- 31 Jan 2023
- 9 Minutes to read
Getting started with Airtable Automations
- Updated on 31 Jan 2023
- 9 Minutes to read
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.
|Plan availability||All plan types with varying limitations|
|Platform(s)||Web/Browser, Mac app, and Windows app|
Automations are scoped to individual bases and can be found near the top left section in a base on desktop/browser versions of Airtable. Automations on our iOS and Android apps are unavailable. We cover best practice tips and FAQs below and basic automation setup in another article.
- 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 are reset on the first day of each month.
|Workspace Plan||Automation runs (per month, per workspace)||Automation run history||Notes|
|Enterprise||500,000 1||3 years|
|Pro||50,000 1||1 year|
|Plus||5,000 1||6 months||"Send email” action can only email collaborators on the base, not arbitrary email addresses|
|Free||100 1||2 weeks||“Run a script” action is unavailable|
1 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.
Available triggers include:
- When a record enters a view (Note: records that leave and re-enter a view will trigger again)
- When a record is created
- When a record is updated
- When a record matches a condition
- When a form is submitted
- At a scheduled time automation trigger
- When a webhook is received trigger
- When a button is clicked
- Google Workspace triggers
- Outlook automation triggers
Existing records in your base will not trigger a newly created automation. Only after you've turned your automation on, will any record that meets the new 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.
Available actions include:
- Create record
- Update record
- Run a script (* Unavailable on Free plan workspaces)
- Send an email
- Find records
- Send a Slack message
- Google Workspace actions
- Document automator actions
- Send a Microsoft Teams message
- Outlook actions
- Jira Cloud automation actions
- Jira Server / Data Center automation actions
- Salesforce automation actions
- Create post action for Facebook Pages
- Create a post action for Twitter
- GitHub automation actions
- Hootsuite: Schedule post
Testing automation steps
Each step of an automation must test successfully before an automation can be turned on. In the trigger step of an automation, a test record can be chosen for use throughout the rest of the automation configuration process. Once you've set the properties, click the "Choose record for testing" button. This will open up a pop-over of any records that match the configuration of your trigger configuration. You'll be able to search for or scroll to a record and select whichever one you'd like to use as the test record. You can also choose to allow our system to pick a random record that matches the conditions of your trigger.
This is helpful, because if something does not go as planned later in the automation configuration process, then you can adjust data in the test record that you have chosen. You can also go back to the trigger configuration and choose a different test record. Always remember to retest any previously tested steps in your automation to ensure that the most recent version of your base has been captured.
Choosing test records is not available for any action steps in Automations. 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. More on test records in this article.
Starting on January 25th 2022, Airtable made a change to URL formatting in Automation triggers and actions. Now, the base ID (appXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) will appear at the start of the URL path. This change coincides with the recent change to include base IDs in Airtable URLs throughout the rest of product. The change in 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.
This may be a breaking change if your automation makes hard assumptions about the format of a URL property (e.g. by deconstructing the returned URL into its component parts or similar). No action should be needed if your automation only uses the URL for navigational purposes. Browser navigation will continue to work for the old-style Airtable URLs via redirects, although these redirects may not be supported indefinitely in the future. If your automation constructs Airtable URLs from scratch, we recommend updating the construction logic to also include the base (app) ID.
Tips to ensure proper setup
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.
Consider locking the view and adding a note that editing the view filtering conditions could cause unintended automations to run.
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.
Make sure the test record you choose has a value in each of the fields needed in your automation. At the moment, usable fields are derived from the test result of the trigger. If a test field is blank, it will not be shown in the setup. More on test records here.
Having a firm grasp of record IDs within Airtable can be very useful for Automations, especially when using the update record action.
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:
Check out our article about Automations troubleshooting if you are getting stuck, finding an error in your automation, or receiving failed run notifications.
Yes. Since automations are server-side, they will run even when nobody has the base open.
Automations can only be created or edited by users with "Creator" (or "Owner") permissions.
Only moving forward. For example, if there is a conditional trigger set up to “when 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.
That functionality is not available at this time.
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.
That functionality is not available at this time.
Yes, they do work. They trigger about every 5 minutes while a base is loaded due to user interactivity, and once an hour otherwise.
These triggers fire as soon as the first few characters are typed by the user. We're aware that this isn't ideal, and it's on our radar to solve.
Comments on records are considered meta-data and can't trigger automations.
- 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
- Free/Plus: Yes, all recipients must be verified collaborators.
- Pro: Can email 100 unique non-collaborator email addresses a day.
- Enterprise: 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.
Not directly in automations, but this is possible to do by utilizing a formula field in the manner described in this support article.
Unfortunately, no. You can use "Find records by view" 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.