Getting started with Airtable Automations
  • 17 May 2024
  • 18 Minutes to read
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Getting started with Airtable Automations

  • Dark
  • PDF

Article Summary

Plan availability

All plan types with varying limitations


  • Owners/Creators - Create, delete, duplicate, configure, or rename an automation and edit an automation's description.

  • Editors - View an automation's configuration or copy an automation's URL.


Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows app

Related reading

Airtable terminology

  • Automation - Automations will always include a trigger and one or more actions. Triggers and actions can be native to Airtable or integrated with other popular software applications. Automations are a useful feature for reducing repetitive and/or tedious tasks associated with your work.

  • Trigger - Triggers are pre-defined, specified events that initiate the automation to perform a run. These triggers can occur in an Airtable base or in other applications that have been integrated with Airtable.

  • Action- Automation actions perform a certain operation depending upon the type of action chosen. Actions can cause updates to occur inside an Airtable base and/or in applications integrated with Airtable.

  • Automation run - Our system counts an automation “run” each time a trigger is invoked, regardless of whether the automation's action(s) run properly.

Try it in Airtable

Create an automation

Learn how the Airtable Automations feature allows you to configure custom trigger-action workflows directly within an Airtable base. Automations help you and your team save time by automating repetitive tasks, increasing communication efficiency, and reducing the overall margin of error. This article covers the high-level points to get you building automations.

Automations Overview

The Airtable Automations feature allows you and your organization to save time and energy on redundant tasks, communications, and connections with other tools. By only having to set up and maintain automations every once in a while over time you can accomplish what used to take hours of coding, testing, and implementing in just minutes, with or without the aid of customized coding. Here are a few general points to get you started on your journey with Airtable Automations:

Current limits

General limits

  • If you’d like, you can add up to 50 automations to a base. It's important to note that automations that are turned off (inactive) still count against this limit of 50 automations.

  • Additionally, you can create up to 25 actions in one automation. Adding up to 25 actions in one automation may help if you find yourself getting close to the total limit of 50 automations. Where applicable, an action can use outputs from previous actions in the same automation.

Automation run limits by plan

Automation run limits are reset on the first day of each month.

Workspace Plan

Automation runs (per month, per workspace)

Automation run history


Enterprise Scale

500,000 1

3 years


100,000 1

1 year


25,000 1

6 months


100 1

2 weeks

  • Run a script action is unavailable

  • Send email action can only email collaborators on the base, not arbitrary email addresses

Our system counts an automation “run” each time a trigger is invoked. This means that both failed and successful automation attempts will count against a workspace’s monthly run allowance.

Understanding automation trigger types


Existing records in your base will not trigger a run for a newly created automation. Only after you've turned your automation on, will any new record or adjusted record that meets the configured trigger condition cause the automation to run. For making big updates to multiple existing records in your base we recommend checking out the Batch update extension.

Understanding automation action types

Basic automation configuration walkthrough

Step 1: Find the Automations feature from an open base

To start creating an automation, from the open base of your choice click on Automations in the upper left corner of your screen to open the automation configuration window. You can then start with our curated list of pre-built, suggested automation or create a custom automation from scratch.

Step 2: Start with an automation template or create a custom automation

Automation templates

We've created automation templates to create a simplified, guided process for installing and deploying common automations. Select from any of our available templates to get started - you can still customize each trigger and action within the template.

Create a custom automation

If you'd prefer to create an automation from scratch, select “Create a custom automation” to begin the setup process. You can rename the automation right away to make it easier to understand what it does.


Step 3: Choose a trigger

All automations start with a trigger that will prompt subsequent actions. So next, you will need to click + Add trigger. Once clicked, the available triggers will display for you to choose from.

Most of the trigger types correspond to certain base actions, so you will select a preferred table for this automation's trigger. However, there are a few exceptions:

If you picked the wrong trigger by accident or would like to try another trigger type for your automation, then you can change your trigger type by choosing another option from the Trigger type dropdown.

Step 4: Test the trigger

You’ll need to allow our system to fetch a test record and its values. This testing is required.

In most automations, you can choose to allow our system to automatically find a record to test that has the matching conditions by clicking Use suggested record or you can manually choose a record by clicking Choose record.

When the test is complete, the results will be displayed including the values for the test record that triggered the automation. If you run into an issue during the testing process, then our Automation troubleshooting article may help.


An automation won't trigger for records that already match the conditions at the time the automation was created. For those records to trigger an automation they will need to change states in order to momentarily not match the trigger conditions and then be changed back to match the conditions again.

For example, if an automation is triggered by a checkbox field being checked, then that record would need to be unchecked, then rechecked when the automation is on in order for it to trigger the automation to run.

You can think of a test as a snapshot of the way the information in the base looked when the testing step occurred. If you make changes to the base or the test record being used, then you'll want to test again in order to match the base's current state. To view the values of the record, you can look in the Results section for the full details.

