Set up your Zap trigger

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A trigger is an event that starts a Zap. Once you’ve set up a Zap, Zapier will monitor for that trigger event.


You want to set up a Zap that sends a direct message in Slack to yourself every time you receive a new email in Gmail. In this Zap, the trigger is the new email in Gmail.

There are two types of triggers:

  1. Polling trigger: the majority of triggers are polling triggers. With a polling trigger, Zapier will check for new data from your trigger every 1 to 15 minutes in order to start your Zap, depending on your pricing plan.
  2. Instant trigger: with an instant trigger, your trigger app will send Zapier an instant notification whenever there's new data. Zaps with instant triggers are labeled Instant on your dashboard.

Zapier relies on a few methods to make sure that your Zap does not trigger multiple times for a single "new" item. Learn more about how triggers are deduplicated in Zaps.

1. Choose your app and event

  • In the Zap editor, go to the 1. When this happens step.
  • In the Choose App & Event section, search for and select the app that will trigger the Zap.
  • Click the Choose Trigger Event dropdown menu and select the event that occurs in the selected app that will trigger the Zap. For example, you can choose to trigger the Zap every time you receive a new email in Gmail.

Zap trigger new email in Gmail

2. Choose your app account

  • Next, choose the app account you want to use in the trigger.
    • If you've already connected an account to Zapier for the trigger app, click the dropdown menu and select the account.
    • If you've not connected an app account, click Sign in to [app] and follow the instructions to connect your app account to Zapier.
  • Click Continue.

3. Customize your options

  • Next, customize your trigger options. For example, you can choose to trigger the Zap only when a new email in Gmail belongs to a certain category. Make sure to select or fill in any required fields.
  • Click Continue.

Customize Gmail email trigger options


The Customize step may not always be applicable, depending on the trigger app and trigger event combination that you’ve selected. If that's the case, move on to the next step.

4. Test your trigger

Click Test trigger. If Zapier finds an example item, you'll proceed to set up the rest of your Zap.

Test Gmail trigger

Zapier will attempt to find a recent item from your trigger app to use in the Zap. For example, if your trigger is a new email in Gmail, Zapier will pull in a recent email you've received. This email can then be used as test data in an action step later in the Zap. If you want to use a different item, you can change the test data in your Zap trigger.

Trigger test data

If Zapier is having trouble finding data for your trigger, try adding new data for the event in your trigger app.

Once you’ve set up your trigger, you can continue setting up the rest of your Zap, whether that’s setting up your action, or adding a search step.

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