Automating approval logic

Hello!

Has anyone had much success automating approval logic using Zapier, Integromat, etc? For example, it would be great if you could use Airtable to initiate a new approval request and have a client view and approve an attachment directly in Airtable.

We’ve been frustrated with the current solutions so far, so we’re thinking of using the Airtable API to create a solution that solves this problem.

If you have this kind of use case and are willing to share your challenges, we’d love to hear from you to see if we can build a more general solution.

Thanks,
Andrew

Hi @Andrew_Poon - you could definitely implement a workflow with Airtable, Zapier and Typeform.

Let’s say your table is something like this:

The fields to have in this record are:

  • The record ID
  • the attachment
  • the client’s email
  • a checkbox to initiate sending to the client
  • A Typeform URL that includes the record ID
  • A checkbox to indicate client approval
  • A notes field to get feedback from the client

The process would work like this:

  • Create your record, with attachment, client email etc.
  • When ready check the checkbox “send to client”
  • You have a view on this table which filters records to show only those where “send to client” is checked
  • In Zapier use the trigger “when new record added to a view” to initiate the Zap (the Zap is based on the filtered view, so you checking the checkbox is the action that starts the Zap process)
  • In Zapier use the “send email” action to send an email to your client using the email address in the record, attaching the attachment and so on.
  • Crucially you will point them to a Typeform form (using the URL in the table) which allows them to give approval and make comments.
  • You then have another Zap that picks up the responses from the Typeform form and sends them back to Airtable.

The Record ID in the Typeform URL is a Typeform “hidden field” (note that this needs a paid Typeform plan rather than the free plan, I think). This hidden field value would be used in the return Zap to find a record in AT, then update it with the client’s responses.

As far as I know, you can’t use an AT form to collect the client responses - although you can prefill fields on an AT form, you can’t prefill a record ID or an autonumber. You could have another field type as the record “key” e.g. email, and prefill this, but then you get into the problem of having the same email address on multiple records. Something totally unique like record ID is what you want here.

(Note that there might be a few wrinkles in the process to work through - I haven’t built this exactly, but have built something similar in the past.)

Hope this helps!

JB

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Jonathan, Super-helpful, thank you!

Typeform + Zapier + Airtable definitely works for this workflow I’m trying set up. In fact, I’ve got a base set up this way that I want to share in Universe so others can benefit.

I was wondering if anyone else thinks that this feels somehow overly complicated to set up? Just gathering feedback to see if this is a common challenge for others.

Thank you!
Andrew

@Andrew_Poon

I have built several stand alone workflow apps and following base mock-up is the simplest for approval workflow logic.

  • Permissions need to be set up so that only authorized persons can approve/deny etc.
  • Workflow Actions Links should be visible to relevant people. e.g. Certain people(team members) can create new requests. Certain people can approve/deny . Only manager of employee can approve/deny TimeOff Request.In case manager is not available then other person(s) can be substituted for approval/denial for the specific manager etc.
  • Status for clarification can be added before approval/denial.In case clarification is required then authorized person can request clarification before approval/denial of request in single level approval workflow.
  • There can be more levels of approvals based upon request type. Request will go to multiple levels of persons for approval.
  • Some functionality can be implemented using airtable.

Neal

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We have done similar setups, except with Jotform. The advantage is using our On2Air: Forms product, you are able to bring in data from your airtable inside of your jotform as a dropdown so you can select live data from airtable.

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