Tips for troubleshooting
At times, you may experience issues with your automations. Though this article is not exhaustive, we do feel that this represents the bulk of the automation issues that Airtablets run into. Below are a few tips that will set you up for success when troubleshooting automation issues.
Identify which part of the automation process is failing
Individual automations can have only one trigger, but multiple action steps. Below you can see that by clicking the dropdown on a trigger step with an error more information will appear that is useful for troubleshooting the cause of the error.
Here's an example of what a failed action step would look like:
Make sure you know which record is being used as a test record
At times, a particular record may be missing information in a certain field that is imperative for your automation to test or run successfully. Knowing what the test records for your automations are can be extremely helpful in the troubleshooting process.
Look at the run history to find more details
If your automation is on and all steps have tested successfully but you are not seeing expected behavior, then it's necessary to look through your run history for more clues. Automation runs can fail for a variety of reasons. It's worth looking through multiple failed runs to see if there is a common trend.
Are other automations in the base impacting your workflow?
If you have multiple automations turned on, then look through those automations and consider their potential implications elsewhere in your base. For instance, an automation set to update another record may meet the conditions set in another automation that results in further changes to that record and/or makes it appear that the first automation has not run.
It may be useful to turn off all of your automations and then turn them back on one by one to see if you can identify which automation or automations may be conflicting with one another.
Consider the best trigger to use before building out the full automation
For instance, the "When a record is created" trigger is great to use for form submissions because all of the information in the record is submitted at the same time. However, if you are manually adding new records within Airtable, then another trigger will work better as the "When a record is created" trigger will run the automation before you have any time to enter information into the various fields in your base.
Automation on/off switch
This can be caused by an authentication issue, such as a password change, in automations that are connected to some other external software such as Google workspace, Facebook, Jira, Microsoft Teams, etc. To remedy, try reconnecting to the external software by choosing "Manage connected accounts" in the automation:
More info on connecting and managing external accounts can be found here
Typically, an automation will not turn on if a trigger or an action step has not been fully set up. To remedy this, look back through your automation and check that all steps have been tested and any fields that should contain information have been configured.
An error in the trigger step is most often associated with these occurrences:
There are no records that meet the conditions that have been set in the automation. The same holds true for external triggers. For example, there needs to be at least one row in the Google Sheet that you are connecting to Airtable in order to properly test the "New row trigger for Google Sheets." To solve this, add a new "test record" (or matching external condition) to the particular table and/or view that the automation is watching. This new record needs to contain information that will match any conditions set forth by the trigger step that was set up. For example, if the trigger has been set up to watch for any records containing a "Finished" status, then make sure that the record's status field is set to "Finished."
The trigger links to an external service that is not currently connected to your Airtable account. For Google Workspace, Outlook, or other externally-based triggers, make sure that you have successfully connected (authorized) the external account with Airtable. Those processes are discussed in the linked articles above.
Errors in action steps can happen for many reasons. The most common reasons are:
The trigger step in the automation has not successfully tested yet. To fix this, go to the trigger step and retest that step so that you see the "Test ran successfully" message.
- A record that triggered the automation to run is missing a necessary value for the action step to run. An example of this might be the "Send an email" action where a valid email address is needed for the email to send out. To fix this, look at the run history for information on which failed runs were associated with records missing an email address. You can add the email address into that particular record's email field and rerun the automation.
- If you see an error containing the phrase,"Could not parse number", the action is probably failing because you are attempting to set a field's value using a mathematical operation. We do not currently support using mathematical operations to set field values within Automation actions.
Sometimes, automations will become broken due to something outside of Airtable's control. An example of this is when an automation uses a Google Sheets trigger. After an automation has been successfully set up and tested, renaming the Google Sheet used in the trigger step will break the automation. There are many different ways this kind of asynchronous, background breakage can happen.
When a situation like this occurs an error icon will appear next to the automation that is broken. Additionally, the automation's configuration window will show a message.
To resolve this behavior investigate the various parts of the automation and consider changes made outside of Airtable that may have caused the automation to break.
Unexpected automation output
The places we most commonly see issues surrounding this issue include:
A field being referenced in the automation is blank, which leads to a blank result somewhere else in your base.
A change or changes were made in the base, but the trigger and action steps were not retested to match the base's current configuration.
Automation is configured, but not turned on.
Another automation is conflicting with this automation resulting in unexpected values.
Looping automations can occur when:
The action step of your automation is retriggering the trigger step of your automation. One example would be using the "When a record enters a view" trigger alongside the "Create a new record" action. If the conditions in the automation cause the newly created record to enter the view from the trigger step, then, once turned on, this automation will loop endlessly until you've exhausted your workspaces plan limits. Reach out to our support team if this occurred on accident so that we can help to reset your run counter for the month.
Two or more automations within the same base are conflicting with one another in a way that causes one automation to trigger another and so on. To remedy this, turn all of your automations off, then go through the automations and check for any potential overlapping triggers and actions. Finally, turn on each automation one by one. If turning on a particular automation causes a loop to begin, then you can identify that automation as the root or at least part of the issue.
The places we most commonly see issues surrounding this issue include:
An automation's action step is causing a new single or multiple select choice to be created. This could be due to mistyped characters, hidden characters, or case-sensitivity issues.
An automation's action step is triggering another automation to run.
When sending an email via Automations, hyperlinked text can support URLs up to 1,000 characters long. If a URL string is more than 1,000 characters, the text cannot be hyperlinked and the full URL string will be displayed in the sent email instead.
If the previous steps didn't fix the issue, please include a 1-2min screen recording walking us through the Automation workflow (as well as any fields or records in the base related to the issue) in your request to our Support team so we can speed up the troubleshooting process.
You can alternatively provide the following screenshots:
1. A screenshot of the table and view used for the Automation (please include all fields if possible).
2. A screenshot of the Automation trigger.
3. A screenshot of the Automation action.
4. If applicable, a screenshot of the Run History and a failed run.
Please also include the name of the automation and the name of the base where the automation resides. With this additional context, our team will better understand the issue and give you the best guidance possible.