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- Automate tasks with Workflow Builder Guide to Workflow Builder
Workflow Builder offers a set of tools — no coding required! — to help you automate routine processes into workflows in your Slack workspace. Workflows in Slack can be as simple or as complex as you’d like, and can even be connected to other apps and services you use to get work done.
Read on to learn about Workflow Builder, then use our tutorials as a guide to build your workflow.
|Trigger||How your workflow will start. You can choose a shortcuts menu trigger to launch your workflow from the menu in a channel, or another trigger to start your workflow automatically when a certain action is taken.|
|Step||How people interact with your workflow. You can add steps that send messages or custom forms, or use steps from Slack apps to link your workflow to other tools.|
|Variable||Information submitted to your workflow that can be referenced in steps. More variables will be available to choose from as you add steps to your workflow.|
|Collaborator||A member of your workspace with permission to manage your workflow. Any collaborator can change or remove steps, manage other collaborators, and unpublish or delete a workflow.|
If they’d like, owners and admins can choose to restrict workflow creation permissions to certain members of their workspace or Enterprise Grid organization, and manage access to certain workflow features:
- On the Standard and Plus plans, Workspace Owners and Admins can choose to restrict workflow creation to owners and admins, or to owners, admins, and certain members or user groups.
- On the Enterprise Grid plan, Org Owners and Admins can choose to disable Workflow Builder for their org altogether. If Workflow Builder is enabled, Org Owners and Admins can set an org policy to determine access, or allow individual Workspace Owners and Admins to manage access at the workspace level.
To help you create a workflow, we’ve broken down the process in a series of tutorials. The Workflow Builder tutorials guide you through initial setup, adding and customizing steps, publishing, and more. We recommend viewing them in order.
- Set up a workflow in Slack
- Add steps to a workflow
- Manage workflow collaborators
- Publish a workflow
- Manage workflows
- Create more advanced workflows using webhooks*
*Advanced technical knowledge is recommended.
Check out Slack Tips to find a library of workflow ideas and templates you can use to get started. If you’re a developer, visit Slack API for details on building workflow steps for a Slack app.
Before you publish a workflow, it will only be visible to you and any collaborators you’ve added. Once you publish a workflow, Workspace Owners and Admins can view it and add themselves as collaborators. When an owner or admin becomes a collaborator on a workflow, they can edit it, unpublish it, or remove it from Slack entirely. All other collaborators will be notified by Slackbot when a collaborator is added or removed.
Note: If your workflow is in a private channel an owner or admin isn’t a member of, they will not be able to see the name of the private channel.
Enterprise Key Management (EKM) customers using Workflow Builder can expect the following data to be encrypted with their keys:
- A workflow’s blueprint
A workflow’s steps, messages, forms, variables, and the channel it’s added to
- Workflow message and form data
All messages and form data sent or collected during a workflow
If EKM is enabled for your organization, any workflows created before May 14, 2020 will not be encrypted. Workflows created on or after this date, and all data sent or collected by any workflow, will be EKM compliant.
Note: Workflow names are not encrypted with EKM.
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If you’d like a member of our support team to respond to you, please send a note to [email protected].
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Workflows for beginners
Workflows are automated multi-step tasks or processes within Slack.
Anyone can create workflows with no code using Workflow Builder.
Read on to discover some introductory guides to workflows, or skip to our developer-oriented features.
Introduction to Workflow Builder
Get started with a gentle introduction. Read up on how to create, launch, and manage workflows using Workflow Builder.
Tutorial: Building workflows
Set up your workflow, add collaborators, add steps, and publish. Learn how to build a workflow with our click-by-click walkthrough.
Browse a list of pre-built workflows that can be imported into Workflow Builder. Customize a few fields, and you’re off and running.
Workflows for developers
While designed to require no code, workflows can be made even more useful by developers like you.
Extend the functionality of Workflow Builder by exploring our guides to developer-oriented features.
Webhook triggers for workflows
Use webhooks as workflow triggers, allowing them to be initiated by external services. Read our overview.
Workflow steps from apps
Slack apps can create and share workflow steps for anyone to use in Workflow Builder. Learn how by reading our guide to workflow steps from apps.
