Automation basics

By Krystina Martinez - Published October 13, 2020 -

You are reading: Chapter 1 of 12

What is automation?

Automation is simply setting something up to run automatically. Automation is all around you, even if you don't realize it. Take your smartphone, for example. You receive alerts whenever you receive a text message, a voice mail, or an email.

The heart of any automation boils down to a simple command: WHEN and DO. "When this happens, do that." Even the most complex automation can be broken down into this simple command.

Text saying when this happens then do that

For example:

Text saying When you get a new email from a lead then notify my sales team via text

What is Zapier?

Zapier is a tool that helps you automate repetitive tasks between two or more apps—no code necessary. When an event happens in one app, Zapier can tell another app to perform (or do) a particular action.

What should/can I automate with Zapier?

  • Tasks you have to do frequently. Example: Sending a weekly reminder to your team to fill out a meeting agenda.
  • Anything where you have to move information from one app to another. Example: Adding tasks from a project management app into your personal to-do list app.
  • Tasks that don't require much thinking. Example: Copying the emails of event attendees to a spreadsheet.

What is a Zap?

A Zap is an automated workflow that tells your apps to follow this simple command: "When this happens, do that."

Every Zap has a trigger and one or more actions. A trigger is an event that starts a Zap, and an action is what your Zap does for you. When a Zap runs, each action it completes counts as one task.

A white box showing a blue square with the text Step 1 Trigger followed by a white box showing an orange square with the text Step 2 Action.
A series of boxes with the text of collect form responses in a spreadsheet followed by various time stamps, showing actions taken at different times on your behalf in Zapier.

Think of these as building blocks for your Zap. Start with your trigger and add the action or actions you want Zapier to perform.


Take the Work out of Workflow

Zapier is the easiest way to automate powerful workflows with more than 5,000 apps.