Custom Actions

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馃暀 5 minute read

Turn your most used actions or Workflows into reusable Custom actions. Now you can add your own actions to your Catalytic team, right alongside our thousands of existing actions.

If you consistently use the same series of actions, like resizing and renaming an image, turn it into a single reusable action鈥攜ou can even define your own inputs and outputs.

How custom actions work

Custom actions are great for turning entire Workflows, or parts of Workflows, into reusable components. In the example below, a team built a simple process to parse incoming emails for image attachments, then rename, resize, and upload attached files to team storage.

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The rename, resize, and upload portion is useful and reusable. If we consistently reuse those same actions, we can create a custom action out of those three actions to reuse again in any other instance.

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A custom action can be added anywhere.

Plus, if you update the original Workflow, its custom action updates automatically; so if you鈥檙e using 1 custom action in 10 processes, you can make changes across all 10 processes when you update the Workflow.

The 3 components of a custom action

Custom actions have 3 main components:

You configure the inputs for the action, then the actions and tasks it will perform, then choose the outputs it will return.

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In this example, the input for the custom action is a file field. The custom action is made up of 3 actions that manipulate the file. The action then outputs a url of the uploaded file.

Overview of custom action inputs

Custom actions have inputs that you get to define. Inputs are like the file, email address, or other field the custom action depends on. Set the custom action inputs by creating Workflow level fields鈥攅very Workflow level field becomes an input.

A custom action that resizes and uploads images should have a file field input.

Other examples are:

  • The Tables: Add a Row action has a Data Table ID input.
  • The Excel: Combine Spreadsheets action has two file inputs.
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Overview of custom action configuration

A custom action is just the actions it is made of, compiled into one easily reusable action. The actions are built around any specific input fields: if this action will resize images, create an input field {{file}}, then use that reference during configuration.

Add and configure the actions鈥攂uild the steps around the inputs you chose; this will guarantee the custom action uses fields that are available.

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Overview of custom action outputs

Outputs are the fields the custom action will return. Just as each action has its default output fields, you can specify the output fields a custom action returns.

A custom action that resizes and uploads images should have a file url output field for where the file was uploaded.

Other examples are:

  • The Tables: Add a Row action outputs the Row ID for each row added.
  • The Excel: Combine Spreadsheets action has one file output for the new file.

Choose any output field from the process that you want the custom action to return鈥攊t can be any or all outputs.

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How to create a custom action

Set up a custom action in 3 steps: Configure the inputs for the action, then the actions and tasks it will perform, and set the outputs it will return.

  1. Create a Workflow and add Workflow level fields, like a File and Recipient field.
  2. Add actions to the Workflow and configure them. Reference the {{file}}, {{recipient}} fields and any other Workflow level fields while you build.
  3. When you鈥檙e ready to create the action, return to the Workflow Settings page, select in the top right and choose Create Custom Action.
  4. Set the output fields the action will return. Leave blank to return all fields from the list, or select each field individually.
  5. Select to create the action.

馃挕 Tip: The custom action name is based on the Workflow it was made from, and the category that Workflow is in. The custom action鈥檚 name will be {{category}}: {{Workflow name}}.

Example of setting up a custom action

In this example, we鈥檒l take a commonly used series of table and Excel actions and create a custom action.

The custom action will require two inputs: a file and a recipient email address. It will parse and filter the file, then send it to the recipient we designated in an input. It will then return an emailSent confirmation so we know it was delivered.

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1. Set the custom action inputs

Create a new Workflow to get started. The custom action name is based on the Workflow it was made from, and the category that Workflow is in. The custom action鈥檚 name will be {{category}}: {{Workflow name}}.

Any Workflow level fields become inputs for the custom action. We鈥檒l add a file type field, File, and a text field Recipient.

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These fields are like the prerequisites for the custom action to work; the rest of the action depends on these two inputs we set.

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The two Workflow level fields that will become the input fields for the custom action.

2. Add and configure the actions

Add and configure each action. Set up the series of actions using the Workflow level fields set as inputs.

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The Excel: Remove Duplicate rows action needs an initial file. Reference the File field set up in step 1.

For example, the {{file}} input field we created is where new spreadsheets are stored. Reference that spreadsheet when you configure the action.

Continue setting up the rest of the actions as normal, referencing the Workflow level fields as necessary.

3. Create the Custom Action and define the outputs

Finally, set the outputs when you create the custom action. Return to the Workflow Settings screen and select the button in the top right. Select Create Custom Action

From the Create Custom Action screen, choose any output field from the process that you want the custom action to return鈥攊t can be all outputs fields, or any.

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To confirm if the email was sent, select the emailSent field as the output.

Select . The action is then available in the action picker for you and your team. If you don鈥檛 see the action in the action picker, use the previous editor to find and add the action.

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You can find the action in the previous editor.