Workflows Tips #20: How to Manage Tables for Fast Short-Term Storage

Welcome to another Okta Workflows Tips post. Read all previous tips.

This post is all about managing tables:

  • When to use tables
  • Import data from a CSV file into a table
  • Exporting and deleting all rows
  • Show/Hide columns
  • Change column order with drag and drop
  • Resizing columns
  • Sorting by a column
  • Filtering by column value
  • Default column value
  • Copy table

Tables should be used as a fast cache/transitory place for storing small amounts of data. We shared when to use tables in Workflows Tip #17. It’s worth to review it again before learning how to manage a table.

When to use tables

Gabriel SrokaAJ Ahrens (Okta), Bryan Barrows (Okta), and Brent Garlow (Okta) contributed to this tip. 

Event though tables can store up to 100k rows, tables should be used as a fast cache/transitory place for storing small amounts of data. Tables are not ideal for storing a lot of data, or sensitive data. It’s not really a database (there is no record locking, for example). And, you should consider clearing the table once its data was persisted or no longer needed.

Some recommended use cases for tables: 

  • Store data for different flow runs 
    • A flow saves data into a table to be read when it runs again
  • Store data for different flows
    • A flow saves data into a table to be read by a different flow
  • Look-up tables
    • Information such as country and country code (see image above)
  • Basic reporting
    • Keep track of successful and failed flow runs
    • How many times “something” happened
    • Save any report data into a table to be later exported into Google Sheets and clear the table
  • Static data or data that changes infrequently 
    • Keep data such as emails, phone numbers, IDs and so on that a flow would need to look up as it runs

While it is recommend using tables for relatively short-term storage, there are use cases where data can stored outside of transactional storage between flows. For example, log a user event like created, then check the table to see if 90 days has past.

Import data from a CSV file into a table

This tip is from Mick Johnson, Workflows Builder Advocate at Okta.

You can import data from a CSV file into a table. Before importing create columns that correspond to columns in the CSV file. Click Import to choose a CSV file. On the import dialog you can map CSV columns to table columns.

Importing a CSV file
Import CSV file

You can also hide a column by clicking the column’s gear icon.

Column options

Exporting and deleting all rows

If you need to get a CSV file from an existing table, click the Export link.

And, if you need to delete the entire table (yes, everything), click Delete All Rows.

Export and delete all rows options

Show/Hide columns

If a table has many columns or you want to hide the system columns, click on Columns where you can choose which columns to show/hide.

Show/hide columns

Change column order with drag and drop

You can change columns order with drag and drop.

Changing column order

Resizing columns

You can resize columns by dragging the column’s side border.

Resizing columns

Sorting by a column

Click a column to sort a table by that column.

Sorting a table by a column

Filtering by column value

Use filtering to show only data you need. Click Filter and enter a condition.

Filter conditions

Table view will be updated based on the filter.

Filtered view

Default column value

When creating a new column, you can set its default value. Every time a new row is created, the column will be set to its default value automatically.

Column default value

Copy table

When a building a flow that leverages a table you might want to create another version of the table for testing. Go back to table list, click duplicate icon to create a copy of a table.

Copy a table

And, you can toggle between list view and care view.


Two resources to help you learn more:

📌 Try this step-by-step getting started tutorial: Build Your First Automation With Okta Workflows: Notify When User Is Suspended.

📌 All the Workflows resources (docs, tutorial, office hours, templates, office hours and more)

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