Use iterators to repeat actions multiple times

Use the Tables: Start Workflow for each row and Excel: Start process for each row action to repeat the same set of actions or tasks multiple times.


These can be referred to as “iterators”, because they repeat the same steps.

How iterators work

Iterators are the easiest way to quickly repeat tasks. Some common examples of iterative tasks are sending emails to a list of employees, generating unique files based off row data, adding rows from one table to another, or starting an instance off of each row.

Check out the following video for a quick overview of iterators:

How to add an iterator

The Tables: Start Workflow for each row and Excel: Start process for each row actions are the iterator actions—these are the two actions that start processes for each row.

  1. From the builder screen, add an action and select the Tables: Start Workflow for each row or Excel: Start process for each row action based on if you’re using an XLSX or data table.
  2. Select which process to start. Select Build inline to configure a process inline, from scratch. Select Use Workflow by... to link to, embed, and start an existing process.

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  3. For more help on configuring the rest of the iterator, check the “How to configure this action” section for the Excel or Table action.

What’s the difference between build inline and use Workflow by name, ID, or field?

You can create new iterators and add your own steps to them, or reference an existing Workflow in an iterator, and mirror its steps within your process.

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Build inline

If you want to repeat a few actions quickly, and don’t want to configure permissions or individual settings for a separate Workflow, Build inline is recommended. This option gives you the power to configure the iteration, but without needing to manage a separate Workflow—everything is managed inline.

If you build inline, the subprocess inherits all default field permissions or retroactive field permission changes because it is managed by the parent Workflow.

Use Workflow by name, ID, or field

If you have a Workflow that’s already built and ready to start, you can reference it by name, ID, or field. This will be a good option for Workflow’s owned by another team member, or when processes are managed independently to take advantage of versioning, or so specific permissioning can be configured.

If you reference a Workflow by name, ID, or field, you are referencing a separate, published Workflow on your team. Edits to the inline actions affect the actual Workflow process you’ve embedded.

  • Users with view permissions on a Workflow can add that Workflow, but cannot make changes to it. They will be able to use the steps as part of their process, set up conditions and dependencies, and see outputs, but cannot change the steps themselves.
  • Users with edit permissions on a Workflow can add that Workflow, and make changes to the process inline.

💡   Tip: The published version of the Workflow is always used when using a Workflow by name, ID, or field.

How to send values from an inline action back to the parent Workflow

All field values created from the iterator are available in the parent Workflow inside the successful runs table. When a subprocess completes, it outputs a Successful Runs Data Table ID field—every column in this table is a field from the subprocess. This is the best and simplest way to hand off data between iterators and parent Workflows.

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Working with large datasets

Iterators are a tool and only needed in the right situation. For processing data, like summing, multiplying, or calculating averages, using iterators are inefficient compared to more powerful actions. For example, consider actions like:

For more information on tips and info on working with iterators on large datasets, check the Work with Large Datasets guide.

Get help with a problem or question

If something’s not working as expected, or you’re looking for suggestions, check through the options below.

Can I put an inline action inside another inline action?

You can nest as many inline actions as you wish. After the third level of nested actions, the actions are automatically collapsed and cannot be edited inline. To edit inline actions that is nested more than 3 levels, select it to open it in a full view.

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Can I view each instance the iterator starts?

Yes, each instance an iterator starts appears as an instance on the instance detail page. The instance name will match the name selected during configuration of the Tables: Start Workflow for each row and Excel: Start process for each row actions.

When viewing each instance, the breadcrumbs at the top of the page will link back to the parent Workflow where the inline action was created.

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When configuring an inline action, how do I reference data from other actions?

When configuring an inline action, you can directly reference outside actions. When configuring a regular action you can reference the Successful Runs Data Table ID that an inline action outputs to reference data.

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