• ThinkAutomation Logo

     

    Welcome To ThinkAutomation

    ThinkAutomation is a workflow automation solution designed to streamline and automate on-premises and cloud-based business processes that are triggered by specific events or messages from different sources. Events can be trigged by incoming email, database changes, webhooks, web form & chat bot submissions, incoming SMS & Teams messages, documents & local file changes and other message sources.

    When a message is received ThinkAutomation executes one or more workflow Automations. Automations are created using an easy to use drag-and-drop, low-code interface to automate simple or complex processes. Automations can perform many Actions that use data parsed and extracted from the incoming message. Actions include updating databases, CRM systems and cloud services, sending outgoing emails, Teams & SMS messages, document processing, custom scripting, ChatGPT integration and much more. Over 130 built-in actions are included, plus ThinkAutomation can be extended with Custom Actions that you can create yourself or download from our on-line library.

    ThinkAutomation stores each processed message in the Message Store. The Message Store contains a copy of each message processed along with a log of Automation actions.

    The ThinkAutomation Studio is used to setup your Message Sources, to design and test your Automations and to view the Message Store & logs. Multiple Message Sources and Automations can be grouped into a Solution. Any number of Solutions can be created. Once you have configured your Message Sources and Automations the ThinkAutomation Studio can be closed. Messages are processed in the background by the ThinkAutomation Services.

    ThinkAutomation is a self-managed solution, which means it can be deployed either on-premises or on a cloud-hosted virtual machine of your choice. This gives you control over the hosting environment, reduces running costs, and enables the processing of private and sensitive data.

    MainWindow

    Visit: www.ThinkAutomation.com for more information.

    Editions

    ThinkAutomation is available in the following editions: Basic, Standard, Professional & Enterprise:

     BasicStandardProfessionalEnterprise
    Max Message Sources5Unlimited ±Unlimited ±Unlimited ±
    Max Automations100Unlimited ±Unlimited ±Unlimited ±
    Max Messages Processed Per Day500Unlimited ±Unlimited ±Unlimited ±
    Max Web API Messages Received Per Day50010005000 *Unlimited ±
    Max Studio & Desktop Connector Users1210 **10 **
    Use Studio & Desktop Connector On Remote ComputersNoYesYesYes
    Custom Action Designer & Execute Script ActionNoNoYesYes
    Supports Distributed SetupNoNoYesYes
    Supports Failover Server OptionNoNoYesYes
    Supports Self-Hosted Web API Gateway ServerNoNoYesYes
    Remove Branding from Web Forms and Web Chat formsNoNoYesYes
    Process data on behalf of external organizationsNoNoNoYes

    ± Limited by available memory and processor capacity only. See: Local Server Limitations.

    * Can be increased at additional cost or you can use your own self-hosted instance of the ThinkAutomation Gateway Server which has no message limits. ** Can be increased at additional cost if required.

    The Evaluation Edition includes all features of the Professional Edition. The Evaluation Edition is free and will operate for 30 days. You can register an existing Evaluation Edition with a purchased serial number and retain your configuration settings.

    A Developer Edition is also available. This is a free edition aimed at developers who want to create solutions for other businesses. The Developer Edition is not licensed for commercial or production use and has a limit of 200 processed messages per day. Solutions created with the Developer Edition can be deployed to other ThinkAutomation instances.

    Professional Services

    Parker Software provides professional services to assist with configuring your Automations, creating Custom Actions and for product training. Please see: www.thinkautomation.com/professionalservices for more information.

    Product Support

    All ThinkAutomation subscriptions include access to support resources, free product updates and access to the Custom Action Library for the life of your subscription.

    Support is available via our online forum at https://helpdesk.parkersoftware.com. We also offer premium support with direct access to support technicians via email, live chat and telephone.

    Partners

    Parker Software offers reseller pricing, training & support for partners who want to provide ThinkAutomation based business process automation solutions to their customers. Please contact us for details.

     

    Installation

    ThinkAutomation requires Windows 10/11 (64bit) or Windows Server 2022, 2019 or 2016 (build 1709 or higher) with 1GB of free disk space and 2GB minimum ram (8GB or higher is recommended). It can run on on-premises or on a cloud hosted virtual machine.

    ThinkAutomation requires .NET Framework 4.8. This is installed by default on Windows 10/11 & Windows Server 2019/2022.

    Run the ThinkAutomation.exe setup to install. Once installed, use the ThinkAutomation Studio to complete the setup.

    Message Store

    ThinkAutomation stores each processed message in the Message Store. The Message Store contains a copy of each message processed along with a log of Automation actions. You can view the Message Store using the ThinkAutomation Studio. The Message Store Database will be created when ThinkAutomation is run for the first time.

    You can use the built-in SQLite database for the Message Store, or an external Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL or MongoDB database.

    The built-in SQLite database provides the simplest configuration and will work on any computer without any additional software. Using an external database may provide better performance.

    Message Store Database Types

    TypeDetails
    SQL ServerUse Microsoft SQL Server 2012 or higher. Any edition (including Express) can be used. Note: SQL Server Express edition has a limit of 10GB per database.
    MongoDBUse a local or remote MongoDB instance. MongoDB will provide high performance but requires more memory. Should not be used on machines with 8GB or less ram when using a local instance.
    MySQLUse MySQL version 5.7 or higher (or Maria DB).
    PostgreSQLUse PostgreSQL version 8 or higher.
    SQLiteUse the built-in SQLite database. Requires no additional components.

    Architecture

    ThinkAutomation consists of three Windows services along with the ThinkAutomation Studio.

    ServiceDetails
    ThinkAutomationServerMaintains the message queue, message store database & metadata and serves data to the other services and Studio users.
    ThinkAutomationMessageReaderReads messages from the Message Sources and sends new messages to the server queue.
    ThinkAutomationMessageProcessorExecutes Automations for each message received from the server queue.

    Each ThinkAutomation Service can run on the same computer, or separate computers in a distributed configuration (Professional Edition). All communication between the services are secure.

     

    ThinkAutomation Studio

    The ThinkAutomation Studio is used to configure your Message Sources and to build and test your Automations. It can also be used to view the Message Store of processed messages and to configure Custom Actions. The ThinkAutomation Studio can be run on the same computer running the ThinkAutomation Server or on any remote computer that can connect to it.

    The ThinkAutomation Studio does not need to be left running for messages to be processed.

    When you run the ThinkAutomation Studio for the first time you will be asked to register your license (or start an evaluation), setup your System Administrator login password and configure the Message Store database.

    A default user with username 'Admin' will be created with your specified password. Use the 'Admin' user to login. You can create additional users if required using the Server Settings.

    A default Solution will be created using the company name used during registration. You can create a new Solution using the New Solution button.

     

    ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector

    The ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector is a stand-alone application that you can optionally install on multiple computers on your network.

    Users can use the ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector to manually execute Automations by sending messages or by dragging and dropping files, attachments and Outlook Messages. For example, you may have an Automation that generates a quotation PDF, sends the quotation to the customer and records it in your CRM system. The ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector could be installed on all the sales team computers. Sales team members can then simply drag and drop quote request emails on to the relevant Automation. Automations are executed immediately by the ThinkAutomation server and the results displayed.

    The ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector cannot be used to edit Automations or make any other configuration changes.

    See: The ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector Application for more information.

     

    Solutions

    Message Sources and Automations are grouped into a Solution. You can create multiple Solutions. A default Solution will be created when you run the ThinkAutomation Studio for the first time. The name of the default Solution will be set to the company name you used when you registered ThinkAutomation. The currently selected Solution can be changed by clicking the Select Solution button on the right-hand side of the Studio ribbon. You can create a new Solution by clicking the New Solution button.

    Solutions can be deployed to another ThinkAutomation instance. This allows you to develop a Solution on one ThinkAutomation instance and then deploy it to another. Solution Access rights can be configured for separate users. If you have multiple Studio or Desktop Connector users you can restrict access to specific Solutions.

     

    Message Sources

    A Message Source defines how ThinkAutomation will receive messages to process. You can create multiple Message Sources to receive messages from various sources. Each Message Source is connected to an Automation. When a message is received the message content is passed to the assigned Automation for processing. Individual Message Sources can be enabled/disabled or paused. You can also manually execute any Automation by sending it a message directly via the Studio or Desktop Connector.

    To create a Message Source click the New Message Source button on the ThinkAutomation Studio ribbon. A Solution must have at least one Message Source.

    Enter the Message Source Name and click Next to choose and configure the message source type:

    Message Source Types

    ThinkAutomation can receive and automate messages from the following Message Source Types:

    SourceDetails
    Email - Office 365Read emails from an Office 365 or online Outlook account email folder.
    Email - ExchangeRead emails from a Microsoft Exchange account email folder.
    Email - GmailRead email items from a Gmail account.
    Email - IMAPRead emails from an IMAP enabled email account.
    Email - POP3Read emails from a POP3 enabled email account.
    Email - SendGridReceive new emails received via SendGrid.
    Email - SMTPReceive emails via the built-in SMTP mail server.
    Web FormCreate a local or publicly accessible web form and receive form submissions for processing.
    Web ChatCreate a local or publicly accessible web form with a conversation-style UI.
    TeamsRespond to @mentions from Microsoft Teams channels.
    DatabaseMonitor a SQL database for new or updated records.
    MongoDBMonitor a MongoDB collection for new documents.
    File PickupMonitor a local folder for new or updated files.
    CSV & Excel PickupMonitor an Excel or CSV file for new rows.
    HTTP GetMonitor a web resource for changes.
    Azure QueueMonitor an Azure Queue.
    TwilioReceive incoming SMS messages from Twilio.
    TwitterMonitor a Twitter feed for new Tweets.
    APIA HTTP API for receiving messages from custom sources and external webhooks.
    Web Forms - CustomPost any of your existing web forms to ThinkAutomation for processing.
    Web RequestsExecute an Automation whenever the Web API URL is requested.
    Microsoft Graph ChangeMonitor changes to various entity types in Microsoft Graph (Office 365).
    Static ScheduledExecute an Automation with a default message at preset times.

    Email - Office 365 or Outlook

    Reads emails from an Office 365 or an online Outlook mailbox folder. Click the Sign In button to sign in to an Office 365 or Outlook account.

    Select the Folder to read emails from.

    Enable the Delete Processed Messages option to remove emails from the Office 365 folder once they have been processed by ThinkAutomation (optional).

    You can also select the Move To Folder option to move processed items to a different folder (optional). You can conditionally move processed messages to a different folder inside an Automation. See: Move Incoming Message action.

    The Only Messages Since date entry allows you to specify a date. Any messages with a received date prior to this date will be ignored. The Only Messages From Address entry allows you to specify one or more from addresses. Leave this entry blank to include emails from all senders. You can specify multiple addresses separated by semi-colons. You can also use wildcards (eg: *@somedomain.com).

    Access Shared Mailbox

    You can optionally read messages from a shared mailbox. Enter the shared mailbox username in the Access Shared Mailbox entry. Click the Get Folders button to read the folders for the shared mailbox. If the Shared Mailbox entry is blank then folders will be displayed for the signed-in user.

    Re-Sign In

    Depending on your security configuration you may need to re-sign in periodically. In these cases ThinkAutomation will pause the Message Source and send a notification to the ThinkAutomation Studio informing you to sign in again. Open the Message Source using the ThinkAutomation Studio and click the Sign In button again and then Resume the Message Source.

    Sync-Status

    The Office 365 Message Source works by synchronizing changes since the last time the mailbox was checked (depending on the Schedule you have configured). Only new messages since the last synchronization are downloaded. All messages will be downloaded when the mailbox is accessed for the first time. During Automation development it may be necessary to re-download and reprocess all messages again. To do this, first delete all existing messages from the ThinkAutomation Message Store. Then click the Reset Sync State button on the Message Source properties page. The Reset Sync State button clears the synchronization status for the the message source causing all messages to be re-downloaded. See: Reprocessing Existing Messages.

    Note: If the mailbox contains many thousands of messages it may take some time for the first sync to complete.

    See Also: Microsoft Logins if you want to use your own App Registration for connecting to Office 365.


    Email - Exchange

    Reads emails using Microsoft Exchange Server Web Services (EWS). This works with any on-premises or hosted Exchange Server. Enter your Exchange User Name and Password and the URL and click Connect. If you do not know your Exchange URL, enter the User Name & Password and click Discover. This will attempt to find the URL from the user credentials.

    Select the Folder to read emails from. Enable the Delete Processed Messages option to remove emails from the Office 365 folder once they have been processed by ThinkAutomation (optional).

    You can also select the Move To Folder option to move processed items to a different folder (optional).

    The Only Messages Since date entry allows you to specify a date. Any messages with a received date prior to this date will be ignored. The Only Messages From Address entry allows you to specify one or more from addresses. Leave this entry blank to include emails from all senders. You can specify multiple addresses separated by semi-colons. You can also use wildcards (eg: *@somedomain.com).

    This Message Source type is designed for legacy on-premises or hosted Exchange Servers that still support basic auth. If you use Office 365 you should use the Office 365 Message Source which uses modern authentication.

    Sync-Status

    The Exchange Message Source works by synchronizing changes since the last time the mailbox was checked (depending on the Schedule you have configured). Only new messages since the last synchronization are downloaded. All messages will be downloaded when the mailbox is accessed for the first time. During Automation development it may be necessary to re-download and reprocess all messages again. To do this, first delete all existing messages from the ThinkAutomation Message Store. Then click the Reset Sync State button on the Message Source properties page. The Reset Sync State button clears the synchronization status for the the message source causing all messages to be re-downloaded. See: Reprocessing Existing Messages.


    Email - Gmail

    Reads emails from any Gmail mailbox. Click the Sign In button to sign in to Gmail. Select the Folder to download messages from.

    Enable the Move Processed Messages To Folder option if you want to move emails to a different Gmail folder (optional). You can conditionally move processed messages to a different folder inside an Automation. See: Move Incoming Message action.

    Enable the Delete Processed Messages option to delete emails once they have been processed by ThinkAutomation (optional). If the Permanently Delete option is enabled then emails will deleted permanently, otherwise they will be moved to the Trash folder.

    The Only Messages Since date entry allows you to specify a date. Any messages with a received date prior to this date will be ignored. The Only Messages From Address entry allows you to specify one or more from addresses. Leave this entry blank to include emails from all senders. You can specify multiple addresses separated by semi-colons. You can also use wildcards (eg: *@somedomain.com).

    Sync-Status

    The Gmail Message Source works by synchronizing changes since the last time the mailbox was checked (depending on the Schedule you have configured). Only new messages since the last synchronization are downloaded. All messages will be downloaded when the mailbox is accessed for the first time. During Automation development it may be necessary to re-download and reprocess all messages again. To do this, first delete all existing messages from the ThinkAutomation Message Store. Then click the Reset Sync State button on the Message Source properties page. The Reset Sync State button clears the synchronization status for the the message source causing all messages to be re-downloaded. See: Reprocessing Existing Messages.


    Email - IMAP

    Reads emails from a mail server using the IMAP protocol. Enter the IMAP Server address, port, user name & password. Click the Connect button to connect and then select the Folder to read messages from.

    You can select to Move or Delete processed messages (optional). You can conditionally move processed messages to a different folder inside an Automation. See: Move Incoming Message action.

    If the Mark Processed Messages As Seen option is enabled, ThinkAutomation will set the 'seen' flag on the IMAP server for each processed message. It will also only download 'unseen' messages. This can improve performance, however you should ensure no other user is connecting to the same mailbox with the same credentials and marking messages as seen separately.

    The Only Messages Since date entry allows you to specify a date. Any messages with a received date prior to this date will be ignored. The Only Messages From Address entry allows you to specify one or more from addresses. Leave this entry blank to include emails from all senders. You can specify multiple addresses separated by semi-colons. You can also use wildcards (eg: *@somedomain.com).

    Sync-Status

    The IMAP Source works by synchronizing changes since the last time the mailbox was checked (depending on the Schedule you have configured). Only new messages since the last synchronization are downloaded. All messages will be downloaded when the mailbox is accessed for the first time. During Automation development it may be necessary to re-download and reprocess all messages again. To do this, first delete all existing messages from the ThinkAutomation Message Store. Then click the Reset Sync State button on the Message Source properties page. The Reset Sync State button clears the synchronization status for the the message source causing all messages to be re-downloaded. See: Reprocessing Existing Messages.


    Email - POP3

    Reads emails from a mail server using the POP3 protocol. Enter the POP3 Server address, port, user name & password. Click the Test Connection button to verify the connection. You should only use POP3 if IMAP is not available.

    POP3 is an older and slower protocol than IMAP and does not provide an option to only download new messages since the last download. To ensure fast access you should enable the Delete Processed Messages option so that messages are removed from the POP3 account once they have been processed by ThinkAutomation.


    Email - SendGrid

    The SendGrid message source type receives email messages sent to any of your SendGrid domains.

    SendGrid is a cloud based message delivery platform. When used with ThinkAutomation it enables ThinkAutomation to receive email messages sent to any recipients for any of your SendGrid email domains. SendGrid is a worldwide platform and the cost is based on usage. See: https://www.sendgrid.com

    You need to create a SendGrid Account if you want to be able to process SendGrid received email messages using ThinkAutomation.

    You then need to login to your SendGrid account and setup the Inbound Parse feature. See: https://sendgrid.com/docs/for-developers/parsing-email/setting-up-the-inbound-parse-webhook/

    Set the Inbound Parse Webhook URL in your SendGrid account to the SendGrid Inbound Parse URL shown in the ThinkAutomation Message Source. As emails are received by SendGrid they will then be forwarded to ThinkAutomation for processing. This does not affect your regular SendGrid email flow - it simply sends a copy to ThinkAutomation as emails are received.


    Email - SMTP

    The SMTP message source type receives email messages via the built-in SMTP mail server. The ThinkAutomation server can be configured as a mail server to receive email directly.

    In the Accept Incoming SMTP Emails For Addresses entry, enter one or more email addresses for this message source. Any incoming SMTP emails with a To, CC or BCC address matching one of these emails will be received and processed.

    You can add multiple email addresses separated by semi-colons (;). Wild cards can be used (eg: sales*).

    Multiple message sources can be configured to process different Automations depending on the To, CC or BCC addresses. If no Message Source is found for an incoming email then the email will be ignored.

    Any email client, script or PowerShell can then be used to send email to ThinkAutomation for processing.

    The SMTP Server option must be enabled in the Server settings. See: Server Settings - SMTP Server API


    Web Form

    The Web Form message source type enables you to create a local and publicly accessible web form with multiple input fields. Web forms are responsive and mobile friendly. Each web form has a unique secure public URL hosted on Azure as part of the ThinkAutomation Web API and a local URL served directly from your ThinkAutomation Server. You can embed the public web form inside your own website or send a link to the form in outgoing emails. When a web user completes the form, the results are sent to your ThinkAutomation Server for immediate processing. The Web Form can optionally display the Automation return value after the form is submitted.

    Click here to view a sample webform.

    Form Text

    Title

    Enter an optional title. This will appear in bold above the header.

    Header Text

    This is the text that is displayed above the form itself. You can use Markdown if required. The Markdown will be converted to HTML when the form is rendered. The Title & Header are optional. You can also adjust the text for the Submit Button.

    Footer Text

    The footer text defaults to 'Processed By ThinkAutomation'. If you have the ThinkAutomation Professional Edition you can change the Footer text. Set this to blank to remove the footer. The footer can contain HTML.

    Confirmation Message

    Enter the Confirmation Message. This is the text that is displayed after the form is submitted. If the Display In Modal Popup option is enabled then instead of the form content being replaced with the confirmation message, a popup window will show. When the user closes the popup window the form resets ready for new values.

    Using HTML

    The Header, Footer & Confirmation message can use plain text, Markdown or HTML. Markdown will be converted to HTML. You can also use HTML directly. Web forms use Bootstrap 5, so any of the standard Bootstrap 5 classes can be used.

    Form Input Fields

    You can create any number of Form Fields. Click Add to add a field.

    Enter a Name and Label Text. You can also optionally specify Help Text that will display in a smaller font below the input field.

    The Field Type can be:

    For text field types you can specify the Max Length. The Max Lines option allows you to define the maximum lines.

    You can arrange the order of fields on the form using the Up & Down buttons.

    File Upload

    You can add input fields of type File. This allows the user to select one or more files to upload. Uploaded files will be added to the incoming message as attachments. You can limit the allowed file types by specifying a comma separated list of allowed file extensions in the File Types entry (eg: PDF, Doc, Docx). You can also specify the maximum file size in bytes. If the Multiple option is enabled then the user will be able to upload multiple files in the same input. Enable the Required option if a file must be selected before the form can be submitted.

    Field Attributes

    The Attributes tab allows you to specify a default value, change case & validation rules. Enable the Validate option. When the web user completes the form they will not be able to submit it until all of the fields pass validation.

    If you want the user to select possible values from a list, select the Must Be In List option and then enter the Choices. For example to show a list box showing 'Yes', 'No' & 'Not Sure', set the Field Type to 'Text', enable the Validate option, select the Must Be In List option and add Choices of 'Yes', 'No' and 'Not Sure'. The default value of the select list will be set to the Default Value entry. The list can be displayed as a select list, a button group or a radio button group. Select the display type from the Of Type entry.

    Visibility

    The Visibility tab allows you to define visibility rules for the current field. Disable the Visible On Form Load option if you do not want this field visible by default.

    In the Change Visibility Of This Field grid you define a condition to show or hide this field. The condition can be based on values of other input fields.

    Then from the If Condition Is True Make This Field entry select Visible or Hidden.

    As a user completes the form all of the visibility conditions will be evaluated when any input value is changed.

    Pre-Populating Field Values

    In addition the the Default Value that you can set for each field you can also pre-populate field values via the form URL. Adding &x-{fieldname}=value to the form URL will set its default value on form load. For example: If you have field name Company you could pre-populate its value by adding x-Company=Test%20Customer to the form URL. Pre-populating field values can still be done if the field is hidden.

    Scheme

    The web form uses Bootstrap for its responsive layout. Select the Bordered option to show the form inside a bordered card. Use the Scheme list to select a color scheme for the card. You can also change the Background & Foreground colors. The Foreground color can only be changed if not using a bordered card. Specify a Header Image URL to display an image above the title.

    You can also specify a Custom Style Sheet Link URL. You can use this to override the default Bootstrap styles. If a custom style sheet is used then the Background/Foreground colors are ignored.

    Click the Preview button to display a local preview of how the form will look.

    Redirect

    You can optionally specify a Redirect URL. This is a URL the web user will be redirected to on completion of the form. If a redirect URL is specified then the Confirmation Message will not be displayed to the user. If you want to conditionally redirect after the confirmation message is show use the Create Web Form Redirect action.

    WhosOn Live Chat

    WhosOn is Parker Software's live chat and visitor tracking solution. See: https://www.whoson.com. If you are a WhosOn user you can add the WhosOn page tag to your form so that visitors to the form show in real time in your WhosOn Client. You can optionally Show Chat Button on your form. Your WhosOn Server & Domain details are specified in the ThinkAutomation Server Settings.

    Captcha

    You can add a Google reCAPTCHA box to your forms to ensure human only responses. Go to reCAPTCHA (google.com). Use the Admin Console to create a reCAPTCHA. Set the type to reCAPTCHA v2. In the domain enter api.thinkautomation.com. Select the reCAPTCHA keys section and enter your Site Key and Secret Key.

    Public Form URL

    This entry shows the unique public URL for the web form. You can link to this from your website, send it in outgoing emails or embed it into your web site pages using an iframe tag. Whenever a web visitor completes the form the Automation assigned to the Message Source will be executed with the form contents.

    Local Form URL

    This entry shows the unique local URL for the web form. This URL connects directly to your ThinkAutomation Server and can be used on your local network. The local web form looks and operates the same as the Public web form except that the form contents are posted directly to your ThinkAutomation Server - bypassing the Public API.

    Friendly Path

    By default the URL path for the web form will be /form followed by ?taid={uniquekey}. You can change this to a more friendly path, such as /mycompany/customers/addform. The path must be unique. ThinkAutomation will check that the path is valid and unique before saving.

    Returning The Automation Return Value

    Enable the Wait For & Include Automation Return Value With The Confirmation Message option if you want the Automation Return Value included in the confirmation message. If this option is enabled then the form response will wait for the Automation to complete. You should then configure your Automation to return the text, markdown, html or a file that you want displayed in the form confirmation. The max wait time is 60 seconds, so if your Automation may be long running then the Wait For option may not be applicable.

    You can also include a redirect in the Return value if you want another Web Form or URL shown after the form is submitted. See the Create Web Form Redirect action.

    Returning Files

    If the Wait For & Include Automation Return Value With The Confirmation Message option is enabled and the Automation Return value is a single local file path (or a variable containing a file path) then the file content will be read and returned. You can return whole html pages, images, PDF files etc. The response Content-Type will be set according to the file extension. The web form will redirect to a new page showing the file content.

    Returning Files From The Embedded Files Store

    If you are using the Embedded Files Store action to save files to the Embedded Files Store database, you can return file content directly from the Embedded File Store. Use the Embedded Files Store action with the Get Info operation. Assign the results of the Get Info operation to your Automation Return value. The ThinkAutomation Server will then read the file content directly from the database and return the content.

    The Web API has a limit of 5mb for the content returned from an Automation.

    If your Automation is long running, or you want to provide a static link to the Automation results that a user can access later, you can use the %Msg_ResultsUrl% variable. Your Automation could include this variable in an outgoing email. A user can click the link to view the Automation results at a later date. The %Msg_ResultsUrl% URL is unique for each processed message and contains a secure hash. The link will work for as long as the Message is stored in the Message Store. You do not need to enable the Wait For & Include Automation Return Value In The Confirmation Message option to use the %Msg_ResultsUrl%.

    How it Works

    When you save the Message Source your ThinkAutomation Server uploads the form details to the ThinkAutomation Web API Gateway server. The Web API Gateway acts as a secure tunnel between the public web form and your on-premises ThinkAutomation instance. Your ThinkAutomation server makes an outbound connection to the Web API Gateway server. Once saved, the web form can be used immediately. Any changes you make will be updated. See: Using The Web API for more information.

    When a web user completes the form, the ThinkAutomation Web API sends the results to your ThinkAutomation Server. The message body will be Json containing the form fields. For example:

    You can then use Extract Field actions to extract the data from the message and perform any other Automation actions. If your ThinkAutomation Server is not active when a web form is submitted it will be queued by the ThinkAutomation Web API for up to 48 hours. Any uploaded files will be added to the message as attachments.

    Additional Headers

    The following headers will be added to the ThinkAutomation message headers:

    HeaderDetails
    RemoteHostThe IP address of the web user submitting the form.
    User-AgentThe browser user-agent of the web user submitting the form.
    OriginThe origin header of the web user submitting the form.

    You can access these values in your Automations (using the Set Variable action with the Extract Header Value operation). The RemoteHost is available using the built-in variable %Msg_FromIp%. For example, you could use the GeoIP Lookup action to lookup the country for the user's IP address, or use the Get Browser Info action to get the browser name.

    Security

    Each web form URL is unique to your ThinkAutomation instance and Message Source and contains a secure hash. The web form is hosted on Microsoft Azure and is served via HTTPS only - meaning all form submissions are encrypted. The ThinkAutomation Web API sends completed forms to your ThinkAutomation Server over a secure WebSocket connection. The Web API gateway server does not keep copies of submitted forms. If your ThinkAutomation Server is not active then any form data is stored in a queue for up to 48 hours and sent when your ThinkAutomation Server becomes active. This storage queue is encrypted.

    Embedding The Form In Your Website

    You can add the form to any of your web pages using an iframe tag. For example:

    Once the form is embedded any changes you make to Message Source Web Form properties will be updated on the form on your site. If you delete the Message Source from your ThinkAutomation settings you will need to remove the embedded link from your site.

    You can also post your own existing web forms to ThinkAutomation for processing. See: Web Forms-Custom.


    Web Chat

    The Web Chat message source type enables you to create a local and publicly accessible web chat form. Each web chat form has a unique secure public URL hosted on Azure as part of the ThinkAutomation Web API and a local URL served directly from your ThinkAutomation Server. You can link to, or embed the public web chat form inside your own website or send a link to the form in outgoing emails. When a web user sends a chat message, the results are sent to your ThinkAutomation Server for immediate processing and the Automation Return Value is returned to the chat. The user can continue sending messages and receiving responses in a conversation-style UI. Any number of separate Web Chat Form message sources can be created.

    Bot Name

    Specify the name for your 'bot'. When ThinkAutomation sends back a response the Bot Name shows above the response text in the chat. You can use an email address in the form Bot Name <email>. The bot name shown in the chat form will just be the name part. The Bot Name is also used for the 'To' address of messages sent from the Web Chat form to your ThinkAutomation server and available in your Automation in the %Msg_To% variable.

    Start Chat

    Before a user starts a chat session you can optionally require that the user enters their Name, Email Address and/or a Subject. These values will be passed to your Automation with each chat message in the %Msg_FromName%, %Msg_FromEmail% and %Msg_Subject% variables.

    You can configure the input fields for Name, Email & Subject (such as Prompt text, Required etc.). For the Subject field, if you want to provide a list of possible values instead of free-text, set the Attributes of the Field to Validate - Must Be In List - and then provide the Choices.

    You can also pre-populate the Name, Email & Subject field values via the chat form URL. Adding &x-Name=value , x-Email=value and x-Subject=value to the chat form URL will set the values on form load.

    You can change the Start Chat Header text. This is any text that appears above the Start Chat input fields. You can also change the Start Chat Button Text.

    Send Token On Chat Start

    If this option is enabled then your Automation will receive a message with the %Msg_Body% set to [webchatstart] after a user has completed the Start Chat form to initiate a new chat session. Your Automation could check for this token and return details about what your bot can offer and any other opening remarks. You can also use this to record user details in a database etc. Your Automation should return blank Return Value if you do not want any response returned to the chat after receiving this message.

    Initial Message

    After the user completes the Start Chat form and starts a new chat session an Initial Message can be added to the chat. This would normally be a Welcome! How can we help you today? style message. You can use Markdown or HTML if required. Set to blank for no initial message.

    File Upload

    Enable the Allow File Upload option if you want to allow the user to upload files during the chat. The uploaded file will be added as an attachment to the incoming message. The Allowed File Extensions entry allows you to specify the allowed file types. Specify a comma separated list of allowed file extensions (eg: pdf,doc,docx). You can also specify the Maximum File Size in bytes.

    Labels

    You can change the Header text and the Message Text Placeholder. The header is displayed above the chat form.

    The footer text defaults to 'Processed By ThinkAutomation'. If you have the ThinkAutomation Professional Edition you can change the Footer text. Set this to blank to remove the footer. The footer can contain HTML.

    Theme

    Specify a Light, Dark or one of the color themes. You can also optionally specify a Header Image URL. This is the URL to a image that will show in the chat header. This should be a small image (32/32 pixels).

    Click the Preview button to display a local preview of how the chat form will look.

    Note: Parker Software Professional Services can create bespoke web chat forms with custom styling. Please contact us for more information.

    Public Chat URL

    This entry shows the unique public URL for the web chat form. You can link to this from your website, send it in outgoing emails or embed it into your web site pages using an iframe tag.

    Local Chat URL

    This entry shows the unique local URL for the web chat form. This URL connects directly to your ThinkAutomation Server and can be used on your local network. The local web form looks and operates the same as the Public web chat form except that the form contents are posted directly to your ThinkAutomation Server - bypassing the Public API.

    Friendly Path

    By default the URL path for the web chat form will be /form followed by ?taid={uniquekey}. You can change this to a more friendly path, such as /mycompany/customers/chat. The path must be unique. ThinkAutomation will check that the path is valid and unique before saving.

    How it Works

    When you save the Message Source your ThinkAutomation Server uploads the chat form details to the ThinkAutomation Web API Gateway server. The Web API Gateway acts as a secure tunnel between the public web form and your on-premises ThinkAutomation instance. Your ThinkAutomation server makes an outbound connection to the Web API Gateway server. Once saved, the web chat form can be used immediately. Any changes you make will be updated.

    When a web user sends a chat message, the ThinkAutomation Web API sends a new message to your ThinkAutomation Server. Your Automation will execute for each chat message received. The message body %Msg_Body% variable will contain the user entered message text.

    Returning The Automation Return Value

    Web Chat forms will automatically wait for your Automation to execute. The Automation Return Value will be displayed in the chat as a response to the message received. You should configure your Automation to return the text, markdown or HTML you want displayed in the chat in response to the message received.

    You can also include a redirect in the Return Value if you want the chat session to end and be redirected to another Web Form, Chat Form or URL. See the Create Web Form Redirect action.

    Sending '[end]' as the Automation Return Value will end the current chat session for the user.

    Sending Chat Input Request Forms

    In addition to returning text in the Automation Return Value, you can send 'Chat Input Request' forms. This is a pre-defined list of buttons or inputs that the user can complete to send back specific information.

    For example, you could ask the user 'Which product do you use?' and then include buttons for each of your products. The user can simply click one of the buttons instead of typing the product name. See: Create Chat Input Request action.

    Integrating With ChatGPT

    The Automation executed when a chat message is received can perform any actions you choose. You could return on-premises or company data based on the message text received. You can also call ChatGPT using the ChatGPT action. Using the ChatGPT action enables you to very quickly create website chat bots - especially when combined with the Embedded Knowledge Store action to provide context.

    A simple ChatGPT enabled Chat Bot Automation example:

    ChatBot

    In this example, we have loaded all of the ThinkAutomation help documentation into the Embedded Knowledge Store collection called 'ThinkAutomationKB'. When a user asks a question in the chat, the Automation searches the Knowledge Base using the user's question to find the 5 most relevant articles. Those are then added to the conversation as context. This enables ChatGPT to answer the question - even if it has no knowledge itself.

