Introducing Document Automator

This is perfect except it doesn’t work with Shared Drives. For most Google Business Workspace users, we generate these docs within our own team/corporate shared drives. Currently when saving to shared drives it shows error. We really need this to work with shared drives please for the corporate environment please!

Our On2air solution supports Shared Drives if interested to check it out

3 Likes

Hi all

Really finding this a useful feature.

@Scott_White Is there anyway Of including the summary values in the report? (Ie Sum / count of the records in the group)

I use it to generate a snapshot of a budget every week so would like to see totals.

Thanks

Andrew

Could you create summary fields in the sheet, and include those in the report?

2 Likes

Thanks Rob

Good idea. I guess I could - though as I’m looking for a total of a group - it wouldn’t make much sense appearing in a column.

But will give it a go. Thank you.

I tried this - but couldn’t get it to work. Ended up using Make to calculate the group totals instead.

Would love to see this feature built in so group totals can be included natively in the report.

4 Likes

Hi, it could be a very useful feature. Is there a restriction on the number of records or is there something I’ve done wrong? It shows only the first 100 records.
Also it’ be great if we had the capability to see the Sum, Average etc on each filed as we have it on the table.

1 Like

The “find records” action has a limit of 100 records.

1 Like

So, it’s useless to me. But thank you

We try to stay away from all things Google as much as possible.

We use Documint and are VERY happy with it.

Hi Scott, few years ago I was struggling to create nice looking documents with the Airtable N0-CODE solution templates (i.e Page Designer) and then, decided to take the LOW-CODE approach after reading this very interesting post with very rich and insightful comments inside the post from @Bill.French

https://community.airtable.com/t/automatic-document-creation-and-sharing-from-airtable-records/23130/10

The proposed approach is LOW-CODE (Google Apps Script) and provides (I think) the full flexibility and total control on any kind of document creation using any source of data (as long as we can get the data via an API call). You are decoupling the data collection from the data presentation way more clearly, and removing many dependencies.

The Level of effort to get it off the ground is a bit bigger (initial learning curve), however what you get in return is so much more in Flexibility (and total ownership). I followed @Bill.French advices in the post, and learnt the basics of Google Apps Script to generate document using Templates, and after that step … it allowed me to bridge that gap that I could not do with the built-in features of Airtable or any other third party services at the time (3 years ago).

For Airtable users that are not afraid to put a bit of CODE around their Airtable solution, I think looking into Google Apps Script might be a good time investment.

3 Likes

It certainly has paid big dividends in many Airtable solutions.

As a measure of platform progress, I often look for vendors (like Airtable) who get pretty good at replacing many of the aftermarket solutions and services with native capabilities. This sometimes comes as a surprise to aftermarket developers who believe they just had their lunch taken by a bully. Systems that leverage Google Apps Script seem to be less likely to be replaced in part because these external solutions are largely based upon Google Apps Script building blocks that are quite robust and far too complex to easily replace. From big data to AI, document handling, and findability - Google Cloud Platform brings a vast array of extensibility with relatively little effort and complexity.

5 Likes

I am great fan of this too,
and in my Bookmarks Base, it’s linked to:


Triggering Document creation via Code block

Using Google API in scripting block

:wave: Hi! I’m Ayesha, a Product Manager at Airtable. We have a quick update for you on this feature — now you can update an existing Google Doc within this automation.

When you set up your automation, you can now choose to “Update Google Doc”:

You can update the title or content of the document and format what you want to add.
Your content update can be inserted into the top or bottom of the document:

For teams who keep a running document, we hope this update will be useful for your work.
Let us know if you have any questions!

7 Likes

Thank you for this update! The ability to update an existing doc opens more possibilities. This will help with things like headers/footers and other static elements.

Is there a link to the help docs on how to specify the existing doc?

We’re working on getting our help documentation updated soon!

You can pick any existing document, after you connect your Google Docs account. When you click “+ Select from Google Drive”, you’ll see a window where you can browse your documents:

Hope this helps, let me know if you have other questions!

2 Likes

Can the existing doc selector be dynamic? For instance, if we have the document ID as a value in an Airtable record’s field, can that be passed to the Automation to indicate which file to update?

4 Likes

Hey, this is great! Thanks for making the footer optional too. :sunglasses:

Question:
Whilst configuring the Airtable Automation, I noticed that we can update either the Title or the Content “Field” in Google Doc. Please excuse my ignorance (as I actually dropped out of Google Docs school when I discovered Airtable 6 years ago :sweat_smile:) , but how do we further define custom fields within the target Google Doc?

For example, I have half-a-dozen record fields that I’d like to send to fill in various words on the target google doc. Take a simple custom Title for example… how do we define the text in Google Doc so Airtable Automation picks it up as a field?

I see that one Action can cater for as many “Fields” as needed, excellent! Just hoping we can define our own custom fields in the target doc, then this may just be ready for production. :partying_face:

EDIT: Further to my earlier post - can Airtable somehow keep the Google Authentication open when grabing the document URL as a PDF to capture in an Airtable Attachment field, using the suffix /export?format=pdf as mentioned previously in this thread?

@ScottWorld mentioned that this trick works only for a document that’s saved in a publicly accessible folder. But to me, I’m thinking that as we’ve already authenticated Airtable to write to the file, we should be able to capture that updated URL as a PDF and save into our attachments without the need to publicly expose the doc.

1 Like

It’s awesome! Thank you for this update.

1 Like

Yeah, this isn’t a very useful update if documents can’t be dynamically selected. It isn’t helpful for Airtable to force customers to hard-code a static document name into the system (or choose from a hard-coded list of record names, as announced last week by Airtable).

@Ayesha_Bose Both of the releases that you have announced in the last week do not give users the ability to make custom selections, which limits our ability to customize the product. It would be great to hear your explanations for these very strange, very limiting decisions.

2 Likes