Data Table Field Type

Data Table Fields enable you to present an interactive data table within a task, allowing people to update any of the rows or columns, just like they would a spreadsheet. You can click on any data table field to open it up and make edits.

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If you have lengthy lists of form fields in tasks, the data table field type can consolidate the work of multiple fields into one data table field. What may normally take 3-4 separate fields can be done by changing 3-4 cells in a data table field.

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At this time, some standard data table features are purposefully disabled in data table fields. For example, in a data table field you cannot:

  • Add new columns, except you can add data to an existing blank column
  • Remove rows or columns, except you can remove data from an existing row or column
  • Update field or table settings, like permissions or type

Data table field types are one of many Catalytic field types. See the field types article for more information on each type.

How data table fields work

Data table fields are usually filtered from a source data table and included as a unique table in a task. In this example, a source table full of service tickets was filtered for the user name “Alex Smith” and made into a new filtered table. That table is added here as a data table field.

The table is assigned to Alex, where they can make changes to it. There are a couple fields empty, and an empty row at the bottom. What may have taken many separate fields can now be done in this data table field.

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Because this is a data table field, every field is editable. The assignee can make changes to fields, add new data to empty fields, or delete field data: and all changes are made to the actual data table, instantly.

In this case, Alex updates an existing ticket’s status, adds a new status, and even adds a full row at the bottom. The example below illustrates these new or edited fields with a yellow or blue highlight.

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The highlights are added for emphasis. The fields highlighted yellow were empty before, the blue were updates to existing values.

The data table field adds helpful context to manual tasks like these. A user can see other row and column information and make changes or updates to any field. And if a field is a single choice, date, or any other field type, the correct options or date picker displays during editing.

Add a data table field to a task

To add a data table field to a task, add a new field to a manual task and change the field type to table. Then, set the Default Value to the data table the field will display.

  1. From the task configuration page of a manual task like Assign task to a person, select Fields to add a new field.
  2. Create a new field and select it, or select the field to turn into a data table field.
  3. Select Type then choose Table.
  4. From the same page, select Default Value, and choose the Data table by name, ID, or field reference.

This field will now be a data table field and any edits made to the data table field are made directly to the data table identified in the Default Value configuration.

You can quickly access the data table detail screen from a data table field by selecting the data table field name. This will link to the full data table. The detail screen includes a link to return back to the task you were last in.

💡Tip: If no default data table is chosen for a table field, the field is not visible in a task. In other words, an empty table field is always hidden from tasks. A data table field that does reference a table, but where the table is empty and has no rows, will appear as expected.

Add a data table field to web forms

You can add new, blank data tables to web forms, or you can add existing data tables. The steps are slightly different for both:

Add a new data table to a web form

This example shows how to add a data table field to a web form trigger. You first add a new Instance Field and set the field type to table. Then, set the Default Value to the data table the field will display.

  1. Select Workflows from the top navigation bar.
  2. Select a Workflow, this will open the Workflow Builder page.
  3. Click the Triggers & Fields section to expand it.

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  4. To create a new field, select Add a field field.
  5. Select Type then choose Table.
  6. From the same page, select Default Value, and choose the Data table by name, ID, or field reference.

This field will now be a data table field and any edits made to the data table field are made directly to the data table identified in the Default Value configuration.

You can quickly access the data table detail screen from a data table field by selecting the data table field name. This will link to the full data table. The detail screen includes a link to return back to the task you were last in.

💡Tip: If no default data table is chosen for a table field, the field is not visible in a task. In other words, an empty table field is always hidden from tasks. A data table field that does reference a table, but where the table is empty and has no rows, will appear as expected.

Add an existing table to a web form

This example shows how to add an existing table to a new Email: Send a web form action. You first add the action, then add a new form field, then Select an existing field.

⚠️ Heads-up: An existing table sent with the Email: Send a web form action is not a copy of the table, but a direct connection to the exact table you reference. In other words, edits will affect the original table. To create a copy of a table, you need to use an action like Tables: Create a copy of a data table to copy it first. If you add an existing table to a web form trigger on the other hand, it will be a copy of that table, as each web form trigger instance is unique.

  1. From the Builder screen, select Add a step to add a new action. Select the Email: Send a web form action
  2. Scroll down to the Form Fields section, and select Add a field.
  3. At the top of the Configure Field screen, select Create a New Field…, then choose Select an Existing Field…

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  4. In the Select Existing Field section, select and choose the table you wish to add to the form.
  5. Select .

The field is now linked to the existing data table field you’ve selected. Any edits made to the data table field in this form are made directly to the selected data table, and are present when using the form later in the process.

Examples of use

Because any changes to a data table field change the actual data table, data table fields are commonly a filter from a source table. This way the source table can be edited with a separate process or actions in a controlled way.

Different actions or settings can be configured to use data table fields in creative ways, and some of the most common and useful examples are provided below.

Filter a data table, then add it to a task

The Tables: Apply filters action has the option to do advanced filtering on a data table and create a new table with the filtered results. Use a source table, like a list of employees, accounts, or SKUs, and create a new filtered table off of it.

The filtered table is output from Tables: Apply filters as a new table with a new data table ID. Then, reference this data table ID in the Default configuration of a data table field to add it to a task.

There are many ways to use data table fields, and a filtered table is one of them. This is a recommended option because any edits to the filtered table can be passed into another Workflow that authors all source table updates. This can be helpful for reporting and compliance reasons.

Copy changes from a filtered data table field back to the source table

Here are two simple ways to copy any updates from a data table field back into a source table, or any other table.

The Tables: Update a Row action is a great multi-purpose action for carrying updates to a data table field back to a source table. If existing source data is edited in a data table field, use this action to carry over any rows that have changed.

Use the Tables: Copy a table to another table action if a data table field is used to collect new data that’s added to a data table. If existing source data is not edited, but new rows are added, use this action to carry over any rows that have been added.

When to use a markdown table or data table field

Since data table fields are fully editable, use actions like Tables: Convert data table to markdown text to show uneditable table information in a task. Avoid using a data table field when there is data that should not be edited.

Data table field permissions

All data table fields respect any permission level set at the data table level. In other words, data table field permissions is set at the data table level and is never overwritten by the permission levels of any instances or process it is shown or used in. The field may just show “forbidden” if a user without access views it in a form.

If a user does not have permission to view a data table, any data table field that references the table will not be shown.