    When you create a new Web Chat Message Source, the New Message Source wizard will ask you if you want to use ChatGPT with a Knowledge Store. If this option is enabled, a new Automation will be automatically created and your bot will be ready. You can then edit the Automation if you need to make adjustments.

    The integration of ThinkAutomation with ChatGPT offers a powerful workflow automation solution that enhances the capabilities of ChatGPT through on-premises operation and context enrichment from a local knowledge store. This approach enables accurate, context-aware responses without the need for model training, ensuring cost-effectiveness and the ability to keep private data secure. It allows organizations to quickly create working bots, maintain up-to-date information, and harness the full potential of ChatGPT while maintaining control over their data and data privacy.


    Microsoft Teams

    The Teams message source type receives outgoing webhook requests from Microsoft Teams. Users of Teams can use @mentions to trigger a request. Your Automation return value is then sent back to the conversation as a response.

    For each Teams Message source you supply a Name. This is the text that users will type in Teams (preceded by an @ sign). For example: You could have a Teams Message Source with the name 'FindCustomer'. In Teams users would type @FindCustomer followed by some more text. When the user hits enter the text will be sent to ThinkAutomation and your Automation will execute. The Return value of the Automation will then be sent back to Teams and show as a response in the conversation.

    You can create any number of Teams Message Sources with different 'names' and then attach these to any of your Teams.

    Setup In Microsoft Teams

    In Microsoft Teams select the appropriate team and choose Manage team from the (•••) drop-down menu.

    TeamsSetup1

     

    Select Manage Team

    TeamsSetup2

     

    Choose the Apps tab from the navigation bar.

    TeamsSetup3

    Select Create an outgoing webhook.

    Note: This option will only be available if you are the Owner of the team.

    TeamsSetup4

    Specify the Name - users can then enter @{name} to send to ThinkAutomation.

    Paste the Microsoft Teams Outgoing Webhook Callback URL into the Callback URL entry.

    Paste the Security Token shown after the Teams webhook is created into the Security Token entry in ThinkAutomation.

    TeamsSetup6

    See: Add custom bots to Microsoft Teams with outgoing webhooks - Teams | Microsoft Docs for more information.

    When you create a new Teams message source, ThinkAutomation will automatically add Extract Field actions to the Automation to extract the message text.

    Returning A Response

    Use the Return action to send back the text you want to respond with. The response text can be plain text, HTML or Markdown.

    An Example: You could create a Teams outgoing webhook with the name "GetAccount". Whenever a Teams user types '@GetAccount Test Customer' - your Automation will execute. The %MessagePlainText% Extracted field will be set to 'GetAccount Test Customer'. The %MessageTextAfterName% Extracted Field will be set to 'Test Customer'. You could then lookup customer details from a database or perform other actions and return a response - which will be returned back to the Teams conversation.

    You could also use the ChatGPT action with a local knowledge store. This would allow teams users to send questions to your 'bot'.

    Returning An Adaptive Card

    You can also return an Adaptive Card. This is Json text that will be rendered in Teams. You can design Adaptive Cards here: https://adaptivecards.io . Once you have designed your Adaptive card click the Copy card payload button to copy the Json text. Use this as the Automation Return value. You can adjust the Json to include Automation %variables% before returning it using the Create Json action.

    The Automation you execute should not be long running. Microsoft Teams will wait for up to 5 seconds for a response.

    The Microsoft Teams message source type uses the ThinkAutomation Web API to forward messages from Teams to your ThinkAutomation Server. The ThinkAutomation Web API sends messages to your ThinkAutomation Server over a secure WebSocket connection. The Web API server does not keep copies of forwarded messages.


    Database

    The Database message source type can be used to monitor a database for new or updated records. Rows returned from a database query will be passed to an Automation for processing. Select the Database Type (Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, Firebird or OLDBC/OLEDB). Enter the Connection String or click the ... button to build and test the connection. See: Database Connection Notes for more details about supported databases.

    Enter the SQL Statement to query against the database to retrieve rows. For example:

    The SQL Statement can contain Parameters. You should then complete the Parameters table to provide each parameter type and value.

    The query should include at least one column that provides a unique value. Enter this column name in the Unique Id Column box. ThinkAutomation will ensure that the same record is not processed more than once based on the Unique Id Column value. If no Unique Id Column is used then the same records could be processed multiple times if they are not filtered out using the WHERE clause (or deleted).

    ThinkAutomation automatically caches the last Unique Id Column value each time it requests data from the database. You can use this cached value as a Parameter value by setting a parameter value to %LastDatabaseId%.

    In the above example the Unique Column Name is PersonId. We set the @Id parameter value to %LastDatabaseId%. This means that each time ThinkAutomation requests data from the database it only requests records with a higher PersonId since the last request (making the query much faster).

    Test & Create Automation

    You should test your query before saving the Message Source. Click the Test button. When you use the Test option on a new Message Source, ThinkAutomation will ask if you want to create a new Automation to process the records. It will then create a new Automation with Extract Field actions that match the columns returned by the query.

    Creating The ThinkAutomation Message

    Each row returned from the database query will be passed to the Automation for processing. You can choose to pass all columns to the Automation or a single column. Set the Assign All Columns To Message Body to send all columns returned by the query.

    The database row will be passed to the Automation in the following format:

    If you used the Test option then Extract Field actions will have been created automatically to extract each column value.

    You can optionally set the message Subject, From Address and Date. The Subject will default to '%TableName% (%LastDatabaseId%)' - where %TableName% will be the table name extracted from the SQL statement used for the query. You can change this and include text and column values for the current row. To use column values, use %ColumnName% replacements. For example:

    Record Id %LastDatabaseId% For %FirstName% %LastName% would set the subject to 'Record Id 1 For Ken Sánchez'.

    The Message Date will default to the current date & time. You can optionally set it to a column value. For example, %ModifiedDate%.


    MongoDB

    The MongoDB message source type can be used to monitor a MongoDB database collection for new or updated documents. Each document found will then be passed to an Automation for processing. You can connect to a local MongoDB or a cloud based MongoDB compatible document database such as MongoDB Atlas, Amazon DocumentDB or Azure Cosmos DB.

    Enter the MongoDB Connection String, Database Name and Collection Name. Enter the Query json and optionally the Projection and Sort json. Click the Test button to test the connection and query.

    ThinkAutomation automatically caches the last document _id value between requests in the %LastDatabaseId% variable. This can be used in the Query json. For example:

    This Query will retrieve all documents where the _id value is greater than then last requested _id.

    Each document returned from the query will be passed to the Automation for processing in its Json format. You can then create Extracted Fields on your Automation to extract each value that you need in your Automation. Extracted Fields have an Extract Json option for easy extraction of Json data.


    File Pickup

    The File Pickup message source type can be used to monitor a local folder on the ThinkAutomation computer. Each new or updated file found in the folder will be passed to the Automation for processing. The Subject of the message will be set to the file path.

    Select the From Folder and File Name or Mask.

    Add File Contents

    Enable the Add File Contents option if you want ThinkAutomation to add the file contents to the message passed to ThinkAutomation for processing. Text based files will be added as the plain text body. HTML files will be added as the HTML body. Any other files will be passed as an Attachment - which you can then process in the Automation. The Add File Contents option applies only to files less than 50MB in size. For files greater than 50MB the file details will be passed (see below).

    Add File Contents - Email Messages

    Files with extensions .eml and .msg (Outlook Messages) will be added as regular email messages (with Body, Subject, From, To, Headers etc set.).

    No File Contents

    If Add File Contents is not enabled (or the file size > 50MB) then only the file details will be passed to the Automation. The file details are passed as Json in the Message Body, in the following format:

    The Subject will be set to the file path.

    In an Automation you can then access the file path using %Msg.Subject% and extract other file information using Extract Field actions. The default Automation created when you create the Message Source will automatically contain Extract Field actions to extract the above fields. You can then use the %Path% variable on Automation actions (such as Convert Document, Print etc).

    Delete After Pickup

    Enable the Delete After Pickup option if you want ThinkAutomation to delete files once they have been processed.

    Enable Folder Monitoring

    If the Enable Folder Monitoring option is enabled then ThinkAutomation will monitor the selected Folder for new or changed files (after the initial scan). New and changed files will be processed immediately. If this option is not enabled then you can set a Schedule (for example: Every 2 minutes). The folder will scanned depending on the schedule - and any new files will be processed. Folder monitoring is enabled by default - you can disable it if you only want to scan a folder at pre-set times.

    CSV and Excel Files

    When using the File Pickup message source type, CSV and Excel files can be treated differently. Instead of the complete file, ThinkAutomation can select any new Rows added to the CSV or Excel file and send these as single messages to the Automation for processing.

    For Example, consider the following CSV file:

    ProductNameQuantityValue
    Item 1Item 1 description1001.20
    Item 2Item 2 description2001.30

    When ThinkAutomation reads this CSV file (or Excel file) it will create 2 messages in the following format:

    Message 1:

    Message 2:

    The subject of the message will be: [filename] Row x

    Enable the For CSV & Excel Files Create Single Messages For Each New Row option to enable single row message processing. For Excel files you can also optionally specify the Worksheet name to use and the Headers Row number containing header values.

    For CSV files, if the CSV file has no header row, enable the CSV Has No Header Row option.

    By default all columns in the CSV or Excel file will be passed to the Automation. If you only need certain column values enable the Read Values From Specific Columns option and then specify a list of Column Headers or Column Numbers.

    Creating Extracted Fields For CSV & Excel Files

    When using single row processing ThinkAutomation can create the Extract Field actions for you. Click the Create Extracted Fields button. ThinkAutomation will then read the CSV or Excel file specified in the File Name entry and create an Extract Field action for each column.

    Resetting The Last Row Pointer

    Each time ThinkAutomation reads the CSV or Excel file for new rows, it stores the last row number in the Message Store database, so only new rows since the last scan are processed. During testing you may need to reset this to allow a new full scan. To reset the pointer, click the Reset Last Rows button.


    Monitor Web Resource

    The HTTP Get message source type reads the response from any URL. If the response content has changed the content will be passed to an Automation for processing.

    Specify the Get URL

    If the web page requires a login specify the credentials in the Authentication section.

    If the URL returns HTML the HTML content can be converted to plaintext or XML. The converted text will then become the message body of the message passed to the Automation. Json responses will be passed unchanged.

    Any other content-types will be passed as an Attachment.

    If the HTTP Get fails you have the option to:

    1. No Action.

    2. Set the Message content passed to the Automation to the HTTP status (eg: 404 File Not Found).

    3. Pause the Message Source

    Each time the HTTP content is read ThinkAutomation will compare the response to the last received response. If the response has changed a new message will be added for processing.

    Some websites prevent automated tools from reading web content, so this Message Source type may not work in all cases. Its primary use is for monitoring HTTP API's or web resources that allow automated access.


    Monitor Azure Queue

    The Azure Queue message source type can be used to monitor a Microsoft Azure queue for new messages.

    Enter your Azure Queue Account Name & Access Key.

    Enter the Queue Name.

    Click the Verify button to verify that ThinkAutomation can read from the queue.

    ThinkAutomation will read each message from the queue and use the message contents as the message body. You can then parse the contents and perform Automation actions.

    Enable the Delete Messages option to remove messages from the Azure queue after being read by ThinkAutomation.

    If you do not delete messages, then you should specify the Visibility Timeout value. This is the number of seconds that the message should be invisible to other clients after it has been read. It is then assumed another client will delete the messages at a later date.


    Twilio

    The Twilio message source type receives SMS text messages sent from any mobile phone to any of your Twilio phone numbers.

    Twilio is a cloud communications platform. It enables developers to programmatically make phone calls and to send & receive text messages using its web API's. When used with ThinkAutomation, it enables ThinkAutomation to receive SMS messages. Twilio is a worldwide platform and the cost is based on usage.

    See: https://www.twilio.com

    You need to create a Twilio Account if you want to be able to process received SMS text messages using ThinkAutomation. In Twilio, create a Twilio Phone Number to receive messages. In the Twilio Phone Number Properties set the Messaging - A Message Comes In - Webhook URL to the Set Your Twilio Messaging 'A Message Comes In' Webhook URL To shown in the ThinkAutomation Message Source properties.

    Once assigned, any SMS messages sent to your Twilio number will be sent to ThinkAutomation for processing. You can create different ThinkAutomation Message Sources and assign each Webhook URL to each of your Twilio Phone numbers, or you can use a single ThinkAutomation Message Source and assign the same URL to all of your Twilio Phone Numbers and then parse the 'To' number out of the received message.

    When a SMS message is received ThinkAutomation will create a new message that can be processed by your Automations. The message will be in the following format:

    You can then parse this message and perform Automation Actions, such as sending an outgoing SMS replies or recording the message details in a database.

    When you create a Twilio Message Source using the New Message Source Wizard an Automation will be automatically created with Extract Field Actions setup to extract the above data.

    You can reply to the incoming SMS using the Twilio Send SMS Message action and setting the To value to the %from% extracted field value. The %body% extracted field value will contain the incoming message text.


    Twitter

    The Twitter message source type reads tweets from a Timeline, @mentions feed or for any search term. This Message Source is useful for monitoring your own (or another business) Twitter feed and performing actions if certain words appear in Tweets.

    Requires a paid Twitter Basic or Pro level developer account. See: Twitter Developer Portal

    From the Read Tweets For list select one of:

    TypeDetails
    User TimelineReads new tweets for any Twitter user. Enter the Twitter Handle (you don't need to enter the @ sign). The Twitter handle can be found by opening a Twitter users feed.
    User MentionsReads new tweets that mention the specified Twitter Handle.
    Search TermReads new tweets that match the specified Search Term.

    For Search Term queries you can select to Exclude Replies and/or Retweets.

    When a new Tweet message is received ThinkAutomation will create a new message that can be processed by your Automations. The message will be in the following format:

    You can then parse this message and perform Automation Actions.

    When you create a Twitter Message Source using the New Message Source Wizard an Automation will be automatically created with Extract Field Actions setup to extract the above data.

    When a new Twitter Message Source is created, ThinkAutomation will read the most recent 200 Tweets. From then on it will read new Tweets as they are added. You can reset the Sync status by clicking the Reset Sync State button. The most recent 200 tweets will then be processed again (provided they have been removed from the Message Store).

    Note: You will need to create your own Twitter Developer account with Basic or Pro level access. The free tier cannot be used.


    API

    The API Message Source type allows you to receive messages to process via local or public HTTP POST or GET requests. You can also use this Message Source type if you only want to manually execute Automations, without any specific source.

    Local API URL

    Messages can be posted to ThinkAutomation via a local API URL. Each Message Source has a unique local API URL. You can use this endpoint to post messages within your local network.

    See Also: Using The Local API

    Public API URL

    Messages can also be posted to ThinkAutomation via a public API URL. The Web API provides a secure web public endpoint allowing messages to be posted to ThinkAutomation from your own or 3rd party webhooks. Each Message Source has a unique public API URL. The public Web API Gateway acts as a secure tunnel between web resources and your on-premises or self-hosted ThinkAutomation instance. This allows your ThinkAutomation Server to receive public HTTP requests without being publicly accessible itself.

    See Also: Using The Web API

    Create Extracted Fields

    If you will be receiving Json via HTTP POST or GET requests you can quickly create the required Extract Field actions. Click the Create Fields button and paste a sample of the Json you will be receiving. The required Extract Field actions will then be created in your Automation.

    Advanced Settings

    These settings are optional.

    Allowed Methods

    By default the API Message Source will accept both HTTP POST and GET requests. You can limit to POST or GET only.

    Require Authentication

    By default, callers to the API endpoint do not need to supply any authentication. You can require the caller to provide authentication. This can be an API Key, a Bearer Key or Basic Authentication.

    For API Key authentication you specify the header name and value. The caller must add the required header to their requests.

    For Bearer Key authentication the caller must add an 'Auth' header with the value Bearer: {value}.

    For Basic authentication the caller must add an 'Auth' header with the value Basic: {base64encoded username:password}.

    Any request with invalid authentication will be refused with a 401 Unauthorized response.

    Allowed Origins

    For the public API you have the option of specifying Allowed Origins. Specify a comma separated list of allowed URL's that can post to the public API endpoint. If this entry is blank then the endpoint can be posted to from anywhere. Full URL's should be specified, eg: https://www.mysite.com - without any path or page name.

    Disable

    You can explicitly disable the Message Source from receiving public API requests by enabling this option. Any requests to the Public API endpoint will then receive a 404 response.

    Friendly Path

    By default the URL path for the Message Source will be /addmessage followed by ?taid={uniquekey}. You can change this to a more friendly path, such as /mycompany/customers/add. The path must be unique. ThinkAutomation will check that the path is valid and unique before saving.


    Web Forms - Custom

    The ThinkAutomation Web API can accept HTTP POST requests from your own web forms. Simply set the form action to the public API URL. For example:

    You can add a &redirect={URL} parameter to the API URL query string if you want the server to respond with a 303 Redirect once the message has been accepted.

    When the form is posted to ThinkAutomation a new message will be sent to your Automation in Json format. For example:

    The RemoteHost, User-Agent & Origin headers will also be added to the ThinkAutomation message headers. The RemoteHost can be accessed using the built-in variable %Msg_FromIp%. You can access these values in your Automation using the Set Variable action with the Extract Header Value operation.

    You can then use Extract Field actions to extract the data from the message and perform any other Automation actions. If your ThinkAutomation Server is not active when a web form is submitted it will be queued by the ThinkAutomation API for up to 48 hours.

    Returning Automation Results

    By default API POST requests will respond with a 202 Accepted status as soon as the message has been queued (unless a &redirect parameter is specified). You can optionally wait for the Automation results by adding &wait=true or &results=true query string parameter to the URL.

    If &wait=true is used the API will return the results of the Automation in the MessageResultDetail object of the Json response along with a 200 OK status. The response will include the Automation return value.

    If the &results=true parameter is used then only the Automation Return Value content (or an error message) will be returned along with a 200 OK status. Depending on the content of the Automation Return value, the result will be served as plain text (text/plain), HTML (text/html) or Json (application/json). If the Return Value contains Markdown text it will be converted to HTML first. If the Return Value is already HTML it will be returned as HTML. If the Return Value is Json it will be returned as Json.

    If your Automation is long running, or you want to provide a static link to the Automation results that a user can access later, you can use the %Msg_ResultsUrl% variable. Your Automation could include this variable in an outgoing email. A user can click the link to view the Automation results at a later date. The %Msg_ResultsUrl% URL is unique for each processed message and contains a secure hash. The link will work for as long as the Message is stored in the Message Store.

    For additional security, ensure the Allowed Origins entry on the Message Source API properties contains the URL for the site containing the forms you will be posting to ThinkAutomation. This will ensure that form posts will only be accepted from your own website.


    Web Get Requests

    The ThinkAutomation public API URL also accepts HTTP GET requests. You can specify the message content as part of the URL. Whenever the URL is requested a new ThinkAutomation message will be created and processed.

    The body, subject, from & to addresses can be specified on the query string:

    The body, subject, from and to query string parameters are optional.

    You can add a &redirect={URL} parameter to the API URL query string if you want the server to respond with a 303 Redirect once the message has been accepted.

    Passing Field/Value Pairs

    You can also pass specific field values using x-fieldname=value. In this case the message passed to ThinkAutomation will be in Json format with each field value (excluding the 'x-').

    For example:

    The message body which would be sent to ThinkAutomation as:

    If you do not want to use field=value pairs you can pass the raw body text using the &body= query string parameter. The ThinkAutomation message body will be set to the contents of the body parameter with no conversion.

    The RemoteHost, User-Agent & Origin headers will also be added to the ThinkAutomation message headers. You can access these values in your Automation using the Set Variable action with the Extract Header Value operation.

    You can then use Extract Field actions to extract the data from the message and perform any other Automation actions. If your ThinkAutomation Server is not active when a web request is made it will be queued by the ThinkAutomation API for up to 48 hours.

    Returning Automation Results

    By default API GET requests will respond with a 202 Accepted status as soon as the message has been queued (unless a &redirect parameter is specified). You can optionally wait for the Automation results by adding &wait=true or &results=true query string parameter to the URL.

    If &wait=true is used the API will return the results of the Automation in the MessageResultDetail object of the Json response along with a 200 OK status. The response will include the Automation return value.

    If the &results=true parameter is used then only the Automation Return Value content (or an error message) will be returned along with a 200 OK status. Depending on the content of the Automation Return value, the result will be served as plain text (text/plain), HTML (text/html) or Json (application/json). If the Return Value contains Markdown text it will be converted to HTML first. If the Return Value is already HTML it will be returned as HTML. If the Return Value is Json it will be returned as Json.

    If your Automation is long running, or you want to provide a static link to the Automation results that a user can access later, you can use the %Msg_ResultsUrl% variable. Your Automation could include this variable in an outgoing email. A user can click the link to view the Automation results at a later date. The %Msg_ResultsUrl% URL is unique for each processed message and contains a secure hash. The link will work for as long as the Message is stored in the Message Store.

    See: Using The Web API


    Microsoft Graph Change

    This message source type synchronizes changes to various entity types in Microsoft Graph (Office 365/Azure Active Directory). A new message will be processed whenever an entity is created, updated or deleted.

    Currently the following entity types can be tracked:

    More entity types will be added in the future.

    Select the Entity Type. Then click the Sign In button to sign in with your Office 365/Microsoft Azure account.

    For each entity type ThinkAutomation synchronizes changes. For new message sources all existing entities will be read - from then on only new/updated or deleted entities will be read. A new message will be created for each entity returned.

    The message passed to ThinkAutomation for processing will be in JSON format representing the entity. When a new Message Source is created a new Automation will be created with extracted fields to extract the most common properties.


    Static Scheduled

    This message source type is useful if you simply want to run an Automation at a preset schedule without a specific incoming message. It enables you to execute an Automation based on the Schedule (for example, every 10 minutes). It uses a static default message (that can be blank).

    At the scheduled time a new message is added to the process queue. The Automation assigned to the Message Source will be executed.


    Message Source Schedules

    Message Sources can be assigned a Schedule. This defines how often the Message Source should be checked for new messages. Schedules can be every x seconds, minutes or hours, or at specific times. You can also select the days of the week that the Message Source should be active (and active from and to times for each day). Select the Schedule tab on the Message Source properties page to edit the schedule. A default schedule will be created for new Message Sources if required.

    If a Message Source has a schedule then new messages will be checked based on the schedule settings. You can force a Message Source to check for new messages, regardless of its schedule. Right-click a Message Source and select 'Run Now'. The Message Source will check for new messages immediately and then revert back to the schedule.

    Web Form, File Pickup, SendGrid, Twilio, Teams, SMTP and API message source types do not need a schedule. Any new messages for these Message Source types will be processed immediately.


    Message Source General Properties

    A number of additional properties can be set for each Message Source. Open a Message Source form (select a Message Source and click Edit on the ribbon) and select the Properties tab.

    Unzip Zipped Attachments

    If this option is enabled then any incoming message containing zip file attachments will be automatically decompressed and the contents added as attachments and the zip attachment removed.

    Append PDF, Word & Text Attachments To Body For Parsing

    If this option is enabled then ThinkAutomation will automatically add text, Microsoft Word & PDF attachments to the plain text body of the message for parsing. You can then parse and extract data from the body text as normal. Rich text, Word and PDF attachments will first be converted to plain text before being added to the body.

    In addition to PDF, Word and Richtext documents, ThinkAutomation will also append the text for any attachments with the following file extensions: txt, xml, ini, log, csv, vcf, vcard, md and any attachment with a content-type of: text/plain, text/vcard, text/calendar, application/json.

    Append PDF Form Data To Body For Parsing

    If this option is enabled then ThinkAutomation will extract form data from PDF attachments and add it to the plain text body of the message for parsing. Form data is added in the format: 'FieldName: value'. Each form value will be on a separate line.

    The Append options are global for all messages received by the Message Source. You can also read PDF text and form data within an Automation using the Convert Document To Text action.

    Drop Attachments

    If this option is enabled then all attachments will be dropped from incoming messages. This option is useful if your Automation does not require access to attachments as it will improve performance and reduce the size of the Message Store database.

    If the Append PDF, Word & Text Attachments To Body For Parsing option is enabled then the text content of the attachments will be added to the body text before the attachments themselves are dropped.

    The Unzip Zipped Attachments, Append and Drop Attachments options do not affect the original incoming message. They only affect the message that is processed and stored by ThinkAutomation.

    Send Notification On Message Source Errors

    If this option is enabled then any errors that occur on the Message Source (for example an Office 365 login needs re-authenticating) will send a notification. The notification will appear in the Studio and an email will be sent to the default email address for the Solution.

    Pause Message Source On Message Source Errors

    If this option is enabled then any errors that occur on the Message Source will automatically pause the Message Source. This prevents the Message Source from trying to read more messages until the error is resolved.

    Pause Message Source On Automation Errors

    If this option is enabled then any errors that occur during Automation execution will automatically pause the Message Source. This prevents further messages from being processed until the error is resolved. A notification will appear in the ThinkAutomation Studio (and optionally an email will be sent) whenever a Message Source is auto-paused.


    Reprocessing Existing Messages

    For some Message Source types (Email, Database, File Pickup), ThinkAutomation checks if the message already exists in the Message Store before sending the message to an Automation for processing. This ensures the same incoming message is not processed twice.

    If you want to reprocess existing messages you can either use the Reprocess option when viewing the Message Store, or you can delete the existing messages from the message store. For Email Message Source types, if you delete messages from the Message Store you will then need to click the Reset Sync Status button on the Message Store properties. This clears any sync status. ThinkAutomation will then start reading all messages again - and provided the messages do not already exist in the Message Store, they will be processed again as new messages.


    Automations

    An Automation is a workflow of business process actions, executed for each incoming message from the configured Message Source. Automations can contain any number of Actions. Automations themselves can Call other Automations and the returned value from the called Automation can be assigned to a variable in the parent.

    To create an Automation click the New Automation button on the ThinkAutomation Studio ribbon.

    Variable Replacements

    All Actions that have parameters allow you to use %variable% replacements.

    This means you can specify a ThinkAutomation variable, extracted field, list, built-in variable, solution constant or global constant as the parameter (or part of) that will be replaced at execution time with the value of the variable. Variable names must be enclosed with % symbols.

    For example, outgoing emails can contain values extracted from the incoming message by simply inserting %variablename% (where 'variablename' is the name of your variable) into the email text (or any other setting):

    Dear %Name%,

    We have received your enquiry %Msg_Subject%. This has been assigned ticket number %TicketNumber%.

    Another example: The Process Attachments action allows you save attachments from the incoming message to folders on your system. If you had created a variable called OrderNumber you could save the attachment as:

    C:\Orders\order%OrderNumber%.pdf

    If %OrderNumber% contained '1234' then the file would be saved as C:\Orders\order1234.pdf.

    Built-In Message Variables

    In addition to extracted fields and variables that you create in your Automation, you can also use any of the following built-in message variables. These automatically contain values related to the current message:

    NameDetails
    %Msg_Body%The incoming message body in plain text format. If the incoming message is HTML only, then the plain text body will be created from the HTML with all tags removed.
    %Msg_Html%The incoming message HTML body.
    %Msg_Mime%The full mime text of the incoming message.
    %Msg_Json%A Json document representing the incoming message. See: Built In Json Variables
    %Msg_ExtractedFieldsJson%A Json document containing all extracted fields names and their values. See: Built In Json Variables
    %Msg_Text%The mime text without headers.
    %Msg_Subject%The incoming message subject.
    %Msg_LastReplyBody%If the incoming message is a reply, this variable returns the last reply text. Quoted text and previous replies are removed where possible. The %Msg_Body% will be returned if the incoming message contains no replies or quoted text.
    %Msg_Digest%The first 750 characters of the last reply body (with blank lines & whitespace trimmed).
    %Msg_To%The 'to' address.
    %Msg_ToWithNames%The 'to' address including names (if available).
    %Msg_From%The 'from' address.
    %Msg_FromEmail%The 'from' address without the name portion.
    %Msg_FromName%The 'from' address name portion only (if available).
    %Msg_FromIP%The IP address of the sender (extracted from the RemoteHost or Received header).
    %Msg_CC%, %Msg_CCWithNames%The 'cc' address.
    %Msg_BCC%, %Msg_BCCWithNames%The 'bcc' address.
    %Msg_ReplyTo%The 'reply to' address.
    %Msg_References%The 'references' header.
    %Msg_Return-Path%The 'return-path' header.
    %Msg_Sender%The 'sender' header.
    %Msg_Date%The date and time of the message.
    %Msg_Size%The total size of the message including attachments.
    %Msg_Importance%The 'X-Priority' header, either HIGH,LOW or NORMAL.
    %Msg_Sensitivity%The 'sensitivity' header.
    %Msg_BounceType%The bounce type. See: Bounce Processing
    %Msg_BounceAddress%The bounce address. See: Bounce Processing
    %Msg_Headers%The full headers section of the mime text.
    %Msg_Attachments%Attachment file names (separated with CrLf).
    %Msg_AttachmentsInLine%Inline attachment file names (separated with CrLf).
    %Msg_AttachmentCount%The number of attachments.
    %Msg_AttachmentInlineCount%The number of inline attachments.
    %Msg_AttachmentsSavedTo%Attachment paths (separated with CrLf). During Automation processing each attachment is saved to a temporary location. The saved to path will be updated if the Process Attachments action is used to save the attachment to a new location.
    %Msg_AttachmentsInlineSavedTo%Inline attachment paths (separated with CrLf).
    %Msg_AttachmentListWithSizes%A string containing all attachment file names & sizes separated by commas eg: 'document1.pdf (2mb), document2.pdf (500kb)'
    %Msg_CharSet%The character set of the incoming message.
    %Msg_MessageId%The unique message identifier from the Message Source.
    %Msg_MessageStoreId%The unique id assigned to the message by ThinkAutomation and used as a unique key in the Message Store database.
    %Msg_ConversationId%A hash of the From & To email addresses (sorted) and Subject. This provides a key that matches other message store messages from/to, or to/from the same email addresses and subject.
    %Msg_WordIndex%Unique keywords extracted from the message body (space separated excluding common words).
    %Msg_WordIndexSorted%Unique keywords sorted by word count (highest first).
    %Msg_WordIndexWithCount%Unique keywords with word count.
    %Msg_WordIndexWithCountSorted%Unique keywords with word count sorted (highest first).
    %Msg_ValidationUrl%A link to the user response web page for the current message. Used by the Wait For User Response action.
    %Msg_ResultsUrl%A link to the Automation return value served via the Web API.
    %Msg_WebCallbackUrl%A link to a custom webhook callback for the current message. Used by the Wait For Webhook action.
    %Msg_SignatureJson%A Json document representing contact information extracted the email footer (signature). See: Extract Email Signature

    You can extract other email headers using the Set Variable action with the Extract Header operation or the Extract Field action with the Extract From set to %Msg_Headers%.

    Bounce/Automatic Reply Processing

    ThinkAutomation can recognize a variety of bounced email, automatic replies and unsubscribe replies. If the incoming message is detected as a bounce, automatic reply or unsubscribe the %Msg_BounceType% built-in variable will contain the reason. The %Msg_BounceAddress% will contain the bounced email address.

    The %Msg_BounceType% will contain one of the following:

    ValueDetails
    Hard BounceThe email could not be delivered.
    Soft BounceA temporary condition exists causing the email delivery to fail.
    General BounceCould not determine if it is a soft or hard bounce.
    BlockedA bounce occurred because the sender was blocked.
    Auto-Reply/Out-Of-OfficeAn automated auto-reply or out-of-office notification.
    Transient MessageSuch as 'Delivery Status / No Action Required'.
    Subscribe RequestA 'subscribe' request.
    Unsubscribe RequestAn 'unsubscribe' request.
    Virus NotificationThe email was bounced due to virus.
    Suspected BounceA suspected bounce but no other information available.
    Challenge/ResponseAuto-response sent by SPAM detector where only verified email address is accepted.
    Address Change Notification 
    Relayed Message 
    Abuse Feedback Report 

    The %Msg_BounceType% variable will be blank if the message is not a bounce/auto-reply.

    Solution Constants

    You can also create Solution Constants. These are solution-wide constants that can be used as %variable% replacements on any Automation within a Solution. To create Solution Constants click the Edit Solution button on the ThinkAutomation Studio Explorer ribbon.

    You can then specify any number of Constant Name and Constant Value pairs.

    For example: If you create a solution constant with name 'VatNumber' and value 'GB12345678'. If you use %VatNumber% on any Action property on any Automation within the Solution, the value 'GB12345678' will be replaced when messages are processed.

    Global Constants

    Global Constants are global to all Automations on all Solutions. To create Global Constants use the Server Settings - Global Constants.