Oct 20, 2019 · 6 min read
Slack’s been hyping Workflow Builder since April; now that it’s out, I wanted to see what it can do, figure out how it works, void some warrantees, and try to break it. Not all of my workspaces had workflows enabled, but I found one, and started building workflows.
The first choice you make when creating a new workfl o w is how it will be triggered. Presumably there will be more options in the future; right now it’s just three: when a user picks it from a menu of workflows (like a macro), when a new user joins a specific channel, or when a user reacts with an emoji. Curiously, you can’t react with a message action (the … on each message) which seemed like the preferred trigger over emojis — future work I suppose.
Once you’ve picked the event source, you specify a sequence of steps. There you have even fewer choices: send a message or post a form.
What’s pretty cool is that both the initial event and subsequent steps produce output values that subsequent steps can reference. For example, you can create a step that posts a message that @mentions the person who triggered the workflow, or you could send a message to a different user that includes a value from a form someone filled out. It’s pretty slick and despite the limited range of actions you can take today, it’s easy to imagine how Slack might extend this in the future with more action types and more outputs.
And that’s really it. It’s like a poor man’s Zapier or IFTTT. Destitute maybe. But you can see the outline of how this could expand: more event sources, more steps, and maybe more complex, branching workflows.
The basic hypothesis of workflows is that non-technical users need a visual builder. Fortunately, it’s all represented as a json object that we can download. The overall structure looks like this:
Triggers and steps have an id and type; the type defines the contents of the config member. The id in the trigger and each step be referenced in later steps to pull out certain info. For example, a message step looks like this:
This sends a message to the person who triggered the workflow. Note that the user object can either have a ref member that refers to a value from a previous step or a “value” member that’s a literal value. The message can also make reference to the output from the trigger and previous steps using that mustache-ish syntax.
You can craft your own json and upload new workflows. It’s pretty easy to sneak stuff past the upload step that violates the rules.
If the various steps don’t have actually unique ids, the editor gets sad without being overly explicit about what’s making it sad:
You can make poorly constructed forms with tons and tons of fields, non-unique ids, etc. The editor doesn’t complain, but when you trigger the action, the form just isn’t shown — there’s probably an entry in a lot somewhere, but there’s nothing visible to the user or the workflow author.
Finally — my personal favorite — the visual builder enforces that the number of steps in a workflow be bounded by propriety and good taste. Not so when importing workflows. I wrote a little python script that generates a workflow that sends 500 messages. This is particularly cruel because 1. it forever (about 20 minutes; I don’t know if workflows just run slow or are rate limited) and 2. it appears to be unkillable even if you unpublish the workflow (deleting it does seem to work). It would be easy to write something even more noxious… fortunately workflows do identify the author.
Starting a workflow instantiates a state machine that walks through each step. It locks in the version of the workflow at the time it was initiated: changes to the published workflow don’t effect instances already in flight. This is a sensible approach and curtailed my plans for mischief. I can’t tell what happens to workflows that are never completed — do they hang around in some database forever or does Slack clean them up after awhile? I called the (undocumented) apps.actions.run API, but didn’t want to DoS the new feature. But speaking of APIs…
There isn’t a documented API (that I could find) for Workflow Builder. Running Slack from the browser let me sniff out some of the calls:
Missions! That acquisition Slack made in July of 2018. And while it’s been rebranded to Workflow Builder, the name lives on in the API.
Slack acquires Robots & Pencils’ Missions to make it easy for non-tech teams to streamline work …
We built Slack’s platform to make it easy to bring all the tools you need to do your job into your team’s…
The Missions website doesn’t have much info left on it but I was able to dig up some details from the Internet Archive. Here what Missions supported:
So… a LOT more functionality in Missions than in what we see in the initial launch of Workflow Builder. It probably gives a good sense of the kinds of stuff to come.
Zapier already supports vastly more functionality than Workflow Builder, but I’m sure being built into Slack is compelling for a bunch of users. Even with the extremely limited functionality, you can see how triggers and steps are built to be generalized. It’s also clear that workflows are an important piece of Slack’s broader platform ambitions. There are going to be more triggers, more steps, and deep, broad integration with the zillions of cloud applications that Slack wants you working with through their collaboration platform.
