#001 A recurring request form

🌎 Overview

  • The first tasks to automate are those you do over and over again
  • Often times there isn't an automated way to collect data from another person
  • Utilize a recurring request form to capture data in a standardized format, and automate reminders
  • Create a single template, and duplicate it for handling other recurring requests
  • Integrate the results into your other tools to eliminate requests, follow-ups, and data management

The build is a single form accessed via public link:

Difficulty: Intermediate

Cost: Free plan

Tools Used: Airtable

Template: Link


🛠 The Build - 7 Steps

Core Functionality

  • Allows submissions for specific dates set up as recurrences
  • Does not allow duplicate submissions to a date, or outside the set of dates expected
  • Auto-reminders if the form hasn't been submitted by a certain time
  • A form for the user to remove submissions

In this example we will create an "End-of-Day" form to collect total payments by payment method each day. The specifics of what we are collecting is not as important as how we're collecting it. This same method can be followed for collecting any set of data and/or documents.

1. Create an Airtable Base

From scratch, create an Airtable base with a field for the items or files you need in each request.


2. Create a Recurrences Table

Set up the following fields:

  • Date
  • Next - Calculates the date the next recurrence should be created
  • Created - Whether the next recurrence has been created

3. Create a To Generate View

Create a new grid view with two filters:

  • The Next field must be on or before today and
  • The Created box has not been checked

4. Add an Automation to Generate Recurrences

  • The automation is triggered each time a record enters the To Generate view
  • It triggers two actions
    • Create a Record - A new record is created, and the Date field is set to the value of the Next field in the trigger record
    • Update a Record - The Created box is checked in the trigger record

5. Test your Automation

To ensure your automation is working correctly, while looking at the default grid view (not the To Generate view), create a new record in the past. The next recurrence should populate automatically to current.

When creating a record use the date picker to set the date. If you type the date in, Airtable will trigger the automation as soon as you begin typing the date.

6. Link Submissions to Recurrences

  • Create a field under Submissions to link each record to a specific recurrence
  • Create a formula field under Recurrences to indicate whether the recurrence has been linked
  • Create a view named Unlinked in the Recurrences table, filtering to exclude linked records
  • Limit the link between the Submissions and Recurrences table to only allow selections that are in the Unlinked view.

7. Create your Submission Form

  • In the Submissions table create a new form view
  • Add narrative explanations to assist the user
  • Mark fields required
  • New submissions will now appear in your Submissions table
  • Since each submission is associated with a recurrence, and the form only shows unlinked recurrences, only the outstanding submission dates will be displayed by the form

💪 Additional Functionality

Send email reminders with Airtable
Allow a read-only user to remove a past submission with Airtable
Set up multiple recurrences with Airtable
Post as deposits to QuickBooks Online with Zapier
Post as deposits to Xero with Zapier
Calculate the total of all amounts provided with Airtable
Upload a file to Google Drive with Zapier
Notify someone of a submission via Slack with Airtable
Notify someone of a submission via Email with Airtable
Set up branching logic with Zapier

📚 More Resources

  • A 12 minute video walkthrough of this build is available in the rlz.io community
  • If you haven't used Airtable before, signing up via this link gets me a $10 Airtable credit 🙏