    System Variables

    A number of built-in system variables can also be used:

    NameDetails
    %Date%The current date.
    %DateYesterday%Yesterdays date.
    %Time%The current local time.
    %Hour%The current local time hour number.
    %Minute%The current local time minute number.
    %Year%The current year.
    %DateTime%The current local date & time.
    %DateTimeUtc%The current UTC date & time.
    %SQLDate%The current date in yyyy-mm-dd format
    %SQLDateYesterday%Yesterdays date in yyyy-mm-dd format.
    %SQLDateTime%The current local date & time in yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss format.
    %SQLDateTimeUtc%The current UTC date & time in yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss format.
    %UnixTimeStamp%The current local date & time in Unix timestamp format (eg: 1676283187).
    %UnixTimeStampUtc%The current UTC date & time in Unix timestamp format (eg: 1676283187).
    %Timer%The number of elapsed seconds and milliseconds since midnight (eg: 51812.5037012).
    %DayNumber%The current day of the month number (1-31).
    %DayOfWeek%The current day of the week name.
    %WeekdayNumber%The current day of the week number (1=Sunday, 2=Monday etc.).
    %MonthNumber%The current month number (1-12).
    %MonthName%The current month name.
    %LastErrorText%This will contain a description of the last error from an action that has failed for some reason. This will be blank if no error has occurred.
    %LastActionExecutionMs%This will contain the number of milliseconds the previous (non-comment) action took to execute.
    %FreeDiskSpace%The current system drive free space in bytes.
    %Root%The solution root folder. Corresponds to: ProgramData\Parker Software\ThinkAutomation.NET\%SolutionName%\
    %AutomationLog%The current Automation execution log for the message.
    %MessageSourceName%The name of the Message Source for the current message.
    %MessageSourceType%The type of Message Source for the current message. This will be one of: Email, Database, File, WebForm, WebChat, SMS, Http, Azure, Graph, Static or API.
    %AutomationName%The name of the Automation executing for the current message.
    %AutomationId%The id of the Automation executing for the current message.
    %SolutionName%The name of the Solution for the current message.
    %SolutionId%The id of the Solution for the current message.
    %SolutionEmail%The email address assigned to the Solution.
    %SolutionContact%The contact name assigned to the Solution.
    %CR%A carriage return character.
    %LF%A line feed character.
    %CRLF%A carriage return and line feed.
    %TAB%A tab character.

    You can also create your own constants for each Solution. See the Constants grid on the Solution Properties page. These Constants can be used on any Automation within the Solution.

    The Root Folder

    The %Root% system variable will contain a folder path to:

    \ProgramData\Parker Software\ThinkAutomation.NET\%SolutionName%\

    For example, if your solution name is 'Orders' and your system drive is 'C:\' then %Root% will contain:

    C:\Program Data\Parker Software\ThinkAutomation.NET\Orders\

    The %Root% variable replacement is useful for any Actions that need to save files locally. ThinkAutomation ensures that the folder exists and the ThinkAutomation Message Processor service will always have access to it.

    For example: If using the Create Document action to create a PDF document you can set the Save To property of this action to %Root%.

    InLine Functions

    The variable replacement %func% can be used to execute a number of inline functions. Inline functions provide shortcuts to some common operations. The function will be executed and the returned value replaced. InLine functions can be used inside any action entry as with regular %variable% replacements.

    The format of inline functions is: %func%:FunctionName(Value[,parameter][,parameter])

    The value & parameters can be any fixed text or a %variable% replacement. If a parameter value contains brackets (), spaces or commas then it should be enclosed in quotes.

    For example, in the text:

    Dear %func%:ToProperCase(%fullname%),

    If the fullname variable was set to 'alice bob' - when replaced the text would be:

    Dear Alice Bob,

    The following functions can be used:

    FunctionDetails
    Upper(value)Converts the value to uppercase.
    Lower(value)Converts the value to lowercase.
    ToProperCase(value)Capitalizes each word in value.
    Right(value,count)Returns the rightmost count characters in value.
    Left(value,count)Returns the leftmost count characters in value.
    IndexOf(value,searchtext)Returns the character position where searchtext occurs in the value.
    Clean(value)Returns the cleaned version of value. All control characters are removed.
    PlainText(value)Returns the plaintext version of value. If value contains HTML then all HTML tags are removed.
    Html(value)Returns the value as is - without any HTML encoding. Useful when embedding %variables% in HTML email content where the %variable% content is already html.
    Trim(value)Returns the trimmed version of value.
    Line(value,linenumber)Returns the specified line of text if value contains multiple lines. Line numbers start at 1.
    RemoveWhiteSpace(value)Returns value with all repeated space and control characters removed.
    Truncate(value,count)Returns value truncated to a maximum length of count.
    TruncateWithEllipsis(value,count)Returns value truncated to a maximum length of count with ellipsis characters at the end.
    SubString(value,start [,number])Returns the substring of value starting at position specified in start (zero based). If number is specified then the number of characters from the start position is returned, otherwise the characters from start until the end of the value are returned.
    Replace(value,find,replacewith)Returns the value with the find parameter replaced with the replacewith parameter.
    PadLeft(value,characters)Returns the value padded with spaces to the left if required to reach the total number of characters.
    PadRight(value,characters)Returns the value padded with spaces to the right if required to reach the total number of characters.
    Format(value, formatstring)Returns the formatted value using the formatstring. Formatstring can be any .NET format string.
    Length(value)Returns the number of characters contain in the value.
    Lines(value)Returns the number of lines of text contained in value.
    EmailAddress(value)Returns the first email address found in value.
    Url(value)Returns the first URL found in value.
    Base64Encode(value)Returns the base64 encoded version of value.
    Base64Decode(value)Returns the text value of the base64 encoded value.
    URLEncode(value)Returns the URL encoded version of value.
    URLDecode(value)Returns the text value of the URL encoded value.
    DateAdd(value,interval,number)Returns a date with number of days, months, seconds or years added. The interval should be s=seconds,n=minutes,h=hours,d=day,yyyy=years.
    DateDiff(interval,date1,date2)Returns a numeric value for the interval between date1 and date2. The interval should be s=seconds,n=minutes,h=hours,d=days,ww=weeks,yyyy=years.
    Day(value)Returns the day number if value is a date.
    Month(value)Returns the month number if value is a date.
    MonthName(value)Returns the month name if value is a date.
    Year(value)Returns the year number if value is a date.
    HyperLink(value,linktext)Returns a HTML ref. The first URL or email address found in value will be used for the link URL. The linktext parameter will be used for the hyperlink text if specified.
    PlainTextToHTML(value)Returns HTML from plaintext. Converts all line-feed characters to
    , encodes special characters and encloses any URLS or email addresses in tags.
    JsonValue(value,path)Returns a specific Json path value if value is Json text.
    CSVValue(value,row,col)Returns a specific row/column value if value is CSV text (assumes CSV data has no column headers). Row and column numbers start at 1.
    CSVWithHeadersValue(value,row,col)Returns a specific row/column value if value is CSV text (assumes CSV data has column headers). Row and column numbers start at 1.

    Format Examples:

    Order Date: %func%:Format(%Msg_Date%,U) :

    replaced the text would be:

    Order Date: 09 November 2020 09:00:00 :

    If a parameter includes a comma you need to enclose it in quotes. Eg:

    Order Date: %func%:Format(%Msg_Date%,"hh:mm tt, ddd-MM-MMM yyyy gg") :

    Would be:

    09:00 AM, Mon-11-Nov 2020 A.D.

    Numeric Format

    The Price Is: %func%:Format(%Price%,C)

    replaced text would be:

    The Price Is: £1234.56

     

    Json Extract Example

    You can use the %func%:JsonValue inline function to extract a specific Json path value. For example, if you have a variable called 'AddressJson' set to:

    You could use the inline function such as:

    Dear %func%:JsonValue(%AddressJson%,employee.name),

    At runtime the replaced text would be:

    Dear John,

    For Json arrays, such as:

    You can access an array item directly:

    First item %func%:JsonValue(%Json%,[0]) or Second item %func%:JsonValue(%Json%,[1])

    or

    Second employee %func%:JsonValue(%Json%,employees[1])

    Note: JsonValue uses JsonPath notation. Eg: object.subobject.array[0].name

     

    CSV Extract Example

    You can use the %func%:CSVValue inline function to extract a specific row/column value from CSV data. For example, if you have a variable called 'LineItem' set to:

    You could use the inline funcion:

    The price is %func%:CSVValue(%LineItem%,2,4)

    At runtime the replaced text would be:

    The price is 200.13

    Row and column numbers start at 1. If your CSV data contained column headers you would use the CSVWithHeadersValue() function.

     

    Automation Actions

    An Automation can contain any number of Actions. Each of the actions are optional. You can add multiple instances of each action type - so for example, you can send multiple Outgoing emails by adding multiple Send Email actions.

    To add an Action double-click an action in the Toolbox, or press ENTER on the selected action. You can also drag and drop an action to the Actions List.

    You can also quickly add actions by typing the action name and selecting from the list. Press the TAB or Enter key to select the first action in the list based on the letters you have typed. The new action will be inserted below the currently selected action in the Actions List.

    When you add an action the corresponding property page for the action type will be displayed. To edit an existing action double-click it or press ENTER. When editing an action property page, each action property that accepts text data can include %variable% replacements. Drag a %variable% from the variables list on to the property or type the %variable% name. These %variable% holders will be replaced with the Extracted Field, Variable, Built-In Variable or Constant value when the Automation executes. See: Variable Replacements.

    When a Message is processed the actions will be executed in the order they appear in the Actions list. You can re-order actions using Move Up/Move Down buttons.

    You can create If [else] End If or Select Case blocks to conditionally execute blocks of Actions and you can assign a Condition to each action.

    ThinkAutomation includes a default set of built-in actions (shown below). You can also add additional Custom Actions from our on-line library or create your own using the Custom Action Designer

    When designing your Automation you should disable the Message Source. This will prevent messages being retrieved until you have completed and tested your Automation. You can still process test messages using the Send Message option even if the Message Source is disabled.

    Favorite Actions

    If you right-click an action in the Toolbox and select Add To Favorites, the selected action will be added to the Favorites group at the top of the Toolbox. You can remove actions from the favorites group by right-clicking the action again.

     

    Available Built-In Actions

    ThinkAutomation includes a collection of built-in Actions for common tasks. You can also download more Actions from the Custom Action On-Line Library and you can create your own custom actions using the Custom Action Designer.

    Not all actions may be listed here. Parker Software regularly adds new Actions.

    Common

    Data

    Outgoing

    Documents

    Office 365

    General

    Flow

    Network

    CRM

    Xero

    Web

    Json

    Location

    Twilio

    AI

    Azure

    System


    Custom Actions

    ThinkAutomation also includes Custom Actions. These are additional actions you create or download from our on-line library. You can add actions from the on-line library for use on any of your Automations.

    On-line Library

    To explore the online library, click the Custom Actions tab on the ThinkAutomation Studio ribbon and then click Explore Online Library button.

    You can then view custom actions in the online library. Use the Search box to search for specific terms. Select a custom action that you wish to use and then click Install. This will download the custom action from the online library and add it to your local library. The custom action can then be used on any of your Automations in the same way as the built-in actions.

    Create Your Own

    ThinkAutomation Professional Edition includes the ability to create your own custom actions using the Custom Action Designer. The Custom Action Designer includes a UI builder for configuring the action settings and a C# or VB.NET editor for editing the execution code. Once a Custom Action has been created it appears in the available actions list and can be used like any other action on any Automations. You can also share your custom action with the ThinkAutomation community.


    Extracting Fields

    For each Automation you can create any number of Extract Field actions. An Extracted Field is a distinct piece of data that ThinkAutomation will parse and extract from the incoming message, and assign it a field name. You can use these extracted field values on other action properties using %variable% replacements.

    To create an Extracted Field drag the Extract Field action to your Automation.

    Create Extracted Fields From Text Or Json

    You can create multiple Extract Field actions using the Create Extracted Fields From Text/Json button on the Automation toolbar. This option allows you to paste some text or Json and then create the Extract Field actions to extract each item.

    Paste a sample of the text or Json you want to extract from. You can also specify the Extract Fields From variable - this should be set to the variable you will be extracting from. You can optionally set the Database Table Name if you will be using the Update A Database Using Extracted Fields action.

    When extracting from Json you can also optionally specify a Start At Path. For example, suppose we want to create Extracted Fields the contact section only of the following:

    You would set the Start At Path to events[0].data.contact

    Extracted Fields would then be created for first, last, email, company, phone & subscribed only. You can then repeat the process for other sections.

    Click the Create Extracted Fields button to create the Extract Field actions..

    A preview of the Extract Field actions created will be shown. You can test the extractions using the Test button.

    Click OK to save. The Extracted Field actions will be inserted into your Automation below the currently selected line.


    Automation Flow

    Logical operations allow you to control the flow of actions, call other Automations and conditionally execute actions (or blocks of actions).

    Call Automation

    The Call action enables you to call another Automation with a value and assign the return value to a variable. Select the Automation to call - this must be within the same Solution or an Automation saved to the Library. From the With Message Body Set To list - select the variable to pass to the called Automation. The called Automation will receive this value as its incoming message body value (%Msg_Body%). Other message properties (%Msg_Subject%, %Msg_From%, %Msg_To% etc.) will inherit the values from the currently executing message.

    Passing HTML

    If the With Message Body Set To entry is set to a %variable% containing HTML, then this will be available in the called Automation in the %Msg_HTML% built-in variable. The %Msg_Body% built-in variable will be automatically set to the plain text version of the HTML.

    Passing Files

    You can also optionally add attachments. Add one or more files (or %variables% containing file paths) in the With Attachments entry. Enable the Include Incoming Attachments and/or Include Incoming Inline Attachments options to include attachments contained with the currently executing message. You can enter a file mask in the Attachments Mask entry to only include matching attachments (eg: *.pdf).

    Passing The Complete Currently Executing Message

    If you want to pass the original message in its entirety you can set the With Message Body Set To entry to %Msg_Mime%. This will pass the currently executing message with no changes.

    Wait For Completion

    Automations can return a value using the Return action. Enable the Wait For Completion option and select the variable to receive the returned value from the Assign Return Value To list. The current Automation will wait until the called Automation has completed.

    If Wait For Completion option is not enabled, then a new message for the selected Automation will be added to the process queue. The current Automation will continue without waiting for the new message to be processed.

    Scheduled Execution

    If the Wait For Completion option is not enabled then you can optionally enable the Scheduled Execution option. You can specify that the call should execute After x minutes, hours or days or At a specific date/time. If scheduled execution is enabled then the new message will be added to the process queue - but will not be executed until the specified execution time. Called Automations waiting to be executed will show in the Outbox list when viewing the Message Store using the Studio. You can delete pending messages if you need to cancel execution.

    The Scheduled Execution option is useful if you have some actions in your Automation that you need to execute at a certain time or be delayed. You can place these actions in their own Automation and use the Call action with the Scheduled Execution option.

    Called Automations can also call other Automations. An Automation cannot call itself. You should ensure that called Automations do not in turn call the parent (which would result in a loop).

    Calling Automations From The Library

    If you have created a generic Automation that would be useful to other Automations across all of your Solutions, then you can save it to the Library. Any Automation saved to the library can be called from any other Automation in any of your Solutions.


    Return

    Ends execution of the Automation and returns a value. If this is the parent Automation for the incoming message then the returned value will be saved with the current message in the Message Store - otherwise the value will be passed back to the calling Automation.

    Automations do not have to return a value. If all actions complete for an Automation then it will return automatically with a blank return value.

    You can have multiple Return actions in an Automation inside If..Else..End If or Select Case blocks allowing you to return different values depending on conditions.

    The return value can be fixed text or %variable% replacements or a combination. For example, the return value can be set to: 'New Order: %OrderNumber% For Customer %CustomerName%'.

    Returned values are stored against the processed message in the Message Store unless the Don't Save Return Value With Message In Message Store option is enabled.

    You can view the Message Store to see returned values for each message. The return value will also be displayed if you use the Send Message option in the Studio to manually send a message to an Automation.

    Showing Return Values On Web Form Message Sources

    If you use the Web Form message source then the return value can also be displayed to the web user after the form is submitted. Enable the Wait For & Include Automation Return Value In The Confirmation Message option on the Message Source Web Form properties.

    If the return value contains HTML (eg: 'Your order number is: <strong>%OrderNumber%</strong>') it will be formatted when shown to the user. If the return value is Markdown then the markdown will be converted to HTML (eg: 'Your order number is: **%OrderNumber%**').

    You can also include a redirect in the return value if you want another Web Form or URL shown after the form is submitted. See the Create Web Form Redirect action.

    Returning The Return Value On API Message Sources

    If you use the API message source then the return value can be returned to the calling HTTP GET or POST request. If the &results=true querystring parameter is added to the API request then request will wait for the Automation to complete and the Automation Return value will be returned. Depending on the content of the Automation Return value, the result content-type will be served as plain text (text/plain), HTML (text/html) or Json (application/json). If the Return Value contains Markdown text it will be converted to HTML first. If the Return Value is already HTML it will be returned as HTML. If the Return Value is Json it will be returned as Json.

    Providing A Link To The Automation Results

    The %Msg_ResultsUrl% variable returns a static link to the Automation return value that a user can access via a web browser. Your Automation could include this variable in an outgoing email. A user can click the link to view the Automation return value at a later date. The %Msg_ResultsUrl% URL is unique for each processed message and contains a secure hash. The link will work for as long as the Message is stored in the Message Store.


    End Processing

    Ends execution of the Automation without returning a value.

    You can conditionally end execution by including End Processing or Return actions inside If.. End If blocks.


    If.. Then.. Else.. End If

    Conditionally executes a group of actions based on a Condition.

    When you drag an If Action onto the actions list the Condition Builder will be displayed.

    Here you create a Condition that will be tested. The condition must be true to start the If block otherwise processing moves to the next Else or End If statements.

    In the If column you select a message variable or one of your Extracted Fields or Variables (you can also type text and have combinations of text and %variables%).

    In the Is column you select one of the following Match Types:

    In the Value column enter a value to compare against. This can contain %variable% replacements.

    Click the Add button to add another line. The new line can be assigned as an AND or OR clause.

    Each If statement must have a matching End If.

    If blocks can be nested inside other If Blocks.

    You can also assign a Condition to individual actions using the Condition tab of the Action properties page.

    Contains / Does Not Contain Wildcards

    The Contains and Does Not Contain match types can use wildcards in the value. For example: If value was 'good *,' - then this would match for a string containing 'Good Morning,' AND 'Good Afternoon,'. The Contains/Does Not Contain matches are case-insensitive.

    Wildcard characterMatches
    ?Any single character
    *Zero or more characters
    #Any single digit
    [charlist]Any single character in charlist
    [!charlist]Any single character not in charlist

    Contains One Of/Contains All Of Match Types

    For the Contains One Of or Contains All Of match types you can enter multiple words or phrases. For Contains One Of the If field must contain at least one of the values. For Contains All Of it must contain all of the values. Both Contains One Of and Contains All Of use case-insensitive matching. Individual words/phrases can contain wildcards.

    For example: Suppose we want to check that the message body (%Msg_Body%) contains 'Red' AND 'Blue' AND 'Green' - we would use Contains All Of and set the value to 'Red,Blue,Green'.

    Individual words or phrases in the list can contain %variable% replacements. For example, you could use 'Red,Blue,%MyColor%' - %MyColor% will be replaced before the condition is checked.

    Word Matches

    By default the Contains One Of and Contains All Of match types match text anywhere, so if Contains One Of contained 'request' it would match for 'request' and 'requested' etc. To match whole words only, enclose the word or phrase in square brackets. For example: If we want to check that the message subject contains 'support' AND 'request' we would use Contains All Of and set the value to 'support,[request]'. This would match if the subject was 'New support request', but would NOT match if the subject was 'Support was requested'.

    RegEx Matches Match Type

    For RegEx Matches match type the value must be a valid Regular Expression. The match will be true if the If value contains one or more matches. For example: To check that the message body contains a ZIP code, set the If to %Msg_Body% and use the RegEx Matches match type with the value set to *\b\d{5}(?:[-\s]\d{4})?\b*

    Comparing Numeric Values

    If the If value and the value both contain numeric values then the Equal To, Not Equal To, Less Than, Greater Than, Less Than Or Equal To and Greater Than Or Equal To comparisons compare the numeric values rather than string literals. So '1000.00' and '1,000' would be evaluated as equal.

    Comparing Date Values

    Where the If value is a date or datetime (for example: %Msg_Date%), you can use:

    You can also use other match types (Equal To, Not Equal To, Greater Than etc) where the If value is a date/datetime and the value is a date/datetime. In these cases the dates are converted to yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss format and then compared.

    Example If Block


    Select Case.. Case.. End Select

    Creates a Select Case block to conditionally execute a group of actions in the matching Case block.

    When you drag a Select Case action onto the Actions list you will be asked for a Value. Enter a value or a %variable% replacement.

    A Select Case block will then be created.

    Click a Case action to define the condition for each Case statement.

    The Is can be:

    Enter a Value or %variable% replacement to compare against the Select Case Value.

    If the Select Case Value matches the Value of the Case statement then the Actions in the Case block will be executed. Drag any number of actions inside the Case block to execute. Execution will then move to the End Select action.

    You can drag additional Case actions to the Select Case block.

    The Case Else block will be executed if no matched Case actions are found.

    Each Select Case block must have at least 1 Case action and end with an End Select.

    Select Case blocks can be nested - so the Case actions can include further Select Case blocks.

    Contains / Does Not Contain

    The Contains and Does Not Contain match types can use wildcards and are case-insensitive.

    Contains One Of/Contains All Of Match Types

    For the Contains One Of or Contains All Of match types you can enter a list of words or phrases. For Contains One Of the Select Case Value must contain at least one of the values. For Contains All Of it must contain all of the values. Both Contains One Of and Contains All Of use case-insensitive matching. Individual words/phrases can contain wildcards.


    For Each Loop.. Next Loop

    Allows you to create a loop based on the following:

    Inside the loop you can assign the values of the current loop item and current iteration count to variables. You can then use these values in actions within the loop.

    For example, when looping on Recipients you can assign the Email Address & Name of the current recipient in the loop to variables by selecting from the Assign To drop downs.

    When looping on Lines the Lines In will be split into lines (based on carriage returns and/or line feeds). Each non-blank line will then assigned to the loop value.

    When looping on Comma Separated Values In, the In value will be split on commas. Quoted values will be handled. For example, if Comma Separated Values In contained:

    1997,Ford,E350,"Super, luxurious truck"

    .. then the loop would be executed 4 times with values:

    1. 1997

    2. Ford

    3. E350

    4. Super, luxurious truck

    When looping on Json Member In the In value can be assigned any Json text. The loop will execute for each member. The Start At Path can be optionally set to a Json path (using dot notation). You can assign each member Name and Value to variables. See: Looping Through Json Member Values Using For..Each

    When looping on Tokens the Tokens In value will be split into words and tokens.

    When looping on Keywords the incoming message body will be split into unique words (excluding common words).

    When looping on a Variable Value - this assumes the variable is numeric. The loop executes n times - where n is the variable value.

    You then place actions to execute inside the For Each - Next Loop block.

    Exit Loop

    You can exit a loop using the Exit Loop action. This can be placed in an If block if you need to exit a loop based on a condition. Processing will continue with the action following the Next Loop action.

    Continue Loop

    The Continue Loop action moves processing to the Next Loop action. The loop will continue with the next iteration of the loop - or exit the loop if there are no more iterations. You can place the Continue Loop action in an If block if you need to move to the next iteration based on a condition.


    Label.. Go To Label

    You can create multiple Label actions within an Automation. Each Label is given a name. You can use the Go To Label action to move processing to the label specified. Labels cannot be placed inside If, Select Case or For Each blocks.


    Comment

    Automations can contain any number of Comment actions. By default comments do nothing.

    You can space out Actions in your Actions list by adding blank comments.

    If the Show In Log option is enabled then the comment value will be added to the Automation Log (regardless of the current Log Level). The Comment text can contain %variable% replacements. Comment text will be truncated if longer than 1000 characters.

    If the Show Notification In ThinkAutomation Studio option is enabled then the comment will appear in the ThinkAutomation Studio for any active Studio users as a notification when the Automation executes. The Message Processor will limit studio notifications to 500 per processed message to prevent the Studio being overloaded.

    If you have used the Studio Send Message option to send a manual message to an Automation then any Comment actions will show in the response, regardless of the Show Notification In ThinkAutomation Studio or Show In Log options.


    On Error

    The On Error action enables you to control what should happen if an error occurs on any action following the On Error action. You can add any number of On Error actions to an Automation.

    Each On Error action can be set to:

    If no On Error action is used on an Automation then by default ThinkAutomation will stop execution of the current message when an error occurs, send a notification email and pause the Message Source. This enables you to investigate the error before more messages are processed. You must then re-enable the Message Source to continue processing.


    Create Web Form Redirect

    The Create Web Form Redirect action is used on Automations called from a Web Form or Web Chat Message Source.

    It can be used to redirect the submitted Web Form to another ThinkAutomation Web Form, Web Chat or external URL after the form is submitted. You can also pre-populate field values on the new Web Form with custom values or %variable% replacements created in the Automation.

    Using the Create Web Form Redirect action allows you to create interactive forms that display new forms based on values submitted on a previous one.

    When you create a web form redirect the redirect details are stored in a ThinkAutomation variable (selected from the Assign To list). You include this %variable% in your Automation Return value to trigger the redirect on the web form. You can create multiple Create Web Form Redirect actions and conditionally return the one you want to execute.

    In the Redirect To list select Another ThinkAutomation Web Form or URL. If redirecting to an external URL enter the URL or use a %variable% replacement.

    Another ThinkAutomation Web Form Or Web Chat Form

    You must now choose another Web Form or Web Chat Message Source that you want to the user to be shown after the current one is submitted. You can create multiple Web Form and Web Chat Message Sources within a Solution. The current Web Form must have the Wait For Automation option enabled.

    Pre-Populate New Web Form Fields

    You can optionally pre-populate fields on the redirected web form. In the Value column of each field enter a value or select a field/variable. When the new web form is displayed, its field values will be automatically set. You can also define fields on the web form as hidden by default if you want to pre-populate a hidden field.

    Delay Before Redirect

    If a value (in seconds) is entered here then there will be a delay before the new Web Form is shown.

    Assign To

    Select the ThinkAutomation variable to receive the redirect properties. This %variable% must be included in the Automation Return value. The Automation return value can also contain other text if you want to display a response to the user. As long as the redirect %variable% is included somewhere in the return value then the redirect will execute.

    You can conditionally return different redirects, for example:


    Create Chat Input Request

    This action is used on Automations called from a Web Chat Message Source.

    It can be used to create one or more buttons or input fields that are returned to the chat session. The user can click a button or input a value to send back a specific response. For example, you could ask 'Which product do you use?' followed by buttons for each product. The user can click one of the buttons to answer the question. Or you could create an input to request specific text, numbers or dates etc.

    When you create a chat input request, the form details are stored in a ThinkAutomation variable (selected from the Assign To list). You include this %variable% in your Automation Return value to trigger the form display in the web chat. You can create multiple Create Chat Input Request actions and conditionally return the one you want to be displayed to the user.

    In the Ask For Inputs list click Add Input to create an input request.

    Select the Input Type. This can be:

    1. Button Response : Shows a button that when clicked submits the text in the Send Response On Click entry. You can change button color using the Button Style selector.

    2. Button Link : Shows a button then when click launches a web URL in the user browser.

    3. Input Field Response : Shows an input field. Click the Edit Properties button to configure the input field. You can specify the Prompt text, field type (text, number, date etc) and any validation rules.

    You can create multiple buttons or fields.

    Assign To

    Select the ThinkAutomation variable to receive the input request properties. This %variable% must be included in the Automation Return value. The Automation return value can also contain other text if you want to display a response to the user above the buttons/form.

    When your Automation returns the %variable% containing the input request the buttons and/or form fields will be displayed to the web user in the chat session.

    When the user clicks on one of the buttons the Send Response On Click text will be sent back to your Automation (as if the user had typed it).

    For input forms, all form field values are sent in a single message, in the format:


    Debugging Automations

    During Automation development you can debug your Automation regardless of the Message Source type.

    Before debugging you first set one or more Breakpoints. Select an Automation line and click the Toggle Breakpoint button or click the breakpoint column in the Actions List. If you want to step through the entire Automation, set a breakpoint on the first line.

    Once a breakpoint is added click the Debug button on the Automation actions list toolbar. Enter the message text and click Send. You can also drop files onto the send message textbox. Any .eml or .msg files will be converted to emails and sent. Any text files will be converted to message text. Any other sort of files will be added as attachments and sent.

    You should send a new message in the format that the Automation expects.

    The test message will start processing immediately. The message processor will pause execution at the first breakpoint. The Debug window will show in the Studio. This contains the current value of each variable and the current Automation log.

    Once processing hits a breakpoint you can start stepping through your actions:

    The Variable Values list shows each Automation Variable, Extract Field & List names along with their current values. This list will be updated as you step through the actions. If a variable contains multiple lines of text, only the first line will be visible. Click the variable value to view all lines. Only the first 5000 characters of a variable value is shown.

    Debugging Notes


    Testing Without Debugging

    Click the Debug button on the Automation actions list toolbar without setting any Breakpoints. Enter the message text and click Send. You can also drop files onto the send message textbox. Any .eml or .msg files will be converted to emails and sent. Any text files will be converted to message text. Any other sort of files will be added as attachments and sent.

    The test message will be processed immediately. The result and Automation Log will be displayed along with any errors and Comment action values.

    Use the Comment & Return actions to provide feedback. Comments can include %variable% replacements, so if you need to see the value of a variable - simply add a Comment action containing the %variable% name.

    The Automation Return value will also be displayed if you have added any Return actions.

    You can reprocess any existing messages stored in the Message Store. See: Viewing The Message Store - Reprocessing Messages.


    Undoing Saved Changes

    The ThinkAutomation server automatically keeps a record of all changes made to Automations. You can revert to the previous version by clicking the Revert button on the Automation actions list toolbar. You can continue to do this until the Automation is reverted back to the first version.

    The number of revisions stored is set in the Server Settings - Revision Saving.


    Automations Library

    You can save a copy of any Automation to the Automations Library. You can also create Automations directly in the library. The Call action can call Automations in the library. This is useful when you have a specific Automation that is called from multiple Automations in different Solutions. Rather than creating multiple copies of the same Automation in different Solutions, you can have a single version and call it from any other Automation.

    To save an Automation to the library click the Save To Library button on the Automation toolbar.

    To view the Library, select Open Library Automations from the Solution selector. You can add/edit/delete Automations in the library.

    The Automations Library is also used when creating new Automations. When you select the New Automation button to create a new Automation. The New Automation dialog lists all current Automations and Automations in the library. You can select any of these to create the new Automation from. The New Automation will then be created based on the selected Automation. This is useful when you need a base Automation template to use to create new Automations from.

    Viewing The Online Library

    Click the Explorer Online Library button to open the Online Library Explorer. The Online Automation Library contains sample Automations created by Parker Software and Automations shared by other ThinkAutomation users. You can select an Automation in the online library and click the Install button to download it and add it to your local library.

    Sharing Your Automations

    If you have created an Automation that would be useful to share with other ThinkAutomation users, you can upload it to the online library. First save your Automation in your library using the Save To Library button on the Automation toolbar. Then open the library, right-click the Automation and select Upload To Online Library. The Automation will be uploaded. It will appear in the online library once it has been verified by Parker Software.


    Sending Manual Messages

    You can send manual messages to any Automation regardless of its configured Message Source. Select an Automation in the Explorer view and click the Send Message button on the ribbon. You can specify from/to addresses & subject text. You can also add attachments. Enter the Message Text and click the Send button.

    If the Automation has any Extract Field actions you can optionally click the Enter Field Values button. This will display a form where you can enter specific field values.

    Messages sent with the Send Message form will be processed immediately. The Return value (if any) for the Automation will be displayed, along with any Comment action values.

    Dropping Files

    You can also drag and drop any file on to the Send Message form. These will be sent to ThinkAutomation for immediate processing. Any text files dropped will be converted into plain text emails. HTML files will be converted to HTML emails. Email messages (EML files) and Microsoft Outlook messages (MSG files) can also be dropped. Any other file types will be added as an attachment to a plain text email before being sent to ThinkAutomation. You can drag & drop multiple files in a single drag/drop operation. Each file will be treated as a separate message.

    Network users can also use the ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector to send manual messages for processing. See: The ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector Application for more information.


    Automation Properties

    When editing an Automation click the Properties tab to view/edit general Automation properties:

    You can change the Automation Name and Details. These are text fields that can contain any text to describe the Automation. You can also provide a Group Name. Automations with the same group name will appear grouped together in the Explorer view.

    You can enable or disable an Automation with the Enabled option. You can also enable/disable an Automation by right-clicking it in the Explorer. If an Automation is disabled no new messages will be processed. Messages will remain in the queue until the Automation is enabled.

    Concurrent Execution

    The Message Processor service processes Automations. Separate Automations process messages concurrently. By default each incoming message for an Automation is processed one message at a time in the order that incoming messages were received.

    If the Allow Concurrent Execution option is enabled then the Message Processor will process multiple messages for the same Automation concurrently. This setting is disabled by default on new Automations. It should not be enabled if the Automation should process messages in the same order that messages are received or that may be updating a file or database that does not support multi-user access. For example: If a Database Pull Message Source reader reads records from a database and the Automation saves those records to a CSV file, then if concurrent execution is enabled there is no guarantee that the CSV rows will be in the same order as the Database Pull records.

    When Allow Concurrent Execution is not enabled then separate Automations will still process messages concurrently but a single Automation will only process one message at a time in the order that the messages were received. See Also: Server Settings - Message Processor.

    Save Outgoing Messages To Sent Items

    If this option is enabled then any outgoing emails sent using the Send Email action are saved in the Message Store database. You can view Sent Items when viewing the Message Store. Disable this option if you do not need to view sent items. This will improve performance and decrease the size of the Message Store database.

    Flag Message As Failed On Outgoing Email Fail

    If this option is enabled then any outgoing emails sent using the Send Email action that fail to send (after any retries) will flag the processed message as failed. This Message Source will also be paused and a notification will show in the Studio (if the Pause Message Source On Automation Errors option is enabled). Outgoing emails are sent by the main ThinkAutomation Server and there could be several retries before an eventual fail (for example if your outgoing email server is down). Therefore, the executed message in the Message Source could show as executed successfully, and then later be marked as failed.

    Viewing The Message Store

    You can use the ThinkAutomation Studio to view the Message Store. Messages are added to the Message Store as they are received by the Message Sources. Click the Message Store tab on the ThinkAutomation Studio ribbon.

    Messages are viewed by Solution - to change the currently selected Solution - click the Solution drop down menu on the Ribbon.

