Step successful section to see more information about the record that was used.
Actions are the tasks that get performed after a trigger fires. Our example base has a form that allows submission requests, so we’ll set up a couple of notifications that work well with this use case.
Whenever a request is made by a collaborator, we want to do two things: let them know the request was received successfully and notify our team that a new request has come in. For this example, we’ll notify the requesting collaborator via email and our team via Slack.
Send email action
- First, let’s start with the email notification for the requestor by clicking the blue + Add advanced logic or action button
- Then choose the Send email option under the Airtable header.
- You’ll now see three email-related fields (To, Subject, and Message) to fill out just like you would when composing a normal email. However, you can insert dynamic information into this message that comes from the fields in your base. When the notification triggers, that information will be filled in just like it was in the newly-created record.
This allows you to create a message to the customer that includes text relevant to their request. It also provides you with a means of specifying to whom the email should be sent. By clicking the blue “+ ”button in any of the fields, you can choose to insert dynamic information that comes from the triggering record in Step 1 rather than just static text.
- In this example, because we want to send an email notification to the collaborator who made the request, we’ll set the value of the To field to be Record (Step 1: Trigger): Field values: Requestor: Email. This will send the email notification to the email address of the collaborator who initially submitted the request.
- We’ll also set the value of the Subject field to be the title of their request, Record (Step 1: Trigger): Field values: Request Title.
- We can include other details in the body of the message (in the Message section), along with some additional text to thank them for their submission and give the email a friendly tone.
Slack message action
- Next, let’s set up a second action to send our team a notification via Slack. Just like before, add a new action, but this time choose the Send a message option under the Slack header. Of course, you can substitute Microsoft Teams in this step if that’s your communication platform of choice.
- Now you can choose your Slack account and the channel where you want the message to appear.NoteIf you haven’t yet connected a Slack account to Airtable Automations, just click the + Connect new account option from the same drop-down menu and follow the simple steps that appear. Once you’ve made the connection, you can select it from the same menu if it isn’t automatically selected for you.
- Finally, just like you did when setting up the email action, you can compose a notification message using a combination of custom static text typed by you and dynamic information obtained from the triggering record’s fields. In this case, the Slack message will contain the static text "Incoming Request from title:" followed by the dynamic record information (requestors name and the title of the request) and the static text "View Request:" followed by the dynamic record information (the Airtable record URL).NoteThere are additional configuration steps to consider when setting up automated Slack messages. You can dig into those considerations more deeply in this article.
When you have your action steps fully configured, you can either:
- Test both actions at the same time by clicking Test Automation
- Or, you can test each action individually
If everything looks good and you’re happy with the results of your actions tests, go ahead and toggle the new automation on. Now may also be a good time to name and describe the automation that has been built.
Now your notifications will be sent automatically whenever your condition is met.
If you want to create similar notifications, you don’t even have to go through these steps again. Instead, just click the downward-facing triangle next to this automation’s name and choose “Duplicate automation.”
Yes. If you are inputting multiple users, ensure they are all separated with a comma. Note that Slack messages will be sent to each of the users individually via Slackbot. If you want to message all of the users in the same place, then consider creating a new channel in Slack and setting up the automation in Airtable to send to that channel instead.