Step 5: Add an action

When you have successfully tested the trigger, click on + Add advanced logic or action. Once clicked, the available actions will display for you to choose from.

Choosing an action will bring up different configuration options depending upon the type of action you choose. Let's take the Send an email automation action for example. After choosing this action, you will initially be able to add recipients, a subject line, and the message body.

The text in the body of the message can be a mix of static text and values from the triggering record. You can click the blue and white plus sign to dynamically add values in from the triggering record.


By clicking on the Show more options dropdown, you will have the ability to customize four additional parts of the automatic email you send out, which includes CC, BCC, From name, and Reply to.

This is just one brief example of the power of Airtable Automations. There is also the ability to add conditonal logic to your automations which will allow for different sets of actions to be run depending upon sets of specified conditions. More information about that feature is available here.

Step 6: Test the action

Test the action step to make sure it is successful. Again, testing each step of the automation process ensures that your automation will work as expected. Finding more information about a particular action's test is a similar process to the trigger test mentioned earlier. Click on the drop-down menu next to the test result to view the values being pulled from any records attached to your automation.

You may realize during testing that you need to make a change in the table by adding or modifying fields. If you do that, be sure to retest all of the steps so that your changes are correctly reflected in the configuration of the automation.

After successfully testing the action, you can move on to turning on your automation.


Choosing test records is not available for any action steps in an automation. However, retesting and choosing a new test record in the trigger step will typically cause a different test record to appear in later action steps.

Step 7: Turn the automation on

Once you have completed testing the automation's trigger and action steps, it's likely time to turn the automation on. At this point, it's a good idea to let other base creators and end users/colleagues know about the automation, especially those who may need to know about process changes or how the automation might personally affect them.

To turn an automation on/off:

  • Toggle the option next to the name of the automation from OFF to ON.

  • Once the toggle shows the green ON state, any future conditions that match the trigger set in the steps above will now trigger an automation run.

  • To turn an automation OFF, simply toggle the same button to that state.

Recommended step: Edit the automation's description

You can edit an automation's description from that particular automation's comnfiguration window. The description of the automation will default to highlight the trigger and action steps you've chosen to use. To customize this description:

  1. Click the Automations option on the top left portion of the screen from an open base to open the configuration window

  2. Choose the automation you would like to add a new description to

  3. Click on the drop-down and choose the Edit description option. You can also double-click on the description to edit it.

Understanding automation URLs

The base ID (appXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) will appear at the start of the URL path. This coincides with the inclusion of base IDs in Airtable URLs throughout the rest of the product. This record URL format will occur in these places:

  • The url property of a record output by a trigger/action.

  • The url property of a Table or View model retrieved by the Run Script action.

Tips to ensure proper setup

Create an automation-specific view

Before creating an automation, creating a view solely for that automation or set of automations is suggested. Take advantage of the power of filtering conditions here.

Lock a view to prevent unexpected runs

Consider locking the view and adding a note that editing the view filtering conditions could cause unintended automations to run.

Consider the trigger before creating your automation

Consider when you want the record trigger and subsequent action to occur. Is it when a record is created, a status is changed or when all fields in a record have been populated and the record is considered 'complete'? Some ideas include:

  • A status field changed to 'Ready to send email' or other appropriate phrase for the particular action.

  • A 'Created On' field using the created time field type. Set the view filtering conditions to only include records before today. This will create a delay on when records are sent.

  • Use a form. By only using a form to create new records, all fields are added simultaneously upon submission. Ideal for automations that trigger when a record is created.

  • For a simple way to mark a record as complete, add a checkbox field.

Learn about test records and how to determine which record is being used for the test

To turn an automation on, all trigger and action steps must test successfully. In trigger steps, a test record is chosen during the setup process. At least one record will need to match all of the parameters set in the automation to allow our system to find a test record for you to choose.

The following triggers currently will not allow you to choose the test data. Below, you'll see the expected way Airtable retrieves test data from these trigger sources:

Manually determining a test record

Determining a test record can be extremely helpful in troubleshooting automations. When a trigger has tested successfully a dropdown menu will appear to view more details about the test record used.


You can click on the blue hyperlink next to "Airtable record ID" to open the record within the Automations window as an expanded record. This will allow you to adjust the record in a way that may help to fix errors in your automation.

Consider using the RECORD_ID() function

The functionality above should work most of the time, but it's worth noting that you can also find the test record via its Record ID. You'll need to create a new formula field that will show each RECORD_ID()in the table that your automation is looking at. More information on that setup can be found in the Record ID article linked above. After the Record ID field has been created, you can pull the test record's ID from the automation setup window and then use the find feature to return the matching record. More on record IDs in the next section below.

Having a firm grasp of record IDs within Airtable can be very useful for Automations, especially when using the update record action.

