If you'd like to bring more specific detail about a record into an automated Action or Notification, you can do so using 'Placeholders'.

Placeholders are a simple tool that allows you to insert 'Placeholders' into any text in an automation. In practice this means, rather than simply sending an automated action saying:

"An incident has occurred. Please review"

You can instead send an automated action with more personalised detail, such as:

"Chris Jones has reported an incident in Sydney, entitled: "Fell down back stairs", Please review."

How to use the placeholder tool:

The placeholder tool can be used by typing the '@' symbol when you're working in any free text fields within automations. This includes action/notification descriptions, custom link descriptions and even custom links.

See the gif below for a demonstration of this:

When you type @, a menu will appear bringing up all available placeholder options for that particular type of automation. Simply click on or key down to the desired placeholder and when that action is generated, it will replace those placeholders with the detail from the record. Using the above gif as an example:

"@user.name's document: @name is expiring in 7 days. Please upload new doc before @valid_until_text"

When this action is generated, those placeholders will be replaced with the requested details so:

"Brian Cranston's document: Chemical Handling is expiring in 7 days. Please upload a new doc before 4/8/2018"

Troubleshooting

  • I've used placeholder text, but when the action is generated it returns [MISSING] instead of the requested information.
    This one is pretty straight forward. If the automation returns [MISSING] instead of a field name this means that the requested information was not entered into the record. For example, in Incidents, if you use the "@reported_to.name" placeholder and when the action is generated it returns [MISSING], this is because a 'Reported To' user was never entered.
  • I used placeholder text, but when the action was generated it showed up as the actual placeholder tag, not the detail from the record.
    This one's a little trickier, but there is a logical reason. If you, for example, use the "@title" tag and when the action is generated it actually spits out "@title" instead of the title, this is almost always because a full stop/period was placed immediately after the placeholder without a space. This happens because those fields are called from the main record using machine readable code. Adding a full stop/period immediately after the placeholder text is kind of like telling the automation that, rather than looking for a field called "@title", it instead needs to look for a field called "@title." with a full stop/period at the end. Since there's no field called that, it returns the code rather than the field data. To get around this, just ensure you always leave a space between your placeholder and a full stop/period.
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