Add steps to a workflow

Who can use this feature?
  • All members (by default)
  • Standard, Plus, and Enterprise Grid plans

Workflows are automated multi-step tasks or processes — no coding required! — that start in your Slack workspace. They can run right in Slack, or connect with other tools and services.

Once you’ve completed your initial workflow setup, you’ll add and customize steps. Steps in your workflow will be followed in the order you decide, and can be used to collect or send information in Slack, or between Slack and other services.

What you'll learn


Workflow steps overview

Steps are a series of actions taken to complete a workflow. Once your workflow starts, it will present the steps you add in the order you specify. There are three types of steps you can add to workflows: messages, forms, and steps from apps installed to your workspace.

Message steps

Send messages as part of your workflow to communicate information to the person who kicked it off, or others in Slack who need to take action from information submitted to a workflow. Message steps can be used to send direct messages (DMs) to certain people, or post in a channel or thread. Messages in Workflow Builder support automatic message formatting and hyperlinks.

Form steps

Add forms to your workflow to organize and collect information. Forms can include space for custom responses, or prompt people to choose options from a list. Once a form has been completed, you can choose to send responses to a channel or a specific person via DM.

Note: Form responses cannot be edited once they’ve been submitted via Workflow Builder.

Steps from apps

Some Slack app developers offer custom workflow steps for their apps. Steps from apps are unique, and allow you to connect a workflow in Slack to other services in specific ways. In order to use an app's steps in Workflow Builder, you'll first need to add the app to your workspace, which may require admin approval. 

When an app is added to your workspace, you can connect your account to take actions in another service without leaving Slack. Steps from apps are similar — by adding a step from an app to a workflow, you can send information collected by your workflow to another service or pull information from that service into Slack. Then, you can reference that information in additional steps of your workflow, or others can take action from the service — without anyone needing to copy any information between tools.

Keep in mind that app developers choose how the workflow steps for their apps work. In many cases, you can customize steps from apps after adding them to your workflow, but it’s not possible to modify the core experience a step is designed to provide.

Workflow step library

When you’re ready to add steps to your workflow, you'll find and add them from the step library in Workflow Builder. You can search for specific steps, or browse all steps available for your workspace.

Workflow Builder step library showing steps from Slack and several apps

To view steps created by Slack (like message and form steps), click Built by Slack in the left column. Click your organization’s name to see any steps available as part of custom apps built by members of your workspace. Select an app to view workflow steps created by that app’s developer. 

Note: If an app is installed in your workspace and you aren’t seeing its steps in Workflow Builder, you may need to re-install or request approval for the most updated version.


Customize steps with buttons and variables

When adding steps to workflows, there may be times you want to reference information 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). You may also want your workflow to pause at a certain step while the person using it takes a certain action, or completes a particular task.

If you’d like, you can use buttons and variables to customize your workflow steps.

Buttons

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 per workflow, so we don’t recommend adding them to workflows multiple people may need to use — for example, a scheduled date & time workflow that reminds a team of five people to share their daily status updates on a project.

Variables

Variables allow you to insert information from previous steps in your workflow in subsequent steps, giving you even more flexibility to personalize your workflows and connect information across various 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’re using any steps from apps, you may also be able to use variables unique to those steps.


Put what you've learned into practice

Follow the steps below to add steps to your workflow and customize them with buttons and variables if you’d like.

Step 1: Add steps to your workflow

  1. Open your workflow in Workflow Builder.
  2. Click Add Step to open the step library.
  3. Search for the step you’d like to add, or select an option in the left column to choose a step from Slack or an app.
  4. Click Add next to the step you’d like to use.

Workflow Builder in Slack showing a selected trigger and button to add steps


Step 2: Customize your steps

Add text and buttons or variables to message steps, set up custom forms, and configure steps from apps if you’re using any.

Message steps

Form steps

Steps from apps

Basic step setup

  1. Below Send this message to, choose a channel or person from the drop-down menu.
  2. Add your message’s content in the Message text field.
  3. Click Save.


Add buttons or variables

  • Check the box next to Include a button to add a button that people using your workflow can click to move on to the next step.
  • Click Insert a variable to reference a variable in your message text. Variables will be highlighted in blue so they’re easy to distinguish from other elements of your message.

Workflow Builder in Slack showing a workflow message step with a variable and button

  1. Choose a channel or person from the drop-down menu.
  2. If you’d like, click the  pencil icon to edit the message and button text that will be delivered along with your form. Click Done when you’re finished.
  3. Enter a form title.
  4. Add a question to your form, and choose the question type from the drop-down menu. Click Add Question to add more.
  5. Choose where completed responses to your form will be sent.
  6. Click Save.
Each workflow step from an app is built different, and offers different customization options. After clicking Add to use a step from an app in your workflow, you can follow the prompts in the step to customize it and add any available variables.

Tip: You can use responses to form questions as variables in any message steps you add to your workflow after a form step.


Next up: Add collaborators to your workflow

Now that you’ve added steps, it’s time to add other members of your workspace as collaborators on your workflow. Feel free to skip this step if you don’t need to add collaborators and move on to publishing your workflow instead.