Refresh Airtable for NOW() to Update?

Hi everyone

I’m new to Airtable but loving it so far.

I’ve set up an automation to send a tweet at a scheduled date and time using the following formula I picked up from another post here.

IF(NOW()>{Posting Date},1,0)

Essentially, if the result of NOW() is later than my scheduled posting date/time, the automation will happen.

Do I need to refresh my Airtable for NOW() to update like I would in Excel?

I had set up a scheduled Tweet, but I noticed it hadn’t posted, but it did immediately once I went back into the Airtable base.

Thanks all!

NOW does not update continuously. According to the formula field reference

This function updates when the formula is recalculated, when a base is loaded, or otherwise roughly every 15 minutes when a base is open. If the base is closed, it will update approximately every hour only when the base has time-dependent automation triggers or actions, or sync dependencies.

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@bitgiggy

Airtable has now added scheduling into Automations, and I would highly recommend completely rebuilding your Automation from scratch using this new scheduling feature.

Their new scheduling feature is “mostly” reliable & consistent (97% reliable), but unfortunately, their NOW() function is very unreliable & inconsistent.

Even though their support article mentions this NOW() inconsistency, my real-world experiences have been significantly worse than what they outline:

When I use the NOW() function, it often doesn’t refresh for 75 minutes or longer when the base is closed, and it often completely skips over days altogether, meaning that it often doesn’t refresh for 48 hours.

So for the most reliability that you can get out of Airtable natively, I would rebuild with the scheduling trigger.

However, for 100% reliability, I would suggest moving to a professional automation platform like Integromat. (Note that I am a professional Airtable consultant and a Registered Integromat Partner, and the Integromat link contains my personal referral code.)

Thanks, @ScottWorld, very detailed explanation.

I assume the scheduling you refer to is the automation mentioned here?

I really love Airtable, but I can’t help thinking I’m only scratching the surface. Do you have any recommendations on where I could upskill myself?

Yes, that’s correct.

I created a beginner’s level Airtable training course that you get 30 days for free to watch here:

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@ScottWorld
Thank you for the explanation.
My problem is that I want to post to a FB page on times I enter in the record itself. Therefore, the scheduling option seems not to work for me because the “One Time” option in scheduling allows me only to enter a specific time. But I want this time to be read from the record itself.
I tried the Now() function in different scenarios, but it failed me.
Is there a way to accomplish my goal?

Assuming you already figured out the system for calculating those times inside your base? Should be easy, just do a when-record-matches-condition automation instead. You might just want to run it a few times per day to check for new times to parse, depending on what exactly you’re trying to do and your base design.

Thank you for your reply.
My problem seems to be in the now() function and its irregular update pattern.
Therefore, I am not able to use it to compare the date and time field I have with the now() function to trigger the condition.

I tried the following method: In my table I have the following 2 fields:

Post_Date: I set here the date and time when I want my record to be posted on FB page.

Post_Time_Diff: is a formula field implementing the following formula

DATETIME_DIFF(NOW(),{Post_Date},‘minutes’)

The condition I am trying to use in the automation is like this:

When Post_Time_Diff >= 0

So, if the Post_Date is after or equal to now(), the post should be created.

I have 2 records in my table, and the post_time_diff field for them shows 170 and 50 minutes respectively. Yet, nothing was posted so far in my FB Page.

Am I doing something wrong? Where is the hiccup?

Why not just create a view filtering out the records that are in the natural numbers? Then have your automation run with a when-a-record-enters view criteria or have it on periodically.

Oh, and are you sure your automation is on?

There really isn’t a way to get NOW() to update more predictably.

This might be because an automation is not triggered if the record meets the condition before the automation is turned on. The record has to switch from not meeting the condition to meeting to condition while the automation is active.