Build a workflow: Create a workflow in Slack

Who can use this feature?
  • All members (by default)
  • Available on paid plans

Use Workflow Builder to automate tasks you do every day and work more efficiently in Slack. By default, anyone on a paid plan can create workflows. Owners and admins can choose to restrict access to Workflow Builder. If you don’t see this option, find an owner or admin and ask for help.

New to workflows? Check out our What is a Slack workflow? and Build a workflow tutorials to learn the basics.


Open Workflow Builder

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Tools from the menu, then click Workflow Builder
  3. Click Create Workflow in the top right.


Step 1: Choose how your workflow starts
 

  1. Select an option from the list:

       From a link in Slack
        On a schedule
        When an emoji reaction is used
        When a person joins a channel
        From a webhook
  2. Follow the prompts, then click Continue

 

Step 2: Add steps to your workflow

Once you’ve decided how your workflow will start, you’ll add steps to carry out the task or process. Steps are the building blocks of any workflow; they can take a variety of actions inside and outside of Slack, and will be completed in the order you specify. 

Types of steps

Step type Description Who can add
Slack Takes a Slack action, like sending a message or adding someone to a channel. Everyone (by default)
Connector Takes an action in a third-party service, like adding a row to a Google spreadsheet or creating a new Zoom meeting Everyone (if approved)*
Custom Built specifically for your organization to take whatever action the developer specifies App collaborators (once the app is approved)**

*Available by default if app approval isn't required for your workspace or Enterprise Grid organization
**Unless the developer has set other permissions


More details about connector steps

Connectors include workflow steps you can use to take actions in other services, like adding a row to a Google Sheet or starting a Zoom meeting. If app approval is required for your workspace or Enterprise Grid org, you may need to request access to connector steps before you can add them to a workflow.

When you add a connector step to your workflow, we require authentication with that service. Workflow creators can choose whether to require individual people using their workflows to authenticate with their own accounts, or use their own credentials.

In some cases, it will only make sense to have people use their own accounts, like if a step in your workflow should be associated with the person using it. In others, using your account gives you more flexibility. For example, if your workflow collects and sends form responses to a private Google spreadsheet you don't want to grant everyone access to.

Note: By default, workflow creators can choose how they want people to authenticate, but owners and admins can restrict this permission. If you don’t see this option, find an owner or admin to ask for help. 


Add steps

To add steps to your workflow, find and select them from the step library.

  1. Search for a step, or choose one from the list.
  2. Follow the prompts to configure the step, then click Save.

Note: To configure a step to send messages to a channel, you need to have posting permissions for that channel. If you don’t have posting permissions, ask an owner or admin to grant them to you.


Customize steps

Certain steps can be customized to include information that’s been submitted to your workflow (like a response to one of the questions in a form, or the name of the person who started the workflow). If you’d like, you can use variables and buttons to customize your steps.

Variables

Buttons

Variables allow you to insert information from previous steps in your workflow to subsequent steps. The variables available to you will depend on how your workflow starts, who interacts with steps at various points, and information passed into the workflow (like responses to a form). If you add connector steps, you may also be able to use variables unique to those steps.
When you add a button to a step in your workflow, the workflow won’t proceed until someone clicks the button. Buttons can only be clicked once each time a workflow starts.


Edit and reorder steps

You can change and reorder steps anytime. Here's how:

  • To edit a step, open a workflow and click the  pencil icon
  • To reorder a step, click the  up arrow or  down arrow, or drag it to a new location.


Step 3: Publish your workflow

Publishing your workflow makes it available for people to use. To publish your workflow, you’ll need to add a few finishing touches.

Add a title, description, and icon

  1. Choose a name for your workflow. This is what will show up when the workflow link is shared, the workflow posts a message in a channel, etc.
  2. If you’d like, add a description. To add an icon, click Choose file to upload an image.


Add workflow managers

Any workflow managers you add will have the same permissions you do as the workflow creator.

  1. Below Workflow managers, type the name of the person you’d like to add.
  2. Select their name.


Set access permissions

By default, everyone in your workspace can find and use your workflow, and only workflow managers can make a copy. Here’s how to change the default permissions:

  1. Open the dropdown menu below Who can find this workflow? or Who can copy this workflow?
  2. Select an option. To ensure external people you work with in Slack Connect have permission to use your workflow, select any channels they belong to.
  3. Click Publish.

Tip: Once people start using your workflow, you can see how they’re interacting with it and view any errors from the workflow activity log.

Who can use this feature?
  • All members (by default)
  • Available on paid plans

Workflows allow you to automate tasks and work more efficiently in Slack. By default, anyone on a paid plan can create workflows using Workflow Builder. If you don’t see the option, your owners and admins may have restricted who can build workflows.

New to workflows? Check out the What is a Slack workflow? tutorial for an overview.


Components of a workflow

Before you get started, it’s helpful to understand the components that make up a workflow. As you build a workflow, you’ll customize each component to create an automation that will accomplish a task or complete a process in Slack. 

Component Definition Example
How your workflow starts The action that will start the workflow. When a user completes the action you specify to start a workflow, like joining a channel or clicking a link in Slack, the workflow will start.
Step The actions you want your workflow to take. A step could send a message or collect information using a form. You can also add steps from third-party services.
Variable Any information submitted to your workflow that can be referenced somewhere else. A variable could be the name of whomever ran the workflow, and it could be included in a message welcoming them to a channel.
Workflow manager A member of your workspace who has permission to manage your workflow. Any workflow manager can edit, unpublish, or delete a workflow. They can also add and remove other workflow managers.