Triggering workflows with webhooks
Slack is where people, tools, and data come together in one centralized place, so you can stay focused, productive, and informed— like receiving an alert for a new support ticket or tracking a project status.
Usually that means installing a Slack app from the App Directory or building a custom app using Slack APIs. If you need a simple, but impactful way to connect external systems to Slack, you can now accomplish this with Workflow Builder.
A webhook can now trigger a series of steps tailored to your work. Webhooks allow disparate systems to exchange information by sending a POST request to a standard URL with key-value pairs; Slack uses JSON to encode those key-value pairs.
This means information across various systems of record (like employee data, project trackers, or “to do” lists) can be sent to Slack when something happens you’d like to take action on.
If you’ve never used Workflow Builder before, it’s a visual tool for automating routine processes directly in Slack. Each workflow begins with a trigger, such as someone joining a channel. Then, a series of steps follow, like sending a message or displaying a form.
To kick off a workflow with a webhook, create a new workflow, give it a name, then choose Webhook from the trigger options.
Next, you’ll define the variables that your webhook will accept. Each variable can be named anything you’d like, it just needs to be a string. These variables will then be used in the steps of your workflow.
Webhook variables can be one of three data types:
1. Text, just a string (numbers and other ID’s will be treated as a string)
2. A Slack user email, which is the email address corresponding to a member of your workspace, such as [email protected]
3. A Slack user ID, which is the encoded ID uniquely assigned to every Slack user, such as U2665FE0F
Text variables are plain text strings — nothing more, nothing less. However, the Slack user email and Slack user ID are unique, since they allow you to direct message or mention specific people in channels.
Imagine you’re creating an approval workflow — when someone requests PTO in your company’s HR tool, their manager receives a notification in Slack. Since the HR database hosts email addresses, you’ll set up the HR system to post to a webhook that has defined a variable for manager_email with a data type of Slack user email. The next step of the workflow sends a direct message to the value of manager_email . Slack automatically identifies the person based on their email address, so you’re all set.
After you save your first webhook triggered workflow, Slack will generate a unique URL, which you will use to send data from your other system. You’ll need to encode the key-value pair(s) as JSON, set a header of Content-Type: application/json , and send them as an HTTP POST .
Your payload must include each webhook variable (though the value can be empty), and any extra variables that are sent but not expected are simply ignored. So, if you’re using a third party system that has a predefined webhook sending pattern, you can define your own variables to match.
Workflows that use webhook triggers support Slack message formatting — so you can *bold*, _italicize_, or
text, add newlines, link text, and (of course) express yourself with emojis :hearts: .
If you include a variable in a message that’s sent to a Slack user email or Slack user ID, we’ll automatically interpolate and display it as a linked username, just like when you reference a teammate by their username.
If your workflow includes a step that sends a direct message, the message will come from Slackbot, but will appear as your workflow’s name and icon.
Finally, you can regenerate the URL for your webhook at any time, which will invalidate the previous URL.
Webhooks are handy for connecting various systems without getting into the technicalities of app permissions and authentication. Here are some other ideas for how you might want to use webhook triggered workflows:
Set up basic triaging protocols when a piece of infrastructure hits a critical load or is behaving erratically. Because webhooks can be invoked with nothing more than a command line tool, this is a quick and simple way to set up an alert system.
Send notifications between external tools— especially for teams that use DevOps practices to manage their deploy pipelines. Using a git hook, a custom script could notify a channel that new code is ready to be reviewed. Once a suite of integration tests pass, another notification could alert a channel that the code is ready to deploy.
Track metrics for marketing campaigns, like reaching referral traffic goals or social media impressions; or for sales pipeline trends.
Though webhooks are currently limited to triggers from other systems, workflows don’t have to stop at notifications. Webhooks could trigger a form that cross-posts to a triage channel, where a separate workflow is watching for emoji reactions. The possibilities are endless!
Webhook triggers are one of the latest enhancements to Workflow Builder — so your work (and automation) is simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.
Need some inspiration? Check out the workflow example library for pre-built, customizable workflows. If you have an idea for a webhook triggered workflow, tweet it our way at @SlackAPI. We can’t wait to see you what you build.