    All Automations within the Solution will be shown. Select an Automation to view processed messages.

    Messages are shown in pages of 1000 messages per page. Use the Page < and > selectors to move pages or press PgUp/PgDn buttons.

    Filtering

    You can search for text using the Search bar. Messages will be searched by Subject, From/To address and Automation Return value.

    Click the Filter button to apply additional filters.

    You can filter messages by Processed status. Select All, Success Only or Failed Only. The Failed Only filter will only show messages where the Automation generated one or more errors. You can view the last Automation error by hovering over the red (!) icon in the first column of the messages grid. You can also view errors by opening the message and viewing the Automation log.

    You can also filter messages by Message Flag. Messages can be assigned a Flag value inside an Automation using the Set Message Store Flag action. You define the Flags using the Server Settings - Message Store Flags option. You can also manually set a flag for a message by right-clicking the message in the list and selecting Set Flag.

    You can filter by Date. Enter a From and To date and click the Apply button.

    You can also filter the current view by clicking the filter icon in the message column headers.

    Viewing Message Detail And Logs

    Double click a message or click the Open button to view the full message body, attachments, headers and the Automation Log for the message. Once the message preview pane is open it will refresh as you select other messages in the grid. You can drag the preview pane outside of the ThinkAutomation Studio. You can then edit an Automation with a previously processed message open. This is useful if you need to view the automation log of a processed message whilst editing the Automation.

    Folders

    Processed Messages can be organized into folders. Each Automation has a root folder. Below each Automation you can create sub-folders (with multip). To create sub-folders, right-click a folder and select Create Sub Folder. To delete a folder, right-click a folder and select Delete. All messages in the folder (and its sub-folders) will also be deleted.

    You can move existing processed messages into any sub-folder. Select a message (or range of messages), right-click and select the Move To menu option.

    Processed messages can be assigned to a folder during Automation processing using the Set Message Store Folder action.

    Reprocessing Messages

    Individual messages can be reprocessed. Select a message (or range of messages) and click the Reprocess button. The selected messages will be added back to the process queue and processed again by the Automation.

    Deleting Messages

    You can remove individual messages from the Message Store or you can remove all messages for the selected Automation/folder.

    Viewing Outgoing Messages

    If you use the Send Email action to send scheduled emails on future dates then these scheduled messages are held in the Outbox until they are sent. The Outbox can be viewed by clicking the Outbox button on the Message Store view. You can remove items from the Outbox to prevent them from being sent.

    Viewing Sent Items

    Any outgoing emails sent using the Send Email action will be shown in the Sent Items view. You can disable outgoing emails being stored using the Automation - Properties - Save Outgoing Emails To Sent Items option.

     

    Viewing The Logs

    ThinkAutomation maintains logs for Message Source readers & Automation executions. Click the Logs tab on the ThinkAutomation Studio ribbon. You can then select to view the Server Log, Message Source Log, Automation Log or Current Utilization.

    Log entries will be added in real time. You can filter log lines by clicking the Filter icon in the column headers. For Automation Log entries - double clicking a log entry will open the Automation actions list with the relevant Action selected. The amount of detail recorded in the Automation log can be controlled on a per-Automation basis using the Set Logging Level action. You can also set a default level using the Server Settings - Logging setting.

    The Logs tab displays the most recent log entries. You can also view Automation logs for specific processed messages by viewing the Message Store, opening a message to view the detail and selecting the Automation Log tab.

    ThinkAutomation will automatically delete old log entries - depending on the Keep Messages For (Days) entry on the Solution properties. Logs will also be removed if you manually remove messages from the Message Store.

    Enable Debug Logging

    The Enable Debug Logging button on the Logs tab will switch on debug-level logging for all Automations for a defined number of minutes. This is useful during Automation development if you need to see more detail in the logs regardless of the current logging level. Logging will revert to previous levels automatically after the Minutes specified.

    Viewing Server Utilization

    Click the Logs tab on the ThinkAutomation Studio ribbon, then click the Current Utilization button. This will display charts showing the current ThinkAutomation CPU percentage, Memory Used and currently queued message counts.

     

    Automation Action Types

    Common

    Extract Field

    Find and extract data from the incoming message body or a variable and assign the extracted data to a field name. The extracted data can then be used on any other Automation action setting using %fieldname% replacement (see: Variable Replacements).

    Enter a Name for the field.

    Helper Message

    When creating your first Extract Field action it is a good idea to paste a sample copy of the message body you are extracting data from into the Helper Message box. ThinkAutomation will then highlight the data it will extract for each field as you specify the extraction properties. The Helper text will be saved with the Automation - so you only need to paste it once. Each set of extract field actions with different Extract Field From values can have their own Helper Message text. For Database message source types the Helper Message text will be auto populated when you use the Test query option.

    Extract Field From

    Select the variable that you want to extract data from. This defaults to %Msg_Body% - which means extract data from the plaintext body of the incoming message. You can change this to %Msg_Subject% to extract from the subject or %Msg_Headers% to extract from the headers etc. You can also select any of your own %variables% to extract data from text created previously in your Automation.

    You have four options for setting the field value:

    Find & Extract

    Select the Find & Extract option to find and extract distinct values from the Extract From data.

    Start From Last Extract Point

    Normally ThinkAutomation moves the 'extraction point' as it moves through the Extract From value extracting data for each Extract Field action. Disable this option if you want ThinkAutomation to start from the beginning of the data when it looks for this field. Once a field is extracted the extraction point will be set to the end of the extracted data for the next Extract Field action. The next field extraction starts from this point unless you disable this option.

    Case Sensitive

    By default ThinkAutomation ignores case when it looks for fields. So 'order number' and 'Order Number' will both match when searching for 'Order number'. Enable this option if you want to perform a case sensitive search.

    Is Repeating Block

    This option sets the field as a repeating block. If set ThinkAutomation will enter a loop and repeat the extraction of this field until it finds the next field to extract (or the end of the message). You can Call another Automation with the results of each block loop to perform further actions/extraction.

    Look For

    Enter the text that ThinkAutomation should look for when searching the data for this field. This should be the text that is the same for each message and uniquely identifies the field.

    Then Look For

    Enter an additional text string that ThinkAutomation looks for AFTER it has found the above text. This is optional, but is useful when data is formatted in the message using an unknown number of tabs or spaces. Consider the following line:

    We would search for 'Customer code' and then ':' because we don't know how many spaces are between 'Customer code' and ':'. The field extraction would then start after the ':'.

    In both the Look For and Then Look For entries you can make use of Regular Expressions to assist with searching. You can also use %variable% replacements using Fields/Variables previously extracted or set.

    Find Next None-Whitespace

    You can set the Look For or Then Look For to a single star '*' - a single star means find the next none-whitespace character.

    This can be useful when searching for data. For example, suppose the text contains:

    If we wanted to extract the Serial Number we would be to look for 'Your serial number is:' and then look for '*' - which would effectively look for any none whitespace after 'Your serial number is:'.

    Find Blank Line

    You can set the Look For or Then Look For to '<BlankLine>' or you can include it, eg: 'Customer: <BlankLine>'. The <BlankLine> marker searches for a single blank line. A 'blank line' is LF + LF or CRLF + CRLF. To find multiple blank lines use '<BlankLine><BlankLine>'

     

    Extract From Json

    Select the Extract From Json option if the Extract Field From contains Json data. You can easily find and extract a specific Json path. Enter or select the Json Path. If Json sample data has been pasted into the Helper Message then the paths list will be populated automatically.

    Note: Paths use JsonPath notation.

    Extracting From Json Arrays

    If the selected Path is an array then you can extract a single array value or all values. Enable the Extract All Array Values To CSV to extract all array values to a CSV string. For example, consider the following Json:

    Setting the path to 'cars[0]' would extract the single value "Ford". If Extract All Array Values To CSV is enabled then the extracted value would be "Ford,BMW,Fiat".

    If the Json array contains no enclosing object (eg: ["Ford","BMW","Fiat"]) then use paths: array[0], array[1] etc.

    If the Extract Field From contained:

    Setting the path to 'cars' or 'cars[0]' and enabling Extract All Array Values To CSV would extract:

    Setting the path to 'cars[0].name' and enabling Extract All Array Values To CSV would extract "Ford,BMW"

    Whilst setting the path to 'cars[1].name' and not enabling Extract All Array Values To CSV would extract 'BMW'.

    You can use the Parse CSV Line action to further process CSV data.

     

    Extract Using Text Range

    Select the Extract Using Text Range option to extract a block of text from the Extract Field From data at specific Left, Top, Right & Bottom character coordinates.

    This option is useful where data is always in the same place - but has no specific markers to easily find and extract. An example would be an 'address' block on a invoice/quote etc where the text has been converted from a PDF document.

    For example, if the Extract Field From contained:

    If we wanted to extract the customer address we would set the coordinates to: left=9, top=7, right=60, bottom=11. We would extend the right & bottom values to ensure all values are extracted. If the Clean And Trim Blanks option is enabled then the extracted value would have any blank lines above or below removed after extraction and each line trimmed.

    When extracting postal address blocks you can use the Extract Address Parts action to then extract specific address data.

    When defining the coordinates you can select the text you want to extract in the Helper Message - the coordinates will then be automatically set to the selected range. Ranges can be on a single line or span multiple lines.

     

    Extract Built-In Variable

    You can also set the field value to any of the built-in message variables, system variables or solution constants. Select the Extract Built-In Variable option and select the variable to use.

     

    Extracting Data

    Click the Extract Data tab to define how ThinkAutomation will extract data for this field once it has found it.

    For the Find & Extract option, there are a number of options you can use to extract data (all options start the extraction after the Look For, and optionally Then Look For text):

    Until End Of Line

    Extract all data up to the end of the line (or the end of the data if there are no more lines).

    Until End Of Message

    Extract all data up to the end of the data.

    Until Any Of These Characters

    Extract data until any of the following characters are found. You can then specify a list of characters to search for. If any one of the characters are found then extracting will stop. You can include the following markers:

    MarkerDetailsExample
    <CR>A carriage return character" ,<cr>" - look for space, comma or carriage return.
    <LF>A line feed character" :<lf>" - look for : or line feed.
    <TAB>A tab character" <tab>" - look for a space or a tab.
    <ESC>An escape character" <tab><esc><cr>" - look for a space, tab, esc or carriage return.
    <CRLF>A carriage return + line feed"<tab><crlf>" - look for a tab or carriage return + line feed.
    <NEWLINE>Either CRLF or LF"<newline>" - look for any line ending.
    <BLANKLINE>A blank line" <blankline>" - look for a space or a blank line.
    <END>End of data" ,<cr><end>" - look for space, comma, carriage return or end of data.

    Until These Characters

    Extract data until specific words or characters are found. You can then specify characters, words or phases to search for. Extraction will stop when the words are found. Regular expressions permitted. You can use the <BLANKLINE> marker to search up to the next blank line.

    Until These Many Characters

    You can manually specify a number of characters to extract.

    Until End Tag

    Select this option if you are extracting HTML or XML tags. If the Look For value is a tag, for example: <mytag> then ThinkAutomation will extract up to the end tag </mytag>. This option will be automatically selected on new fields if you enter a tag in the Look For entry.

    Use The Look For Expression

    Select this option to extract the field INCLUDING the Look For expression. This is useful when you want to find AND extract using a regular expression. The data would be extracted starting from the Look For value. For example, if the 'Look For is set to the regular expression: [a-zA-Z0-9._-]+@[a-zA-Z0-9_-]+\.[a-zA-Z.]+ (which is the regular expression for an email address) and the Use The Look For Expression option is enabled.. then the first Email address will be found AND extracted. If the Use The Look For Expression is not enabled then the first email address will be found and extraction will start AFTER the end of the email address.

    The Extract 'Until' options do not apply if you are using the Extract From Json option.

    Clean And Trim Blanks

    Enable this option if you want the extracted data to be cleaned and trimmed. This will remove any leading or trailing spaces, tabs and carriage return/line feed/control characters from the field data.

    Remove First/Last

    You can also select to remove a number of characters from the beginning and end of the extracted data.

    Additional Attributes

    Select the Attributes tab to define optional additional attributes for the field.

    Field Data Type

    Select the Field Data Type from the list. After the field is extracted the value will be converted to the appropriate type.

    For the Boolean type field the value will be set to 'True' or 'False' only. The field value will be set to 'True' if the extracted data is any of 'true','yes','on','y','1' (case insensitive) and 'False' otherwise.

    If the any of the numeric types are selected then the numeric value of the extracted value will be assigned. If the extracted value cannot be converted to a number of the selected data type then no data will be assigned.

    For Decimal, Single and Double types you can also set the Decimal Places. The extracted value will be rounded up to the specified number of decimal places. If Decimal Places is zero then no rounding will be applied.

    For the Date type the date will be extracted and assigned in yyyy-MM-dd format or yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss format for the DateTime type.

    If you are using Update A Database Using Extracted Fields action you should select the correct type matching the column in your database.

    Max Length

    You can optionally specify the maximum allowed field length for the field. ThinkAutomation will truncate the field if the extracted data is greater than the maximum length. Use this option to avoid database errors that will be raised when field data is inserted into your database that is greater than the defined length. This option applies to String and Text field types only. Set to zero if you do not want ThinkAutomation to truncate the field.

    Default Value

    Enter a value that will be assigned to the field if no data is found or the extracted value is blank.

    Case

    This option allows you to change the case of extracted value or to apply Word Capitalization.

    Validate

    In this section you can define validation rules for the extracted field and you can define what action ThinkAutomation should take if the extracted data is invalid.

    Select the Validate option to enable validation for this field. Select Cannot Be Blank Or Zero option if the field must be a value (or be non-zero in the case of numeric fields). For numeric fields you can also select a valid Numeric Range. The Must Be In List option allows you to define a list of valid values. In the Choices entry specify the list of valid values for the field.

    If Data Is Invalid

    Here you specify what ThinkAutomation should do if the extracted field data is invalid. There are two options:

    1. Set Field To Default Value - select this option if you want ThinkAutomation to replace the extracted data with the field's default value (or blank if no default it specified).

    2. Throw Error - select this option if you want ThinkAutomation to cancel execution of the Automation for the current message.

    Mapping To Database Columns

    If you are going to use the Update A Database Using Extracted Fields action in your Automation, then you can map extracted fields to tables & columns in the database you want to update. ThinkAutomation then builds the database update commands automatically.

    You can also use the Update A Database Using Custom SQL action type which allows finer control over database updates.

    Select the Database Update tab to map the extracted field to a table & column in your database that you want ThinkAutomation to update.

    Enter the Update Table Name that the field will be updated on. This table must already exist in your database. Multiple fields can use different table names if required - but the tables must be part of the same database.

    Enter the Update Column Name in the table that the ThinkAutomation field will be mapped to.

    Key Field

    Enable this option if this field is a Key Field. Key fields allow you to control how your database is updated. If you create one or more key fields, ThinkAutomation will first check if a record exists in your database using the key field values. If a record already exists then the existing record will be UPDATED otherwise a new record will be INSERTED.

     

    Repeating Blocks

    Often messages contain repeating sections. Most of the time you need to run a process or update a database for each individual block of the repeating section. ThinkAutomation allows you to do this by defining a field as a Repeating Block. When a field is defined as a repeating block, ThinkAutomation will enter a loop and extract each block of the repeating section in turn. Another Automation can then be called with the value of each block.

    For example:

    Suppose you receive the following message:

    The Product and Qty fields can repeat any number of times depending on what the customer has ordered.

    We can define the Product & Qty fields as a single field and set them as a repeating block. The repeating block can then be passed to another Automation for processing on it's own.

    We would define the extraction of the above fields as follows:

    1. Name = Extract Field From %Msg_Body% Look For "Name" Then ":"

    2. Company = Extract Field From %Msg_Body% Look For "Company" Then ":"

    3. Order = Extract Field From %Msg_Body% Look For "Order Ref" Then ":"

    4. Block = Extract Field Repeating Block From %MsgBody% Look For "*" Call Process Order Lines

    The Name, Company and Order fields we extract by looking for the Name:, Company: and Order Ref: field headers and extract until the end of the line.

    For the Block field we set the Look For to '*' - which means start from the next character after the last extract point:

    We set the Extract Data option to Until These Characters - and set this to '<BlankLine>' which means 'the next blank line'.

    You then enable the Is Repeating Block option on this field. ThinkAutomation will then repeat the field extraction until it either finds the next field in the extracted fields list or the end of the message.

    We then create another Automation. In this case - called 'Process Order Lines'. This Automation will receive each block of the repeating section as a new message. The 'Process Order Lines' Automation can then extract the Product and Qty fields and perform further processing.

    When you enable the Is Repeating Block option the Call tab becomes visible on the Extract Field properties.

    On the Call tab of the repeating block field we select the Automation to call. The Body Text should be set to the value that you want this Automation to receive for each block. The Body Text should contain the %ExtractedValue% replacement field - this will be replaced with the current block text on each call. You can add additional variable replacements if you also want to pass previously extracted fields. For example:

    For each block the 'Process Order Lines' Automation would be called with messages set to:

    and then..


    Set Variable

    Create or set a ThinkAutomation variable.

    In addition to Extracted Fields you can also make use of Variables in your ThinkAutomation Actions.

    A variable is simply a place holder for a specific value.

    Many other Actions can return values which can be assigned to variables. In these cases you should create the variable first by simply dragging into the Actions list and giving it a name before using it other Actions.

    Each variable must be given a Variable Name. Enter a new variable name to set its initial value, or choose an existing variable or extracted field to change its current value.

    You can optionally assign it a Value. The value can be a fixed value or the value of another variable, extracted field or combination (using %variable% replacements).

    The variable value can then be used on any other Automation action setting using %variablename% replacement (see: Variable Replacements).

    Set Variable Operations

    The Operation option allows you to perform an optional additional operation on the Value before it's assigned to the variable. The following operations are available:

    CategoryDetails
    No OperationJust Assign
    CaseTo Lower Case
    CaseTo Upper Case
    CaseTo Word Capitalized
    ConvertHTML To Plain Text (see: HTML Parsing Notes)
    ConvertHTML To XML (converts HTML to well-formed XML) (see: HTML Parsing Notes)
    ConvertHTML To JSON
    ConvertHTML To Markdown
    ConvertJSON To HTML (converts Json text into a formatted HTML table)
    ConvertJSON To CSV (converts Json or Json Array into CSV text)
    ConvertJSON To XML
    ConvertHTML CSS To Inline Style Attributes
    ConvertMarkdown To HTML (see: Markdown Notes)
    ConvertCSV To HTML Table
    ConvertCSV To JSON Array
    ConvertCSV To Markdown Table
    ConvertPlain Text To HTML
    ConvertReformat Json (reformat, tidy & reindent Json text). (see: Json Notes)
    ConvertXML To JSON
    DateAdd Days To (if the existing value is a date then adds the days specified in the value to the existing date)
    DateSubtract Days From (if the existing value is a date then subtracts the days specified in the value )
    DateDay Number Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the day part)
    DateDay Of Week Name Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the day name, 'Mon,Tues' etc)
    DateDay Of Week Number Only (0=Sunday, 1=Monday etc)
    DateHours Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the hours part)
    DateMinutes Only (f the existing value is a datetime then returns the minutes part)
    DateMonth Name Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the month name)
    DateMonth Number Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the month number)
    DateSeconds Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the seconds part)
    DateTime Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the time part only in hh:mm:ss format)
    DateWeek Number Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the ISO8601 week number)
    DateYear Only (if the existing value is a datetime then returns the year number)
    ExtractAlias From Email Address (eg: 'test' from 'test@mydomain.com')
    ExtractName From Email Address (eg: 'Test Name' from "Test Name" <test@mydomain.com>)
    ExtractDomain From Email Address (eg: 'mydomain.com' from 'test@mydomain.com')
    ExtractAll Email Addresses (returns comma separated list)
    ExtractAll URLs (returns comma separated list)
    ExtractConcepts
    ExtractDirectory Name Only From Path & Filename (eg: 'C:\Documents' from 'C:\Documents\mydocument.pdf')
    ExtractFilename Only From Path & Filename (eg: 'mydocument.pdf' from 'C:\Documents\mydocument.pdf')
    ExtractFile Extension From Filename (eg 'pdf' from 'mydocument.pdf')
    ExtractFilename Without Extension (eg 'mydocument' from 'mydocument.pdf')
    ExtractFirst Email Address Only
    ExtractFirst Line
    ExtractFirst Phone Number (finds and extracts the first valid phone number in any text)
    ExtractFirst Sentence
    ExtractFirst URL
    ExtractFirst Word
    ExtractLast Word
    ExtractHeader Value (extracts a header value from the incoming message headers - set the value to the header name)
    ExtractKeywords (returns comma separated list of words with common words removed)
    ExtractSummarized Text
    MaskMask Credit Card Numbers (replaces any credit card numbers with ***)
    MaskMask Profanities (replaces any profanity words with ***)
    NumericAdd To (adds the value specified to the current value of the variable)
    NumericDecrement (subtracts 1 from the current value of the variable)
    NumericGet Length
    NumericGet Word Count
    NumericGet Lines Count (excluding blank lines)
    NumericGet Numeric Value (converts text containing a number to the number only)
    NumericIncrement (adds 1 to the current value of the variable)
    NumericSubtract From (subtracts the value specified from current value of the variable)
    NumericHex Convert Decimal To Hex
    NumericHex Convert Hex To Decimal
    StringAdd Space Character To End
    CreateGlobal Unique Identifier (Guid - In hex or decimal format)
    CreateObjectId (MongoDB style unique string)
    StringNormalize Whitespace (normalizes unicode word and line separators to standard space and line feed characters)
    StringNormalize Line Endings (Cr+Lf)
    StringNormalize Line Endings (LF Only)
    StringNormalize Words (normalizes common English contractions (eg: 'what's' to 'what is') and common abbreviations (eg: hi to hello, Nov to November, ur to your, bday to birthday, 2day to today, plz to please, thx to thanks etc.))
    StringPrepend
    StringRemove All Whitespace (all spaces and control characters are removed)
    StringRemove Invalid Filename Characters
    StringSort Lines Ascending
    StringSort Lines Descending
    StringDedup Lines (removes duplicate lines, case insensitive )
    TransformBase 64 Decode
    TransformBase 64 Encode
    TransformCompress (compresses the value to Base64 encoded text)
    TransformCreate MD5 Hash (Hex Encoded)
    TransformCreate MD5 Hash (URL Encoded)
    TransformDecompress (decompresses the Base64 encoded value)
    TransformDecrypt (decrypts the Base64 encoded value)
    TransformEncrypt (encrypts the value to Base64 encoded text)
    TransformHTML Entity Decode
    TransformHTML Entity Encode
    TransformQuoted Printable Decode
    TransformQuoted Printable Encode
    TransformSHA256 Hash (Base64 Encoded)
    TransformSHA256 Hash (Url Encoded)
    TransformSHA512 Hash (Base64 Encoded)
    TransformSHA512 Hash (Url Encoded)
    TransformURL Decode
    TransformURL Encode
    TransformJSON Escape (escapes json reserved characters)
    TrimTrim (removes all whitespace, tab, CR and LF characters from the beginning and end of the text only)
    TrimAll Whitespace (replaces all whitespace, tab, CR, and LF characters with space characters, and removes extra space's so there are no occurrences of more than one space in a row)
    TrimBlanks (replaces all whitespace, tab, CR and LF characters with spaces characters and trims)
    TrimFirst And Last Characters (removes the first and last character)
    TrimBlank Lines (All) (removes all blank lines in the text)
    TrimBlank Lines (Repeating Only) (removes repeated blank lines, so the text only contains single blank lines)

    If the Append To Existing Value option is enabled then the Value will be appended to the existing value for the variable. Care should be taken using this if the Persist Value option is enabled and the variable value is not cleared at some point within the Automation, to avoid ending up with very large strings.

    Solution Global Variables

    By default variables are private to the Automation and the currently executing message instance. If the Solution Global option is enabled then the variable instance and current value is global to the Solution. This is useful if you have an Automation that uses the Call Automation action to call another Automation within the same solution. The global variables will be accessible and updatable in the called automation.

    You should not use Global variables if you have enabled Concurrent Execution for the Automation. This is because the global variable values may change during Automation execution if multiple messages are executing concurrently. Concurrent execution is disabled by default for new Automations.

    Persisted Variables

    By default, when an Automation starts processing a message all Automation variables will be reset. If the Persist Value option is enabled then the variable value will be saved by the ThinkAutomation Server between messages processed. For example: If an Automation sets a persisted variable called 'var1' to 'abc' on message 1, when the Automation next executes for message 2 then variable 'var1' will be automatically set to 'abc' before the Automation starts processing. Persisted variables are stored in the Message Store database - so will be persisted even when the ThinkAutomation Server is restarted. Variables will only be persisted if the default value for the variable (the value assigned to it on the first Set action within the Automation) is blank.


    Execute Script

    Executes custom C# or Visual Basic .NET code. Requires the Professional Edition.

    You can create a custom script to execute custom logic. Scripts can be written in C# or Visual Basic .NET. Select the Language to use before you edit your script code. Each Script Action must be given a Script Name.

    When your Automation executes a Script action it calls the execute(currentMessage message) method which returns a string. This is the entry point. You can edit the code inside this method and you can add any number of additional methods within the ThinkAutomationScript class. The returned string value from the execute method will be assigned to the Assign Return Value To variable which you can then use in your Automation.

    Scripts are compiled by ThinkAutomation when they are executed for the first time. Once compiled, scripts will execute as fast as built-in actions. Scripts will be recompiled if they are changed.

    If you want to re-use a script on multiple Automations, you can create a Custom Action.

    Example script:

    Accessing Automation Variables

    Scripts can access and update existing Extracted Fields or Variables. To access a value use:

    Where "name" is an existing Variable or Extracted field name. Values are always returned as strings.

    You can drag and drop a variable onto the script editor - it will be converted to: message.GetValue("variablename").

    You can also access any of the built-in variables, solution constants, global constants & system variables:

    To set an existing variable or extracted field use:

    Where "name" is an existing variable or extracted field name. The "value" can be any string value.

    Accessing Message Properties

    The message object contains read-only properties for the currently executing message. For example: message.Subject can be used to access the subject directly. Main properties:

    Property NameDetails
    MessageIdThe id of the incoming message.
    MimeTextThe full mime text of the incoming message.
    SubjectThe message subject.
    BodyPlainTextThe plain text body. If the incoming message is html without a plain text body then this property will return the plain text version of the html (with all tags removed).
    BodyPlainTextLastReplyThe plain text body with previous replies and quoted text removed.
    BodyHTMLThe html body.
    DatedThe message date (datetime).
    FromThe from address.
    ReplyToThe reply-to address.
    ToAddressThe to address.
    CC, BCCThe cc / bcc address.
    SizeThe message size (integer).
    AutomationNameThe name of the Automation currently executing.
    SolutionNameThe name of the Solution containing the Automation.
    SolutionEmailThe email address assigned to the Solution.
    TempPathThe path to the temporary files folder for the Solution.
    Accessing Attachments

    The message.Attachments property contains a list of currentMessageAttachment objects for the current message.

    The Location property of the Attachment object contains the path to the temporary location of the attachment file during Automation execution.

    You can also access related items (embedded attachments in email messages) using message.RelatedItems.

    Accessing Headers

    The message.MessageHeaders property contains a list of currentMessageHeader objects for the current message.

    Adding To The Automation Log

    You can add an entry to the Automation Log using:

    Handling Exceptions

    To add an error to the Automation Log use:

    Inside any methods you create in your script you should always use Try .. Catch blocks to catch any Exceptions and then use the message.AddErrorToLog method to pass details of the error back to the Automation. This will then show any script errors in your Automation log. For example:

    .NET References

    Scripts can reference other .NET Framework assemblies compatible with .NET Framework 4.7 or higher. Use the References tab to add additional references. You can add any of the .NET framework System assemblies. Any other .NET referenced assembly must be located in the ThinkAutomation program files folder (unless you use a NuGet package - see below).

    NuGet Packages

    You can also add NuGet packages to scripts. Click the NuGet Packages button to open the NuGet Package Manager. Enter a search term and click the search button to view available packages. Select a package and click the Add Reference button to download & install the package. A reference to the package (and any dependencies) will be added to your script. See: https://www.nuget.org for more information.

    Http Helper Class

    If you need to make http requests inside your execution code, you can optionally use the helpersHttp class which simplifies the process. See: Using The Http Helper Class for more information.

    Validating A Script

    Click the Check button to validate that the script compiles and executes successfully. The Error tab will show any script errors, the Output tab will show any output from message.DebugPrint, message.AddToLog or message.AddErrorToLog calls.

    Adding To The Output Window

    To assist with script development you can add data to the Output window using message.DebugPrint :

    Any calls to message.DebugPrint will show in the Output window in the script editor when the Check button is used, and are ignored when the script executes during Automation execution.

    Generating Scripts Using ChatGPT

    If you have an OpenAI account you can add your OpenAI API key to the ThinkAutomation Server Settings - Integrations - ChatGPT section. This will enable the Ask ChatGPT button on the script editor toolbar.

    Click the Ask ChatGPT to open the Generate Script Using ChatGPT window. Enter a description of what you need your script to do. Be specific with your description and what you want it to return. If you need your script to access Automation %variables% use the term 'automation variable'.

    For example:

    Or

    When mentioning automation variables in your description this can may any %variable%, Extracted Field or Constant.

    ThinkAutomation gives ChatGPT information about how scripts work and the objects available.

    Examples:

    Click the Ask ChatGPT button to send the request to ChatGPT. Your script will be displayed. Click OK to add the generated script to the script editor.

    Notes:

    ChatGPT code generation use useful to get you started and in may cases it can generate a script that can be used with no changes, however it is not foolproof. You should always test the script first. ThinkAutomation instructs ChatGPT to not use external libraries - however it may still do so - in which case these would need to be added as references.


    Process Attachments

    Save attachments to specific folders on your file system.

    Specify the File Mask for the extensions you want to save.

    For example: *.pdf to save all files with the extension .pdf. Use *.* to save all attachments. You can specify multiple masks separated by commas, for example: 'quote*.pdf, invoice.*.pdf, *.doc'. You can create multiple Save Attachment Actions in the same Automation if you need to process different file types differently.

    In the Save To Folder select the folder on your file system to save the attachments to. This can contain %variable% replacements.

    For example: To save all attachments to sub folders based on the senders email address use 'C:\Attachments\%Msg_From%\'.

    The directory will be created if it does not exist.

    Renaming Attachments

    In the Rename Saved Files To entry you can optionally specify a new name for the file. You can use %fieldname% replacements in the Rename to - for example: order%OrderNumber%.csv would rename the attachment order1234.csv if the %OrderNumber% field contained '1234'.

    You can use the special field replacement %filename% to use the original file name as part of the renamed file. For example, suppose the incoming attachment was called "orderdata.csv" and the %OrderNumber% field was set to '1234' - renaming to: %filename%No%OrderNumber%.csv would rename the file 'orderdata_No_1234.csv'.

    If your rename string doesn't contain a file extension then the original extension will be used. For example: If the attachment is called 'attachment.csv' and you rename it to %OrderNumber% - then the attachment will be renamed '1234.csv' (assuming the %OrderNumber% field has a value of '1234').

    You can assign the saved path and file name to a ThinkAutomation variable. Select the variable to assign using the Assign Saved Path To list. Multiple saved attachments will be separated by commas.

    Overwrite Existing Files

    Check this box if ThinkAutomation should overwrite existing files.

    Append Key To Filename To Make Files Unique

    If this option is selected then ThinkAutomation will append a date and time stamp to the file name (including renamed files) to ensure that the file name is unique. The time stamp is in the format yyyymmddhhmmss_x

    For example: order123420120307122033_1.csv

    Would be save for file order1234.csv on 7th March 2012 and 12:20:33. The _1 indicates that this is the first attempt at saving using this file name. If a file already existed with the same time stamp (for example, if ThinkAutomation was processing multiple emails very quickly) the counter would be increased until a unique file was found.

    Include Inline Attachments

    For HTML emails you can also save inline attachments - these would usually be images embedded in the HTML that don't appear as regular attachments.

    Further Attachment Processing

    Other actions (such as Convert Document, Convert PDF Document, FTP Upload, Azure Blob etc.) allow specific processing of Attachments.


    Set Message Store Folder

    Assign the current message to a folder in the Message Store.

    The Message Store contains copies of each message processed by the Automation. The Message Store can be organized into folders. This action is used to assign the current message to a folder. If no folder is assigned then the message is stored in the root folder for the Automation.

    The Current Message Store Folders tree shows all current folders and sub-folders for the Automation. Select one of the folders to assign the current message.

    You can also manually specify a path in the Assign Message To Message Store Folder Path entry. This can contain %variable% replacements to dynamically assign folders (Eg: 'Customers\%CustomerName%').

    If folders for the specified path do not exist they will be created.

    Folders and sub-folders in the path are separated by backslash characters. For example a path of 'Top\Level1\Level2' will create:

    The message will then be assigned to the 'Level2' sub folder.

    Folder names can contain letters and numbers only. Each folder name can be up to 100 characters.

    You can also create folders and sub-folders whilst viewing the Message Store. Right click a folder and select Create Sub Folder. Existing messages in the Message Store can be moved to other folders by selecting one or more messages in the Message Store. Right-click the selection and select the Move To menu item.


    Move Incoming Message

    This action is used where the incoming message is read from an Office 365, IMAP or Gmail Message Source. It moves the incoming message to a different folder on the source email account.

    This action works with the message currently being processed.

    Select the folder to move the current message to from the Move Current Message To Folder list.

    This action can be used to conditionally move the current source message to a different folder on the source email account. For example you could choose to move the message to the Deleted Items folder based on variable values or other conditions.

    This action can only be used on Automations that are called from an Office 365, IMAP or Gmail Message Source.


