Creating a Zap#


A Zap is a blueprint for a workflow you want to do over and over automatically. Creating a Zap involves choosing a trigger, adding one or more action steps, testing the Zap, and finally, turning the Zap on.

To create a Zap from scratch, click the "Make a Zap" button from your dashboard.

Terminology#

Zaps can be made using two main components, triggers and actions.

Triggers#

A trigger is something that happens in an app that you want to be the start of a Zap's workflow. For example, if you want to take Wufoo form entries and add them to a Mailchimp list, Wufoo 'New Entry' is the trigger. There can only be one trigger in a given Zap.

Actions#

An action is something your Zap does after a trigger occurs. To continue the above example, if you use a Zap to take Wufoo form entries and add them to a Mailchimp list, Mailchimp's 'Add Subscriber' would be the action for that Zap. A Zap can only have one trigger, but it can have many actions. There are two types of actions:

  • App actions - App actions an action of creating something in an app. Our example of creating a Mailchimp subscriber is an example of an app action.
  • App searches - App searches can be used to look up info to be used by a later action. For example, a Zap could look up the details of a Trello card that has a certain name, so that the description or due date from that card could be used by a later action.

Zap Editor#

Clicking the “Make a Zap” button puts you in the Zap editor. The first thing you'll want to do is set up the trigger.

Setting up Triggers#

Setting up a trigger has several steps:

  • Choosing the App - At this stage you can pick the app to be the trigger. By default you'll see any apps you've already connected to Zapier first, followed by the most popular trigger apps. If you have a specific app in mind, use the search at the top to narrow down to the app you want.

  • Choosing the Trigger - At this stage you pick the specific trigger for that app. Some apps have many triggers so make sure to pick the one that represents the workflow you want. There's descriptions next to each option to help clarify what each will do.

  • Choosing an Account - At this stage you'll pick the specific account for that app that you want the Zap to use. If you have already connected an account for that app to Zapier, it will show up as an option. There's also the option to 'connect a new account' to make sure the proper account is being used.

  • Trigger Options - Some triggers have different options that you have the ability to customize. For example, if you used the Mailchimp 'New Subscriber' trigger, you'll need to pick which list in your Mailchimp account you want the Zap to monitor.

  • Testing the Trigger - The last trigger step is the testing step. In this step your Zap will try to get a sample item from the trigger, which makes it easier to match up fields and test actions.

Setting up Actions#

The steps for setting up an action are similar for both types of actions. At any time you can click to create additional actions or filters on the let hand side. Click the large + at the bottom left for the action to go at the end of the existing trigger and action(s), and use the smaller + between steps to put an action between two existing steps.

  • Choosing the App - Just like with triggers, you'll pick the app that will have the action performed on it. By default you'll see any apps you've already connected to Zapier first, followed by the most popular action apps. If you have a specific app in mind, use the search at the top to narrow down to the app you want.

  • Choosing the Action - At this step you'll pick the specific action for that app. Some apps have many actions, and some also have App searches that can be used. There's descriptions next to each option to help clarify what each will do, so you can be sure to pick the appropriate action for your workflow

  • Choosing an Account - Also like with triggers, at this stage you'll pick the specific account for that app that you want the Zap to use. If you have already connected an account for that app to Zapier, it will show up as an option. There's also the option to 'connect a new account' to make sure the proper account is being used.

Set up Action Template#

This step is the most critical in ensuring your Zap performs the action in the way you intend. In this step you'll see various fields from the action that you can fill in. Some are required while others are optional. Use the + button on the right of a field to bring up a list of fields you can use to populate. You'll see the fields available with options from your trigger, as well as any previous actions. Next to the name of the field is a sample value that helps to clarify what info you can expect to be in that field.

You can also type in a value you want to include in a field. Make sure anything you type in is something you want to be a part of every item your Zap creates though. For example, for the Mailchimp 'Add Subscriber' action, you might want to type in a value for a custom 'lead source' field, since every subscriber coming from that trigger would have the same source. You would not want to type in a value under 'Email', since every subscriber needs to have a unique email. For that you'd use this button on the right of the email field to pull in a value from the trigger or a previous action.

Search Actions#

Search actions have an action field to use for the search. Many search actions also allow you to create a new item if the search doesn't find an existing record. For example, if a Salesforce lead is not found, you Zap can create a new one automatically. You can see which apps have search action capabilities here.

  • Testing the action - Like with the trigger, the final step is testing the action. The sample from testing the trigger will be used, and you can see exactly what values will be used in each field for your action. When you click to 'continue & test' the action, the Zap will be performing the action on the app account you have connected, so keep that in mind in case the action could lead to unintended consequences in testing(e.g. sending an email to someone who wasn't expecting one).

Once your Zap has been tested, you can switch it on. At this last step, you can give this Zap a name and also place it in a folder so that you can keep your Zaps easily identifiable and organized.

Adding Notes and Renaming Steps#

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If you want to leave yourself a reminder about what a Zap is for, or how it works, you can add a note.

Notes are a simple, text-based way to add some extra context to your workflows. Try using them to keep a log of changes, track ideas about how to improve your process, or leave tips for a coworker who you share the account with.

where to add a note to your Zap

To add a note to your Zap:

  • Click the "Add Note" link beneath the title of your Zap, on the upper left of the screen.
  • You'll see a blank text field appear. Click in the text field, and type whatever you like.
  • Once you're happy with your note, hit the blue "Save" button.

The "Add Note" link will turn into a "View Note" link, which you can use to see your note anytime. Visit that pages and use the "Edit" button to change the content of your note.

How to rename a Zapier step

You can also customize your Zap by renaming your steps. When you expand a step in your Zap, you'll see a "Rename Step" option. Click it to override the default name with a snippet of your own.

Step names are more visible than notes, but there's less space for content. Try describing the purpose of the action you're renaming so you can tell similar steps apart.

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