Build a workflow: Create a workflow in Slack

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   Automations.
    An image of a cursor over the More icon in the Slack desktop app.
  2. Click   New Workflow in the top right.

Step 1: Choose how your workflow starts

  1. Under Start the workflow, click   Choose an event, then 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 a date, time and cadence for your workflow to start automatically.

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

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

        When a list item is updated
    Specify a list. When an item in the list is updated, your workflow will start. You can also filter by field so that the workflow will start when an update is made to the field you specify.

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

Note: Workflows that start from a link need to be shared in Slack and clicked on to start. Clicking the link outside of Slack won’t start the workflow.


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.



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 based on who started the workflow.

Insert a variable

  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 to 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. 

Add a button

  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.

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