    Data

    ThinkAutomation supports native access to the following database types:

    In addition it can also connect to an ODBC DSN and use any OLEDB driver. See: Database Connection Notes.

    ThinkAutomation also includes an embedded server-less document database that you can use to store any arbitrary data in Json format and then later query the data using SQL statements. See: Embedded Document DB Notes.

    All SQL statements use consistent quoted identifiers - regardless of the database type. Identifiers should be enclosed in double quotes. For example:

    SQL Parameters

    All SQL statements used on database actions allow you to specify parameters.

    You can substitute parameters using @parametername in the SQL statement. For example:

    or

    For any parameters you must complete the Parameters grid. Specify the Name, Type & Value for each parameter used. The Name column in the parameters list has a drop down selector that will be auto populated with any @parameter names used in the SQL statement. The Type must match your database column type. Parameter values can be set to fixed values or %variable% replacements (or combination).

    Using parameters is recommended over directly specifying %variables% in the SQL statement itself as this correctly sets the value based on its Type and avoids any possible SQL injection attacks.

    If you specify %variables% directly inside a SQL statement instead of using parameters you must ensure the value is correctly escaped (ie: single quotes represented by '') and string values enclosed in quotes.

    Lookup From A Database

    Reads records from a database and assigns returned column values to multiple ThinkAutomation variables.

    Select a Database Type to connect to from the list. You must specify a Connection String that ThinkAutomation will use to open the database. Click the ... button to build the connection string. Click the Test button to verify that ThinkAutomation can connect to the database.

    Specify the Max Rows to read.

    Enter the SQL Statement to use to query records from the database. The SQL Statement can contain Parameters. Eg:

    For any Parameters you must complete the Parameters grid. Specify the Name, Type & Value for each parameter used. Parameter values can be set to %variable% replacements. See: SQL Parameters. Click the Test button to verify the query.

    Assignments

    Column Assignments

    You can assign individual column values to ThinkAutomation Variables (optional).

    In the Column Assignments grid you can map database columns returned from the query to ThinkAutomation variables.

    In the Column Name/Index column specify a database field name or position number from the SELECT statement.

    In the Assign Value To column select a ThinkAutomation Variable that you want the database column value assigned to.

    If the database query returned multiple rows, then the first row returned will be used for variable assignment. If no rows are returned then assign-to variables will not be assigned.

    Optional Assignments

    You can assign the row count to a ThinkAutomation variable. Select a variable from the Assign Row Count To list (optional).

    Assign All Rows/Columns To A Variable In JSON Format

    You can assign all rows/columns returned by the query as JSON text to a ThinkAutomation variable. Select a variable from the Assign Json To list (optional).

    Each row returned by the query will be a JSON value. For example:

    If the query returned multiple rows then the JSON will be set to an array.

    You can then perform other actions on this value - or pass it to another Automation using the Call Automation action. You can use the Convert JSON To Html action to convert the JSON to a HTML table if the data needs to be sent or viewed in human readable format.

    Assign All Rows/Columns To A Variable In CSV Format

    You can assign all rows/columns returned by the query as CSV text to a ThinkAutomation variable. Select a variable from the Assign CSV To list (optional).

    For the JSON/CSV content you can use the Read/Write Text File action to save the content to a file for use on subsequent actions (Convert Document, Add Attachment to outgoing email etc.).

    Converting The CSV To Displayable Format

    If you want to use the Database Lookup to lookup multiple rows that you can then return in your Automation for a user to view, you can use the Set Variable action with the Convert CSV To Markdown Table option. Eg:

    When run in the Studio this will display the table when used via the Send Message option. When used via a Web Form or API Message Source the markdown will be automatically converted to HTML.

    Reading Blob Data

    If any columns return binary data (data types: blob, binary, varbinary etc) the data will be returned to the variable in Base64 format. If you want to write the base64 data to a file you can use the File Operation action with the Write Binary File From Base64 String operation.

    Lookups From The Embedded Document DB

    This action can also be used to perform lookups using the Embedded Document DB. Select Embedded Database when selecting the Database Type. See: Embedded Data Store action


    Open Database Reader

    Opens a connection to a database for use with For.. Each Actions

    The Open Database Reader Action opens a connection to a database using a SQL query. The connection remains open during Automation execution. You can then create a For..Each loop to read each row returned by the query.

    Enter the Reader Name. This is a unique name for the data reader. A single Automation can open multiple data readers - each having a unique name.

    Select a Database Type to connect to from the list. You must specify a Connection String that ThinkAutomation will use to open the database. Click the ... button to build the connection string. Click the Test button to verify that ThinkAutomation can connect to the database.

    Enter the SQL Statement to use to query rows from the database. The SQL Statement can contain Parameters. Eg:

    For any Parameters you must complete the Parameters grid. Specify the Name, Type & Value for each parameter used. Parameter values can be set to %variable% replacements. See: SQL Parameters. Click the Test button to verify the query.

    Now create a For..Each Action. Specify the For Each option as Data Reader Row In and select the Reader Name.

    You can then select a variable from the Assign Data Row Json To selector to be assigned the current row Json. The current row Json will be set for each record returned from the query. For example:

    You can then perform other actions on this value - or pass it to another Automation using the Call Automation action.

    The For..Each loop will continue until all rows from the query have been read or an Exit Loop action is used.

    The Open Database Reader action is designed for queries that return a small number of rows (less than 10000). For example: To read a list of email addresses from a database and send an email to each. If your query will return many rows consider using the Database message source type instead. You can also use the Set Logging Level action before your For..Each loop. Set the logging level to Minimal so that only errors are logged during the loop. This will improve performance.

    A For..Each - Data Reader Row In loop block cannot contain the following actions:

    The reason is that the Automation will exit during the waiting phase of the above Actions (allowing the next message to be processed). The underlying data source for the Open Database Reader action may change during this waiting period causing the loop to become invalid.


    Execute A Database Command

    Executes a SQL Command or Stored Procedure with optional parameters and returns multiple return values.

    This Action allows you to execute a SQL Statement or Stored Procedure. You can pass any number of parameters and assign output parameters to variables.

    Select a Database Type to connect to from the list. You must specify a Connection String that ThinkAutomation will use to open the database. Click the ... button to build the connection string. Click the Test button to verify that ThinkAutomation can connect to the database.

    Select the Command Type. This is either a SQL Statement or Stored Procedure.

    Specify the Command SQL Statement or Stored Procedure Call depending on the command type. You can substitute parameters using @parametername in the SQL Command statement.

    Command Parameters

    You can pass multiple parameters to your command.

    For each parameter in the SQL statement you must specify the Name, Type, Direction & Size. These must match your stored procedure parameters types when using a store procedure, or column types when using a SQL statement. See: SQL Parameters.

    For Output Parameters and the Return Value you can specify the variable to Assign Result To.

    For Input Parameters you set the Value - this can be fixed or a %variable% replacement.

    Blob Data (Saving File Contents)

    For parameters with type Blob - if the Value assigned is a file path, then the file contents are read and the binary data is assigned to the Value.

    Saving Attachments

    If you want to store message attachments to a database you can use a For..Each action to loop on Attachment. Inside the loop set variables for the Filename and Temporary Location values. You can then assign these variables to the relevant database parameter values. See: Example.

    Execute Method

    Select Non Query if your SQL statement does not return a result set. You can optionally assign the rows affected to a variable selected from the Assign Rows Affected To list.

    Select Scalar if your SQL statement returns a result set. The first column of the first row of any results can be optionally be assigned to a variable selected from the Assign Result To list. For example, the SQL statement:

    The above SQL Server statement will insert a new record and then return the new identity value. The returned value can be assigned to a variable.


    Update A Database Using Custom SQL

    Insert or Update a row in a database using custom SQL.

    This Action allows you to insert or update a row in a database based on the results of a select statement.

    Select a Database Type to connect to from the list. You must specify a Connection String that ThinkAutomation will use to open the database. Click the ... button to build the connection string. Click the Test button to verify that ThinkAutomation can connect to the database.

    The Insert tab is used to enter any valid SQL statement. You can also optionally enter statements in the Update and Select tabs.

    If a select statement is entered in the Select tab, then the SQL entered in the Update tab is executed if the select returns one or more rows. If no rows are returned then the SQL entered in the Insert tab is executed.

    The select, insert & update statements can contain parameters (using @parametername).

    You must specify the Name, Type & Value of each parameter used. Parameter values can be assigned to %variable% replacements. See: SQL Parameters.

    It is not recommended that you directly specify %variables% in your SQL statements. You should use parameters instead and set the parameter values to each %variable%. This will ensure the database value is set correctly. It is also more secure. If you do use %variables% directly in your SQL statement you must ensure the value is correctly escaped (any single quotes must be replaced with two single ) and string values are enclosed in single quotes.

    For the Insert & Update statements you can assign the rows affected to a variable.

    Blob Data (Saving File Contents)

    For parameters with type Blob - if the Value assigned is a file path, then the file contents are read and the binary data is assigned to the Value.

    Saving Attachments

    If you want to store message attachments to a database you can use a For..Each action to loop on Attachment. Inside the loop set variables for the Filename and Temporary Location values. You can then assign these variables to the relevant database parameter values. See: Example.


    Update A Database Using Extracted Fields

    Update a database with fields extracted from the incoming message.

    This action can be used to automatically insert or update a record in a database based on the Extract Field actions defined in your Automation. The tables and column names used in the SQL commands are specified on the Database Update tab on each individual Extract Field Action. ThinkAutomation will then create the necessary SQL commands automatically.

    Select a Database Type to connect to from the list. You must specify a Connection String that ThinkAutomation will use to open the database. Click the ... button to build the connection string. Click the Test button to verify that ThinkAutomation can connect to the database.

    The UPDATE and SELECT commands will only be created if you have defined one or more of your Extracted Fields as Key Fields. ThinkAutomation will then first check if a record exists with the key field values by issuing a SELECT * FROM ... command. It will then execute the UPDATE command if a record is found or the INSERT command otherwise.

    You can have only have one Update A Database Using Extracted Fields Action in your Actions List since the SQL statements are automatically created based on your Extract Field actions. If you want to update multiple tables within the same database you can specify different table names against each Extract Field action in the Update Table Name entry - ThinkAutomation will then create separate SQL commands for each separate table being updated. You need to add your Update A Database Using Extracted Fields action below your Extract Field actions to ensure each extracted field has a value.

    The result of the update can be assigned to a variable. Select a variable from the Assign Result To list. The variable will receive either 'Inserted','Updated' or an error message if the update failed.

    If you need to update multiple separate databases within the same Automation then you can use the Update A Database Using Custom SQL Action. You can have any number of Update A Database Using Custom SQL Actions within your Automation.


    Update A Database Using CSV Or Json

    This action can be used to automatically insert or update multiple records in a database from CSV or Json text (or file). The column names used in the SQL commands are mapped to CSV columns or Json paths. ThinkAutomation will then create the necessary SQL commands automatically.

    Select a Database Type to connect to from the list. You must specify a Connection String that ThinkAutomation will use to open the database. Click the ... button to build the connection string. Click the Test button to verify that ThinkAutomation can connect to the database.

    Specify the Table Name to be updated. Click the Get Tables button to read the table names from the database schema. You can then select a table from the Table Name drop-down list.

    From the Update Using list, select:

    For CSV data, enable the CSV Has Header Row if the CSV data contains column names in the first line.

    For Json data, you can optionally specify the Start At Path (using dot notation).

    In the CSV/Json Data Or File Path entry, specify the source CSV or Json data. This can be a %variable% containing the data. You can also specify a file path (or a variable containing a file path). If a file path is used, the file will be read and the contents used for the source data when the Automation executes.

    Complete the Column Mappings grid to map database columns to your source data columns.

    When the Automation executes all records in the CSV/Json will be inserted or updated in the database. The database update is performed within a single transaction. This means that if one insert or update fails, then the transaction is rolled back and no database changes are made.

    The number of inserted and updated database rows can be returned to variables. Select the variables from the Assign Inserted Count To and Assign Updated Count To lists.

    Mapping Source Columns To Database Columns

    You must map columns from the source data to columns in the database table you want to update. The easiest way to do this is to first paste a sample of your CSV or Json data into the CSV/Json Data editor, then use the Auto Map button. Once you have mapped your columns, replace the CSV/Json Data value with your %variable% that will contain the CSV/Json data or file path.

    In the Column Mappings grid, for each source column, specify the Database Column Name, Type, Size and Source Column Name Or Value.

    Click the Auto Map Database Columns To Data Columns button to auto-map. This will populate the column selector drop-down lists and also match database column names with source column names. You can then manually match where needed.

    The Source Column Name Or Value can either be a column name in your source data or a %variable%. If you use a %variable% then the database column will be assigned the fixed %variable% value for each row inserted/updated.

    For the Size value, you can specify the database column size for text data types. If a size is specified then the source data will be trimmed before being assigned to the database column to ensure it fits. Specify zero for no auto-trimming.

    Enable the Key option for database columns where you want to update existing database records instead of inserting new. Multiple columns can be set as keys. ThinkAutomation will then first check if a record exists with the key field values by issuing a SELECT * FROM table WHERE keyfield1 = @value [AND keyfield2 = @value] command. It will then execute the UPDATE command if a record is found or the INSERT command otherwise.

    CSV Data

    For example, suppose we have the follow CSV data:

    And a database table:

    The Automap button would automatically map the CSV columns to the database columns (ignoring case and spaces). The 'Index' could be marked as a key.

    When the Automation executes, 3 new records will be inserted. If the Automation was run again with the same CSV data then the 3 records would be updated if they already exist in the table with the same 'Index' value.

    Excel Data

    If you want to update a database from an Excel spreadsheet you can use the Lookup From Excel action to read a range of cells in CSV format. You can then use the variable containing the CSV text as your source CSV data.

    JSON Data

    When using Json data instead of CSV, the Json must be a Json array. The objects in the array must all be the same type. Sub-objects are not supported.

    For example, the following JSON data could be used for the above database example:

    You can use the Start At Path entry to specify an array path within the Json, for example:

    If the Start At Path is set to 'Customers', then only the Customers array will be used.


    Update MongoDB

    Insert, Update or Delete documents in a MongoDB collection. This action can update any local MongoDB, or cloud based MongoDB compatible document databases including Amazon DocumentDB, Azure Cosmos and MongoDB Atlas.

    Specify the MongoDB Connection String, Database Name & Collection Name.

    Select the Operation:

    If Upsert, Update or Delete is selected you must specify the Query Json. See: Query Documents — MongoDB Manual for query syntax. You can use %variable% replacements in the query and document json. If the value is a string then it must be enclosed in quotes. For example:

    Click the Test Query button to test the connection and query. A maximum of 100 documents will be returned when using the Test option.

    Enter Document Json for Insert, Upsert or Update.

    If Update or Delete is selected then you can enable All Matching Documents. If enabled then all documents returned from the query will be updated/deleted.

    Example Update:

    With Query set to:

    And Document Json set to:

    If All Matching Documents is enabled this would set the 'Downloads' field to 11 for all documents with 'Name' field greater than 'A'. If All Matching Documents not enabled then the first document found would be updated.

    If you want to store a full copy of the incoming message you can use the built-in variable %Msg_Json%. If the incoming message body is already Json (for example, if using the Database message source) then you can set the Document Json to %Msg_Body%.

    You can use the Create Json action to create a Json document to insert/update.

    You can assign the result of the operation to a variable. Select from the Assign Result To list. For Update/Delete operations the result will be the number of documents affected. For Insert/Upsert operations the result will be the _id of the Inserted/Updated document.


    Lookup From A MongoDB Database

    Read a document from a MongoDB Collection and assign the Json to a variable. This action can lookup data from any local MongoDB, or cloud based MongoDB compatible document databases including Amazon DocumentDB, Azure Cosmos and MongoDB Atlas.

    Enter the MongoDB Connection String, Database Name and Collection Name. Enter the Query json and optionally the Projection and Sort json. Click the Test button to test the connection and query.

    You can use %variable% replacements in the query. For example:

    See: Query Documents — MongoDB Manual for query syntax.

    Select the variable to assign the returned document(s) to from the Assign To list.

    The Json can be returned as either:

    Select from the Json Output Mode list.

    You can then use Extract Field Actions (with the extract Json path option) to extract individual fields from the document.


    Embedded Data Store

    Insert, Update and Query data using the embedded document DB. ThinkAutomation includes an embedded server-less document database that you can use to store any arbitrary data in Json format and then later query the data using SQL statements. The Embedded Data Store makes it easy to store and retrieve data in your Automations without having to configure a database. See: Embedded Document DB Notes.

    If you only need to store single values against a key (key/value pairs) then you can use the Embedded Value Store action which provides simple storage and retrieval of key/value pairs.

    Database Name

    Any number of separate databases can be created. Database names can contain letters or numbers only. You can use a %variable% replacement for the database name (all none alpha numeric characters will be removed during execution). Databases are global to the ThinkAutomation instance (IE: The same database can be used on all Solutions/Automations). A database is automatically created when it is first accessed.

    Password

    A database can be optionally assigned a password. If a password is specified then the database file will be encrypted with AES encryption. You cannot change a database password after it has been created.

    Collection Name

    A database can contain multiple collections. A 'collection' is similar to a 'table' in a traditional database. Collection names can contain letters or numbers only. You can use a %variable% replacement for the collection name (all none alpha numeric characters will be removed during execution).

    Operations:

    Insert

    Inserts a new document into the specified database/collection. Specify the Document Json. This can contain %variable% replacements - or be a single %variable% containing Json created from a previous action. If you are using the Database Message Reader then you can use %Msg_Body% since this will already contain Json read from the source database.

    If you want to easily store all extracted field values you can use the %Msg_ExtractedFieldsJson% built-in variable. This will return a Json document containing each extracted field name & value.

    Each document must have an '_id' field containing a unique id. This field will be added automatically with a unique value if it is not included in the Json. If an '_id' field is included in the Json and its value is not blank then the existing document will be updated if it exists, otherwise a new document will be inserted (upsert).

    The '_id' field is automatically indexed. The unique id will be returned after the insert. Select the variable to receive the new Id from the Assign _id To list.

    The Ensure Indexed entry allows you to optionally define one or more fields as additional indexes (separated by commas). This will enable faster queries. For example, suppose we want to insert the following:

    We could set the Ensure Indexed entry to 'isbn,author.lastname'. This will ensure both the "isbn" and "author.lastname" fields are indexed.

     

    Update

    Replaces an existing document. The Document Json should contain the new document. The Where _id Equals should be set to the _id of the document to replace. The Assign _id To variable will receive the _id - or be set to blank if the existing document was not found.

    You can also use the SQL operation to update specific fields, for example:

     

    Delete

    Deletes an existing document. The Where _id Equals should be set to the _id of the document to delete. The Assign _id To variable will receive the _id - or be set to blank if the existing document was not found.

     

    Get

    Retrieves a single document. The Where _id Equals should be set to the _id of the document to retrieve. The Assign _id To variable will receive the document Json - or be set to blank if the existing document was not found.

     

    SQL

    You can execute SQL statements against a Database. SELECT, UPDATE & DELETE can be used. The Collection Name entry is not required when using the SQL option, since the collection name will be specified in the SQL statement itself.

    You can use SELECT * FROM {collectionname} to return full documents, or SELECT FieldName,FieldName2... FROM {collectionname} to return only specific fields.

    Parameters can also be used. For example:

    If a @parameter is specified in the SQL statement then you must set its type and value in the Parameters grid. Parameter values can be set to %variable% replacement values.

    When using a SELECT statement the returned documents can be returned as Json or CSV. If returning Json then a Json array will be returned if the SELECT statement returns more than 1 document.

    When using an UPDATE or DELETE statement then returned value will be the number of documents affected.

    Select the variable to receive the results from the Assign To list. The results can be returned as Json, CSV (without headers) or CSV (with headers).

    You can also use the regular Lookup From A Database action to perform a lookup using the Embedded Document DB. This action allows specific column values to be assigned to variables. The Update A Database Using Extracted Fields action can also be used to update (insert or update) the Embedded database.

     

    Drop Collection

    Deletes all documents in the specified Database / Collection.

    The Assign To variable will receive the dropped collection name or blank if the collection does not exist.

     

    Drop Database

    Deletes the specified Database.

    The Assign To variable will receive the dropped database name or blank if the database does not exist.


    Embedded Value Store

    Get, Set and Delete from a dictionary of key/value pairs using the embedded document database. This action enables you to store any number of key/value pairs against a Collection Name. Values can later be retrieved by their key. You can store any sort of text data for the value. Keys can be any text, up to 1024 characters. For example: You could use a collection called 'subscribed' and use email addresses as keys - with the value set to Yes or No. Then do a simple lookup in any of your Automations to see if an email address is subscribed to a newsletter.

    Collection Name

    Key/value pairs are contained within a Collection. Multiple collections can be used. Collection names can contain letters or numbers only. Key/value pair collections are global to the ThinkAutomation instance (IE: The same collection can be used on all Solutions/Automations).

    Operations:

    Set

    Add or update a key/value pair within the Collection. Specify the Key and Value (both can contain %variable% replacements). If the key already exists then its value will be updated, otherwise a new key/value pair will be created. The Assign To variable will receive the key value (or blank if an error occurred). You can use the Add Now button to manually add key/value pairs.

    You can optionally set an Expires After value in seconds. If an expires after value is specified then any Get operation with the same key will return a blank value if the value was set or updated more than the Expires After seconds ago. This is useful when implementing caching. Leave at zero for never expire.

    Get

    Retrieve an existing value. Specify the Key. The Assign To variable will receive the value - or be set to blank if key does not exist (or has expired).

    Delete

    Delete an existing value. Specify the Key to delete. The Assign To variable will receive the key value - or blank if the key does not exist. You can use the Delete Now button to manually delete keys.

    Drop

    Removes all key/value pairs from the specified Collection Name. The Assign To variable will receive the collection name - or blank if the collection does not exist. You can use the Drop Now button to manually drop the collection (all key/value pairs in the collection will be deleted).

    Get All

    Get all key/value pairs in the specified Collection Name. You can specify a Limit to limit the number of key/value pairs returned. You can also Sort by Key or Value. You can Return Keys, Values or both (in CSV format). The Assign To variable will receive the returned keys/values (one per line). You can use the returned data in a For Each.. Line In loop if you need to perform actions on each value returned.

    Get Count

    Get the total number of keys for the specified Collection Name. The Assign To variable will receive the count.

    Find

    This operation allows you to return all Keys, Values or both where the keys Starts With, Ends With or Contains the specified Where Key text. You can specify a Limit to limit the number of key/value pairs returned. You can also Sort by Key or Value. You can Return Keys, Values or both (in CSV format). The Assign To variable will receive the returned keys/values (one per line). You can use the returned data in a For Each.. Line In loop if you need to perform actions on each value returned.


    Embedded Files Store

    Save, get and delete files using the embedded document DB. ThinkAutomation includes an embedded server-less document database that you can use to store and retrieve files. See: Embedded Document DB Notes.

    Database Name

    Any number of separate databases can be created. Database names can contain letters or numbers only. You can use a %variable% replacement for the database name (all none alpha numeric characters will be removed during execution). Databases are global to the ThinkAutomation instance (IE: The same database can be used on all Solutions/Automations). A database is automatically created when it is first accessed.

    Password

    A database can be optionally assigned a password. If a password is specified then the database file will be encrypted with AES encryption. You cannot change a database password after it has been created.

    Collection Name

    A database can contain multiple collections. A 'collection' is similar to a 'table' in a traditional database. Collection names can contain letters or numbers only. You can use a %variable% replacement for the collection name (all none alpha numeric characters will be removed during execution).

    Operations

    Save

    Save files to the database. You can specify specific local files or a %variable% containing a file path obtained from a previous action. You can also Include Incoming Attachments. For attachments you can specify a Mask (eg: *.pdf).

    The Path In Database entry allows you to define a path within the database (similar to directories) where the files will be saved. This allows you to organize files within the database. You can use %variable% replacements in the path. For example: /Documents/%Msg_FromEmail%/

    The Assign To variable will receive the saved file information.

     

    Get

    Read a previously saved file from the database and save it to a specified folder.

    Specify the Path In Database for the file. For example: /Documents/Pdfs/Document1.pdf

    Specify the Save To Local Folder path where the file should be saved. If Delete saved copy after message is processed is enabled then the saved file will be deleted after the Automation has completed for the current message. The file held in the database is not deleted - only the saved copy. This is useful if you need to access a file during an Automation (for example, to attach it to an outgoing message) but do not need it afterwards.

    The Assign To variable will receive the local saved path (or blank if the file was not found in the database).

     

    Delete

    Delete a previously uploaded file from the database.Specify the Path In Database for the file. For example: /Documents/Pdfs/Document1.pdf

    The Assign To variable will receive the deleted file path (or blank if the file was not found in the database).

    Get Info

    Gets file information for a previously saved file. The file itself is not read from the database.

    Specify the Path In Database for the file. For example: /Documents/Pdfs/Document1.pdf

    The Assign To variable will receive the file information (or blank if the file was not found in the database).

     

    Get List

    Gets a list of file information for a specified path.

    Specify the Path In Database for the files. For example: /Documents/Pdfs/ - will return all documents starting with '/Documents/Pdfs/'. You can also use wildcards, for example: /Documents/Pdfs/Quotes*.pdf.

    The file list can be returned as Json or CSV.

     

    Drop Collection

    Deletes all files in the specified Database / Collection.

    The Assign To variable will receive the dropped collection name or blank if the collection does not exist.

     

    File Information Format

    The Save, Get Info and Get List operations return file information the following format:

    A Json array will be returned for multiple files.

    You can include the File Information %variable% in your Automation Return value. If the Automation has been executed from the Studio or Desktop Connector Send Message form then any File Information json will be automatically converted to clickable links. This will allow the user to save and view the file.

    Get List CSV Option

    The Get List operation can also return the list as CSV text, for example:

    You could use the Set Variable action with the Convert CSV To Markdown Table if you wanted to include the list in the Automation return value to display a table.


    Embedded Knowledge Store

    Update, Get, Search and Delete from a knowledge base store using embedded document database. This action enables you to store any number of knowledge base articles against a Collection Name. Articles can later be retrieved by their title, or you can search and retrieve the top x most relevant articles for any search text.

    This action is useful when used with the ChatGPT action. When a user asks a question, you can search the knowledge base to provide context to the asked question. ChatGPT will then be able to answer organization specific questions based on private data.

    You could also use this action to lookup knowledge base articles in response to incoming emails when sending automated responses etc.

    Collection Name

    Articles are contained within a Collection. Multiple collections can be used. Collection names can contain letters or numbers only. Article collections are global to the ThinkAutomation instance (IE: The same collection can be used on all Solutions/Automations). A collection can contain any number of articles - however it is recommended to keep articles per collection below 5000.

    Operations:

    Update

    Add or update a knowledge base article within the Collection. Specify the Article Title, Tag and Article Text (these can contain %variable% replacements). If the title already exists then it's article text will be updated, otherwise a new article will be created. The Tag is optional.

    The Assign To variable will receive the number of articles updated (or blank if an error occurred). You can use the Update Now button to manually add/update articles.

    Update: Importing Document Files

    You can optionally specify a Import Document File for the Update operation. This is a path to a document file (Word, PDF, HTML, Markdown, RTF, Email EML,Outlook MSG, Text or Excel files). If a file is specified the contents will be read, converted to plain text and added to the article text. When importing a document, the file name will be used as the Article Title if no title is specified.

    Note: Imported documents will be split into pages and a separate article will be added for each page.

    Update: Special Handling Of Markdown Files

    When importing Markdown files (.md extension), the Markdown text will be split into articles based on # Headings (up to 4 levels) and the title of each article will be the full heading for all levels (eg: Main Heading, Heading Level 2, Heading Level 3).

    Note: This operation may take several minutes when importing large documents with many pages, or large Markdown files. You can use the Knowledge Store Browser option to manually import documents into your Knowledge Store.

    Update: Add Embeddings

    This option is used to include embeddings with the article record. Embeddings are a list of numbers (a 'vector') that are used to measure the relatedness of text strings. This enables a much more accurate list of relevant articles when doing a search. If you are using the Embedded Knowledge Store action in conjunction with ChatGPT then you should enable this option. Enter your Open AI API Key (or specify a global OpenAI API Key in the Server Settings - Integrations section).

    Adding Embeddings is not expensive (you could add embeddings for 1000 articles for less than $0.25).

    If you do not add embeddings then the Search operation will only do a keyword match based search rather than a semantic .

    Delete

    Delete an existing article. Specify the Article Title to delete. The Assign To variable will receive the title value - or blank if the title does not exist. You can use the Delete Now button to manually delete articles.

    Search

    Search the Knowledge Base for relevant articles based on the Search For text. You can return the Top x most relevant articles - in relevance order. The Relevancy Threshold setting controls the relevancy level. Articles below the relevancy % will not be included. This value defaults to 75%.

    Enable the Add Embeddings option if you added embeddings when the article was created. When this option is enabled then embeddings are obtained for the Search For text and then used to perform a semantic search of stored articles. This will provide a much more accurate list of relevant articles.

    When using with ChatGPT you can specify the Max Tokens and Max Characters that should be returned in the search. This will prevent your requests from going over the token limit.

    In the Return As list select either Text or Json. Specify Json if you are searching for articles to add as context for the ChatGPT action. The Assign To variable will be set to the returned articles.

    You can optionally assign the top (most relevant) title and tag to variables, select from the Assign Top Title and Assign Top Tag to lists.

    You can also perform a Knowledge Base search on the ChatGPT action itself when adding context to a conversation.

    Get

    Retrieve an existing article. Specify the Article Title. The Assign To variable will receive the article text - or be set to blank if article does not exist. You can use this option to lookup a specific article. In the Return As list select either Text or Json. Specify Json if you are looking up an article to add as context for the ChatGPT action. The Assign To variable will be set to the returned article.

    List

    Get a list of all article titles in the specified Collection Name. The Assign To variable will receive the returned titles (one per line). You can use the returned data in a For Each.. Line In loop if you need to perform actions on each value returned.

    Drop

    Removes all articles from the specified Collection Name. The Assign To variable will receive the collection name - or blank if the collection does not exist. You can use the Drop Now button to manually drop the collection (all articles in the collection will be deleted).

    Manual Import And Editing

    Click the Browse Knowledge Store button to open the Knowledge Store Browser. Here you can view articles for each collection. You can edit, add & delete articles. You can also test Searches and import multiple files & documents. You can also access the Knowledge Store Browser from the Studio - File menu.

    You can also use the Web Spider action if you want to import an entire web site into your Knowledge Store.

    Tips For Using With ChatGPT

    Ensure the Add Embeddings option is enabled when adding articles to the Knowledge Store.

    If you are building a Knowledge Store in order to provide context to a ChatGPT conversation you should ensure each article text is less than approximately 10000 characters. It is better to have lots of specific knowledge store articles than a few long ones (when importing files & documents into your Knowledge Store, these will be split into pages automatically - ensuring no single article text is > 10000 characters - or thereabouts).

    If you have thousands of articles it is better to split them in to separate Collections based on some category. This will provide better performance during searches. For example, suppose you want to have a Chatbot that provides product information. You could ask for the product name at the start of the chat (using the Subject field). Then use this to lookup from the relevant Knowledge Base collection during the chat.

    If you are adding product support type articles, or frequently asked questions, each article should be a question and answer, for example:

    There may be occasions where you need to ensure a specific article is added to the context instead of relying on a search. For, example: If a specific keyword or combination of keywords exist in the incoming message. You can use the Get operation to lookup a specific article via it's title, and add this as context after adding context using a search. The context wont be added twice if the article was already included in the search.

    If you want to add data related context for ChatGPT (for example, customer accounts/order information) - and the data is available via a Database/CRM etc, then you don't need to add this to the Knowledge Store. Instead, lookup the customer information via their email address from your database and add the context directly.

    Using The Tag Value

    The Tag is an optional text string you can add to articles. You can return the top tag when performing a Knowledge Store search. This can be useful if you want to perform specific actions within your Automation based on the tag value.

    For example: Suppose you have several articles relating to 'service status'. You could add the tag 'service status' to each of these. When a search is performed, if the top tag returned is 'service status' your Automation could lookup your service status and add this as context.

     

    General Tips For Building A Knowledge Store

    You can use separate Automations to update the Knowledge Store. For example: You could use an Email message source to read emails from a specific 'knowledgebase' mailbox. Any emails coming into this mailbox could update the Knowledge Store - using the %Msg_Subject% as the title and the %Msg_Body% as the article text. You can then simply send/forward emails to that email address to add/update the Knowledge Store. Or you could use the File Pickup message source to monitor a folder - and simply add files/documents to the folder that you want adding to the knowledge store.


    Update Excel File

    Update a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet file.

    Enter or select the Excel File Name to update. Optionally enter the Worksheet Name to update. If no worksheet is specified then the first worksheet in the Excel file will be updated.

    ThinkAutomation will create the file if it does not already exist. Excel does not need to be installed on the ThinkAutomation computer for this Action to work.

    Select the Operation:

    Add New Row

    Add a new row to the worksheet.

    If the Automatically Add A New Row Using Extracted Fields option is selected, then a new row will be automatically added with a column for each Extract Field action.

    The spreadsheet will be in the following format:

    ExtractedField1ExtractedField2ExtractedField3
    ValueValueValue

    If the worksheet contains no rows then a header line will be created with each extracted field name.

    The data line will be added to the existing data lines with each extracted field value.

    If Automatically Add A New Row Using Extracted Fields option is not selected then you must specify the Value and Header for each column number. Specify each Column Number that you want to add (starting from column 1). Then specify its Value and Header. The value can be a fixed value or %variable% replacement (or combination). You can skip columns (eg: Add columns 1,3 & 5). The Header will only be used if the worksheet contains no existing rows.