I am new to Salesforce and often get confused between: Worflow , Flow and Process builder? The line seems blurry when trying to differentiate between them.
Would anyone be able to describe the difference?
- February 8, 2016
Basically process builder is advance version of workflow.
1) Process builder is mainly used to avoid use of multiple workflow because one workflow can have only one condition and criteria action but one process builder can have multiple if/else condition.
2) Process builder allow you to update child record where as worflow doesnot.
3) Process builder can call your apex code so it can send email alerts, submit records for approvals using apex code whereas workflow cannot call apex but can send email/ outbound alert only without code.
Workflow enables you to set up workflow rules. A workflow rule identifies what kinds of record changes or additions trigger specified workflow actions, such as sending email alerts and updating record fields.
Workflow rules and actions are associated with a specific object (and can cross objects only to update fields on a related master record).
Visual Workflow enables you to create flows, which are triggered by users rather than events. Unlike Workflow, which always executes rules and actions behind the scenes, Visual Workflow offers screens for displaying and collecting information from the user running the flow.
Flows aren’t tied to any one object. They can look up, create, update, and delete records for multiple objects.
The Process Builder’s simple and powerful design allows you to:Create your processes using a convenient layout with point-and-click efficiency.
- Create your whole process in one place rather than using multiple workflow rules.
- Create processes by collaborating with different teams in your business.
- Stop using Apex code to automate simple tasks.
Workflow– are fast, easy, and button-click friendly. The Workflow rule will “trigger” based on a set of criteria at which point the actions will either be immediate or based on a time-based schedule. Workflow rules can do a lot. They can update fields for the object it’s being “triggered” on and in certain circumstances update records for their parent record. Workflow rules can send out emails and create tasks. There’s also the rarely used Outbound message for integration.
One downside to the Workflow Rule is organization. Each set of criteria requires a new workflow rule. This means you’ll have many workflow rules for the same workflow process. For example, you want to have similar but different actions fire based on the stage of the Opportunity. This will require 1 Workflow rule per stage. The only way to organize this is by the naming convention of the rule – which can get messy.
A second downside to workflow rules are from the management perspective. You have no way of knowing what the actions are without “drilling” into each Workflow rule. That can be quickly annoying.
The final downside is the limitation. You are limited in what records you create and update, and you don’t have access to many of new features (chatter) available.
Process Builder- is the new version of Workflow Rules. You can do a lot more different types of actions – including having a Flow from Visual Workflow get called. This gives you a lot of different powers. It’s built on top of Visual Workflow so you have almost all the same power of that tool. A Process can have multiple criteria diamonds – basically the equivalent of nesting multiple Workflow Rules together on one page. You can also see all the actions for each set of criteria that will be called.
One downside of the Process Builder is you currently only have access to the records and fields the running user has. Workflow rules would let you update an “invisible” field to the user. This was great for lots of data validation and controls. With Process Builder (and Visual Workflow) the field must be visible and editable by the user in order for the tool to update the field.
There are some other downsides with the current version. The tool isn’t truly “bulkified” so managing many many records will be problematic. There are also some limits on the number of “criteria diamonds” you can have and the number of active processes per object.
The main difference between workflow, process builder and visual workflow is follows
- The workflow supports the outbound message but it not support in process builder.
- The process builder and visual workflow supports to call the apex methods.
- The process builder and visual workflow support to update parent to child and child to parent, but worklfow supports only the master detail relationship objects.
- Process builder support to check more than one conditons in a single builder, but in workflow you need to create more than one for checking different condtions.
Which statement is true regarding both flow and process builder?
For 13 million people around the world, Slack is the place that work happens every day. They use it to connect with colleagues, collaborate on projects, and cheer on their teams.
Today, we’re excited to announce a new way to automate that work—without ever leaving the collaboration platform. Now, you can access Zapier directly from Slack’s Workflow Builder so you can build Zaps that automate the most common Slack-related tasks.
Why use Zapier in Slack’s Workflow Builder?
Slack’s Workflow Builder makes it easy to automate routine tasks in the collaboration platform. With Zapier and Workflow Builder together, you can also create Slack-based workflows that do work in the other apps you use every day.
