Engineering

3 new Workflow Builder tools to help you find your flow

Download form responses, schedule messages, and trigger workflows from external tools

A person adding a blue oval to a hanging array of shapes
Image Credit: Giacomo Bagnara

If your team is like ours, you’re striving for the ever-elusive “flow state,” in which, psychologists say, people are up to five times more productive. To bring all of us one step closer to that reality, there’s Workflow Builder, a visual tool that allows any Slack user to automate routine processes.

Our users have found boundless ways to unlock productivity with workflows, including:

We’re still faithfully tinkering away with Workflow Builder to clear more productivity roadblocks. To that end, here are three new improvements to further streamline communication and replace repetitive manual tasks—so you can focus on moving work forward and finding that sweet, sweet flow.

1. Download form responses to a spreadsheet

Collecting and organizing information can be a tedious (and uncelebrated) necessity, so it’s no wonder standardized forms are one of Workflow Builder’s most widely used features. Today you can download that data as a .CSV file and transfer it to your preferred spreadsheet tool, such as Google Sheets.

Whether you’re collecting IT requests for the help-desk team or scope-of-work requests from vendors in a shared channel, spreadsheet downloads mean that all responses can be sorted by Slack username, time stamp, question and answer, making it easier to synthesize and take next steps.

2. Schedule routine workflows in advance

Have you created workflows for recurring events, like weekly status updates or quarterly sales projections? We’ve heard your feedback—and workflows can now begin at a predetermined date and time and then repeat as needed.

For example, remind your team to submit expenses on the last Monday of every month and include the expense form with the reminder. That’s 12 fewer calendar reminders that remind you to remind your team. Phew.

3. Partner with your developer to integrate external tools

Webhooks are a simple way to post messages from external tools into Slack, so important information and notifications meet you at the right place and time. With webhook triggers, you can now kick off a workflow when an external tool posts a message in Slack.

Let’s say your customer support team is managing incoming tickets. Using webhooks, your developer can set up an easy triage system in which new or urgent tickets are posted in the support team’s channel. You can customize the workflow with follow-on steps, like a button to assign a ticket or a form to collect more information.

To get started, share this information with developers on your team, so they can set up the webhook and you can customize the workflow. If you’re interested in the technical details, we get into the nitty-gritty on our developer blog.

Give your team the gift of flow

People on any paid Slack plan can use Workflow Builder to automate their team’s work. Looking for inspiration? Peruse our pre-built workflows, which can be customized in a few clicks.

Thanks to your feedback, we’re making ongoing enhancements to Workflow Builder. Have more feature ideas? Drop us a note or tweet us @SlackHQ.

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.