    Update Specific Cells

    Select the Update Specific Cells option to update specific cells within a worksheet. You can then specify specific cell references (eg: A1, B4, E23 etc) and the value to assign each cell. The value can be a fixed value or %variable% replacement (or combination).

    Insert CSV Data

    This option enables you to insert CSV data into a worksheet. In the Insert A Cell Reference enter the cell reference where the inserted rows can columns should start. If this entry is blank then the data will be inserted starting at the last row used in the existing worksheet (or at the first row for a blank spreadsheet).

    If the Shift Rows Below Down option is enabled then any rows below the specified Insert At Cell Reference will be shifted down to make room for the inserted rows (does not apply if no Insert At Cell Reference specified or if the spreadsheet is blank).

    Specify your CSV data in the CSV Data Or File Path entry. This can be a %variable% replacement containing CSV data or a file path. If a file path is used then the CSV data is read from the file.

    Enable the Has Column Headers option if the CSV data contains column headers.

    Enable the Insert Headers option if you want the CSV column headers to be inserted in the spreadsheet.

    If you simply want to convert a CSV file into an Excel Document you can use the Convert Document action.

    Recalculate

    Enable the Recalculate option if you want ThinkAutomation to recalculate all formulas in the Excel file after any updates. Normally you would not need to enable this option (since Excel itself will recalculate when the file is opened). However, if you make use of the Excel file in subsequent actions and any updated cells are used in formulas then you should enable this option to ensure the Excel file is fully updated before its saved.

    Password

    Enter a Password if you are updating an existing Excel file that is password protected. If you are creating a new Excel File then it will be saved with the password (optional). Note: Updating a password protected Excel file is slower.


    Lookup From Excel

    Read specific cell and cell range values from an Excel compatible spreadsheet file and assign returned values to multiple ThinkAutomation variables.

    Enter or select the Excel File Name to read. You can optionally specify a Password if the Excel file is password protected.

    In the Cell Assignments grid you can list one or more Cell References to read from the Excel file. For each you can specify the Worksheet. If the Worksheet is blank then the first worksheet will be used. In the Assign To column specify the ThinkAutomation variable to receive the value of the specified cell reference.

    Cell References can be a single cell (eg: B12), a cell range or a Named Range/Named Cell. In Excel you can define a Name for a range or cell so that if rows/columns are inserted before it, the 'Name' still references the existing cells even though their row/column references may have changed. This is useful if you need to read a total cell where new rows are added regularly.

    Cell Reference Examples 
    B12Returns the single cell value for cell B12.
    A1:C3Range that includes cells from top-left cell A1 to the bottom-right cell C3.
    B3:F{last}Range that includes cells from top-left cell B3 to the last row bottom-right cell F
    A:ARange that includes the entire column A.
    A:CRange that includes the entire columns from A to C.
    1:1Range that includes the entire row 1.
    1:3Range that includes the entire rows from 1 to 3.
    3:{last}Range that includes the entire rows from 3 to the last row in the sheet.

    Cell Ranges To CSV Text

    When a cell reference is specified that returns multiple cells, the data will be returned as CSV text, with the number of rows and columns depending on the selected range (without column headers, unless the range itself starts with the column headers).

    You can use the {last} marker in ranges to use the highest available row number.

    Enable the Compress CSV option if you want to remove any blank rows and columns from any CSV data extracted from cell ranges.


    Update CSV

    Create or update a comma separated values (CSV) file or CSV data.

    You can either update a CSV File or a variable containing CSV data.

    Enter or select the CSV File Name to update. This is the full path and filename of the CSV file you want to update. This is optional. If no file name is specified then the created CSV data will be assigned to the variable selected from the Assign To list.

    ThinkAutomation will create the path and file if it does not already exist. Column names will be written to the header line of the new file (unless the Don't Add Field Header Line When Creating option is enabled).

    Select the file Format of the CSV file. This can be ASCII, Unicode or UTF-8 (default).

    Select the Column Delimiter. This is normally a comma, but can be any character. You can select select a | (pipe) character, semi-colon or TAB from the drop down.

    Select the Line Terminator. This can be CRLF (Carriage Return/Line Feed), LF (Line Feed Only). CRLF is the default.

    Select Don't Add Field Header Line When Creating if you want the CSV data to contain data lines only. By default, when the CSV file is first created the first line will contain the column headers.

    Use Custom Columns List

    By default ThinkAutomation will create CSV data with a column for each Extract Field action in your Automation. Enable Use Custom Columns List to specify a list of %variables% to include in each column. You can also specify the column header names.

    Optionally select a variable from the Assign CSV Data To list to receive the updated CSV data.


    Read CSV

    Read a CSV file or %variable% containing CSV data and assign the CSV data to a variable.

    This action allows you to read a CSV file (or a %variable% containing CSV data). You can optionally delete columns from then returned CSV data and sort by a column. The column delimiter character and line endings will be automatically detected when the CSV is loaded. However the returned CSV data will always use a comma as the delimiter. Any date & datetime values will be automatically normalized to date format yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss in the returned CSV data.

    Specify the CSV File Name or Variable. This field can contain a file path (or %variable% containing a file path) or a %variable% containing CSV data.

    Enable the Has Header Row if the CSV data contains column headers on the first row.

    Deleting Columns

    You can optionally delete columns from the returned CSV data. Specify a comma separated list of column header names, or column numbers (starting at 1). The source CSV file/data is not changed - this setting only affects the CSV data that is returned.

    Deleting Last Rows

    You can optionally delete the last x rows from the returned CSV data. Specify the number of rows to remove in the Delete Last Rows entry. For example, if this is set to 2 then the last 2 rows will be removed (before any sorting). This can be useful if you have extracted the CSV data from an Excel file (using the Lookup From Excel action) and the CSV data contains additional summary rows at the end. The source CSV file/data is not changed.

    Sorting

    You can sort the returned CSV data by a column. Specify the column header name or column number (starting at 1) in the Return Sorted By Column entry. You can select to sort Ascending or Descending. If you use column number here then the number relates to the new CSV columns after any columns have been deleted.

    Return Top Rows

    You can choose to only return the first x rows (after any sorting). Leave this entry at zero for all rows.

    Return Header Row

    Disable this setting if you do not want the column header row included in the returned CSV data.

    Select the %variable% to receive the CSV data from the Assign CSV Data To list.


    Counter

    Update a counter value for any name/value pair and optional period.

    This action can be used to update a counter value that is stored by the ThinkAutomation Server. After updating the counter the new counter value can be returned to a variable.

    Enter the Counter Name. The name is limited to 50 characters and will be truncated if longer.

    Enter the Counted Value. This entry is optional. If a Value is specified then a separate counter will be maintained for each unique name/value pair. The Value can contain %variable% replacements.

    Counters are shared within a Solution. So if a counter on two Automations within the same Solution update the same name/value pair then the same counter will be used.

    Period

    Counters can be maintained per :

    PeriodDetails
    StaticNo period
    DayThe month day number (1-31)
    Day Of WeekThe day of week (0-6, 0=Sunday, 1=Monday etc)
    Year And MonthThe year and month (2022 01, 2021 02 etc)
    YearThe year
    MonthThe month number (1-12)
    Year And Week NumberThe year and week number (0-52) (Iso8601)
    HourThe hour (0-23)
    MinuteThe minute (0-59)

    The period date is based on the message date %Msg_Date%

    If a period is selected then a new counter is created for each unique period. A Static counter has no period.

    Operation

    You can Increment, Decrement, Get or Set a counter. If Set is selected then you can specify a value.

    When a message is processed, ThinkAutomation will lookup the unique name/value pair. A new counter will be created if the name/value pair does not exist.

    Any arbitrary data can be counted. For example:

    AimUsage
    Messages by day of weekLeave Value blank and set the Period to Day Of Week.
    Messages received by email address per year/monthSet the Value to %Msg_FromEmail% and the Period to Year And Month.
    Messages by any extracted field or variable value (payment types, currencies etc)Set the Value to a %variable% and any select a Period.
    Orders by company name per yearSet the Value to a %variable% holding a company name and the Period to Year.
    Outgoing emails sent by email address per monthSet the Value to the variable containing the receiver address and the Period to month.

    The counted Value has a maximum size of 250 characters. Values larger than this will be truncated before being counted.

    Select a variable to receive the updated counter value from the Assign Counter Value To list.

    Getting All Counter Values

    You can return all counter values for a given counter name/value using the Get All operation. This will return all periods currently counted. The Get All operation returns the data in CSV format to a variable. If no Value is specified then all values/periods will be returned.

    You can use the Set Variable action with the Convert CSV To Markdown Table operation to convert the CSV data to a Markdown table if you want to create an Automation to quickly return and view counter values.

    Viewing Counters Using The Studio

    Counters can be viewed using the ThinkAutomation Studio. Open the Solution properties page and click the Counters tab. You can clear a counter using the Clear button.


    Outgoing

    Send Email

    Send an outgoing email message.

    Emails can be sent immediately or you can Schedule Send on future dates. Email messages can be sent in plaintext, Markdown and/or HTML format. You can add attachments and you have the option of including the incoming attachments.

    Enter the From & To addresses and Subject. The Reply To, CC & BCC are optional. The To, CC and BCC entries can contain multiple addresses separated with commas, semi-colons or line breaks.

    If you want to send the email to the sender of the incoming message set the To address to the %Msg_From% built-in variable.

    The To address should contain the recipient name and email address where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of the recipient mail server marking the email as spam. The format is: name <email>. For example: Howard Williams <howard.williams@somecompany.com>. You can use %variable% replacements for both parts. The %Msg_From% will already contain both name & email parts if the sender supplied them.

    Adding an Unsubscribe link to your emails will also reduce likelihood of the email being marked as spam. You can create a Web Form message source with an unsubscribe form to process unsubscribes and then include the Web Form URL as a link in outgoing emails.

    Sending To Multiple Recipients

    The To address can contain multiple recipients separated by commas, semi-colons or line breaks. The receiver of the email will see all addresses in the 'To' address on the email they receive. If you want to send the same email to multiple recipients without each receiver seeing the other recipients you can use a For..Each loop, looping on Comma Separated Values In or Lines In. Inside the loop, use the Send Email action and assign the To address to the variable containing the individual email address. Each email will then be sent separately with a single 'To' address.

    Attachments

    You can attach files to outgoing messages. You can also include attachments from the incoming message.

    To add attachments - click the ... button on the Attach box to add local files. You can also use %variable% replacements in the Attach box to include files created by other actions.

    Enable the Include Incoming Attachments option to automatically add any incoming attachments with the outgoing email. This will be in addition to any other attachments you add.

    Enable the Include Incoming Inline Attachments option to attach incoming inline attachments. Inline attachments are images and other types of file that are included in the body of the incoming email. If this option is enabled then ThinkAutomation will add the inline attachments as regular attachments to the outgoing message.

    Message

    For the body of the email click the Message tab to enter the message text. Click the HTML tab to compose the HTML portion (you can use either or both). When the email is sent it will include both plaintext and HTML. If HTML is specified, but no plaintext, then ThinkAutomation will automatically create the plaintext portion of the email from the HTML. Both the Message and HTML can contain %variable% replacements.

    Using Pre-Prepared HTML

    If you have created a %variable% containing HTML (for example using the Wrap HTML action) you can use this on the Message tab. If the %variable% content of the Message tab is HTML (contains <html> and <body> tags) and the HTML tab content is blank, then ThinkAutomation assumes you want to send HTML content.

    Markdown

    You can use Markdown in the Message tab text. The Markdown will be converted to HTML when the email is sent. To use Markdown to HTML conversion - ensure that the HTML tab content is blank. You can disable the Markdown to HTML conversion by unchecking the Convert Markdown To HTML When Email Is Sent option. See: Markdown Notes.

    External Content For HTML

    For HTML content you also have the option of using an External File or URL For HTML. If an external file or URL is specified then this will be read and used for the HTML content. When using an External File or URL then you also have the option to Embed Images. If Embed Images is enabled then any external images used in the HTML will be downloaded and embedded. Not all email clients will display embedded images - so you should test this option before using.

    If the Convert CSS To Inline Styles option is enabled then any stylesheets in the HTML will be converted to inline style attributes. This provides better email client compatibility.

    Scheduling Messages

    Email messages can be sent on future dates using Scheduled Send option.

    For example, suppose you have an Automation that responds to a sales order email. The Automation sends the customer a 'thank you' email when the order is received. You could then use the Scheduled Email option to send a follow up email in 30 days time to see how the customer is getting on with their new product.

    Any number of scheduled email responses can be setup. ThinkAutomation saves the email in the Message Store database along with the scheduled date and time that the message should be delivered.

    Enable the Scheduled Send option and specify either Send After n Days or Minutes, or Send On A Specified Date/Time and enter the date/time to send the email.

    Send Option

    If you are not using the Scheduled Send option you can select one of the Send Options:

    Assign Mime Text To

    You can also optionally assign the MIME text (EML) created for the outgoing email to a variable. This is useful if you want to save the mime text to a folder for an external mail server to pickup, or use a custom action or script to actually send the message. If the Do Not Send The Email send option is selected, then ThinkAutomation will not send the email itself - it will just assign the resulting mime text to the specified variable.

    Send Via

    By default outgoing emails are sent using the Email Sending options specified in the Server Settings. You can optionally specify email sending options on a per outgoing email basis. This is useful when you want to route specific outgoing emails via specific mail servers. For example, suppose you have two mail servers, one located in the USA and one in the UK. You could choose to send emails via the USA or UK server based on some condition.

    Click the Send Via tab to specify the Send Via options.

    Each of the Send Via options can use %fieldname% replacements. This allows you to conditionally set the Send Via options.

    Send Signed

    You can optionally digitally sign the outgoing email. A digital signature is a unique identifier that validates the authenticity of a person’s outgoing email messages and assures recipients they have come from that person, as opposed to a cybercriminal or unknown sender. Unlike a simple electronic signature, digital signatures cannot be replaced or altered, thus giving recipients peace of mind that the contents of the incoming message are safe before opening it.

    Select the Send Signed tab and enable the Send Signed option. You must then select a certificate to use for the signing. Click the Select Certificate button. You can choose a certificate imported into the Windows Machine certificate store, or select a PFX file. Only certificates that have been obtained from an independent certificate authority and are valid for email signing should be used.

    The Send Signed option is not available when using SendGrid to send outgoing messages.

    Send Test Email

    The Send Test Email button will send the current message immediately, regardless of the Schedule or Send Option. The email will be sent using any Send Via settings. Change the To address if you want to send a test message to yourself.


    Remove Scheduled Outgoing Message

    Removes any pending scheduled emails for a given recipient.

    This action can be used to cancel the sending of any scheduled emails. This could be used for example on an 'Unsubscribe' Automation.

    Specify the recipient email address in the Remove Scheduled Message To entry.

    The From can be blank - or if completed, only messages from the given address will be deleted.

    You can remove only messages matching a Subject - or leave blank for all.

    The number of scheduled messages removed can be assigned to a variable. Select the variable from the Assign Number Remove To list.


    Forward Original Message

    Forwards the incoming message to new recipients.

    Specify the From and To addresses. The Subject can be changed - if you wish to use the incoming subject set it to %Msg_Subject% (or 'FW: %Msg_Subject%').

    You can add additional attachments and Drop Incoming Attachments.


    Wait For User Response

    Waits for a user response before proceeding with the remaining actions for the Automation.

    This action can be used to provide a human validation response in the form of a unique web form that must be completed before the Automation continues. This can be used to gather additional information from a user. ThinkAutomation will pause execution of the Actions for the current message until a user completes the web form. It will move on to process the next message whilst waiting for the validation of a previous one. A single Automation can contain multiple Wait For User Response actions. The web form can optionally contain Survey Fields. If any survey fields are specified then the user must complete the form before validating the message. The results of the Survey Fields are passed back to the Automation and can be used in subsequent actions

    For each Wait For User Response request ThinkAutomation creates a unique Validation URL. You must send an email or SMS containing the %Msg_ValidationUrl% variable replacement to someone. When the recipient receives this email they click the URL to validate the message. Once validated the remaining actions setup on the Automation are then executed for that specific message. Validation URLs are secured using a one-way hash, so a user could not validate the wrong message by manually changing the URL.

    You can either use a separate Send Email or Send SMS Action to send you own message containing the %Msg_ValidationUrl% variable (send before the Wait For User Response action itself) or enable the Send Request Via Email option to include the email sending within the Wait For User Response action itself. You can customize the email content. The Body text must contain %Msg_ValidationUrl% somewhere.

    The Send Request Via Studio & Client Users option will send the validation request to any users running the ThinkAutomation Studio or ThinkAutomation Desktop Connector. Studio and Desktop Connector users can complete the validation request from there. You can specify specific Usernames or leave this blank to send to any ThinkAutomation Studio or Desktop Connector users (connected to your ThinkAutomation Server instance).

    Show Accept Buttons

    If this option is enabled then the validation page will show Accept & Not Accept buttons below the validation page message. The user must click the Accept button to validate the message. If the Do Not Accept button is clicked then the message is rejected and the Timeout/Not Accepted Action performed. If this option is not enabled then the user only needs to click the Validation URL to validate the message (unless survey fields are used - see below). You should adjust the Validation Page Message accordingly.

    Continue On Timeout

    If this option is enabled then the Automation will continue if the validate request has not been completed before time timeout. The Assign Result To variable will be set to 'expired'.

    Max Wait Time (Mins)

    This is the maximum number of minutes that ThinkAutomation should wait for the validation. It defaults to 2880 (48 hours).

    Assign Result To

    Select the variable to receive the validation result. This will be 'true', 'false' or 'expired'. Within your Automation you can then perform conditional actions based on the result.

    Survey Fields

    In addition to displaying a message, ThinkAutomation can optionally show a form containing any number of input fields. If any fields are specified then the user must complete the form before validating the message. The results of the form are passed back to the Automation and can be used in subsequent actions. Click Add to add a new input field.

    Enter a Name and Label Text. You can also optionally specify Help Text that will display in a smaller font below the input field.

    The Field Type can be:

    For text field types you can specify the Max Length. The Max Lines option allows you to define the maximum lines.

    The Attributes tab allows you to specify a default value, change case & validation rules. Enable the Validate option. When the web user completes the form they will not be able to submit it until all of the fields pass validation.

    If you want the user to select possible values from a list, select the Must Be In List option and then enter the Choices. For example to show a list box showing 'Yes', 'No' & 'Not Sure', set the Field Type to 'Text', enable the Validate option, select the Must Be In List option and add Choices of 'Yes', 'No' and 'Not Sure'. The default value of the select list will be set to the Default Value entry.

    You can arrange the order of fields on the form using the Up & Down buttons.

    Assigning A Survey Field Value To A ThinkAutomation Variable

    You must then select a ThinkAutomation variable to assign the entered value to. Select the variable from the Assign Value To list. Once a message is validated and the Automation continues execution, you will be able to make use of input values in subsequent actions.

    A simple example would be a single field that asks 'Add customer %Name% to CRM?' - with a Y/N choice. The value can be assigned to a Variable called '%AddCRM%'. After the Wait For User Response Action you can add a conditional Action: 'If %AddCRM% Is Equal To Y Then ....'

    The Wait For Used Response web page uses the ThinkAutomation Web API hosted in Azure, so it will work without requiring any local setup.


    Send Appointment

    Creates an appointment in any iCalendar compatible Calendar Server, sends an iCalendar compatible appointment request as an email attachment or saves the appointment to a file which can be attached to an email on a subsequent action.

    iCalendar is used and supported by a large number of products, including Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Lotus Notes, Yahoo Calendar, Microsoft Outlook and others.

    The Send As drop down has three options:

    1. Send Directly To An iCalendar Server: This option allows you to post directly to an iCalendar Server using the CalDav protocol. You need to specify the URL of the server to post to. This URL will depend on the Calendar Server you are using.

      For Google Calendars use: https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/{googlemailaddress}/events/ - and use your Google user name/password.

      You may need to specify a User Name and Password and Authentication mode if the iCalendar Server requires a login first. Login to your iCalendar Server to obtain the iCal address.

    2. Send To An Email Recipient: With this option you specify an email address. The appointment will be sent as an attachment with the .ics extension. Most Calendar applications will import this directly when the recipient opens the attachment.

    3. Save To File: Saves the Appointment to a local file with an .ics extension. You can then use this as an attachment on other Send Email actions.

    All remaining text fields can use %variable% replacements.

    You must specify the Attendees as email addresses. Multiple addresses can be separated by commas.

    The Categories, Location, Subject & Description fields are optional.

    The Organizer must be specified as an email address.

    The Start Date/Time and End Date/Time can use %variable% replacements if required. If a Start/End Date is given as a %variable% replacement then the variable contents must be able to be interpreted as a date.


    Send Slack Message

    Send a message and/or files to a Slack channel. Slack is a messaging and collaboration platform. See: https://slack.com for more information.

    Before you can use this action you must first authorize ThinkAutomation to connect to Slack. Click the Connect button and enter your Slack username/password. You will then be asked if you want to allow ThinkAutomation to be able to post messages to Slack.

    Once connected your team name & domain will be shown

    You can post messages and/or upload files to any of your team channels that the authorized user has access to.

    Posting A Message

    Enter the Send Message text you want to post. Leave this blank if you only want to upload files.

    Uploading Files

    Expand the Select Files box and enter or select the file you want to upload. This can be a single file or a comma separated list. %variable% replacements can also be used if you want to upload files created from previous actions. You can also optionally Include Incoming Attachments. Enter the Mask for the attachment types to upload (eg: *.pdf).

    If the Post The Message From The Authenticated User option is enabled then the post will be from the Slack user you connected with, otherwise the post will show as from a bot called ThinkAutomation.

    Select the channel you want to post the message/files to from the Post To Channel drop down - this will list all the channels available to your team.

    You can assign the result of the post to a variable. Select from the Assign Response To dropdown. If the post was successful the response will be 'Ok'. Otherwise it will contain an error message.


    Send Tweet

    Send a Tweet to Twitter or reply to an incoming Tweet.

    Before you can use this action you must first authorize ThinkAutomation to connect to Twitter. Click the Connect button and enter your Twitter username/password. You will then be asked if you want to allow ThinkAutomation to be able to post Tweets to Twitter. Tweets will be sent on behalf of the this user.

    Enter the Send Tweet test. This can contain %variable% replacements. Twitter limits Tweets to 280 characters. ThinkAutomation will truncate the message if required.

    If the incoming Message Source type is Twitter you can reply to the current message. Enable the Reply To Incoming Tweet option. For example: You could create a Twitter Message Source to monitor your @mentions for your own Twitter account. Any Tweets with 'great/good service' etc you could automate a 'Thank you' reply.

    ThinkAutomation uses the new Twitter Version 2 API. The Send Tweet text can be set to the Json body for more complex Tweets. See: POST /2/tweets | Docs | Twitter Developer Platform


    Documents

    Create Document

    Create a document using the built-in Word Processor and save the document in various formats.

    The Document Editor emulates Microsoft Word. You can format the document as you would with Word using fonts, tables, headers/footers etc. You can load an existing document file using the File - Open option. Once you save the Action the document data will be saved with your Automation (the original file will remain unchanged).

    Inserting Variables

    Variables can be dragged and dropped onto the document (or type the %variablename% directly in the document). These will be replaced when the Automation executes. Any formatting applied to the %variable% will be preserved when the value is replaced.

    Save As

    From the Save As Format list select the type of file to save when the Automation Executes. The document can be saved as:

    When the Automation executes, the document template will be used to create a file in the above format. All %variables% in the document will be replaced.

    If PDF format is selected then you can specify a Password. The recipient of the PDF file will need the password to open it.

    If HTML format is selected then the following options are available:

    Specify the Save To folder - click the ... button to select a local file or use %Root% to save it in the default ThinkAutomation location.

    Enter a File Name to save the document as (the extension will be added automatically based on the Save As Format if it is not specified).

    If Ensure Unique File Name is enabled then ThinkAutomation will add a timestamp to the filename to ensure it is unique.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the document in the Automation (for example, to send the document as an attachment with the Send Email action, or to use the html file as the body of an outgoing email), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.

    You can assign the saved path & filename to a variable by selecting the variable from the Assign Path To list. You can then use this variable in the Attachments entry on Send Email actions or in any other way.

    Enter the Document Name. This shows in the actions list and Automation log. If a File Name is not specified then the document name will be used. For PDF exports the PDF document properties 'title' will be set to the document name.

    Default Document Template

    When creating a new document, ThinkAutomation will look for the Microsoft Word document DefaultDocument.docx in the ThinkAutomation program files folder. If this file exists it will be loaded and all the styles available in the document can then be used in the new document.


    Create Spreadsheet

    Create an Excel compatible spreadsheet using the built-in Spreadsheet Editor. Automation %variables% can be assigned to cells when the Automation executes. Spreadsheet formulas are then recalculated. The resulting spreadsheet can then be saved in various formats and you can read cell values back into Automation %variables%. You can use this Action to create formatted Invoices, Quotations etc. that can then be saved and emailed.

    The Spreadsheet Editor emulates Microsoft Excel. You can format the spreadsheet as you would with Excel using formulas, charts, images, borders, fonts etc. You can load an existing Excel file using the File - Open option. Once you save the Action the spreadsheet data will be saved with your Automation (the original file will remain unchanged).

    Inserting Variables

    Spreadsheet cells can contain Automation %variables%. When the Automation executes these will be replaced with their values.

    There are two ways to embed %variables%.

    1. Drag and drop a variable from the Variables List onto any cell or edit a cell and include one or more %variables% inside any text. It is assumed these variables are not used in formulas.

    2. Add a Cell Assignment. You would use this method if the cell is used in a formula. Select a cell in the Spreadsheet and click the Add button from the Before Calculation Assign Variables To Cells list. The Assign Cell form will be displayed. Enter a value or select a %variable% from the Assign From list. You can enter a value in the spreadsheet cell itself as a placeholder to allow you to see formatting/formula results etc. When the Automation executes the cell value will be replaced and all formulas re-calculated. You can create any number of Cell Assignments.

       

    Saving The Spreadsheet (optional)

    Enable the Export File option.

    From the Save As Format list select the type of file to save when the Automation Executes. The spreadsheet can be saved as:

    When the Automation executes, the spreadsheet template will be used to create a file in the above format. All %variables% and Cell Assignments in the spreadsheet will be replaced and formulas re-calculated.

    If Excel or PDF format is selected then you can optionally specify a Password. The recipient of the file will need the password to open it.

    Specify the Save To folder - click the ... button to select a local file or use %Root% to save it in the default ThinkAutomation location.

    Enter a File Name to save the spreadsheet as (the extension will be added automatically based on the Save As Format).

    If Ensure Unique File Name is enabled then ThinkAutomation will add a timestamp to the filename to ensure it is unique within the Save To Folder.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the document in the Automation (for example, to send the spreadsheet as an attachment with the Send Email action), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.

    You can assign the saved path & filename to a variable by selecting the variable from the Assign Saved File Path To list. You can then use this variable in the Attachments entry on Send Email actions or in any other way.

     

    Reading Back Cell Values

    After all Cell Assignments have been made and formulas re-calculated you can optionally read cell values back and assign to Automation %variables%.

    For example, you could create a quotation spreadsheet that adds %qty% and %price% variables and then read back the 'total' cell to a %variable% which you can then use further in the Automation.

    Select a cell in the Spreadsheet and click the Add button from the After Calculation Assign Cells To Variables list. The Assign Cell form will be displayed. Select a %variable% from the Assign To list. You can create any number of Variable Assignments.

     

    Assign CSV Data

    You can optionally assign the spreadsheet data in CSV format to a variable. Select the variable from the Assign CSV Data To list. Enable the Use Formatted Values For CSV if you want to return data as it has been formatted, otherwise unformatted data is used.

    This option is useful if you want to use the Spreadsheet action to simply create a table of data that you can then use further in the Automation. For example, you may want to include a table in an outgoing email. Use the Spreadsheet action to create your table and assign the CSV data to a variable. Then use the Set Variable action with the Convert CSV To Markdown Table operation and include the Markdown table in your outgoing email body.


    Convert Document

    Converts a Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, PDF, Open Document, Richtext, Text, Markdown Text, CSV or HTML, file to various formats.

    The document to convert can be a local file (or a file saved from a previous action) or incoming Attachments.

    Select a Document To Convert - this can be any local file or a %variable% replacement. You can specify multiple documents if required, separated by commas (any file paths that contain commas must be enclosed in quotes).

    Enable the Include Incoming Attachments option to convert attached documents matching the Matching Mask. Enter *.* to convert all supported attachments.

    Select the Convert To type. You can convert to the following formats:

    When converting PDF to image files, each page in the PDF document will be converted to a separate image file. The page number will be added to the filename, eg: document_1.tiff, document_2.tiff.

    When converting to Excel, the document to convert can be CSV, XLS or text only.

    In the Rename Converted Files To entry you can optionally specify a new name for the converted file. You can use %fieldname% replacements - for example: order%OrderNumber%.pdf would rename the attachment order1234.pdf if the %OrderNumber% field contained '1234'.

    You can use the special variable replacement %filename% to use the original file name as part of the renamed file. For example, suppose the document to convert was called "orderdata.docx" and the %OrderNumber% variable was set to '1234' - renaming to: %filename%-%OrderNumber%.pdf would rename the file 'orderdata-1234.pdf'.

    If your rename string doesn't contain a file extension then the Convert To type extension will be used.

    In the Save To Path entry, enter or select the local folder to save the converted document to. If no Save To Path is specified then the converted files will be saved in the same folder as the file being converted.

    If the converted file already exists it will be overwritten.

    You can assign the saved path & filename(s) to a variable by selecting the variable from the Assign Filename(s) To list. You can then use this variable in the Attachments entry on Send Email actions or in any other way.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the document in the Automation (for example, to send the document as an attachment with the Send Email action), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.

    Converting HTML To PDF Or Word Formats

    Converting HTML files to other formats will only work if the HTML contains absolute links (image files, stylesheets etc), and the those links are accessible. If you want to convert an online web page to PDF you can use the Save As PDF action instead - which allows any URL to be rendered to PDF.

    You can also use the HTTP Get action to get HTML from a URL with Convert option set to Convert Relative Links To Absolute Links. Save the HTML to a file using the Read/Write Text File action and then convert this.

    Markdown text files ('.md') will be converted to HTML first before being converted to the Convert To file type.


    Convert Document To Text

    This action enables you to parse and extract text data from Word, PDF, Open Document, Excel, RichText, Markdown and HTML attachments or local document files. Documents are converted to plain text which is then assigned to a variable. This action can also extract PDF form data.

    Select a Document To Convert - this can be any local file or a %variable% replacement. You can specify multiple documents if required, separated by commas (any file paths that contain commas must be enclosed in quotes).

    Enable the Include Incoming Attachments option to convert attached documents matching the Matching Mask. Enter *.* to convert all supported attachments.

    Select the variable to receive the plain text from the Assign To list.

    The document(s) will be converted to plain text. Excel files will be converted to CSV text. Markdown documents will be converted to HTML first and then the HTML converted to plain text.

    If multiple files are converted within the same action then the extracted text from each file will be appended to the returned text.

    PDF Extract Form Data

    Enable the PDF Extract Form Data option to extract only form data from PDF files. If enabled then form data only will be extracted in the following format:

    Enable the Return PDF Form Data As Json option to return the form data as Json text.

    PDF Text Extract Mode

    When converting PDF documents to text you have a number of options:

    Enable the Remove Repeated Blank Lines option if you need repeated blank lines removed from the text. This option is useful in cases where there is differing amounts of blank space in the PDF document which your extraction rules do not need.

    You can then use the text in other actions - or use Extract Field actions to parse & extract data from the text.

    To test the text extraction select or enter a document and click the Test button. The results will be displayed. Click the Copy button to copy the extracted text to the clipboard. You can then paste this into the Extract Field Helper Message if you need to extract data from the text.


    Convert Image To Text Using OCR

    Converts image files or image attachments to text using optical character recognition (OCR) and assigns the extracted text to a variable. This action can also extract images from PDF files and the convert these images to text.

    Select a Image To Convert - this can be any local file or a %variable% replacement. You can specify multiple files if required, separated by commas (any file paths that contain commas must be enclosed in quotes).

    Enable the Include Incoming Attachments option to convert attached images matching the Matching Mask. Enter *.* to convert all supported attachments (png, bmp, gif, tiff, jpeg, pdf).

    The Language defaults to 'eng' (English). You can specify a different three letter language code. You can download additional language packages from https://github.com/tesseract-ocr/tessdata. These should be copied to the Tesseract tessdata folder.

    The Output Type can be text, xml or CSV. If the Preserve Layout option is enabled then space padding is preserved.

    If multiple images are converted within the same action then the extracted text from each image will be appended to the returned text.

    Select the variable to receive the plain text from the Assign To list.

    To test the text extraction select or enter an image file and click the Test button. The results will be displayed.

    You can also use the ChatGPT action with the 'Ask ChatGPT To Respond To A Prompt With An Image' operation to perform OCR on images.

    This action uses the open source Tesseract OCR library. Tesseract is not installed by default with the ThinkAutomation setup. If Tesseract is not installed the Install Tesseract button will be visible.


    Convert PDF Document

    Converts PDF files or attachments to various image formats, html or text.

    Select a PDF Document To Convert - this can be any local PDF file or a %variable% replacement. You can specify multiple documents if required, separated by commas (any file paths that contain commas must be enclosed in quotes).

    Enable the Include Incoming Attachments option to convert attached documents matching the Matching Mask. Enter *.* to convert all PDF attachments.

    From the Convert To list, select the type of file to convert the PDF document(s) to.

    You can specify a Page Range to convert. Leave this entry blank to convert all pages in the document. Or specify a single page, a range (eg: 1-10) or a comma separated list of pages (eg: 1,3,5).

