Automations in Coda

Learn how to automate your workflows. Set up triggers, actions, and filters to create powerful automation rules.

Updated this week

Automations in Coda allow you to streamline your workflows and automate repetitive tasks. Whether you're managing projects, tracking data, or collaborating with a team, automations can help you save time and increase productivity.

Let’s make your doc as powerful as an app with automations! 💥

Within this article you’ll find:


Add an automation to your doc

To add an automation to your Coda doc, follow these steps:

  1. Click the settings gear icon in the top-right corner of your doc to open the settings menu → ⚙️

  2. Click Automations

  3. Click Add Rule

  4. Build your automation rule! 🎉

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PS: Don’t forget to name your automation rule something descriptive. You can edit the default name of Rule at the top of your automation rule. You can also add a description by clicking in the description field below the rule name.

When and Then: automation basics

Automations have two required steps: When and Then.

Step 1: When

The first step in an automation is the When. This step informs Coda on when to trigger the automation. You can select from the following triggers:

  • Row changed: The automation will start when a row in a in a specified table changes. With this option, you can specify any editable column. Columns that contain formulas cannot trigger automations.

    • Formula changes, edits to canvas columns, and comments will not trigger automations with this type of trigger.

  • Time-based: The automation will run on a specified cadence. You can select from the following options for your automation cadence:

    • Hourly (run the automation every 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 12 hours)

    • Daily (run the automation every day at a specific time)

    • Weekly (run the automation every week on a specific day, at a specific time)

    • Monthly (run the automation on the X day of the month, at a specific time)

      • Monthly automations won’t run on the 29th, 30th, or 31st in months without those days.

💡 You also have the option to choose when your automation will expire. By default, automations never expire. But you can choose to change this via the Expiration dropdown in the When step of the automation.


Once expired, the rule will automatically disable itself. In other words, the automation will still be visible in your list of automations, but it will be toggled to off.

Step 2: Then

Then is the action you want Coda to take when the automation is triggered.

In this step, you can write a formula to tell Coda specifically what you want it to do, or you can select from dropdown menu of options:

If and And Then: optional automation steps

There are two other optional steps that can make up your automation: If and And Then.

Step 2: If

The If step is where you can specify a condition that determines whether or not the automation continues once triggered.

To add an If condition to your automation, click Add a condition between your When and Then steps.

Step 4: And Then

Automations in Coda can include multiple results in sequence after an automation is triggered. If you want to add multiple steps to your automation, add in an And Then step:

  1. In your automation, hover your mouse on the line between your Then step and the Test rule button. This line will then highlight blue and display a + button.

  2. Click the + button that appears on hover. You can add as many And Then’s to your automation as you like!

  3. Configure your And Then step! 🎉

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When you add this step to your automation, you have access to the same actions as the standard Then step menu.

Take actions as...

The final step to configure in your automation is who the automation should take actions as. At the very bottom of the Automation side panel, you’ll see a dropdown menu containing two options:

  • Take actions as Automation Bot: Automations that are set to take actions as Automation bot can be edited by anyone with edit access in your doc. You cannot use private Pack accounts with this configuration, only shared Pack accounts.

  • Take actions as yourself: These automations cannot be edited by anyone else but you. If you want to take actions with a private Pack account, you’ll need to select this setting as part of your automation configuration.

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💡 Not sure if you should use a Shared or Private Pack account in your automation? Click here to read more about these two options.

Test your automation rule

After you build your automation, you can press the test rule button below your automation’s last step to make sure each of your steps is configured correctly.

When you run the test, look for:

  • Green check marks: this means the automation can move forward with the next step

  • Returns: the Returns results at the bottom of each rule let you see what each step returns to make sure that the automation is picking up the right information based on the current configuration.

💡 Tip: For row change automations, the best way to test is by turning on the automation and doing a manual test. This is because the Test Rule button selects a row at random, and it may not meet the criteria of your automation.

Step 1 Result

If you want to add an if condition using the details from the rows that meet the criteria of your when trigger, or if you want to reference the details from those rows in your Then or And Then steps, you’ll need to use Step 1 Result in your formula.

Step 1 Result is a fancy way of calling out the results of your When criteria in a formula.

Check out this Coda Tip for a quick example on how to use Step 1 Result in your automations.

The Activity tab

The activity tab holds the audit trail of every time the automation runs (including tests). To access the Activity tab, open up you automation rule and click Activity, located under the title of your automation rule

If there was an error in your automation run, you’ll see a red exclamation mark. You can click on any of those entries to see more details. This will help you know where to make corrections.

FAQs

How do automation rules work with formulaic columns?

Currently, the row change trigger can only work with columns that are manually updated (via direct edits, button-generated edits, or API edits). They do not work on value changes in columns that are populated by formulas.

Can automation rules trigger other automation rules?

Not at this time. As a workaround, you can use And Then statements to add multiple actions to your automation rule that will run in sequence!

Can I add a description to my automation?

Absolutely! Descriptions are a great way to help others - and your future self - quickly understand the purpose of an automation. To add a description, just click into the automation. Then, click into the text field directly beneath the title. Type your description here. Now when anyone views the list of automations, they will see a icon next to this automation which will reveal a description on hover.

Is there a limit to how many automations I can run?

If your workspace is on the Free or Pro tier, you will have a limited quota of automations per month, per doc. There are no such limits on the Team or Enterprise tiers. You can read more about the specific limits - and find info on upgrading to a higher tier - here.

How do I turn my automation on or off?

In the automation rule editor, to the right of the Activity tab, click the On/Off toggle to turn your rule on or off.

Note that you also have the option to pre-set when an automation will expire. Just use the Expiration dropdown (within the When step of the automation) to do so. Once expired, the automation will automatically turn off.

Does my plan type dictate automation speed?

Nope! No matter what plan you are on, your automations will run at the same speed.

When triggered, do automations run instantaneously?

Automations will run promptly, but may not be instantaneous. Coda often has to run computations and complete other steps in order to action your automation.

How can I reference the results of the first step of my automation?

If you want to reference the details from the results of your first step (When criteria) in your If, Then, or And Then steps, you’ll need to use Step 1 Result in your formula.

Can row change automation triggers work on Cross-doc tables?

Yes! The caveat is that Cross-doc table values only change upon a re-sync of the sync table. However, once those row values change after the sync is complete, the automation will be triggered.

Can I pull the activity log of ALL the automations in my doc up at once?

Currently, the only way to view automation activity is to check the Activity tab within each individual automation rule. There is not a way to view all automation activity across all automations in a doc.

I am using the Test Rule button to test out a row change automation, and it’s not behaving as expected. Why?

The Test Row button pulls a random row to test your automation on, which may or may not meet your automation rule’s trigger criteria. Instead, we recommend toggling the rule to “ON” and performing a manual test.

Is there a way to force stop my automation from running after it’s been triggered?

No, we don’t currently support force stopping your automations once they’ve been triggered.

Can I duplicate an automation rule?

Yes!

  1. In the automations side panel that lists all the automations within your doc, right-click the name of the automation rule you’d like to duplicate.

  2. Select Duplicate

  3. The newly created rule will open for you automatically.

How do I delete my automation rule?

  1. In the automation side panel that lists all the automations within your doc, right-click the name of the automation rule you’d like to delete.

  2. Select Delete


Related resources

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