Set up your Zap trigger

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


You want to send a Slack direct message to yourself every time you receive a new email in Gmail. In this workflow, the trigger would be the new email in Gmail.

There are two types of triggers:

  1. Polling Trigger: the majority of triggers are polling triggers. When using a polling trigger, Zapier will check for new data from your trigger every 1 to 15 minutes in order to start your workflow, depending on your subscription plan.
  2. Instant Trigger: when using 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 there is a new card on your Trello board.

In this example we are using Trello as our trigger app and we want our Zap to run every time there is a new card.

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 there is a new card on a specific Trello board and list. Make sure to select or fill in any required fields.
  • Click Continue.

In this example, we want to trigger the Zap whenever a Trello card has been added to a specific board and list


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

  • To test your connection, click Test & Continue. If Zapier finds an example item, you'll proceed to set up the rest of your Zap.
  • If you want to first review the data that Zapier pulls from your trigger, click Test & Review.

Find a new email

Zapier will attempt to find some sample data from your trigger app to use in the Zap. For example, if your trigger brings in data from a new Google Sheets spreadsheet row, Zapier will pull in a sample row. The sample row can then be used as test data in an action step later in the Zap. If you want to use different sample data, you can change the sample data in your Zap trigger.

Sample 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.


If you want to control when your Zap runs, consider using a scheduled trigger.


Polling is distributed across Zapier's servers in a queue, and polling times are not always exact. This means if you try to time multiple Zaps to happen in a specific order closely together, it may not happen as you expected. You might also not be able to time your Zaps to happen at an exact minute.

Since instant triggers are not on a cycle, their timing should be fairly predictable. However, if you are sending a large number of webhooks within a few seconds of each other for example, Zapier will distribute the load across multiple servers. If you expect webhooks that closely follow each other will be processed exactly in the order in which they are sent, between network and processing factors this might not always be reliable.

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