How to create email digests with automations
  • 21 Sep 2022
  • 4 Minutes to read
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How to create email digests with automations

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When building an Automation, you may choose a trigger that will start the automation. The "At a scheduled time" trigger allows you to trigger (or run) an automation at a pre-designated date and time. This functionality allows you to create a "digest" type of automation to regularly send a set of record information at a set time. This article covers how to set up that trigger and add an action step afterwards.

Choose a trigger

To start, click on “Automations” in the upper right corner of your base. Then, click “Create an automation” to begin the setup process.

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Then select the “At a scheduled time” trigger.

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Choose one of the two options to trigger your automation:

  • At regular intervals
  • On days of the week

Trigger at regular intervals

If you choose “at regular intervals” you can select a number value and an amount of time (currently available options include minutes and hours). In the example below, the automation is set up to trigger every 12 hours.

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This trigger will activate at the nearest time interval. For example, If you deploy a trigger for every 2 hours at 2:45pm, it will fire at 4:45pm, and again at 6:45pm. As another example, if you deploy a trigger for every 30 minutes at 2:10pm, it will fire at 2:40pm, and again at 3:10pm.

Trigger on days of the week

If you choose the “On days of the week” option you can select a time of time and which days of the week you want to trigger the automation. In the example below, the automation is set up to trigger at 9:00am during a standard work week.

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You'll see the configuration in your local timezone (according to the settings of the device you are using). The trigger will fire at the same time for collaborators in various timezones.

Once the trigger is configured and tested you can add an automation action. To create the email digest, two actions will be configured:

  • “Find records”
  • “Send email”

Add a "find records" action

In the example below, we’ll first add the “find records” action to look for any records to include in the digest email. Start by clicking the “Add action” button under the trigger step, and then select the “Find records” action.

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In this case, these would include records where the due date is equal to today’s date. Note that the conditions are set where the {Due Date} field is “today”.

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Once this is configured, make sure to test the action by clicking “run test”. Afterwards we’ll setup the final “send an email” action.

Add a "send an email" action

The “Send an email” action will be used to automatically generate a formatted email to a list of people. Start by clicking the “Add action” button under the trigger step, and then select the “Send an email” action.

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You can then customize the email you plan to send. In the example below, we’ll include a short note in the body of the email, and then render a list of records and fields that were found in the trigger step.

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The “Send an email” action is covered in-depth in this support article. You can also view guides for all other available options here.

Insert records as a list

In the body of the email, one option you can use is to insert the records found in the “Find records” action as a list. You can even choose which fields to include in the list!

To add a record list, start by clicking on the plus sign in the “Message” section.

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Then, choose the option that says “Records” (from the Find records action), and then select “Records” again. Lastly choose “Insert records as list”. From here you can toggle any of the fields you’d like to include in the list of records. Watch the gif below for an example of these steps.

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Here’s an example of how this list of records would be rendered in an email.

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After you’ve customized the rest of the email options, run a test to make sure everything is set up correctly.

Insert records as a grid

Instead of inserting records as a list, you can also insert them as a grid. To do so, follow the same steps as above, but instead select the "insert as grid" option.

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Here’s an example of how this grid of records would be rendered in an email.

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All characters in text fields will be included in your grid by default, but you can choose to truncate text fields by checking the box next to the option when setting up the grid.

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After you’ve customized the rest of the email options, run a test to make sure everything is set up correctly.

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Records in the HTML grid found conditionally will be ordered by Record ID based upon ASCII formatting (numbers -> capital letters -> lowercase letters). If you'd like to customize the order your records are returned in, check out this article to learn more about finding records based on a view, and then rendering those view-ordered records and fields in a grid.

FAQs

Will this automation trigger run even if my base isn’t open?

Yes!

Can I use a date from a record for the “at a scheduled time” trigger?

We don’t currently support this functionality, but if it’d be useful for you please let our support team know.

Where can I use the "insert records as list" feature?

This feature is currently only available to be used within an email body. You can use this with our native Send email action, as well as the Send email action for Outlook and Gmail.

Is there a way to order the HTML grid or list?

If you'd like to customize the order your records and fields are returned in, check out this article to learn more about finding records based on a view, and then rendering those view-ordered records in a grid.


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