We mentioned in the last section that a workflow is a sequence of steps representing a work process. In Respell, we call these workflows Spells - because when you use AI, it can feel like magic!

Spells are comprised of “Steps” - specific actions that are performed when it runs. These steps can control how the Spell runs (Flow Tools), transform or modify data (Tools), or integrations that connect to your services and apps to fetch or update data (Integrations).

Start Step

Every Spell begins with a single Start step. This step is special - there can only be one, and you can’t delete it (what good would a spell be if it can’t start?).

Start step options sidebar

You can use a Spell in multiple ways, so this is where you define how the Spell should be kicked off. There are two modes: Manual and Trigger spells.

You can think of Manual Spells as processes you want to start manually; for example, if you need to infrequently create market research reports on a specific industry, you would create a Manual Spell to automate the tedious research and report-writing. Then, whenever you wanted to research an industry, you would go to Respell, enter the industry name, run the Spell, and get the report back.

Trigger Spells are workflows that are started automatically, usually based on an event from another system. Let’s reuse the market research report example: if these report requests come in from a Google Form, you can set up a Google Form Trigger to watch for new requests; when the form is submitted, your Spell will be started with the correct information.

We’ll cover the differences between Manual and Trigger Spells more in depth in the next page in the Getting Started page.

Flow Steps

Your first few Spells will probably be quite simple. You’ll likely create a “chain” of steps, one right after the other. Like this:

Start step, then Search Google step, then Display step

In this case, you’re defining a Start step with one input “Search Topic” which then searches Google using that Search Topic, then a Display step to show the results back to you.

When you want to automate a more complex process, you’ll need more control over how a Spell runs. You may want to create different “branches”, go back to a previous step, or repeat a process a few times. We have built-in steps to support these cases. For example, branching in Respell is simply accomplished using the Condition step:

Start step, then Condition step, then Search Google or Research Agent depending on the search topic

In this case, we’re using the Condition step to either Search Google or use the Research Agent depending on whether the search topic contains “person” or “company” keywords.

We explain how to control the flow of your Spell in more detail in the Learning Respell section.

Tool Steps

Workflows can be thought of as a flow of information: data comes in, you change it up, and you put it somewhere else. Because we’re automating workflows, we’re going to need tools that can fetch, update, and transform data.

Tool Steps are built-in Respell steps to help you work with data. There’s a few categories:

  1. Text Tools
  2. File Tools
  3. Web & Code Tools

Text Tools

Text tools help you work with text data. These are the most common steps in most Spells, as most business workflows are text-based. Here is a preview of text tools:

Text tools sidebar

If you want to generate text using AI, for example to write an email, you can use Generate Text. Extract Fields will parse information into pre-defined fields, for example if you want to retrieve the name, email, and amount from invoices.

You can dive deeper into our Text Tools in our Steps Reference.

File Tools

File tools help you work with files. Files are particularly annoying to work with, as you usually have to download them or use various online tools. We provide several tools out of the box:

File tools sidebar

There are a few types of files:

  • Documents: pdf, docx, and other text-based files
  • Spreadsheets: csv, xlsx, and other tabular data files
  • Audio: mp4, wav, and other audio files
  • Image: png, jpg, and other image files
  • Video: wav, mp4, avi, and other video files

We provide tools to transform between files and other types. For example, you may want to extract the text from a PDF: you can use Document to Text and we’ll handle the extraction. Or, you may want to describe an image using AI: you can use Describe Image to get a natural language description of the image. These might be useful if you’re automating emails with attachments; you can create a Spell to convert an invoice image or PDF to text, and then continue on with your workflow.

You can dive deeper into our File Tools in our Steps Reference.

Web & Code Tools

Sometimes the data you’re looking for isn’t available when your Spell starts. Web & Code tools are built to query and transform data from search engines and external systems.

Web & Code tools sidebar

Web Tools

Let’s say you want to research a new user that placed an order on your website, and you’re trying to figure out who they are and whether you should reach out to build a relationship.

Web tools are useful for obtaining information from websites and search engines. Instead of loading up Google and sifting through 5 irrelevant sponsored results, use the Research Agent or Search Google to find websites matching your query. When you find a website, use Read Website to fetch all the text on the page to pass to the next step.

You can dive deeper into our Web Tools in our Steps Reference.

Code Tools

You may also need a bit more power in your workflow; you need to write some code, query your database, or call an API for an integration we don’t offer. We give you the primitives with code tools.

Code tools aren’t just for developers, either. If you’re non-technical, you can ask AI to write the code, query, or API request for you.

You can dive deeper into our Code Tools in our Steps Reference.

Integration Steps

Beyond just starting Spells and transforming the data, you also want your workflows to use your tools. Oftentimes, you’ll want to update data in an external system, like a CRM or an ATS. Or you may want to fire off an action, like send a Slack message or an email. Integration steps connect to the apps you use to get you the data you need and keep your systems up to date.

Integration tools sidebar

We integrate natively with 20+ popular tools, providing several of the most common actions for each of them. You can easily integrate each of your tools and use each step out of the box. If we don’t support one of your systems yet, you can request an integration - we can usually build it out quickly!

You can see our list of available integrations in our Integrations Reference.


Let’s put it all together. Here’s a Trigger Spell that:

  1. Receives a new contact from HubSpot (CRM)
  2. Researches the contact on the web using the Research Agent
  3. Uses AI to determine if the contact should get a personalized reach-out
  4. Branches to 2 different actions based on that decision:
    1. If so, sends a Slack alert to the sales team
    2. If not, sends an AI-generated welcome email

Simple lead qualification spell in the editor

You can use this Spell as a template here: (TODO)

The Spell will start whenever a new contact is added to HubSpot. This info gets passed along to the Research Agent to retrieve new data, transformed and analyzed by AI to make a decision, and then branches to different steps based on a workflow. We use a similar Spell at Respell, and it saves us several hours every week!

But how exactly does the data move from one step to another? In the next section, you’ll learn about variables.