Alerts and subscriptions

How canvas alerts and subscriptions work, and how to add them to your canvas.

What is an alert?

An alert is a scheduled notification from part of your canvas. Alerts can be derived from:

  • A cell or visual - an image of this cell/visual will be sent, including any inputs and outputs that are visible.

  • A frame - an image of the contents of this frame will be sent, excluding the border of the frame itself.

  • A report - a series of images for each report frame will be sent.

At the scheduled alert time, Count will run the required queries in your canvas, and send a screenshot of that part of your canvas to all of the destinations that have been selected.

Adding an alert

Canvas analysts can create alerts from two places - the floating object controls, and the alerts sidebar:

Once some alerts have been created, they will be listed in the alerts sidebar:


By default, there is a single alert schedule set for the canvas which all alerts follow (though this can be overridden per-alert - see below):

Several simple schedules can be selected from the options here. For more custom schedules, choose the Custom option to enter a schedule in the form of a cron expression.

For example, to create a schedule that sends alerts at 8AM on weekdays only, enter 0 8 * * 1-5:

Alerts can be scheduled up to once per hour. Custom schedules with higher frequencies than this will be rejected.

If you have enabled scheduled queries for your canvas, a warning will be shown if your alert schedule is more frequent than your query schedule.

Alert subscribers

From the alerts sidebar, a list of all alert subscribers is shown. Subscribers can include:

  • Workspace members - an alert will be sent to their email address, and also a direct Slack message will be sent to them if they have connected their Slack account.

  • Workspace groups - if groups are enabled in this workspace, alerts will be sent to all members of this group.

  • Slack channels - alerts will be sent to the specified Slack channel. To show Slack channels, you will first need to connect your Slack account from here or the user account page.

  • Email addresses - alerts will be sent to the specified email address.

Subscriber options

For each subscriber, choose which alerts are sent by clicking the checkboxes below each alert. To remove a subscriber, click the subtract button next to their name.

Permitted subscribers

If one or more of the alert subscribers is not permitted to view this canvas, and public alerts have been disabled for this workspace, a warning will be displayed. In this case, those subscribers will not receive any alerts from this canvas.

To enable public alerts, a workspace owner must update the appropriate setting.

Opting out of alerts

Individual subscribers can opt-out of receiving alerts from the canvas menu. In this case, they will not appear in the alert subscribers list:

Alert options

Click on the settings icon next to an alert to access the alert options:

  • Trigger - configure a custom trigger for this alert (see below)

  • Custom schedule - optionally choose a schedule for this alert that is different to the default canvas schedule.

  • Include data - if enabled, for a cell or visual alert include a link to a CSV file containing up to 10,000 rows of the data for that cell or visual. If the canvas is deleted, this link will stop working.

  • Disable alert - if selected, the alert will be disabled without being deleted.

To re-order alerts, just click and drag the alert up and down. The ordering of alerts here determines the order of alerts in the notifications that are sent.

Alert triggers

Triggers allow customising the conditions under which an alert will be sent. For alerts on cells, the condition will relate to the cell itself. For frames or reports, the condition can relate to any cell in the canvas. To configure an alert trigger, choose an option from the Trigger menu:

  • None - no trigger conditions are applied, a notification for this alert will always be sent.

  • Rows returned/No rows returned - the alert will be triggered when rows/no rows are returned from the cell.

  • Query error/Query does not error - the alert will be triggered when the query does/does not return an error.

  • First row matches value - the alert can be configured to trigger by comparing the first row of the selected column with a fixed alphanumeric (or null) value.

Testing alerts

Once an alert has been created, it is possible to test the alert:

When testing an alert all selected subscriber options will be applied, so use this button to confirm that your subscriber options are correct.

If a trigger condition is not met for an alert, test alert notifications will still include this alert with an appropriate message. Otherwise, these alerts would not be included in the notification.


My Slack channel does not appear in the channel list

Private channels may not appear in this list when accessing Slack from a canvas. In this case, use the /count subscribe command directly from the private Slack channel, and choose the appropriate canvas from the list.

My alert timed out

The queries underlying an alert must finish within 10 minutes, otherwise a timeout error will be reported in the alert message.

To help fix this issue please try one of the following options:

  • Reduce the complexity of the query either by refactoring your queries or limiting the quantity of data returned.

  • Schedule your alerts for times when the load on your database is low.

  • Enable scheduled queries for your canvas, and configure the query schedule such that queries are executed before alerts are scheduled. This will allow any long running queries to complete and the results cached before an alert is triggered. When the alert is the triggered the cached results will be used instead of executing a new query.

I did not receive an alert email

Check the following steps to confirm that the email was not received. For any other questions, please contact Count support.

  • Check your spam folder to ensure email alert messages are not being mistaken for spam.

  • Confirm that your address is listed in the alert subscribers list in the canvas (if you are an analyst).

  • Confirm that you have not disabled all notifications from your Account page.

  • Confirm that you have not disabled alert notifications for this canvas.

My alerts are delivered late

Alerts are given up to 10 minutes to finish executing, and once completed will be queued for delivery. It is therefore not unusual to wait up to 15-20 minutes to receive an alert notification, depending on the number of alerts being executed at the time.

If you experience regular delays longer than this, try scheduling your alerts for a less busy period, or contact Count support.

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