No-code SMS Quickstart with Twilio Studio
Ahoy there! All messaging transmitted using Twilio’s messaging channels is treated as Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging and subject to Twilio’s Messaging Policy. For detailed information on policy rules to ensure you remain compliant while using Twilio’s services, please see our Acceptable Use Policy.
With just a few drags and a few drops, you can build an application to send and receive SMS messages with Studio, Twilio's low-code/no-code application builder.
This no-code Quickstart will walk you through the entire process step-by-step, from setting up your Twilio account to receiving and replying to SMS messages.
In this Quickstart, you will learn how to:
- Sign up for Twilio
- Create your first Studio Flow
- Get your first SMS-enabled Twilio phone number
- Receive and respond to an incoming message
By the end of this Quickstart, you’ll have a solid foundation for building with Twilio Studio.
Sign up for - or sign in to - Twilio
Already have a Twilio account? Go ahead and skip this section.
Navigate to the sign up page to sign up for a free Twilio trial account.
- When you sign up, you'll be asked to verify your personal phone number. This helps Twilio verify your identity and also allows you to send test messages to your phone from your Twilio account while in trial mode.
- Once you verify your number, you'll be asked a series of questions to customize your experience.
- Once you finish onboarding, you'll arrive at your project dashboard in the Twilio Console. This is where you'll be able to access Twilio Studio, find a Twilio phone number, and more.
Create a Flow
The first step to using Studio is to create a Flow. A Flow is a visual representation of your application, just like a flowchart you might draw when planning how your application works. The difference is this Flow is actually functional!
To create a Flow:
- Navigate to the Studio Flows section in the Console.
- Click Create new Flow. If you’ve already created a Flow before, click the + icon underneath the Flows heading to create a new Flow.
- Give your new Flow a name, then click Next.
- After you've named your Flow, you'll see a list of possible templates you can use. For the purposes of this Quickstart, select Start from scratch, then click Next.
Familiarize yourself with Studio’s interface and components
Now for an express tour of the Studio interface and its components! After you’ve created a new Flow, you’ll see the Flow’s Canvas. The Canvas is the space where you build your applications when using Studio. On the Canvas, you’ll see the Trigger Widget. The Trigger Widget tells Studio when to start or “trigger” your Flow and every new Canvas includes one. On the right side of the Canvas, you’ll see the Widget Library where you can find all the available Widgets. Widgets are the building blocks of a Studio Flow and perform the functions that make up your application.
Build a Flow to receive and respond to an incoming message
Now that you’re familiar with the Studio interface and have a new Flow ready to go, it’s time to start using Widgets to build your application! You’ll create a system that automatically responds to an incoming message.
To send a message, you’ll need the Send Message Widget. Like it sounds, the Send Message Widget allows you to send an SMS or chat message to a user. From the Widget Library on the right, click and drag the Send Message Widget onto the Canvas and place it under the Trigger Widget.
In order for Studio to know when to send a message, you need to tell it when to trigger. Since you want Studio to trigger this Flow when it receives a message, you’ll click the red dot underneath Incoming Message on the Trigger Widget and drag it to the Send Message Widget to connect them. Now when Studio receives a message, the Flow will trigger and execute whatever is connected to the Incoming Message transition—in this case, the Send Message Widget.
Configure the Send Message Widget
Next, you’ll configure the Send Message Widget. With the Widget selected, the Widget Library will transform into the Inspector Panel where you can adjust the Widget’s settings. Enter a name in the Widget Name field. The name can be whatever you like; however, please note the name must begin with a letter and cannot contain spaces. Use an underscore (_) to separate words instead.
Next, enter a message into the Message Body field. This is the message a user will receive when they text your Twilio number. You can also add a JPG, PNG, or GIF to the message by entering the URL of the media into the Media URL field.
Your Flow should now look like this:
That's it! Your Flow is ready! Press Publish to publish your Flow. You’ll need to publish your Flow any time you make changes for those changes to go live.
Get a phone number
You will need a Twilio phone number — a phone number purchased through Twilio — to send messages or make phone calls using Twilio.
To buy a phone number:
- Navigate to the Phone Numbers page in your console.
- Click Buy a Number to purchase your first Twilio number.
- On the "Buy a Number" page, you'll see a list of all available numbers as well as their capabilities (Voice, SMS, MMS, and Fax). You can customize the country and area code, as well as select any of the capabilities you'd like this number to have.
- When you find the number that meets your needs, click Buy to review the number.
- Click Buy [phone number] to complete the transaction.
Many countries require identity documentation for Phone Number compliance. Requests to buy phone numbers with these regulations will be required to select or add the required documentation after clicking Buy in the Console. To see which countries and phone number types are affected by these requirements, please see our Phone Number Regulations site.
Connect a phone number to your Flow
So far, you’ve created a Flow and bought a phone number. Now you just need to tell your Twilio phone number to use your Flow when it receives a text message.
To do that, navigate to the Active Numbers section of the Console and click on the number you’d like to use.
After clicking on the number, you’ll see its configuration menu where you can connect the number to your Studio Flow. Scroll down to the Messaging section and under Configure With Other Handlers, select the dropdown option “Webhook, TwiML Bin, Function, Studio Flow, Proxy Service.” Under A Message Comes In, select the dropdown option “Studio Flow,” then select the Flow you created from the adjacent Select a Flow dropdown.
Your configuration is complete! Press Save to save your changes.
Test your application with a text
Now with everything all set up, it’s time to test!
Send a message from your mobile phone to your Twilio number and watch your Flow respond!
Where to next?
Now that you know the basics of receiving and responding to messages with Twilio Studio, check out the resources below to build more cool stuff.
- Check out the Get Started with Twilio Studio guide to learn more.
- To have a conversation with your end-user rather than sending one-directional messages, use the Send & Wait For Reply Widget.
- Check out the Build a chatbot with Twilio Studio and Conduct an SMS survey with Twilio Studio tutorials to see the Send & Wait for Reply Widget in action.
- You can also Send Appointment Reminders with Twilio Studio.
We can't wait to see what you build!
Need some help?
We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd by visiting Twilio's Stack Overflow Collective or browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.