As far as I am aware, there is no direct way to read the contents of an attachment using an automation. I looked into this once and gave up on the idea.
However, this may in theory be possible. Perhaps someone else on the forums has done this already and can provide more details? This method would require the use of an external service to read the file contents and return it back to you in a format that you can use (JSON perhaps). Here’s the concept:
- Create an automation which uses a scripting action
- In your script, use the Airtable API to get the url of the attachment field
- send that public attachment url to your external service and await the processed file contents
- proceed with your script using the data that the external service provided you
Caveat: assuming this works, you would need to be mindful of time limits on automations. The service would need to send the data back to you quickly so that you don’t hit the 30 second max execution time.