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Automate Docs from Inside Airtable

May 18, 2020

Airtable's new partner blocks are an exciting development within the Airtable universe. Essentially, Airtable has started to allow third parties to build custom blocks that integrate with their products. Some of these are merely cosmetic, but others are really exciting and packed full of potential. One of the most promising blocks is the new block from Formstack.

Formstack (formerly Webmerge) is a software that allows you to create PDFs or other documents in the cloud. Of course, this type of technology lends itself well with Airtable. We store countless datapoints in Airtable, and many businesses have a need for generating automated documents from that underlying data. Why manually type out a document if you can push a button and create it automatically? Better yet, store that new document directly in your Airtable database - all with a click.

One feature that I think is fantastic is the ability to add logic inside of your Formstack template. We've all seen poorly merged documents that try to pull in data that might not exist - the end result is a poorly formatted document that has a ton of extra blank space. Formstack's unique logic capabilities allow you to overcome this obstacle directly in your template!

The second feature of this block that I love is the ability to create multiple documents at once. Going through your database and clicking one record at a time sounds arduous. Thankfully, Formstack thought of that and gave us the ability to merge a group of docs at once, saving them all directly back to our database.

Formstack isn't cheap to employ, but if you have a document heavy business, this is a tool you shouldn't be without. The amount of admin hours that this can save you is intense. If you estimate that each document you create takes 10 minutes to do by hand, and you create 100 documents a month, this would consume 16.67 hours each month. What is that time worth to you to reclaim?


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