What is Zapier?

By The Zapier Team

You are reading: Chapter 1 of 12

Key points

  • Zapier is the glue that connects thousands of web apps.
  • Zaps are workflows that connect your apps, so they can work together.
  • Zaps start with a trigger—an event in one of your apps that kicks off your workflow.
  • Zaps automate tasks in the background, so you can focus on more important work.

In the next chapter, we'll cover how to build custom Zaps.

What is Zapier?

Zapier is an online automation tool that connects your favorite apps, such as Gmail, Slack, Mailchimp, and more. You can connect two or more apps to automate repetitive tasks without coding or relying on developers to build the integration. It's easy enough that anyone can build their own app workflows with just a few clicks.

For example, maybe you get a lot of email attachments in your Gmail account and you want to save them to Dropbox. Every time you get an attachment, you could open up the email, click the attachment, and then save it to Dropbox. Or you can have Zapier automate this for you, saving you time and effort.

Other examples of Zaps you can create

With Zapier, there are thousands of different workflows you can create. Here are just a few more examples to help inspire you:

There are many more ways to use Zapier. In fact, we collected 300+ ways to automate your work with Zaps.

In the following pages, we'll show you how to use Zapier. But, first, let's go over a few terms you'll encounter in this guide.

Common terms: Learn to speak Zapier


A Zap is an automated workflow between your apps. For example, you may have a Zap that saves your Gmail attachments to Dropbox and another Zap that saves emails that you star in Gmail to a text file. Zaps consist of at least two parts: a trigger and one or more actions.


A trigger is the event in an app that starts the Zap. Once you set up a Zap, Zapier will monitor the app for that event. For the save Gmail attachments to Dropbox example, you can receive a lot of emails through your Gmail account, but the Zap isn't triggered until an email contains an attachment.


An action is the event that completes the Zap. For the save Gmail attachments to Dropbox example, the action is uploading the attachment from your email to Dropbox.

Trigger and action for a Zap


Each piece of data you run through your Zap counts as a task. That means if your Zap adds 100 emails to Dropbox automatically, your Zap just performed 100 tasks. Every task your Zap performs is another task that you don't have to do manually. It's important to keep in mind the number of tasks your Zaps run, because it helps determine which Zapier plan is best for you.

Create a Zapier account

Now you're ready to start creating Zaps. The first thing you'll need to do is sign up for a free account. Type in your name, email address, and a password. You'll now have access to our core features forever and many of our paid features for 14 days. Learn more about your free trial.

Sign up for Zapier

Getting around Zapier

When you first log into Zapier, you'll see your Dashboard. Here you can quickly build a Zap and see some popular Zap templates—pre-made Zapier workflows.

Zapier dashboard

Click the + sign button in the left-hand navigation to create a new Zap in the Zapier editor.

If you go to your Zaps page, you'll be able to see all of the Zaps you've previously created or are currently using, turn Zaps on or off, and create folders to organize your Zaps.

On your Zap History page, you'll see a list of every task your Zaps have attempted. Sort tasks by Zap, task status, or date with filters.

On the My Apps page, you'll see all of the accounts you've connected to Zapier for your Zaps. Here you can connect new accounts, or test, reconnect, or disconnect existing accounts.

On your Billing and Usage page, you can see how many tasks your Zaps have used in your current billing cycle, and how many days you have left until your task limit refreshes.

On your Settings page, you can update your profile, navigate to your email settings page, and more.

Need some Zaps to help you get started? Check out our Automation inspiration book for 300+ ways to use Zapier with your favorite apps.


Take the Work out of Workflow

Zapier is the easiest way to automate powerful workflows with more than 3,000 apps.