How to delay Airtable automation runs
  • 21 Dec 2023
  • 4 Minutes to read
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How to delay Airtable automation runs

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Article summary

Learn how to set a time delay for an automation to use before running. This delay will occur between updating your base and running the automation.

  • It's worth noting that there are multiple ways to accomplish a similar result.

  • You might also consider utilizing conditional automation action groups for more complex workflows.

  • Also, note that Airtable offers the "At a scheduled time" trigger for handling situations where you'd like an automation to fire on a specific time/date.

Introduction

Plan availability

All plan types

Permissions

Owners/Creators - These permissions are needed in order to be able to perform the steps outlined in this article.

Platform(s)

Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows app

Understanding automation run delays

In this article, we'll apply this workflow to an example scenario where a marketing team is using Airtable to track record assets (images, copy, and more). When the required assets are ready they want to change the status to Review and notify the team with an automated message in Slack. They need the option to delay sending the Slack message if preferred.

Here's a summary of the workflow we'll create for this hypothetical marketing team:

  1. Create a date field (with time toggled on) to use for delaying the automation

  2. Create a formula field to track the current date/time against the date/time entered in the date field

  3. Configure a filtered view to only show records that have all assets and the "Review" status

  4. Setup the automation action to fire only when the current date/time matches the date field date/time

Note

The process in this article is a workaround involving the use of the NOW()formula function which has some limitations. Generally, NOW()updates approximately every five to ten minutes when a base is open (although this timing may vary slightly). If the base is closed, it will update approximately every hour when the base has time-dependent automation triggers or actions. If native automation delays would be a helpful feature for you we'd love to hear more about your interest!

Setting up an automation to run after a delay

Step 1: Create a date field

Add a new date field and name it Delay Slack Notification. Notice that some of the records shown below have a date and time filled out, while some don't.

6616342399383delayautomationrunningcontentcalendarexample.jpg

Step 2: Create a formula field

We'll use a formula to check if the current date and time is the same as the date and time entered in the date field. The formula used below follows this logic:

  • If the Delay Slack Notification field is empty then display a message that says, "Send Notification".

  • If the Delay Slack Notification field has something entered and the current date/time matches it, display a message that says, "Send Notification".

  • If the Delay Slack Notification field has something entered and the current date/time doesn't match, display a message that says, "Delay Notification.”

IF(
    OR(
        AND(
            {Status} = "Review",
            {Delay Slack Notification},
            NOW()>={Delay Slack Notification}
        ),
        AND(
            {Status} = "Review",
            {Delay Slack Notification} = BLANK()
        )
    ),
"Send Notification",
"Delay Notification"
)

Step 3: Configure a filtered view

Next, you'll need to set up a new filtered view that will be used to display only records that have all of the desired assets present. The filtering criteria we set up for our conditions are:

  • Sub-headline is not empty AND

  • Link is not empty AND

  • Header image is not empty AND

  • Status is "Review"

Records will enter this view whenever each of those fields is filled and someone has changed the status to "Review.”

Note

The Content Tracker template doesn't include the Review status by default. If you're using that template to build this same automation you'll need to add that status manually.

Step 4: Choose an automation trigger

The next step is to setup an automation using the When a record enters a view trigger. Select the appropriate table and the Assets Ready view we just created.

6616326937751delayautomationrunwhenrecordentersviewfilledexample.jpg

Note

We strongly recommend pairing the "When record enters view" trigger with a locked view. By using a locked view, or ensuring a locked field is involved, you can decrease the likeliness of accidentally changing a view's filtering (therefore avoiding accidental automation runs for unintended records that enter that view).

Step 5: Add an automation action

Next, add the Send a Slack message action and select the channel where you want to send the message. You can then format your message to include any information about the record. In the example below a link to open the record is included to make it easy to review the record.

4409220404759recordentersviewsendslackmessage.jpgOnce you've configured the message details make sure to run a test to check that everything is formatted correctly.

360093214053message.png

Understanding expected automation output behavior

Now that everything has been configured, the automation action will run in these scenarios when a record enters the Assets Ready view:

  • If a record has a "Ready" status and has a delayed date and time entered, the Slack message will wait to send until that date and time is reached.

  • If a record has a "Ready" status and no delayed date and time is entered, the Slack message will send immediately.


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