Action Blocks: Specify What Kind of Automation is Triggered

Applies to

  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise

With an action block, you can choose what type of automation you want your workflow to perform when triggered. Use the following table as a reference for the different types of actions.

Use this type of alert or action In this situation
Alert someone

To alert people about key changes in specific fields
To alert someone when they’re assigned to a new task
To know when fields are set to a specific value (for example, a Status dropdown field is set to “Blocked”)

Note: Attachments and comments are not sent with time-based workflows. Attachments and comments are only sent if they are added or updated at the same time as the trigger for the workflow.

Set a reminder To alert people (either based on a Contact field or entered manually) on, before, and after key dates (either based on a date field or manually specified)
Assign people Assign one or more people to a work item when a date is reached or when a row is added or changed.
Change cell value Input data to text/number, single select dropdown, multi select dropdown, and checkbox columns.
Record a date To set the current date into the chosen field when a workflow is triggered.
Request an update To obtain detail from a work item owner when an item is overdue (due date is in the past and status is not complete)
To automatically seek the latest information from a work item’s assignee once a value changes in a specific field (for example, when the status on a row changes to “In Progress,” request that the assignee update the Start date)
Set up an approval workflow For sign-off from a key stakeholder on a specific task
For someone to approve or decline an item (for example, Director approval on a project proposal to advance its status to Approved or Declined, respectively)
For approval on an item that meets a certain criteria (for example, Finance approval when an item's cost is over a certain amount
Move or copy rows to another sheet To move or copy a row to another sheet when it is marked as complete.
To automatically route incoming work items to different sheets based on characteristics (for example, when the Responsible Department is assigned, move the task to that department’s intake sheet).
Lock rows To prevent further edits after an item has been approved or completed
To prevent further edits after a particular point in time
Unlock rows Provide process consistency by allowing items to be edited only when prerequisite steps are completed

When you add an action block, you’ll choose which type of action you’d like to use. If you select an action type and you’d like to change it, then select the Menu icon in the upper-right corner of the block to change the action.

To prevent infinite approval loops, cells which contain cross-sheet formulas or cell links will not trigger an automation which automatically changes the sheet (Move Row, Copy Row, Lock Row, Unlock Row, Approval Request). To work around this, consider using time-based automation or recurrence workflows.

Select Your Recipients

Configure the action block to ensure alerts and requests are sent to people who are involved with a specific work item. You can configure them to be sent out to:

  • People in a Contact field for that row (for example: the Assignee)
  • Everyone shared to the sheet
  • People that you manually specify
  • Members of a channel in a third-party app such as Slack or Microsoft Teams

If you’ve set up an alert with yourself as the recipient, but you're not notified when you edit the sheet, you’ll want to turn on notifications for changes you make. See Adjusting Personal Settings for more information about changing notification preferences and other settings in your account.

Modify Field Visibility and Create a Custom Message

You can control which fields are displayed and create a custom subject and body for messages delivered by alert-type and request-type actions to ensure that the recipient is sent the most relevant information and context they need to be fully informed or take appropriate action. For more information about custom messages and alert contents, see Customize the Content of Your Alerts and Requests.

If you want to include row information directly in your custom messages, see Dynamically Add Cell Data in the Subject and Body of Alert and Request Messages to make your custom messages even more powerful.