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Google Doc Attachment

  • 24 November 2020
  • 4 replies

How do I add an pdf doc from google docs to a message in gmail?


Best answer by malcolm-optimi 26 November 2020, 02:41

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Its a little bit trickier than you’d think. This is the way we did it recently:

  • Some kind of trigger to get the work flow started
  • Action step to create a google doc from Template - the template has merge fields in it which we fill in this step
  • The google doc has to be created with public (but unlisted) permissions (so the gmail step can see it)
  • The google doc has to be created in the same folder as the template
  • Then in the gmail step you add the PDF link to the attachments field from the Google docs step (which will only work with the right permissions on the google doc). The link looks something like: “Export Links Application/pdf: https://...”

Thank you Optimi Team!  I’m still confused on how to do all of what you’ve listed.  Is there a video available for me to see step  by step what to do?


That’s a good idea for sure! We try to blog every now and then about little recipes we come up with but haven’t done this one yet. It’d probably take as long to come up with that video and docs as it would for me to talk you through it!

I’ll see if I can pick off a piece of the puzzle to get you going…  the tricky bit is where to start! You have to choose a Trigger action to get your workflow going. Generally we trigger a lot of our zaps from a google sheet or airtable. If you did that in Airtable, it might look something like:

  • Enter your google docs as records in the table. A column for the name, another for the ID of the doc and a status column (a single select field).
  • The ID of the doc is in the URL of the document, everything after the last “/”. eg. Xyz in this example.
  • Create a view in Airtable which is filtered down to the status that will trigger your zap. eg. Status = Go
  • Use that view as the trigger in Zapier
  • Then create an action step that looks up the google doc using the ID
  • Then create the gmail step and in the attachment field of the gmail step look for the PDF link from the previous google doc step.
  • Then finally create an Airtable update step that goes back to Airtable and changes the Status column to something else like “Done!” so that record drops out of your Airtable trigger view.

This is a slightly different scenario to what I’ve done recently since I usually create the doc from a template but I don’t think you’re wanting to do that but hopefully this is at least a starter to one possible way to solve the problem.

And of course, there’s a lot more to it than a few bullet points, if you’ve not done something like this before. I wish I had more time to detail it more but can’t right now sorry!


Thank you!