Introduction

We use Airtable in our business almost everywhere!

But it lacks automation for some routine things.

For example, sometimes you need to pass a value to Zapier from a linked record in your base to perform an automation with your Zap.

You can’t do this natively with Airtable.

However, Zapier easily solves this problem.

Requirements

You’ll need the following:

  1. An Airtable account
  2. A paid Zapier account* (free account doesn’t allow multistep zaps, which you’ll need for this)

*We can host your zap for you for $3/mo IF you hire us to set it up for you. 🙂

Initial setup

Let’s illustrate the setup process, using as an example a small automation from our business.

We have a table to track all improvements we make to our processes, documentation, etc.

It’s called Improvements Log.

We collect all of these improvements using Zapier.

We then send a weekly “report” to our Slack group so that everybody in the team is informed about the progress we made for the week.


Airtable as a Trigger App:

2 – Select ‘New record’ as an Airtable trigger event:

3 – Select an Airtable account:

NOTE: To connect your Airtable account to Zapier you will need to generate an API key.

You can do this in your Airtable account settings (this only needs to be done once):

4 – Select the Base and the Table you will be pulling data from:

5 – After a few seconds of waiting you’ll get 3 sample records pulled from the table you selected:

If you look at the value of the ‘Creator (s)’ parameter (marked with a red rectangle in the screenshot above), you will see a random string of letters and numbers.

This is an ID that corresponds to a particular “Creator” in your Airtable base.

It is the ID for the linked record from our ‘People’ table (which we discussed in our previous article: How to merge multiple tables into one in Airtable).

Doesn’t make any sense for human beings you say?

Don’t worry, we have a solution!

Adding Lookup field

6 – Go to your Airtable and add a new column, Field type – Lookup:

In the first dropdown select the ‘Creator(s)’ field.

(In our example the first one is the linked field in the current table, the second one—the field in the People table that contains a value you are interested in—‘Name’ in our case)

After you do that you will see something like this:

Now you see that you have a normal text value in your Lookup field.

Hide this column.

Zapier needs it but you don’t, so it’s best to get it out of the way.

7 –  Return to your Zap.

In the Zap creation wizard hit the ‘Show more samples’ button and then it will transform to ‘Get more samples’ button. Hit it again.

Now open the new samples that appear:

Notice that the ‘Creator(s)’ field (red rectangle above) shows as an ID of random letters and numbers.

But there is now also a ‘Field 6’ (green rectangle above) that shows an easier to understand value.

Hit ‘Continue’ and you are done with the Trigger part of this zap.

Now let’s move on to the Action step of the zap.

The Action

The idea behind the setup in this example is to collect all the improvements our team made this week and then send them Slack.

There is a feature in Zapier exactly for this purpose – Digest.

8 – Add a Digest as an Action step and select option ‘Append Entry and Schedule Digest’

9 – Fill up the template and setup the schedule:

There are instructions above each field that explain what values go inside of them.

When you are filling in the ‘Entry’ field, take into consideration that you need to fill it using the syntax that Slack—or whatever destination app you’re using—requires to display properly.

In our case we’re using Slack.

To make certain parts of the text bold we must add an asterisk (*) before and after each section.

Also, there will be more than one record so we need some spacers to separate the records.

Four dashes (—–) will do the job.

10 – Hit ‘Continue’ and on the next page hit ‘Re-test this step’ several times in order to fill up your digest with records.

You will see the output like this:

Hit ‘Finish’ and you are ready to send your Digest to messenger of your choice.

11 – Add one more step to your Zap by hitting ‘Add a Step’ on the left column and select an application of your choice:

 

12 – Select your Slack account.

On the next page choose a desired channel.

Add your Digest to ‘Message text’ field:

–  hit the plus icon in the top right corner of ‘Message text’ field

–  click on ‘Append Entry and Schedule Digest’

–  select ‘Current digest’ option

You are now good to go!

Fill up the rest of the fields if you need them (they are optional).

NOTE: You may select a bot name, an icon, etc.

13 – Test your Digest on the next page!

Here is how it will look like in Slack:

Results

We managed to pull out a human like text from linked Airtable field using Zapier, collect records for a week, format them and send to Slack.

u

Now let’s hear from you!

Are you using any automations in your business?

Tell us which ones in the comments section below!

What do you think of this tutorial?

Article Title: How to get a text value from linked field for Zapier in Airtable

Short Description: Trying to get text value from the linked field in Airtable for Zapier? Click here to check out our step by step guide!

Author: Viktor Nadein

Publisher - Orgnization: MemberFix

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