Understanding permissions as they relate to automations

If your base has any field or table editing permissions that restrict editing to only specific users, you can add permissions for automations to make changes using this toggle: 360092286654Image2020-09-28at115554am.png

Troubleshooting help

Check out our article about Automations troubleshooting if you are getting stuck, finding an error in your automation, or receiving failed run notifications.


The individual user who toggles the Automation On (or who toggled the automation On last, if it was turned Off at some point) is the user who will receive failed automation run notifications.

Linking records in automations

Automations give you more opportunities for flexibility than ever, allowing you to easily automate previously manual workflows. The linked record field allows you to capture the dynamic relationships between your records, to ensure your data is consistent across your different tables. If you are unfamiliar with creating records via automations we recommend reading this guide for context before reading on.


Within automations, you can link records using the primary field value for any of the primary field types—except the formula field type.

Understanding linking in automation actions

You can use both the "Create record" and/or the "Update record" actions to link new or existing records, depending on the workflow you are building out. You can link records together by using either:

  1. The primary field value of the record in the corresponding table you'd like to link to

  2. Or by using the record ID of the record in the corresponding table you'd like to link to.

If you are linking a single record you can choose to use either the record ID, or the primary field value for the record you'd like to link to:


You can also link multiple records to a single record by looking under the header for "Make a new list of...", and choosing either "Airtable record ID" or "Field values":


You may end up first having to use the "Find record" action to get a reference to the records you want to link, if you are attempting to link pre-existing records in your tables. We recommend checking out this guide for an example of finding and linking records. Check out our Automations troubleshooting guide if you run into any problems along the way.

Understanding linked record timezones

Linked records are based upon the US date format and in the UTC timezone. This is important when using any time-based attributes from a linked record such as created time or last modified time.



Will automations run even if nobody has the base open?

Yes. Since automations are server-side, they will run even when nobody has the base open.

Who can create/edit automations?

Automations can only be created or edited by users with "Creator" (or "Owner") permissions.

Will an automation stop running if the creator of the automation is removed from the base?

They should keep running – automations don't rely on any specific user's Airtable credentials to run. Therefore, it should keep working even if a connected account's owner is removed from the base.

Do automations run retroactively?

No, automations only run from when they're switched on forward. For example, if there is a conditional trigger set up to “when a field is not empty”, and then that automation is turned on, the automation will not run on previous records with a value in the specified field. Making it so a record does not meet the conditions and then meets them again will trigger the automation, however. Alternatively, you can use the Batch update extension to make the necessary changes to older records in your table.

There are times when you will be able to “rerun” automations that have failed, but when you have many automation runs that would need to be rerun, it’s likely better to utilize the method mentioned above.

Is it possible to see a log/revision history of which users edited an automation?

This functionality is not available at this time.

Can the monthly automation run limit be increased?

Each billing plan has an associated automation run monthly limit. The only standard way to increase the limit is to move to a higher billing plan.

Is there a way to find/know which automations you’ve created in a specific base or workspace?

No, we recommend making a new table in the back to track automations that different users have made or currently “own.” You can open up the automation, copy the browser URL, and then add a URL field in the automation tracking table to allow for easy navigation in the future.

Is there a way to see which automation acted on an individual record?

Yes. Using the record revision history feature can allow you to determine the specific automation that made an update to a record.

Can automations be used in bases that utilize the Two-way sync feature?

Yes, in some cases automations can be used alongside the two-way sync feature. You can find more info here.


Do automation triggers work on formula fields?

Yes, they do work. They trigger about every 5 minutes while a base is loaded due to user interactivity, and once an hour otherwise.

Why do "When a record is created" and "When a record is updated" triggers fire before I'm done editing fields?

These triggers fire as soon as the first few characters are typed by the user. Consider this article about delaying automation runs, to prevent accidental “early” runs.

Can I make the "When a record is updated" trigger fire when a comment is added?

Comments on records are considered meta-data and can't trigger automations.

How is the test record chosen when testing an action step?

  • Find Records: All matched records

  • When a record matches condition: First matching record

  • When a record is created: First record in the table/view

  • When a record is updated: First record in the table/view

  • When a record enters view: First record in the table/view

  • Google sheets row created: Last row in the sheet

  • New response Google Form trigger: Last response/row in the sheet the response is sent to


Do "Send an email" recipients have to be collaborators?

  • Free - Yes, all recipients must be verified collaborators in the base where the automation resides.

  • Team - Can email 100 unique non-collaborator email addresses per day.

  • Business - 1,000 unique non-collaborator email addresses per day.

  • Enterprise Scale - No limit on the number of non-collaborators that you can email per day.

You can see your workspace's limit if you create a Send Email action on an automation.

In a digest, is it possible to render a date in a localized time zone instead of UTC?

Not directly in automations, but this is possible to do by utilizing a formula field in the manner described in this support article.

Can I apply custom formatting to a grid or list of records in an email?

No. You can use the Find records by view option to apply the same sort as is applied in the view, and you can choose if you want to truncate or not truncate long field values, but we don't provide customizability beyond that at the moment.

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