    PDF To Image Conversion

    PDF files can be converted to the following image formats: PNG, GIF, BMP, JPEG and TIFF.

    For image conversion you can optionally specify the Width and Height. Leave both as zero to leave the size unchanged. If only one of the Width or Height is specified, then the specified dimension will be respected and the other dimension will be calculated so that the original aspect ratio is maintained.

    For Image conversion you can specify the Resolution. Larger resolutions will result in bigger converted files and increase conversion time.

    For Image conversion enable the Color option if you want full color images created. Otherwise the images will be Grey-scale.

    PDF To TIFF Conversion

    For conversion to TIFF image files you can enable the TIFF Multi-Frame option. If this is enabled then all pages will be converted to separate frames within the same image file.

    You can also specify the TIFF Compression format. Supported compression formats are: Zip, Lzw, Rle, Ccitt3, Ccitt4 and None. Set to 'Default' for the best possible compression.

     

    Converted files will have the same name as the original but with the new file extension. For image files, each page in the PDF document will be converted to a separate image file. The page number will be added to the filename, eg: document_1.tiff, document_2.tiff. You can rename the converted file by entering the new filename in the Rename Converted Files To entry. Use the field replacement %filename% to include the original file.

    Specify the folder to save the converted files to in the Save To Path entry.

    You can assign the full path & file name to a ThinkAutomation variable to use on subsequent actions (for example, if you wanted to attach the file to an outgoing message). Select from the Assign Filename(s) To list. Multiple files will be separated by commas. You can use this variable on the attachments entry of outgoing emails if you wanted to send the converted files via email.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the document in the Automation (for example, to send the document as an attachment with the Send Email action), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.


    Convert PowerPoint Document

    Converts PowerPoint files or attachments to various image formats or PDF.

    Select a PowerPoint Document To Convert - this can be any local PowerPoint file or a %variable% replacement. You can specify multiple documents if required, separated by commas (any file paths that contain commas must be enclosed in quotes).

    Enable the Include Incoming Attachments option to convert attached documents matching the Matching Mask. Enter *.* to convert all PowerPoint attachments.

    From the Convert To list, select the type of file to convert the PowerPoint document(s) to.

    PowerPoint To Image Conversion

    PowerPoint files can be converted to the following image formats: PNG, GIF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF, WMP and SVG.

    You can specify a Slide Range to convert. Leave this entry blank to convert all slides in the document. Or specify a single slide, a range (eg: 1-10) or a comma separated list of slides (eg: 1,3,5).

    For image conversion you can optionally specify the Width and Height. Leave both as zero to leave the size unchanged. If only one of the Width or Height is specified, then the specified dimension will be respected and the other dimension will be calculated so that the original aspect ratio is maintained.

    For Image conversion you can specify the Resolution. Larger resolutions will result in bigger converted files and increase conversion time.

    For Image conversion enable the Color option if you want full color images created. Otherwise the images will be Grey-scale.

    PowerPoint To TIFF Conversion

    For conversion to TIFF image files you can enable the TIFF Multi-Frame option. If this is enabled then all slides will be converted to separate frames within the same image file.

    You can also specify the TIFF Compression format. Supported compression formats are: Zip, Lzw, Rle, Ccitt3, Ccitt4 and None. Set to 'Default' for the best possible compression.

     

    Converted files will have the same name as the original but with the new file extension. For image files, each slide in the PowerPoint document will be converted to a separate image file. The page number will be added to the filename, eg: document_1.tiff, document_2.tiff. You can rename the converted file by entering the new filename in the Rename Converted Files To entry. Use the field replacement %filename% to include the original file.

    Specify the folder to save the converted files to in the Save To Path entry.

    You can assign the full path & file name to a ThinkAutomation variable to use on subsequent actions (for example, if you wanted to attach the file to an outgoing message). Select from the Assign Filename(s) To list. Multiple files will be separated by commas. You can use this variable on the attachments entry of outgoing emails if you wanted to send the converted files via email.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the document in the Automation (for example, to send the document as an attachment with the Send Email action), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.


    Sign PDF Document

    Adds a digital signature to a PDF document.

    Select a Sign PDF Document - this can be any local PDF file or a %variable% replacement. You can specify multiple documents if required, separated by commas (any file paths that contain commas must be enclosed in quotes).

    Enable the Include Incoming Attachments option to sign attached documents matching the Matching Mask. Enter *.* to sign all PDF attachments.

    You must then select a Certificate. This can be either an existing certificate stored in the Windows Certificate Store (specify the Common Name - ThinkAutomation will search for a certificate matching the Common name.) or a PFX file (you must also specify the PFX Password).

    Optionally specify a Timestamp URL (eg: http://timestamp.digicert.com) if you want the signature to include a timestamp.

    Signature Box

    Enable the Show Signature Box option to add a visual signature box to the PDF. If this option is disabled then the PDF will still be digitally signed, but will have no visual signature box.

    The signature box can be added to the first or last page. Select from the Add To Page list. It will be positioned on the page using the Placement (eg: top/left, or bottom/middle).

    You can optionally add an Image (for example, a green tick mark) and set the Image Placement & Image Opacity.

    You can specify up to 3 lines of text to add to the signature box. The text can contain %variable% replacements.

    Saving Signed Documents

    Signed PDF documents by default will have the same name as the original. You can rename the signed PDF document by entering the new filename in the Rename Signed Files To entry. Use the field replacement %filename% to include the original file.

    Specify the folder to save the signed documents to in the Save To Path entry.

    You can assign the full path & file name to a ThinkAutomation variable to use on subsequent actions (for example, if you wanted to attach the document to an outgoing message). Select from the Assign Filename(s) To list. Multiple documents will be separated by commas. You can use this variable on the attachments entry of outgoing emails if you wanted to send the signed documents via email.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the document in the Automation (for example, to send the document as an attachment with the Send Email action), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.


    Save As PDF

    Renders the incoming message, an image file or HTML file/URL as a PDF document.

    From the Render list, select:

    Render Incoming Message

    To render in the incoming message. This will render the incoming message as it would appear in a web browser - including all images.

    Render HTML File Or URL

    To render any HTML file or web page. Enter the file path or full URL to the web page you want to save as a PDF.

    Render Image File

    To render an image file. Enter or select the file path of an image file or a (%variable% containing an image file). You can use PNG, JPEG, BMP, Webp, TIFF & GIF images. The image will be embedded inside HTML and the HTML will then be converted to a PDF. Enable the Centered option to center the image horizontally on the page. Enable the Border option to show the image within a rounded border.

     

    Select the Page Size, Orientation & Margin.

    You can also enter an open Password. Users opening the PDF must enter this password before they can view the content.

    Enter the File Name and select the Save To folder. You can use %variable% replacements in the file name. A '.pdf' extension will be added if required.

    If Ensure Unique File Name is enabled then ThinkAutomation will add a timestamp to the file name to ensure it is unique within the Save To folder.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the document in the Automation (for example, to send the document as an attachment with the Send Email action, or to use the html file as the body of an outgoing email), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.

    If Generate Table Of Contents Using H1-H6 Tags option is enabled then a table of contents will be generated using HTML heading tags (H1-H6) and inserted into the start of the document.

    Enable the Print Created Document option if you want ThinkAutomation to print the PDF file after it is created. You can select the Printer to use.

    You can assign the full save path & file name to a ThinkAutomation variable to use on subsequent actions (for example, if you wanted to attach the file to an outgoing message). Select from the Assign To list.

    Header/Footer

    You can also add Header & Footer text. The header/footer text can be plain text, HTML or Markdown. This will be rendered at the top & bottom of the page. You can also enter the Header/Footer Height in pixels. For the footer you can enable the Add Page Numbering option to add a centered Page x of y block below the footer text.

    Page Breaks

    The page breaks in the generated PDF document can be controlled using the following CSS properties:


    Word Merge

    Performs a mail merge on a Microsoft Word document or Word Attachments and saves the merged document as a new file.

    This action takes a Word Document and replaces all the mail-merge fields in the document with ThinkAutomation variable values. The resulting merged document is then saved.

    Specify the Word File or select Merge Word Attachments and enter a File Mask to use any Word Documents attached to the message.

    In the Save Merged Document To enter the new name for the merged document. You can use the special %filename% replacement to use the original file name in part of the new filename. If no name is specified then the original document will be saved.

    In the Save To Path specify the folder to save the new document in.

    The merged document path & filename can be assigned to a ThinkAutomation variable. Select the variable to use from the Assign Filename(s) To list.

    Select Delete After Message Is Processed if you want ThinkAutomation to delete the file after it has finished executing all actions for the current message.

    You must then map the Word Document Merge Fields to ThinkAutomation fields/variables. Click the Get Fields From Word Doc to extract mail merge fields from any Word Document. You can also just type them in the list.

    Specify each mail Merge Field and the Value to assign the field to. This can be a fixed value or any ThinkAutomation Field, Variable or Built-in Variable.


    Print

    Prints the incoming message, a report of extracted fields, document attachments or a specific file.

    Enable the Print The Incoming Message option to print the incoming message.

    Enable the Print Extracted Fields option to print a table showing extracted field names and values.

    Enable the Print PDF Attachments option if you want ThinkAutomation to print PDF file attachments.

    Enable the Print Document Attachments option if you want ThinkAutomation to print any Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML or Text documents.

    You can also a specify Print File. This can be any PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML or text file or a %variable% containing a file path.

    You can pre-select the printer to use from the Printer list. This can be a %variable% replacement if you need to conditionally select a printer in a previous action.

    If you select a network printer the ThinkAutomation service may not have permission to print to it. This is because the ThinkAutomation service runs under the SYSTEM account by default and the SYSTEM account cannot access any network resources. Configure the ThinkAutomation Message Processor service to run under a different user.


    Run A Report

    Creates a report using a pre-defined report template. Reports can be printed, and/or exported to various formats, including PDF, HTML, Rich text and Excel. Exported reports can be attached to outgoing emails.

    Enter a Report Name.

    Click the Edit Report to start the Report Designer

    Using The Report Designer

    ThinkAutomation includes a report designer that allows you to create custom report templates. Reports can use ThinkAutomation variable data and link to external data sources.

    The Extracted Fields/Variables and built-in variables will be listed in the report designer Explorer pane - Fields List. You can drag any of these onto the report designer surface.

    After you have dragged a field to the designer, click it to edit its properties in the Properties Toolbox. You can change colors, alignment, borders, fonts etc. You should also re-size the field so that it will fit the data contents. (Note: If the 'Can Grow' property is set to True then the field height will grow automatically based on the field content).

    You can also drag other objects onto the report (Labels, Images, Text Boxes, Charts etc). External data sources can be added using the Add Data Source button.

    Click Save in the report designer to save the template.

    Click Report Designer End-User Documentation to view detailed report designer documentation.

    Enable the Export Report option to export the report at run time. Select the file format from the Export Format list. Available types are:

    Use the Assign Export Filename To list to select a ThinkAutomation Variable to assign the exported file name to. You can then use this %fieldname% on other Actions - such as the Send Email action to add the exported report as an attachment.

    Enable the Print option to also print the report.


    Office 365

    Get/Update Contact

    Get or add/update a Contact record for an Office 365 Account.

    Click the Sign In button to sign-in to Office 365.

    Enter the Email Address for the Contact record. Select the Update option if you want to add/update a contact record, otherwise the contact will be retrieved using the email address specified.

    In the Map To Extracted Fields grid map your ThinkAutomation variables to the Exchange Contact fields. Against each Exchange contact field select the relevant ThinkAutomation Variable.

    If updating then ThinkAutomation will first lookup an existing contact using the Email Address. If an existing contact is found then the contact is updated, otherwise a new contact record is created. If not updating then ThinkAutomation will lookup the contact using the email address and then if found, assign the contact fields to the mapped ThinkAutomation variables.


    Create Appointment

    Creates an appointment for an Office 365 Account.

    Click the Sign In button to sign-in to Office 365.

    You must then specify the Appointment Settings.

    The Attendees field must use email addresses.

    If %variable% replacements are used for the Start Date/Time or End Date/Time then you need to ensure that the fields contain valid dates or times.


    Update Incoming Message

    Set flags and/or modify the subject on the incoming Office 365 source message.

    This action works with the message currently being processed.

    Enter a comma separated list of Categories to assign to the message. Leave blank for no change.

    Set Focused - set if the message appears in the 'Focused' or 'Other' view.

    Set Importance - set the Importance for the message.

    Set Mark As Read - set the 'read' status for the message.

    Set Follow Up Flag - set the follow up status for the message.

    If Follow Up Flag is set to Flagged, enter the number of Days if you want the follow-up flag to be set for the current message. The Days entry can use %variable% replacements. It should be set to a numeric value representing the number of days from today.

    Modifying The Subject

    You can modify the message subject by entering a value in the Subject entry. You can use %variable% replacements, for example to append '(processed)' you would set the Subject to %Msg_Subject% (processed). If this entry is blank then the subject is not changed.

    This action can only be used on Automations that are called from an Office 365 Message Source.


    Get User Presence

    Get current presence information (availability and activity) for one or more users. This action reads presence information for Microsoft Teams users.

    Click the Sign In button to sign-in to Office 365.

    In the User Names entry enter one or more Office 365 user names that you want to read presence information for. This will usually be the user's login email address. Separate multiple users with commas or one per line. Up to 260 users can be specified per request.

    Enable Return Only Presence option if you only want to return current presence, otherwise the username, displayname, current presence and current activity is returned (for each user).

    Return As

    The result can be returned as CSV, Markdown table or JSON.

    For example:

    CSV

    Markdown

    JSON

    If you enable Return Only Presence and Return As CSV and get the presence for a single user then a single text value will be returned with that users current presence only.

    The presence (Availability) will be one of: Available, AvailableIdle, Away, BeRightBack, Busy, BusyIdle, DoNotDisturb, Offline, PresenceUnknown.

    The Activity will be one of: Available, Away, BeRightBack, Busy, DoNotDisturb, InACall, InAConferenceCall, Inactive, InAMeeting, Offline, OffWork, OutOfOffice, PresenceUnknown, Presenting, UrgentInterruptionsOnly.

    Select the variable to receive the results from the Assign To list.


    Send Teams Message

    Sends a message to a Microsoft Teams channel on behalf of an Office 365 user.

    Click the Sign In button to sign-in to Office 365. This is the user that the message will be sent from.

    The Teams and Channels for the user will then be listed. Select the Team and then the Channel within the team to send a message to.

    Enter the Message text.

    The message text can contain Markdown. If Markdown is used it will be converted to HTML before being sent.


    Create Outlook MSG File

    Saves the current message or a custom message as a Microsoft Outlook compatible MSG file to a folder on your file system.

    Select the Save To folder and enter a File Name. The .msg file extension will be added automatically if not specified. If Ensure Unique File Name is enabled then ThinkAutomation will add a timestamp to the filename to ensure it is unique within the Save To folder.

    Saving The Current Message

    From the Create Outlook MSG File Using list select Current Message. The currently executing message will then be saved as an Outlook MSG file (regardless of it's source type).

    Saving A Custom Message

    From the Create Outlook MSG File Using list select Mime Text. You must then select a %variable% containing MIME text created earlier. You can use the Send Email action to create a custom email message. Enable the Dont Send Just Assign Mime option and select a %variable% from the Assign Mime Text To list to save the mime text to. You can then use this variable on this action to create an Outlook MSG file based on the custom email.

    You can assign the saved path & filename to a variable by selecting the variable from the Assign Saved File Path To list.


    General

    Text Operation

    Perform various operations on text.

    The From value can be any text or %variable% replacement or combination.

    Select the Text Operation Type:

    OperationTypeDetails
    Trim: All WhitespaceAll Whitespace (replaces all tab, CR, and LF characters, with space characters, and removes extra space's so there are no occurrences of more than one space in a row).
    Trim: BlanksBlanks (removes all CR/LF/tab characters and trims).
    Trim: EndTrims the last Length characters.
    Trim: StartTrims the first Length characters.
    Trim: Start & EndTrims the first and last Length characters.
    Get: Index OfReturns the start position of Look For value in the From value (1 based). The Look for can be a regular expression or %variable% replacement.
    Get: LeftGet the last Length characters.
    Get: RightGet the first Length characters.
    Get: SubStringGet Length characters starting at Start Position. If Start Position is not a number then the value of Start Position will be searched in the From value - and the search position will be used (if found).
    Get: LengthReturns the character length of the From value.
    Extract: JSON PathGet a specific Json Path value from Json text specified in the From valu
    Extract: RegexGet one or all matches of the Regex Pattern.
    Replace: RegexReplace one or more Regex Pattern matches with a replace pattern.
    Set: FormatReturns a formatted value of the From value. The Format can be any .NET format. For example: 'The delivery date is {0:d}' would return 'The delivery date is 1/1/2021' if From contained a date value.
    Mask: InsideReplaces Length characters starting from Start Position with * characters.
    Mask: ProfanityReplaces all profanity words with * characters.
    Mask: Credit Card NumbersReplaces all Credit Card numbers with * characters.
    Convert: To Lower CaseReturns the From value as lower case.
    Convert: To Upper CaseReturns the From value as upper case.
    Convert: To Word CapitalizedReturns the From value as Word Capitalized.
    Convert: CamelCase To WordsReturns the From value as words extracted from Camel Case. Eg: customerName would return 'Customer Name'
    Convert: HTML To PlainTextReturns the plain text version of any HTML text. (see: HTML Parsing Notes)
    Convert: HTML To XMLReturns the well formed XML version of any HTML text. (see: HTML Parsing Notes)
    Convert: HTML To JsonConverts HTML to XML and then converts the XML to Json. (see: HTML Parsing Notes)
    Convert: HTML To MarkdownConverts HTML to Markdown.
    Convert: Markdown To HTMLConverts Markdown to HTML.
    Convert: CSV To HTML TableConverts CSV text into a HTML table.
    Convert: CSV To Markdown TableConverts CSV text into a Markdown table.
    Convert: CSV To Json ArrayConverts CSV text into a Json array.
    Convert: Json To CSVConverts Json/Json Array text into CSV text with headers.
    Convert: XML To JsonConverts XML text into Json.

    The 'Sub String' and 'Get Index Of' use 1 based index positions. 'Get Index Of' will return 0 if the Look For value is not found.

    The Preview will show a preview of the operation. This is useful to check how the operation will work. The preview however will not show if the From text is a %variable% replacement (since the value will not be known until the Automation executes).

    Select the variable to receive the result from the Assign To list.

    HTML Conversion Notes

    For the Text Operation action, when converting HTML to plain text, Markdown, JSON or XML there are a number of additional options:

    Regular Expression Extract

    For the Text Operation action, the Extract: Regex operation allows you to extract data from the From entry based on a regular expression in the Regex Pattern entry. If All Matches is enabled then all matches are returned (one per line).

    For example if the From text is set to:

    And the Regex Pattern is set to ''A[0-9]{4}'' - which means any text starting with 'A' followed by 4 numbers (0-9). Then the returned text would be 'A1234'.

    Regular Expression Replace

    For the Text Operation action, the Replace: Regex operation allows you to search for regular expression patterns and then perform a replacement on the matches. The replace pattern can contain substitutions.

    For example if the From text is set to:

    And Regex Pattern is set to "(?(\d{3}))?[\s-]?(\d{3})-?(\d{4})" and the Replace With set to "($1) $2-$3". Then the returned text would be "Phone Number: (407) 545-2119".


    Date Operation

    Perform various operations on dates.

    Select the Date Operation Type:

    OperationTypeDetails
    Get DateExtract the date from any text or variable and return it to another variable in a predefined format. Enable the Convert To UTC option to convert the date to UTC.
    Get TimeExtract just the time from any text or variable and return it to another variable in a predefined format.
    Get Date and TimeExtract the date and time from any text or variable and return it to another variable in a predefined format.
    Get IntervalCalculates an Interval between a From and To date and returns the value to a variable. The Interval can be Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months or Years. The interval can be returned as a number or duration text. Select from the Interval Format option. If Short Duration is selected then for interval will be returned as hh:mm:ss format. Long Duration will return as x Hours, x Minutes, x Seconds (depending on the Interval type).
    Add ToAdds an interval Value to an existing date/time extracted from any text or variable and returns the new date time to a variable in a predefined format.
    Subtract FromSubtracts an interval Value to an existing date/time extracted from any text or variable and returns the new date time to a variable in a predefined format.
    Get Date and Time From Unix TimestampGet the date and time from a Unix timestamp. A Unix timestamp is a number representing the number of seconds since 1st Jan 1970.
    Get Unix Timestamp From Date and Time.Gets the Unix timestamp from a date.
    Get Year, Month, Day, Hour, Minute, SecondGet a specific date part from any date/time.

    Select the variable to receive the result from the Assign To Variable list.

    When extracting and formatting dates you can select the Locale. This will default to the system locale.

    Formatting

    You can use this action to change the format of an existing date %variable% or extract a specific part of a datetime and assign it to a different variable. Use the Get Date and Time operation. Set the From to the variable containing the date. Enter or select the required Format. Select the same variable from the Assign To Variable list if you want to update the existing variable.

    See: Custom date and time format strings | Microsoft Docs for available Format strings.


    File Operation

    Create new folders, copy, move, rename, check exists, delete files and get file information.

    Use this Action to create new folders or to copy, move, check if files exists, rename & delete files and get file information. You can also use this action to generate an SHA256 hash (checksum) for any file.

    Select the Operation Type:

    Depending on the Operation Type enter the Folder, File Name, To Folder & To File Name.

    You can assign the result to a variable. Select from the Assign To Variable list. The variable will be set to the new folder and file name depending on the Operation Type. For example, for the Create Folder operation the variable will be assigned to the new folder name. For the Copy operation the variable will be assigned the full path & file name of the new file. If the operation fails the variable will be assigned a blank string and the error will be shown in the log. The Check If File/Folder Exists operation will return the file/folder path is the file/folder exists, otherwise blank.

    The Append To Filename and Prefix Filename operations allow you to append text or prefix text to existing file names. For example: If the Append Text is set to 'abc' and the processed filename was 'order.pdf' then the existing file will be renamed to 'orderabc.pdf'.

    The Copy, Move, Delete, Append To Filename & Prefix Filename operations allow the File Name to contain wildcards. If using wildcards enable the Match Files Using Wildcards option. The File Name can contain * and ? wildcard characters. When using wildcards, if multiple files are processed then the Assign To Variable will contain a list of files processed separated by commas.

    For the Copy operation you can specify the To File Name (when not using wildcards). You can specify a different destination file name. If this entry is blank the original file name will be used.

    For the Copy operation you can enable the Overwrite Existing option if you want existing files in the destination folder to be overwritten. If this option is not enabled and an existing file already exists then an error will raised.

    The Get File Version operation returns file information in the following format:

    For the Create Folder operation the complete folder structure will be created if any levels do not exist. If the full folder already exists the Assign to variable will be assigned the existing folder name and no error will be reported. An error will only be reported for the Create Folder operation if the creation of a new folder fails.

    The Get Folder Contents operation returns a list of files in the specified Folder and Mask. The list will be assigned to the Assign To variable with each file separated by a comma. The full path and filenames are returned. You can use the For Each.. Comma Separated Value In action to loop through the list of files.

    If you are access folder/files on your network you will need to change the user name that the ThinkAutomation Message Processor Service runs under.


    List Operation

    Create and update a list. This action enables you to create a generic list of values. You can then add to the list, delete, sort & search. You can then read single values or all values further in your Automation. Any number of separate lists can be created - with each list referenced by its name.

    Each list must be given a Name. You cannot use the name of an existing %variable% as a list name. If you want to update the same list further in your Automation you would use the same name. Lists can contain any number of items (based on available memory).

    Select the List Operation:

    Create

    Create a new list. A list must be created before any other operations can be used. If you re-create an existing list all existing items will be removed.

    Specify the Of Type - this can be text, number or date. The Of Type setting determines how the list is sorted if you use the Sort operation.

    Enable the Unique option to only allow unique values to be added to the list. If Unique is enabled then duplicate values cannot be added (an error will not be raised when duplicate values are added).

    You can optionally initialize the created list with one or more Values. Values can contain %variables%.

    You can also optionally add values contained in the Load From entry. A value will be added for each line contained in the %variable% specified.

    Append

    Append one or more values to the end of an existing list. Enter one or more Values to append. Values can contain %variables%.

    Insert

    Insert one or more values to an existing list. Specify the Index position where you want the values to be inserted. Index positions start at 1. If no index value is specified then the values will be inserted at the start of the list. The Index value can be a %variable%.

    Delete

    Delete a value at the specified Index position (starting at 1).

    Get Value

    Get a value at the specified Index position (starting at 1). The item value can be assigned to a %variable% from the Assign To list.

    Get All Values

    Get all values in the list and assign to the Assign To variable. The Return As defines how the list will be returned to the Assign To variable:

    Sort Ascending

    Sort the list in ascending order.

    Sort Descending

    Sort the list in descending order.

    Search For

    Searches the list for a matching value (case insensitive) and assigns the index number to the Assign To variable (or blank if no match was found). Enter the value to search in the Search For entry.

     

    Individual list values can be any text of any size. If the Of Type is set to number then the expected values should be numeric. If the Of Type is set to Date then the values should be dates or date+time. The date values are stored in yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss format so they can be sorted.

    The List Operation action has many uses. It can be used to create Json arrays. Where you add separate Json blocks or values to a list and then use the Get All operation with the Return As set to Json Array.

    You can use the For Each action to loop through values in a list.

    You can use a list name as a %variable% replacement. This will replace the %listname% with all values in the list (one per line).


    Math

    Executes mathematical formulas and returns the result to a variable.

    Enter the Formula text. The formula can contain %variable% replacements.

    Select the variable to receive the result from the Assign To list.

    Formulas can be as simple as %Price% * %Amount% which would return the value held in %Price% multiplied by the value held in %Amount%.

    Click the Validate button to check the formula.

    The following mathematical operations are supported:

    Standard Functions:

    FunctionArgumentsDescription
    sumsum(A1, ..., An)Total
    rounduproundup(A1,Digits)Rounds up decimal to specified digits
    sinsin(A1)Sine
    coscos(A1)Cosine
    asinasin(A1)Arcsine
    acosacos(A1)Arccosine
    tantan(A1)Tangent
    cotcot(A1)Cotangent
    atanatan(A1)Arctangent
    acotacot(A1)Arccotangent
    logeloge(A1)Natural Logarithm
    log10log10(A1)Common Logarithm
    lognlogn(A1, A2)Logarithm
    sqrtsqrt(A1)Square Root
    ifif(A1, A2, A3)If Function
    maxmax(A1, ..., An)Maximum
    minmin(A1, ..., An)Minimum
    avgavg(A1, ..., An)Average
    medianmedian(A1, ..., An)Median
    roundround(A1)Round
    randomrandom()Random

    For more complex calculations you can use the Create Spreadsheet action. The Create Spreadsheet action allows you to assign %variables% to cells and then read-back cell values to %variables% after all formulas have been re-calculated.


    Parse CSV Line

    Extract values from comma separated text.

    Select the CSV value to parse from the Parse CSV Line In list.

    In the Column Assignments grid, for each column you want to extract enter the Column Number and select the Assign Value To variable to receive the column value.

    Column numbers are 1 based.

    This action will correctly handle quoted values.

    This action is useful when used with the For..Each loop, looping on Line. This enables you to read a CSV file (or Attachment) and loop on each line. Inside the loop use this action to parse each CSV line.


    Encryption

    Encrypts or Decrypts text or files using AES encryption and returns the encrypted/decrypted text/filename to a variable.

    This action is used both to encrypt and decrypt text or files. Select the Encrypt or Decrypt options.

    Encrypting

    To encrypt text select the Encrypt option and enter the text or file to encrypt.

    When encrypting text you must specify the Encoding method to use. This can be hex, base64 or URL. The default is base64.

    To encrypt a file select the Encrypt File tab and select the File Path & File Name. Select the Save To Path to save the encrypted file to. Optionally enter a Save To Filename. If no filename is specified then the original file name will be used but with an '.aes' extension. You can use %variable% replacements for the file path & names - this enables you to use it with the For..Each action if you wanted to encrypt attachments.

    You must specify a Key Length and Secret Key. The key length can be 256, 192 or 128. These are bit sizes. The secret key length must be 32 characters for 256 bit keys, 24 characters for 192 bit keys or 16 characters for 128 bit keys. You can use %variable% replacements for the secret key - however this must convert to the correct key length when the message is processed.

    The encrypted text/file path can be returned to a variable. Select from the Assign Encrypted File To list.

    Decrypting

    To decrypt text select the Decrypt option and enter the text or file to decrypt. The text must be encoded using the same encoding method used to encrypt (base64, hex or URL). You must also specify the Encoding method.

    To decrypt a file select the Decrypt File tab and select the File Path & File Name. Select the Save To Folder to save the decrypted file to and enter the Save To File Name.

    You must specify a Key Length and Secret Key. The key length can be 256, 192 or 128. These are bit sizes. The secret key length must be 32 characters for 256 bit keys, 24 characters for 192 bit keys or 16 characters for 128 bit keys. You can use %variable% replacements for the secret key - however this must convert to the correct key length when the message is processed.

    The decrypted text/file path can be returned to a variable. Select from the Assign Decrypted File To list.


    Compression

    Creates Zip compatible compressed archive files for attachments or files/folders. Can also be used to unzip files.

    This action is used both to zip and unzip files.

    Compressing Files/Attachments

    To create a Zip file select Compress.

    Select the Zip File Path to save the Zip file to and enter the Zip File Name. You can use %variable% replacements here. If a %variable% replacement is used for the Zip File Name (for example %msg_subject%) it will first be converted into a valid file name. If no extension exists then .zip will be used.

    Enable Create New if you want a new zip file creating. If this option is not selected and an existing Zip file already exists then the new files will be added to it.

    Optionally specify a Password if you want to password protect the Zip file.

    Enable the Zip Attachments option if you want to compress files attached to the incoming message. You can specify a File Mask if you want to only compress files of a certain type (eg: *.pdf).

    Select the local Folder and File Mask for other files you want to add to the Zip file.

    The File Mask entry can contain multiple masks, separated by commas (eg: *.pdf, ThisDoc.docx, *.xlsx).

    The Exclusions entry can contain filenames and masks that you want to exclude from the zip file. Separate multiple with commas.

    Enable the Delete Zip After Message Is Processed option if you want ThinkAutomation to delete the Zip file after the Automation has finished executing actions for the current message. This is useful if you are creating a Zip file to send with an outgoing message and the Zip file is not needed to be kept afterward's.

    Select the variable that you want the Zip file path to be assigned to from the Assign To list. You can then use this on further actions - for example on the Attach entry of outgoing messages.

    Decompressing

    To unzip and existing Zip file select Decompress.

    Select the Zip File Path and Zip File Name.

    Specify a Password if the Zip file is password protected.

    Enter a File Mask for the files you want unzipped - or specify *.* for all files.

    The Exclusions entry can contain filenames and masks that you want to exclude from being unzipped. Separate multiple with commas.

    Select the Unzip To Folder for the folder where you want the unzipped files placed.

    Enable the Delete Unzipped Files After Message Is Processed option if you want ThinkAutomation to delete the unzipped files after the Automation has finished processing actions for the current message.

    The unzipped files list can be returned to a variable. Select the variable from the Assign Unzipped Files To list. This will be a comma separated list of files with their full path.


    Create Hash

    Generate a hash for any text/variable.

    Enter the Text To Hash and specify the Hash Algorithm.

    The resulting hash can be encoded in various formats (the default is Base64).

    Select the variable to assign the hash to from the Assign Hash To list.


    Set Message Store Flag

    Assigns a Flag to the current message.

    ThinkAutomation stores a copy of each processed message in the Message Store. You can assign a Flag number to the message stored in the Message Store. When viewing the Message Store you can filter by Flag.

    In the Set Incoming Message Flag Number To entry, enter the flag number to assign to the current message. You can use a %variable% replacement to conditionally set a flag value based on previous actions.

    You can setup any number of Flag values using the Server Settings - Message Store Flags option.


    Message Store Operation

    ThinkAutomation stores a copy of each processed message in the Message Store. This action reads a list of message store messages with the same from/to or to/from email addresses and the same subject. This action can also be used to drop the current message and to pause/resume message sources.

    Select the Message Store Operation:

    Get Current Conversation

    This operation returns the conversation for the currently executing message.

    Get Another Conversation

    This operation returns the conversation between two email addresses with the same subject.

    Specify the Between Email Address and And Email Address.

    Specify the For Subject.

     

    You can specify the Maximum Items and Maximum Age (Days).

    The message store will be searched for all messages where the From and To addresses match either of the Between email addresses and have the same subject (any 'FW:' or 'RE:' subject prefixes will be ignored). Only messages processed within the same Solution will be searched.

    In the Return As list select one of:

    Select the variable to receive the results from the Assign To list. The result will be blank if there are no messages.

    You can use this action if you need to display or send a transcript of a conversation between two email addresses with the same subject.

    Getting A Conversation For Web Chat Form Messages.

    Enable the Is Web Chat option if you want to read messages saved via the Web Chat message source. For messages saved via a web chat message source, the 'bot' reply is saved to the Automation Return value rather than being a separate message store message. If you enable this option the Automation Return value for each message will be added as the 'reply' message.

    Drop Message

    This operation will flag the currently executing message to be deleted from the message store database after the Automation completes.

    Drop Current Conversation

    This operation will delete all previous message store messages where the from/to or to/from email addresses and subject match the currently executing message. The current message will not be deleted. The Assign To variable will receive the number of messages deleted.

    Drop Another Conversation

    This operation deletes all previous message store messages between two email addresses with the same subject. Specify the Between Email Address and And Email Address. Specify the For Subject. The current message will not be deleted. The Assign To variable will receive the number of messages deleted.

