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Re: Automatic document creation and sharing from Airtable records

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JonathanB
8 - Airtable Astronomer
8 - Airtable Astronomer

Ideally what I’d like is for the “page designer” block to have the ability to share its output automatically with different recipients who don’t have Airtable accounts themselves. I have a large base that is used to process reports that come in from forms. Each record is an individual report, which I can build into printable pdf using the page designer. But the only way to share these is to download each individual pdf and then send it by email. I would like to be able to automate this process, i.e. once a report is complete, the document generated by the page designer is automatically shared with a given recipient. Is this possible through Zapier, or any other platform? I’ve looked at a few google sheets add ons but I’m not sure they’re what I’m after. Thank you in advance for your advice! :slightly_smiling_face:

38 Replies 38

I must’a been drunk when I copied that link. I probably meant this one.

Hi,

In the course of October 2019, I wanted to practice by first discovering through a practical playground the basic possibilities of a workflow invoking Google App Script that is discussed in this Topic.
I experimented from these links 1 then 2 and I enjoyed starting with a simplistic but functional view of this type of approach before turning to a more systematic and complete learning recommended by Bill such as Ben Collins which is really an excellent reference!
Best,
oLπ

Moe
10 - Mercury
10 - Mercury

Not a replacement for the page designer, but we’ve built an integration with Docupilot. It allows you to generate PDFs and upload them back in Airtable as attachments.

Hi Bill,

This is exactly what I am looking for. I work for a workplace wellbeing provider in NZ and we are wanting to create multi page reports for individuals when needed and have not found the right solution so far! Would I be able to flick you an email to discuss this?

Cheers

Yep - gime me a shout anytime. bill.french@gmail.com

Alexandra_Scott
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

This is a crazy helpful conversation, and I’m hoping you all can help me take my next step along this path —

So far I have successfully created several Google Apps Scripts that grab content from Airtable via the API and generate Google docs from the record data. (STEP 1)

My lingering challenge is how to automate this process for team members who don’t have coding skills, and really can’t (and don’t want to) mess with updating or running Apps from the scripting environment (or look at them, for that matter). (STEP 2)

My current process:

  1. configure a view in Airtable with the data I want
  2. enter related config variables in the main Google Apps Script
  3. run the main script (manually) which generates the appropriate Google Doc

What I want the team to be able to do (without my help):

  1. configure a view in AT (they can handle that)
  2. AUTOMATICALLY (by clicking a button or running an automation/app in AT?) perform steps 2 and 3 (bypassing the manual Apps Script process entirely)

Q1: is this possible to set up in AT and
Q2: ??? how ???

My skill level: I’m not a programmer by trade, but I can write enough Javascript to get to where I am now :slightly_smiling_face:

Many thanks for any help you all can provide (looking your way @Bill.French – love your smarts and insights!)

openside
10 - Mercury
10 - Mercury

@Alexandra_Scott - our team at On2Air (https://on2air.com) will be launching this functionality in the next 2-3 weeks. It will be part of our new On2Air Action Functions product: https://on2air.com/on2air-actions

Feel free to DM me if you’d like to learn more about it.

Dan,
Openside

I had a look at Documint recently, which has an Airtable app, and seems promising. Ideally I’d like Airtable to integrate these sort of features into the Page designer app. The main thing Page Designer is lacking at the moment is for you to be able to vary field sizes based on the content of each record. My projects use a lot of long text fields, which sometimes contain several paragraphs, sometimes only one sentence. If the page designer could adjust each document accordingly, that would solve most of the issues I’m having. I’m generally not to keen on using google due to the sensitive data I process in Airtable, but I recognise it might be the only solution.

Thanks @JonathanB, I will check it out. One of the reasons I haven’t gone the route of some other products like Documint is that the data I’m working with have a lot of complex relationships and require a lot of logic gates to determine what gets grouped together and how (as opposed to things like invoices or sales reports, which most of these services seem to lean toward). And as you mentioned, some of these records contain a lot of content that isn’t always simple to manage for an automated system. Hand-rolling code has been the only way I’ve gotten close to a manageable / sensible output. But it is a lot of overhead for someone who isn’t a programmer by profession. I would certainly welcome a more robust tool set and greater flexibility in Page Designer (someday).

I think that’s probably the only solution that is going to suit most users. I too have some very complicated bases and a lot of formula fields, with variation in how much content there is in fields (if any). What we’re doing at the moment is generating emails from automations, using markdown, where the fields used in the markdown are themselves formula fields, so that the email contains only the content you want, based on certain conditions, and if the fields are empty, those fields are not included in the email at all. But obviously the formatting options in markdown are very limited, so a printable pdf that adapts the template used for every record is still preferable.