Finding an Airtable Record with a Zapier “Search Formula”

When building automation to support your Airtable databases, you’ll likely encounter the need to FIND A RECORD in Airtable. This is one of the action steps that Zapier makes available with the Airtable integration. Finding a record is commonly used in situations when you need to update a record (you have to locate it before you can update it) or when you need to link one record to another (you need to first identify the records before you can move forward).

Using Zapier to find a record in Airtable is generally straightforward. Usually, you’ll have some sort of ‘key’ that you use from a previous step in the automation. For example, let’s suppose you received an email and this triggered an automation. Perhaps you used the sender’s email address as the ‘key’ to find a related CONTACT in your Airtable database. Essentially, you’d want to look for the Email in Airtable that matches the email address that sent the message – easy enough, right? This works perfectly when you have a single field that records the emails for your contacts. You simply search the ‘email’ field in Airtable and look for a match.

However, sometimes this ‘easy option’ isn’t robust enough to tackle your needs. In such cases, we employ a more complicated “Search Formula,” which is an optional step when finding a record with Zapier.

In this video I walk through the steps, syntax, and tips for creating a Search Formula in Zapier. I use an example where we consider multiple email fields in our database and I build a formula that searches all of the fields (multiple columns) to find the appropriate record.

The search formula is MUCH MORE robust than this simple example – essentially any formula that you can write in Airtable can be used in this Zapier step to give you some really advanced search capabilities. Let me know in the comments if you’ve written advanced formulas for your automations!

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