Flows can be triggered by sending emails to a flow specific email address.

As well as the standard email fields (to, from, subject, body, etc..) Flow XO can help you to extract structured information from emails (to 'parse' them).

This feature is normally best used to receive transactional emails (form submissions, notifications, receipts) and use the information within them in your flows.

There's only 1 trigger, Receive an Email. This single trigger handles both receiving and parsing of emails.

Getting Started

The first step is to change the destination of your email to the email address that Flow XO assigns to you. You'll see that on the first step:

If you prefer, you can set up forwarding from your email account so you keep a copy of emails whilst they're also sent into Flow XO. Note that for best results, emails should be forwarded directly (through the forwarding feature in your email client).

Things might not work as expected if you manually forward them (i.e. hit the forward button and type in the flow's address), as this adds forwarding headers to the email and changes the to/from address.

When you've redirected the email or set up forwarding, do whatever you need to do to fire off a test email. Once we receive it, you'll see 'Email received' and can move on.

Confirming Redirects

Sometimes, when you set up email redirects, your email provider will send an email with a link to click to confirm the redirect address belongs to you. You'll see an email that you weren't expecting.

If this happens, you can click this link:

This allows you to copy out the confirmation link and paste it into your browser, which should then enable redirects. Once confirmed, you'll need to go back to the first step and wait for another test email (this time, it should be the actual email that you're expecting!).

Test Email

Once you have a test email, you should see its contents on the next step:

Note that this is the plain text version. Most emails are sent with a HTML version (used by modern email clients), and a text version (used as a fallback). It's best to use the plain text version to parse information from.

At this point, if you click 'Next', you'll skip parsing and your email trigger will be set up with the standard email fields available in your flow:

  • Sender email
  • Sender name
  • Recipient
  • Subject
  • Body plain
  • Body HTML
  • Spam score
  • Input
  • Template

Setting Up Parsing

You might want to extract some information from within the email itself. If so, you can highlight words or sentences and create 'placeholders':

It's important to note that Flow XO uses a parsing algorithm/technique that is very easy to set up, but isn't suitable for all email formats. The best approach is to test parsing thoroughly before relying on it (which we help you with).

If you find that the email parser isn't working as expected, please get in touch with support so we can help.

Once you've replaced all the values you want to parse with placeholders, click 'Next' to test parsing.

Testing Parsing

To test the placeholders that you've set up, you should send some more tests, and make sure that the parser has picked up the correct values:

Send as many tests as you need to be sure that values are being correctly parsed. You can always go back to edit the template, then test again.

Parsed values will be available as outputs prefixed with Parsed. So the above values will be available as Parsed name and Parsed email.

When you're happy, the trigger is ready!

Let us know how we can improve Flow XO on our feedback site.

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