For example, you can create create Todoist items based on reacji, update leads in a CRM like Pipedrive, automatically send emails from Gmail or Outlook, and more. With Zapier and Workflow Builder together, you can spend less time bouncing between Slack and your other apps—and more time on the work that really matters.
How it works
To get started, open Slack’s Workflow Builder, which is nested under Tools in your workspace’s menu. You can also launch Workflow Builder from any channel by hitting the Shortcuts lightning bolt icon.
You can choose to either create your own workflow or work off of a template. Once you install Zapier in your Slack workspace, select More Steps from Apps Powered by Zapier from the Steps from Other Apps list. Slack’s Workflow Builder will prompt you to connect your Zapier account.
From there, you can select the app you want to connect to Slack. For example, you might want Zapier to create a new item in your to-do app whenever someone reacts to a Slack message with a particular emoji. Workflow Builder will guide you through the process of selecting an app, authorizing your account (if you haven’t already), and creating a Zap that accomplishes your desired action.
Finally, click the Publish button in the top righthand corner of the Workflow Builder window, and you’re done! The best part? You can do all of this directly in Slack’s Workflow Builder pane, without leaving the collaboration platform or opening another browser tab.
Ready to try it for yourself? Install the Zapier app in your Slack workspace to get started!
Want to learn more about the power of Zapier and Slack together? Check out some of the most popular Slack automations.
Get updates about new apps, triggers and actions available on Zapier.
Automate Your Work
Zapier connects hundreds of apps to give you the integrations you need. Easily automate tedious tasks to let Zapier do the work for you.
Now available in developer open beta
You can now develop components of a Slack app that will soon be available as steps in Workflow Builder, enabling anyone to create custom workflows in Slack that integrate with their external tools.
Since launching Workflow Builder late last year, hundreds of thousands of builders have published workflows that are used millions of times monthly. 75% of these builders are non-technical, indicating a need for more tools that empower anyone to uniquely customize how they work in Slack.
Workflow Builder is a visual tool available to anyone using a paid Slack plan, so they can turn routine tasks into automated workflows right in Slack.
Without writing a single line of code, builders can create channel-specific workflows that automatically run through a sequence of steps when triggered. This comes in handy for things like onboarding new teammates, handling requests, team stand-ups, and more.
Now you can code a workflow step for your Slack app that builders can then choose when creating a custom workflow. Each app can have up to ten workflow steps.
Until today, builders could only select from native Slack steps, like sending a message or creating a form. With steps from apps, builders will be able to create workflows that, for example, send data to an external service, create tasks in project management trackers, or update the status of a ticket in an external ticketing system.
A new workflow step for Google Sheets will make it easy to push data from Slack right into a spreadsheet. This comes in handy for workflows that collect information through a form, so builders can configure their workflow to automatically send those form responses as a new row in the Google Sheet of their choice.
When launched to users later this year, steps from apps will be featured across a variety of Slack-owned locations, like an in-product step library, on the App Directory, Slack Tips and more.
By adding workflow step functionality to your new and existing apps, customers will have new ways to connect your service to their daily work in Slack. When deciding which steps to develop, it’s important to identify the most valuable actions people can take with your app.
Once available through Workflow Builder, anyone will be able to automate routine tasks that include custom interactions with your app — whether that’s receiving, or sending information to Slack from your service.
The team at Polly, a polling app for Slack, is building a workflow step for their app’s most popular use case — requesting feedback. This workflow step will be useful for teams that triage time-sensitive information, like customer support tickets. For example, they can build a workflow that is triggered by an emoji reaction, which then sends a pre-built customer satisfaction survey administered by Polly.
If you develop custom Slack apps that integrate with your company’s internal tools, you can also hook those business-critical integrations into Workflow Builder by simply adding workflow step functionality.
Perhaps your company uses an internal task management system, and you’ve already built a custom app that sends notifications to Slack with task updates. If someone wants to see more details or create a new task in the system, they have to leave Slack and log into that separate tool.
By making your app available as a workflow step, builders can create workflows that automate routine processes, like creating a new task, to keep work moving forward without leaving Slack.
Now available in open beta, you can start coding your app’s steps today. Go to the Slack app configuration page, choose your app, select “workflow steps,” and toggle on the feature. Visit Slack API for documentation, tutorials, design guidelines, and more.