Open Workflow Builder

  1. From your desktop, hover over   More, then select   Canvases.
    An image of a cursor over the More icon in the Slack desktop app.
  2. Select   Workflow Builder from the menu, then click Create Workflow in the top right.


Step 1: Choose how your workflow starts
 

  1. Select an option from the list:

      From a link
    Share this link in Slack. When someone in your workspace clicks it, your workflow will start.

        On a schedule
    Specify an emoji and a channel. When someone uses your emoji reaction in that channel, your workflow will start.

        When an emoji reaction is used
    Share this link in Slack. When someone in your workspace clicks it, your workflow will start.

        When a person joins a channel
    Specify a channel. When anyone joins that channel, your workflow will start.

        From a webhook
    Configure external events to determine how your workflow starts.
  2. Follow the prompts, then click Continue

 

Step 2: Add steps to your workflow

Once you’ve decided how your workflow will start, the steps you add will complete the task you’d like to automate. Steps are the building blocks of any workflow; they can take actions inside and outside of Slack. When someone starts your workflow, the steps will occur in the order you specify. 


Add steps

To add steps to your workflow, decide which type of step you’d like to use, then find and select it from the step library.

  1. Search for a step, or choose one from the list.
  2. Follow the prompts to configure the step, then click Save.

Note: To configure a step to send messages to a channel, you need to have posting permissions for that channel. If you don’t have posting permissions, ask an owner or admin to grant them to you.


Types of steps

Step type Description Who can add
Slack Takes a Slack action, like sending a message or adding someone to a channel. Everyone (by default)
Connector Takes an action in a third-party service, like adding a row to a Google spreadsheet or creating a new Zoom meeting Everyone (by default)*
Custom Built specifically for your organization to take whatever action the developer specifies App collaborators*

*If app approval is enabled for your workspace or Enterprise Grid organization, custom apps and connectors will need to be approved before you can add them to workflows
†Unless the developer has set other permissions


More details on connector steps

To build workflows that take actions in other services, like adding a row to a Google Sheet or starting a Zoom meeting, you can add connector steps for third-party services. Depending on your workspace or Enterprise Grid org's settings, you may need to request access or additional configuration for connectors before you can add their steps to a workflow.

When you add a connector step to your workflow, we require you to authenticate an account with that third-party service before the workflow can complete the step successfully. Workflow creators can choose whether to require individual people using their workflows to authenticate with their own accounts, or use their own credentials.

Note: By default, workflow creators can choose how they want people to authenticate, but owners and admins can restrict this permission. If you don’t see this option, find an owner or admin to ask for help.


Customize steps

While configuring your step, you might see the option to add variables or buttons. Variables allow the workflow to use information from previous steps to inform future steps and responses, and buttons allow the workflow to “pause” the flow of steps until the button is clicked.

Variables

Buttons

The variables available in a step will depend on previous information that is passed into the workflow. For example, you can add a Send a message step to your workflow, and select the Person who used this workflow variable to dynamically change the recipient each time the workflow starts.
  1. From the step you’re customizing, click   insert a variable. (In some places, you may only see the   icon.)
  2. Choose from the list of variables. When your workflow runs, the dynamic data will replace the variable
When you add a button to a step in your workflow, the workflow won’t proceed until someone clicks the button. Buttons can only be clicked by one person each time a workflow is used. 
  1. From the step you’re customizing, click Add Button.
  2. Click the   pencil icon to edit the text that appears on the button, select a button color and add descriptive text for the behavior of the button.
  3. Click Done, then click Save.


Edit and reorder steps

If you change your mind, you can adjust the configuration of your steps and change the order they’re executed. Here's how:

  • To edit a step, click the  pencil icon
  • To reorder a step, click the  up arrow or  down arrow, or drag it to a new location.


Step 3: Finish up and publish your workflow

Before you publish your workflow, you can add a few finishing touches. You can always edit your workflow after it's published if you need to adjust the details, workflow managers, or access permissions.

Add a title, description, and icon

  1. Click the workflow icon in the top left corner of Workflow Builder.
  2. Choose a name for your workflow. This is what will show up when the workflow link is shared, the workflow posts a message in a channel, etc.
  3. If you’d like, add a description. To add an icon, click Choose file to upload an image.


Add workflow managers

Any workflow managers you add will have the same permissions you do as the workflow creator.

  1. Click the   three dots icon in the top-right corner of Workflow Builder, then select Settings.
  2. Click Edit.
  3. Below Workflow managers, type the name of the person you’d like to add.
  4. Select their name.


Set access permissions

By default, everyone in your workspace can find and use your workflow, and only workflow managers can make a copy. Here’s how to change the default permissions:

  1. Click the   three dots icon in the top-right corner of Workflow Builder, then select Settings.
  2. Click Edit.
  3. Open the dropdown menu below Who can find this workflow? or Who can copy this workflow?
  4. Select an option. To ensure external people you work with in Slack Connect have permission to use your workflow, check the box next to Also include connected, external organizations to find and run.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Return to Workflow Builder, then click Finish Up.
  7. Review the details, then click Publish.

That’s it! You’ve just built a workflow. If your workflow starts with a link, make sure to share the link in Slack so that people in your workspace or Enterprise Grid organization can find and use the workflow.

Note: Slack Connect channels and external people can be granted access to your workflow only if your owners and admins have allowed external people to run workflows created by your organization.

Tip: Once people start using your workflow, you can see how they’re interacting with it and view any errors from the workflow activity log.