What is Zapier?

By Jenny Bloom

You are reading: Chapter 1 of 12

Key Points

  • Zapier is the glue that connects more than 750 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 over 750 more. You can connect two or more apps to automate repetitive tasks without coding or relying on developers to build the integration. Move info between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work. 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 on 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:

  • Automate your social media presence by sending new RSS items to Facebook as posts
  • Keep projects organized by copying new Trello cards into Evernote
  • Stay in touch with prospects by adding form respondents from Typeform to your mailing list in MailChimp
  • Make sure your team never misses a meeting by notifying a channel in Slack of upcoming Google Calendar events
  • …and many more!

There's so many ways to use Zapier, in fact, we wrote another book filled with 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

Zap

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.

Trigger

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 is not triggered until an email contains an attachment.

Action

The Action is the event that completes the Zap. For the Gmail to Dropbox Zap example, the action is saving the Gmail attachment to Dropbox.

Task

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 what Zapier plan is best for you.

Create a Zapier Account

Now you are ready to start creating Zaps. The first thing you will need to do is sign up for a free account. Type in your name, email address, and a password. And that’s it–no credit card required.

Getting Around Zapier

When you first log into Zapier, you'll see the Explore page. It's a good place to get ideas and inspiration for how you can automate your favorite web apps–and quickly use pre-made Zaps.

Explore page

You can also click the link to the My Zaps page, where you can view all of the Zaps you've previously created or are currently using. Here you can create new Zaps, edit previously-created Zaps, turn Zaps on or off, and create folders to organize your Zaps.

In the top righthand corner, you can click the dropdown to change your account settings, connected apps, and more.

Next Chapter

How to Create a Zap

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Workflow

Take the Work out of Workflow

Zapier is the easiest way to automate powerful workflows with more than 750 apps.