Need more hands-on support? Join next week’s webinar, Extending your app with Workflow Builder, to dive deeper with the Workflow Builder team — plus lots of time for Q&A.
Block Kit is a UI framework for Slack apps that offers a balance of control and flexibility when building experiences in messages and other surfaces.
Customize the order and appearance of information and guide users through your app’s capabilities by composing, updating, sequencing, and stacking blocks — reusable components that work almost everywhere in Slack.
Browse the available blocks, get started with an app template, or dig into the documentation.
Blocks are visual components that can be stacked and arranged to create app layouts.
Read our guide to learn how you can construct stacks of blocks and add them to your app’s surfaces.
Interactivity in blocks
Block Kit makes interacting with users intuitive and stylish. Use special components to inject an app with interactivity.
Read our overview to get a quick taster of the interactive components available, and pointers on how to integrate interactivity into your app.
Block Kit Builder
Shuffle and stack blocks to quickly prototype layouts in Slack. When you’re ready, we’ll provide the payload so all you have to do is copy and paste it into your app’s code.
Design layouts with Block Kit Builder. Or save time designing your app by starting with one of our templates.
Keep teams productive and connected with these templates for automating processes like daily huddles, requests, approvals and more
Did you know Tamar Yehoshua, Slack‘s Chief Product Officer, is speaking at TNW2020 this year? Check out their session on ‘Human-centricity: building products with customers’ here.
Factors affecting our work settings and daily lives may be beyond our control at the moment, but we can shape how we adapt and improve the way we work together while keeping our teams safe and healthy. (We should know – we just had to do the same thing ourselves.)
That’s why we’ve created five new templates for Workflow Builder, a visual tool that allows any Slack user to automate routine processes. From streamlining requests to gathering feedback, these templates are designed to make remote work feel like business as usual.
Speaking of making work simpler, we have just released a more organized Slack. You can find customized workflows for any channel by clicking the lightning bolt icon at the bottom left of your message box.
Update teammates on your status
When everyone is working from different places, be it a living room sofa or a different time zone, it helps to keep everyone in the loop without adding to their notifications. With this workflow, team members can easily complete a form to let others know where they’re working from. The form response is automatically sent to the channel, so team members and managers can easily keep track of one another.
Approve requests quickly
Filing and approving requests can be a cumbersome process even when you’re in the office. This workflow provides a customizable template so that you can easily track and approve employee requests such as expenses or travel. Have you introduced a new request policy and need to update your template? You can edit your workflow in just a few clicks.
Remind your team to take breaks
Working from home tends to blur the boundaries between our personal and professional lives. You may find yourself hunched on the sofa for one too many hours or eating lunch at dinnertime.
This workflow sends your team scheduled reminders to engage in healthy habits, such as stretching, drinking some water or taking a short walk. Every day at a designated time, a message is posted in a channel of your choice with a reminder to take a break and practice some self-care. (While reading this now, do you realize that you haven’t taken a break in a few hours? Here’s your reminder to take a well-deserved time out.)
Kick off daily huddle reminders in-channel
When everyone is working from different locations, daily huddles are essential for keeping the team aligned. Instead of holding video meetings to list your priorities and blockers, huddles can happen in Slack channels – and we have a template for that.
Use this template to send a daily reminder to a team or project channel asking everyone to post an update on their work. Encouraging people to post their reply in a thread helps to keep channels clean and uncluttered. Plus, you’ll have a searchable history of everyone’s tasks, ensuring that no one is working on the same thing – all crucial to a smooth transition to working remotely.
Get feedback, no meeting required
Soliciting feedback from your teammates can be tricky when you aren’t in the same place. This workflow allows teams to collect ongoing feedback, which often replaces the need for a formal meeting.
It’s quite simple: set up your workflow so that when someone reacts to a message with the emoji of your choice, they’re sent step-by-step instructions – by way of a simple form – for sharing their feedback. Once submitted, the person who initially requested the feedback automatically receives new responses via direct message. Try this workflow if you’re gathering feedback for a pitch deck, blog post, or design.
This article was originally published on Slack’s blog by the Slack team. You can read it here.