    Pause/Resume Message Source

    This operation can be used to pause or resume any Message Source within the same Solution. Select the Message Source from the list, this must be within the same Solution as the Automation. The Pause/Resume Message Source operations can be used to conditionally pause/resume Message Sources in addition to any Schedule assigned to the Message Source.

    Get Message Source Status

    This operation can be used to check the status of any Message Source within the same Solution. Select the Message Source from the list, this must be within the same Solution as the Automation. Select the variable to receive the status from the Assign Status To list. The status returned will be one of: 'Active', 'Disabled', 'Paused' or 'Missing' (if the Message Source has been deleted).


    Set Logging Level

    Set the logging detail level for the current message.

    This action can be used to change the level of logging for the currently executing message. This is useful if you have many actions, or actions that loop and you want to reduce the number of log entries to improve performance. Setting the logging level to 'Minimal' will cause only errors to be logged.

    Any Comment actions that have the Show In Log option enabled will always be logged, regardless of the current logging level.

    For fast running Automations, or Automations that generate many log entries, you should use the Set Logging Level action to set the logging level to 'minimal' once you have completed debugging your Automation. This will significantly increase performance.

    It can also be used to increase the logging level whilst debugging a specific Automation.

    You can change the logging level multiple times during an Automation.

    The logging level will revert back to the default once the Automation has completed executing actions for the current message.

    You can set the default logging level for all Automations using the Server Settings - Logging option.


    Create Passcode

    Creates a random Passcode and assigns the value to a variable.

    This action can be used to generate a random passcode. The passcode can then be sent by email (via the Wait For User Response or Send Email actions) or by SMS (via the Twilio Send SMS Message and Twilio Wait For SMS Reply actions) in order to implement two-factor authentication or to check that a given email address or mobile phone number is valid.

    Select the Passcode Type. This can be:

    Enable Include Upper Case to also include (A-Z) characters if Numbers only is not used.

    Enter the Number Of Characters. This can be between 3 & 99.

    Select the variable to assign the passcode to from the Assign To list.

    The Passcode generated will be random containing no repeating characters. The Passcode is not guaranteed to be universally unique.

    For the Random Word and Two Random Words options the passcode will consist of one or two random words (English) followed by numbers (based on the Number Of Characters entry). For example: 'Glove2085' - if the number of characters was set to 4. If the Include Upper Case option is enabled then the first character of the random word will be in upper case.


    Find and Replace

    Finds and replaces text in any ThinkAutomation variable and returns the result to the same or different variable.

    Enter the text to find in the Replace entry. You can make use of %variable% replacements.

    Enter the text to replace with in the With entry. Again you can use %variable% replacements. Note: The With value can be blank if you wish to just remove the Replace value.

    In the In list - select the field to use for the replacement. This can be any of your extracted fields/variables.

    By default the text search will start at the beginning of the text. Enter a Start At Character value if you want to start the search from a specific character position.

    Enable Replace All Occurrences if you want all occurrences of the Replace text to be replaced.

    Enable Case Sensitive Search if the find should be case sensitive.

    You must then select variable to assign the replaced text to from the Assign Result To list. By default the same variable that you select in the In selection will be used.

    You can also perform regular expression replacements using the Text Operation action.



    Read/Write Text File

    Writes data to any text file and/or reads the contents of the file into a variable.

    The File Path must contain a path & filename of the text file to write to/read from.

    Writing

    On the Write To File tab you can define the text that you want to write to the file. The file will be created if it does not already exist. All directories contained in the path will be created if they do not exist.

    Select the file Format. This can be ASCII, Unicode or UTF-8 (default).

    Select the Line Terminator that will be appended to the text written to the file.

    Enter the Content that you want to write to the file. This can contain %variable% replacements.

    If the Append To File option is enabled then the new text will be added to the end of any existing text file.

    If the Make Backup option is enabled the existing file will be copied to the same file name with a .BAK file first.

    On the Read From File tab you can select a ThinkAutomation variable that you want to assign the text file contents to. The file will be read again after any text is written to it.

    Reading Only

    Select the Read From File tab and then select the %variable% to assign the text file contents to.

    If nothing is specified in the Content entry then the file is only read.


    Tokenize

    Gets a list of comma separated tokens (words) for any text.

    Enter the Text/HTML to tokenize. If the text is HTML then the HTML will be converted to plain text first.

    Options:

    The tokens can be assigned to a variable. Tokens are returned as a comma separated string.


    Extract Address Parts

    Parses a postal address block and extracts specific parts (Company Name, Address Line 1, Address Line2, State, Zip/Postcode, Country).

    In the Extract Address From enter the address or a %variable% containing an address.

    You can then assign Company Name, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, State, Zip/Postcode and Country to variables.

    You can also assign the normalized address block to a variable from the Assign Address To list. The normalized address will include above parts, one per line. US state abbreviations will be expanded.

    This action will attempt to locate the country/state using the zip/postcode if no state/country is specified in the incoming address. This currently supports UK, USA, Canada & Ireland postcodes.

    Postcodes for European countries (France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands) will be extracted if the address contains the country name.

    This action is useful where an address block has been extracted from a document using the Extract Field action with the Extract Using Text Range option.

    You can test the address extraction by pasting an address into the Extract Address From entry and clicking the Test button.


    Extract Email Signature

    Parses contact and company information from email signature footers.

    ThinkAutomation will parse the email text and extract the footer block. From this it attempts to extract the following:

    In the Assign Signature Info grid, select the Property name and the variable you want to assign the value to.

    The complete signature block Json can also be assigned. Select from the Assign Json To list.

    For example, consider the following email text:

    The email signature would be extracted as:

    The above Json can also be referenced directly using the %Msg_SignatureJson% built-in variable without using this action.

    The amount of information extracted will depend on the email footer (if any). This action can be used on any type of email, however the accuracy will be better for non-marketing type emails. Currently only English text is supported.


    Text To Speech

    Uses the Windows speech synthesizer to convert text to a WAV file containing a spoken version of the text.

    Enter the Text To Speak. This can contain %variable% replacements.

    Select the Voice. This list will be populated by Speech language packs installed on your system. You can install more language packs in your Windows settings. After selecting a Voice, click the Test button to hear how the text will sound.

    Select or enter the Save To path where the created wav file should be saved.

    Enter the WAV File Name. This can contain %variable% replacements. The .wav extension will be added if necessary.

    If the Ensure Unique File Name option is selected then ThinkAutomation will append a unique timestamp to the filename to ensure it is unique within the Save To path.

    If Delete File After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the wav file in the Automation (for example, to send the file as an attachment with the Send Email action), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.

    You can assign the saved path & filename to a variable by selecting the variable from the Assign Saved File Path To list. You can then use this variable in the Attachments entry on Send Email actions or in any other way.


    Network

    DNS Lookup

    Performs a DNS Lookup and assigns the returned data to a variable.

    In the Lookup entry enter an IP Address or Hostname. If an email address is used ThinkAutomation will automatically use the domain part (the section after the @ sign).

    Select the DNS Record Type to lookup. Here you can select any valid DNS type.

    The DNS Server entry allows you to specify a specific DNS server IP address to use for the lookup. Leave blank to use the system default.

    You must then select the variable to assign the result to by selecting from the Assign Result To list. If the lookup fails - the variable will be set to Error: {description}.

    Results will be returned as FieldName: Value format. The fields returned depend on the DNS Record Type.

    For example, an MX lookup of test@google.com would return:

    If the lookup fails an error is returned:

    This Action is useful for validating email addresses. If an error is not returned then the email address has a valid MX record.


    Ping

    Pings any network/internet host and assigns the response time to a variable.

    Enter the Ping host. This can be an IP address, Host Name, Domain name, URL or Email Address. The host name will first be resolved to its IP address before the Ping starts.

    Select the variable that the Response Time will be assigned to. You can also assign the Response Host (IP Address).

    If the Ping fails or a timeout occurs the Response Time will be blank and an error will show in the log.


    Execute Secure Shell Command

    Executes a command on a remote SSH Server. Most UNIX/Linux/Mac machines include an SSH Server. The output of the command can be returned to a variable.

    Enter the Host Name IP Address or host name of the server you want to execute the command on.

    Enter the Port. This defaults to 22. If no port is specified then the default will be used.

    Enter the remote User Name & Password. This user must be allowed to execute remote commands on the host system.

    Enter the Command Text to execute.

    All entries can use %variable% replacements.

    The result of the command can be returned to a variable. Specify the variable from the Assign Response To list.

    Any errors generated by the command can also be returned to a variable. Select from the Assign Errors To list.

    Showing A Notification On A Mac

    The following command will display a notification on a Mac computer:

    Speaking Text On A Mac

    The following command will speak the given text on a Mac computer:

    To enable the Remote SSH server on a Mac, use System Preferences - Sharing. Enable the 'Remote Login' option.


    CRM

    ThinkAutomation can read and update entities in the following CRM systems: Microsoft Dynamics (Online), Salesforce, Zoho CRM & Sugar CRM. See: CRM Connection Notes for specific CRM connection details.

    Get CRM Entity

    Performs a query against a CRM system to lookup a single entity and assign entity values to variables.

    Click Connect to connect to a CRM system. Currently ThinkAutomation can connect to:

    See: CRM Connection Notes for specific CRM connection details.

    Once connected select the Entity Type to query.

    You then create Query Conditions to lookup an entity of the Entity Type specified. The query can contain %variable% replacements. You can create multiple query conditions, for example: FirstName Equal To %Name% AND Email Contains %Company%.

    The query will return the first record that matches the query conditions.

    In the Assign Returned Entity Values To Variables list, select each CRM entity value that you want to assign to a ThinkAutomation Variable. If the query returns no entity then the selected ThinkAutomation variables will be set to blank values.


    Update CRM Entity

    Creates or updates entities in a CRM system,

    Click Connect to connect to a CRM system. Currently ThinkAutomation can connect to:

    See: CRM Connection Notes for specific CRM connection details.

    Select Create New Entity, Update Existing Entity or Delete Existing Entity from the Action To Take selector.

    Select the Entity Type to update.

    When updating or deleting existing entities, you must specify the Entity ID To Update - this can be a ThinkAutomation variable that has received an Id from a previous Get CRM Entity action.

    In the Update Entity Fields grid you map Entity fields to ThinkAutomation variables. Each field for the selected Entity Type will be listed. In the Set Value To column enter a value or select a ThinkAutomation variable to assign to the field. ThinkAutomation will automatically convert the value to the correct data type when updating your CRM. If the Entity field has a maximum length then the value will be truncated if required. The Required column shows if the Entity Field is marked as a required field in the CRM system. You should ensure that required fields are assigned a value to prevent updates from being rejected.

    The updated entity Id can be returned to a ThinkAutomation variable. Select from the Assign Entity ID To list. When creating a new entity, the new id will be returned. When updating or deleting an existing entity, the same id passed with the Entity ID To Update entry will be returned - or blank if the existing entity could not be found.


    Query CRM Entities

    Perform a generic query to read one or more CRM entities as Json text, CSV or Markdown.

    Click Connect to connect to a CRM system. Currently ThinkAutomation can connect to:

    See: CRM Connection Notes for specific CRM connection details.

    Select the Entity Type to query from the SELECT FROM list.

    You can then select one or more columns to return from the Columns list or leave blank to select all columns.

    You then create a WHERE clause to lookup entities of the Entity Type specified. The query can use %variable% replacements. You can create multiple query conditions, for example: FirstName Equal To %Name% AND Email Contains %Company%.

    The query will return all records that match the query conditions - up to the Limit value.

    In the ORDER BY list you can optionally select one or more columns to order the results by.

    The results can be returned as either a Json Array text, CSV text or Markdown table text. Select the type from the Return As list.

    Select the variable to receive the results from the Assign To list.

    You can also optionally assign the number of records returned from the Assign Count To list.

    For example:

    Using Salesforce, entity type Contact, we could select the columns: FirstName, Email, LastName, & Title. With a WHERE clause of Email Contains 'test' and a Limit of 2 records. The json returned would be:

    If the Return As was set to CSV then the returned text would be:

    You can use the CSV option with the For..Each line action - to loop through each CSV line, along with the Parse CSV Line action to get specific values (for example, to read a CRM for Contact records and send an email to each email address returned).

    For CSV you also have the option to Include CSV Headers Line. If this is enabled then the returned CSV text will contain the field name headers line.

    The the Return As was set to Markdown then a Markdown table will be returned. You can use the Set action to convert this markdown to html if required.

    If no records are returned the Assign To variable will be set to blank text.


    Xero

    Xero is a cloud based accounting system. See: https://www.xero.com

    Xero Contact

    Get, update or create Xero contact records and add notes or attachments to existing contacts.

    Click the Sign In button to sign-in to your Xero account. Select the Xero Company to use from your available companies.

    Select the Operation to perform:

    Get Contact

    From the Where - Field select to lookup a contact by either: Name, ContactID, EmailAddress or AccountNumber. Enter the lookup value. The lookup value can contain %variable% replacements.

    In the Assign Fields grid you can map Xero contact fields to ThinkAutomation variables. Select a Contact Field and corresponding ThinkAutomation variable from the Assign To drop down.

    Click the Test button to perform a test lookup.

    You can also optionally return the full Xero contact record in Json format to a variable. Select from the Assign Contact Json to list.

    You can assign the Xero Contact ID to a variable. Select from the Assign Contact ID To list.

    If a contact is not found then the ThinkAutomation variables will be set to blank values.

    Create Contact

    In the Assign Fields grid, select each Xero contact field to assign a value to. In the Assign From column enter a value to assign to the contact field or select a ThinkAutomation variable.

    The Name Contact Field is required when creating new contacts.

    You can also optionally return the full Xero new contact record in Json format to a variable. Select from the Assign Contact Json to list.

    You can assign the new Xero Contact ID to a variable. Select from the Assign Contact ID To list.

    Update Contact

    From the Where - Field select to lookup a contact by either: Name, ContactID, EmailAddress or AccountNumber. Enter the lookup value. The lookup value can contain %variable% replacements.

    In the Assign Fields grid, select each Xero contact field to assign a value to. In the Assign From column enter a value to assign to the contact field or select a ThinkAutomation variable.

    When updating a contact - you only need to select the Xero contact fields that you want to change.

    Add Note

    This operation adds a new text note to an existing Xero contact.

    From the Where - Field select to lookup a contact by either: Name, ContactID, EmailAddress or AccountNumber. Enter the lookup value. The lookup value can contain %variable% replacements.

    Enter the Note text. This can contain %variable% replacements. Xero allows notes of up to 250 characters. The text will be truncated if longer.

    Add Attachment

    This operation uploads a file which is added as an attachment to a Xero contact. Xero allows up to 10 attachments per contact. Attachments must be less than 3mb each.

    From the Where - Field select to lookup a contact by either: Name, ContactID, EmailAddress or AccountNumber. Enter the lookup value. The lookup value can contain %variable% replacements.

    In the File To Upload entry, select or enter the full path for the file to upload. You can use %variable% replacements here if you want to upload a file created from another action.

    If the file name already exists for a contact it will be overwritten.

    You can return the Xero URL to the file. Select from the Assign URL To list.

    More Xero actions are available from the Custom Action Library.


    Web

    HTTP Get

    Reads a http resource using HTTP GET or a local file path and assigns the returned HTML to a variable.

    Use this Action to read any http resource (web page) or a local html file. Specify the URL Or File Path To Get (including any query string).

    If the web resource requires authentication then specify the Authentication method and optionally a User Name/Password or an OAuth Auth Token retrieved from a previous OAuth SignIn action. Does not apply if reading from a local file path. You can also use Amazon AWS Signed Request authentication for signing AWS requests.

    Optionally specify any Query String Parameters and Custom Headers to add to the request. Query string parameters can either be specified in the URL itself or in the Query String Parameters grid. If you specify query string parameters in the grid any %variable% replacements will be automatically URL encoded.

    You can also optionally specify to Add To Local Cache. If this option is enabled, ThinkAutomation will maintain a local cached copy of the content. You can specify the number of Minutes the content should remain cached. If the same URL is requested again within this period it will be read from the cache.

    You can specify the Connection Timeout (in seconds). This is the number of seconds to wait for the initial connection. The Response Timeout is the number of seconds to wait for a response after the connection has been made.

    The Convert Returned Content To option enables you to convert the http response content. Options are:

    The returned content can then be assigned to a variable. Select from the Assign Content To list. You can then make use of the returned content in subsequent Actions.

    You can optionally assign any HTML <title> tag to a variable. Select from the Assign Title To list. If the returned content is not HTML or has no <title> tag the variable will be set to blank.

    You can optionally assign any <meta description='xxx'> description tag to a variable. Select from the Assign Description To list. If the returned content is not HTML or has no description tag then the variable will be set to blank.

    Response Status

    The HTTP response status code & response headers can also optionally be assigned to variables.

    The status code will be the HTTP response status (200, 404 etc). A status code of <100 indicates a connection error (eg: 2 = 'DNS lookup failed', 3 = 'DNS lookup timeout', 6 = 'Connect timeout'). The error details will be added to the log.

    If the Throw Error On HTTP Errors option is enabled then the Automation will log an error if the HTTP status is an error status (404, 500 etc). If this option is not enabled then an error will not be raised (the status will still be logged). This is useful if the purpose of your Automation is to check for HTTP errors. Note: Connection errors will always throw an error.


    HTTP Post

    Post data to a web resource using HTTP POST/PUT/PATCH or DELETE.

    Specify the Post To URL of the http resource to post to.

    Note: If you use %variable% replacements inside the URL - the variable values must be URL Encoded.

    If the web resource requires authentication then specify the Authentication method and optionally a User Name/Password or an OAuth Auth Token retrieved from a previous OAuth SignIn action.

    Select the Post Type you wish to perform. This can be:

    For regular Posts you can specify any number of Names and Values. The Values can be fixed or %fieldname% replacements or combinations of both. You can also specify a Type of Text (the default) or File (see Uploading Files below).

    For JSON POST or PUT you must specify the JSON Text.

    For Custom Posts you must specify the Custom data. This would be the body of the postdata - not the headers.

    For all post types you can specify any Query String Parameters. These can either be specified in the URL itself or in the Query String Parameters grid. If you specify query string parameters in the grid any %variable% replacements will be automatically URL encoded.

    For all post types you can specify any Custom Headers. Multiple header names & value pairs can be specified. Any existing HTTP headers will be replaced if you use a standard header.

    You can specify the Connection Timeout (in seconds). This is the number of seconds to wait for the initial connection. The Response Timeout is the number of seconds to wait for a response after the post has been made.

    The HTTP response status code, response headers & response body can also optionally be assigned to variables.

    Uploading Files

    You can upload files in two ways. Using the Regular Post option, or the Stream Binary File option. The choice will depend on the end point you are posting to.

    Using the Regular Post option you can specify the Type as File against a specific form Post Value. The Value should then be a local file path (or a %variable% pointing to a file path). If the Name is not specified then the file name will be used. Adding files to a regular post will result in a POST content-type of 'multipart/form-data'.

    Using the Stream Binary File option you specify a File Path. The file content will be posted and the content-type will be set based on the file extension.

    Response Status

    The HTTP response status code & response headers can also optionally be assigned to variables.

    The status code will be the HTTP response status (200, 404 etc). A status code of <100 indicates a connection error (eg: 2 = 'DNS lookup failed', 3 = 'DNS lookup timeout', 6 = 'Connect timeout'). The error details will be added to the log.

    If the Throw Error On HTTP Errors option is enabled then the Automation will log an error if the HTTP status is an error status (404, 500 etc). If this option is not enabled then an error will not be raised (the status will still be logged). This is useful if the purpose of your Automation is to check for HTTP errors. Note: Connection errors will always throw an error.


    Download File

    Download a file via HTTP from any URL.

    Enter the URL To Download. This can be any HTTP or HTTPS URL that points to a downloadable file.

    If the web resource requires authentication then specify the Authentication method and optionally a User Name/Password or an OAuth Auth Token retrieved from a previous OAuth SignIn action.

    Optionally specify any Query String Parameters and Custom Headers to add to the request.

    You can specify the Connection Timeout (in seconds). This is the number of seconds to wait for the initial connection. The Response Timeout is the number of seconds to wait for the file to be downloaded after the connection has been made.

    Enter or select the Save To Folder. This is the folder on your file system that you want the downloaded file to be saved in.

    Optionally enter a Use Filename. If no filename is specified then the filename will be extracted from the URL.

    Enable the Make Filename Unique option to append a unique number to the filename if a file already exists in the selected folder with the same name.

    Once the file is downloaded the resulting full path/filename will be assigned to the variable selected from the Assign Returned File Path To list.

    You can then use this variable to perform other actions such as adding the file as an attachment to outgoing emails.

    The Automation will raise an error if the download fails for any reason.


    OAuth SignIn

    Sign in to an OAuth endpoint to obtain an authorization token.

    This action can be used to obtain an authorization token from an OAuth enabled web API. The token can then be used on subsequent HTTP GET or POST actions.

    Select the Type. This can be one of the ThinkAutomation connected app types, or Generic.

    Enter the Name. This is simply an identifier to show in your Automation actions list. Any text can be used.

    Generic OAuth

    For generic OAuth you must then supply the Authorization Endpoint, Token Endpoint, Client ID, Client Secret and Scope. These settings depend on the API you want to use. Consult the API documentation for the service you want to use to obtain the correct values.

    The Additional Options tab provides some additional options that your OAuth provider may require.

    Some OAuth providers can provide additional parameters in the redirect request that is sent back to ThinkAutomation. One such case is for QuickBooks, which returns a realmId parameter. For these cases you can specify parameter names in the Extract Custom Redirect URL Parameters grid. In the Assign To column specify the ThinkAutomation variable to receive each parameter value. You can then use this value on subsequent actions.

    Click the Sign In button to begin the sign in process. A browser session will be started to complete the sign in.

    Select a variable to receive the authorization token from the Assign Authorization To list.

    On any subsequent HTTP GET, HTTP POST or Read JSON Document actions you can then set the Authentication method to OAuth and then Auth Token to the variable value selected above.

    ThinkAutomation will automatically refresh the authorization token when it expires.

    As with all other Action settings, the Client ID and Client Secret are stored securely in the ThinkAutomation metadata database.


    Cloud Storage

    Download, Upload or Delete files using various cloud storage providers.

    Select the Provider:

    Depending on the provider, click the Sign In button or enter your Access Key and Secret Key (Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, IBM, Wasabi, DigitalOcean Spaces & Linode will also need the Region) and click the Connect button to connect.

    You can create Global or Solution constants for your Access Key/Secret Keys so they can be used on multiple actions.

    Select Upload, Download or Delete from the Operation selector.

    Downloading

    In the Remote Files navigator you can navigate folders and files. Double-click a file to add it to the Download Files entry. Multiple files can be downloaded within the same action. Separate each file with a comma.

    You can also specify the Downloaded Files directly by entering the paths (or use %variable% replacements). Each file must specify the full path (beginning with /). For S3 compatible providers (Amazon S3, Wasabi, IBM, DigitalOcean, Linode) the Bucket Name must be the first part of the path (Eg: /bucketname/docs/quote1.pdf).

    Wildcards

    Download paths can contain wildcards (Eg: /myfiles/docs/*.pdf). Each file in the folder matching the mask will be downloaded. You can specify multiple download masks separated by commas (Eg: /myfiles/docs/*.pdf, /myfiles/docs/*.docx)

    Specify the Save To folder where you want the downloaded files saved to.

    The Assign To variable will receive the local path/filename where the file(s) have been downloaded to. Multiple files will be separated by commas.

    Uploading

    In the Remote Files navigator you can navigate folders and files. Select the folder where you want to upload files to.

    You can optionally specify an Append To Remote Path folder. If a path is specified here then files will be uploaded to Remote Path + Append To Remote Path. For example: If you selected a remote path of '/Documents/' and the Append To Remote Path was set to 'Attachments\PDF' then files will be uploaded to '/Documents/Attachments/PDF'. You can use %variables% in the Append To Remote Path entry.

    In the Upload Files entry enter or select the local files to upload (use %variable% replacements if required). Multiple files should be separated by commas.

    You also have the option of uploading Attachments. Select the Include Incoming Attachments option and specify the Mask.

    The Assign To variable be receive the remote path names for the uploaded files(s). Multiple files will be separated by commas.

    Deleting

    In the Remote Files navigator you can navigate folders and files. Double-click a file to add it to the Delete Files entry. Multiple files can be downloaded within the same action. Separate each file with a comma.

    You can also specify the Delete Files directly by entering the paths (or use %variable% replacements). Each file must specify the full path (beginning with /). For S3 compatible providers (Amazon S3, Wasabi, IBM, DigitalOcean, Linode) the Bucket Name must be the first part of the path (Eg: /bucketname/docs/quote1.pdf).

    Wildcards

    Delete paths can contain wildcards (Eg: /myfiles/docs/*.pdf). Each file in the folder matching the mask will be deleted. You can specify multiple delete masks separated by commas (Eg: /myfiles/docs/*.pdf, /myfiles/docs/*.docx.

    The Assign To variable will receive the remote path/filename for each deleted file. Multiple files will be separated by commas.


    Wait For Webhook

    Pauses execution of the Automation until a webhook callback is made from a 3rd party web service.

    This action can be used to integrate with external web API's. Each processed message has a unique callback URL. This is available via the %Msg_WebCallbackUrl% built-in variable.

    If you pass this variable via any HTTP Get or HTTP Post actions to a 3rd party API that offers a webhook response, then you can use this action to pause execution of the current message until the webhook response is received. You can then assign any of the parameters passed back with the webhook to variables in your Automation.

    Enter the Name. The name shows in the actions list - but is not used otherwise.

    Specify the Maximum Wait in minutes. If a response is not received before this time the Automation will continue.

    You can send a response to the webhook call. Specify the Response Type and Response Data. This is optional and will depend on the 3rd party API.

    The Request Parameter Assignments grid can be used to map parameters sent by the webhook to fields & variables in your Automation.

    To use this action you would first use the HTTP Get or HTTP Post actions to make a request to the 3rd party web API. As part of the request you would include the %Msg_WebCallbackUrl% variable. This will tell the API the URL to use to make the webhook callback. Consult the API documentation for the parameter name to use.

    After the HTTP Get/Post action you would add a Wait For Webhook action to pause execution until the webhook callback is received.


    Call A Soap Web Service

    Executes a SOAP or .NET Web Service and returns the results to ThinkAutomation variables.

    Method URI (Namespace)

    This is the namespace of the web service. You can find the namespace by viewing the Web Service Definition (WSDL). For .NET Web Services view the .asmx page and click the Service Description link. The namespace will be shown in the targetNamespace element. .NET Web Services have a default namespace of http://tempuri.org. You should change this before making your web services public.

    Method Name

    This is the name of the method you want to call. You can view a list of available methods provided by the web service by viewing the asmx file.

    Action URI

    This defaults to the Method URI/Method name.

    URL (asmx)

    Enter the full public URL to the asmx page. You can use a secure address (https://) if required.

    If your web services require a login before being accessed enter the User Name & Password and the Authentication type.

    You must specify a value for all of the Parameters that the web service method expects. Enter the parameter Name and Value. For the value you can use %variable% replacements.

    Assign Returned Value To

    You can assign the returned value to a ThinkAutomation variable. Select the variable from the drop down list. If the web service returns a single value then this will be assigned to the variable. If the web service returns a complex data type - such as a DataSet - then then entire XML response will be assigned.

    Output Parameters

    If the web service returns output parameters then you can assign individual parameter values to ThinkAutomation fields or variables. If a parameter name specified is not returned as an output parameter then ThinkAutomation will scan the returned XML and extract the specified parameter name as a tag and assign to the tag value to the ThinkAutomation variable.


    Check SSL Certificate

    Checks the validity and expiry date for the SSL certificate used on any host/URL.

    This action can be used to monitor the SSL certificates used on your web sites. For example, your Automation could send a notification email or SMS when a certificate is about to expire.

    Specify the Host Name. This would normally be the root web address, eg: thinkautomation.com. If you specify a full URL then the host name will be extracted. Use %variable% replacements if required. Specify the Port. This would normally be 443.

    You can specify the Connection Timeout (in seconds). This is the number of seconds to wait for the initial connection.

    In the Expiry Days entry, specify the number of days before the certificate expiry date where the status should be set to 'expiring'.

    Select the variable to receive the certificate status from the Assign Certificate Status to list. The status will be set to valid, invalid, expired, expiring, none or an error message:

    If the host cannot be reached, then the status will be set to 'error: {error description}' (eg: 'error: DNS lookup failed').

    Select the variable to receive the expiry date from the Assign Expiry Date To list.

    The complete certificate chain can also be assigned to a variable in Json format:

    Select the variable to receive the Json from the Assign Json to list. This is optional, but allows you to examine the certificate chain further in your Automation.


    FTP Upload

    Uploads files or attachments to an FTP or SFTP server.

    First select FTP or SFTP.

    Enter your FTP/STFP Host, User Name & Password.

    Click the Connect button to connect to your FTP/SFTP Server.

    For FTP servers: You may need to uncheck the Passive Mode option if your FTP server doesn't support passive mode. You can select the Secure Mode of 'Auth TLS', 'SSL' & 'None' if your FTP server requires a secure connection.

    You can then select a Remote Path to upload your files to.

    Syncing A Local Folder

    To sync a local folder, select the folder in the Sync From Local Folder entry. Enable Include Sub Folders to include all sub-folders. Enter any Sync Masks. This is a comma separated list of file masks to include in the Sync Folder upload. For example: "*.html,*.css" would only upload files with html or css extensions. Leave blank or set to *.* for all file types. Enable the Skip Upload If Existing File Is The Same Size & Date option to only upload new/updated files during the folder sync.

    Uploading Individual Files

    The Upload Local Files can be used to select individual local files to upload. Multiple files can be added, separated by commas. You can use %variable% replacements for filenames if required.

    Uploading Attachments

    To upload attachments enable the Include Incoming Attachments option and specify the Attachment Mask.

    In all upload cases the Skip Upload If Existing File Is The Same Size & Date option can be enabled to prevent files that already exist in the Remote Path from being uploaded again if the file size and date are the same.

    Enable the Show Progress In Log option to add log entries to show the progress of the upload.

    The number of files uploaded can be returned to a variable. Select the variable from the Assign Results To list.


    FTP Download

    Download files from an FTP or SFTP server.

    First select FTP or SFTP.

    Enter your FTP Host, User Name & Password.

    Click the Connect button to connect to your FTP Server. You may need to uncheck the Passive Mode option if your FTP server doesn't support passive mode.

    You can select the Secure Mode of 'Auth TLS', 'SSL' & 'None' if your FTP server requires a secure connection.

    You can then select a Remote Path to download files from.

    Download Or Sync

    From the Download Or Sync option select:

    Download Files

    Select or enter the Remote File Or Mask to download. You can specify a remote file or a mask (eg: *.pdf)

    Select the Save To folder to save the downloaded files to.

    If Delete Downloaded Files After Message Is Processed is enabled then ThinkAutomation will remove the file when the Automation completes for the current message. This is useful if you wish to use the file in the Automation (for example, to send the document as an attachment with the Send Email action), but do not need to keep a local copy afterwards.

    The Assign Downloaded Files To variable will receive a comma separated list of local file paths.

    Sync Local Folder

    This option allows you to synchronize a remote path to a local folder (and optionally all sub folders). All new and changed files in the specified remote path will be downloaded to the specified local folder.

    To sync a local folder, select the local folder in the Local Folder entry. Enable Include Sub Folders to include all sub-folders. Enter any Sync Masks. This is a comma separated list of file masks to include in the Sync Folder download. For example: "*.html,*.css" would only sync files with html or css extensions. Leave blank or set to *.* for all file types.

    When the Automation executes, the Remote Path will be scanned and compared to the Local Folder. Any missing files, newer files or files with size differences will be downloaded. Any new remote sub folders will be created in the local folder (if the Include Sub Folders option is enabled).

    The Assign Downloaded Files To variable will receive a comma separated list of local file paths for all new/changed files downloaded for the current sync. If no new or changed files are downloaded then the assign to variable will be blank.


    Get Browser Info

    Extracts browser name, version & operating system information from a User Agent string.

    Specify a user agent or %variable% in the Get Browser Info For User Agent entry.

    You can the select variables to receive:

    This Action is useful when receiving messages via the API - from web forms, or web requests. It allows you to obtain browser information for the user making the request.

    For API received messages the originating user-agent is added to the Message Headers. You can extract this using the Set Variable action with the Extract Header Value operation and the Value set to User-Agent.


    Wrap HTML

    Wraps text content inside HTML tags to create a viewable HTML page. This action is useful if you have content that you have created earlier in your Automation that you then want to wrap inside a HTML page. The resulting HTML can then be used for outgoing emails, API responses or for any other purpose.

    Specify the Content To Wrap. This can contain %variable% replacements. You can use Markdown to easily render tables etc. The Markdown will be converted to HTML before being wrapped. You can also specify HTML directly (HTML should not include the body tags). You should not use HTML and Markdown combined.

    You can also specify a Title, Header and Footer. These are optional. The Header and Footer can contain Markdown or HTML.

    Styling

    On the Style tab you can specify various styling options:

    You can also specify the page Background and Foreground colors and optionally a Header Image URL.

    You can optionally specify your own Style Sheet Path Or URL. If a file path is used then the file will be read and added to the page. If a URL is specified then a link to it will be added.

    If the Convert CSS To Inline option is enabled then any stylesheets to will be converted to inline style attributes and the stylesheets removed. This enables the HTML to be sent via email as most email clients only support inline styles (this option cannot be used if you select the Bootstrap style option).

    Meta Tags

    Click the Meta Tags tab to add any Meta Tags (description, keywords, author etc). Tag values can use %variable% replacements.

    Click the Preview button to preview the results.

    Select the variable to receive the new HTML from the Assign To list.

    Example: