Workflow Builder Ultimate Guide 2023

Teaching users & developers how to automate their Slack workspaces with Workflow Builder. Taking you beyond the Slack docs and answering the questions I wished were answered when I started.

What is a Slack Workflow?

Slack Workflows are a tool to let you automate your Slack workspace and more. You create them using the Slack Workflow Builder tool, which will be getting a ton of updates and new features in 2023.

Fun fact! Slack Workflow Builder was originally a Slack app called Missions, which was then acquired by Slack in 2018 and built into what you know today.

🏃‍♀️Using Workflow Builder

The nitty-gritty of getting Slack Workflow Builder to do your bidding and use workflows in Slack.

Available Triggers

There are 5 triggers available right now:

  • Shortcut (single channel)
  • New channel member (single channel)
  • Emoji reaction (single channel)
  • Scheduled date & time
  • Webhook

Wishing you could use any Slack event as a trigger, rather than just these 5? Slack is likely to add many of them in the next year or two, but if you need a solution for the interim, there is a free, open-source app (Workflow Buddy) that lets you proxy any Slack event as a trigger.

Built-in Steps

Slack started off with just 2 built-in steps: Send a message, Send a form. They also provide the ability to use Steps from other apps, but you have to already have them installed to use them (or to even search them).

Workflow Builder execution analytics & errors

Slack does provide some limited analytics information to help you track & debug how your workflows are running.

Can you format messages as variables for the Webhook Trigger?

Unfortunately, NO as of Fall 2022. Your Slack Markdown formatting will show up during execution as literal text like *bold * [Reddit src]. Unfortunate as that would unlock a lot of interesting programmatic messaging.

Steps from apps not visible after install

Have seen issues in the past when installing Slack apps but not being able to view their Steps when I go to Workflow Builder. Some things you can try:

  • Reinstall the Slack app.
  • Close out and reload your Slack desktop client.
  • Check the workspace Slack Admin permissions for Workflows.

Best of luck, and if you find something new, please reach out so we can add it as a suggestion for future adventurers.


Looking to build your own Steps from apps? Check out the Workflow Builder Developer Guide).

Examples & templates

See Workflow Builder Templates.

Resources & articles