Read about creative workflows, awesome app tips and interesting use cases.
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How to take better notes: get the right tools—and then automate them
Hello! This is Deb at Zapier. One of my favorite pastimes is having big plans to start a new habit and then never, ever starting it. Note-taking is one of those habits.I’ve always wanted to be a note-taker. I have an atrocious memory, and taking notes would likely help with that, at least a little. Plus, I’m generally super organized, so it feels like a good fit. And yet—I have a few sticky notes lying around, and otherwise, I’m note-free.Once in a while, I read something that makes me want to change that. Chris Thomas, content marketer at Talkative, wrote a blog post for us about how he finally stuck to a note-taking (and note-reviewing) habit, and it brought me back to that “I should totally takes notes!” mindset. Maybe this time’s the charm?5 tools that improved my note-taking and changed how I learnPart of the deal is that you automate the process. Make sure all the notes you take end up in one place, and then set up automations that remind you to review your notes. Our staff write
How automation helped this business save thousands on marketing
Hey, folks! Janine from the blog team here. Last month, we published an article by a Zapier user who found a way to use automation to run a successful marketing campaign with a small budget. Rather than thinking about tasks Pawel Sheffler used Zapier to create processes. One Zap took a lead generation form and sent an immediate follow-up email and then reached out automatically a few days later to get feedback about the downloaded resource. He also created a system to nurture leads who came in through webinars, sending reminders, post-webinar follow-up, as well as longer term outreach.Read about how they did it: How Zapier helped us save thousands of dollars on our marketing budget.
5 things to do before going out of office
Hi there! This is Deb, from the Zapier blog. As the possibility of real vacations gets closer, it’s good to start thinking about how you’ll prepare for any upcoming time off. Because the point of vacations is to not be stressed about what’s happening at work. Our staff writer Justin put together a list of 5 things to do before going out of office, and it’s mostly about making sure your apps (and Zaps!) are in order.5 things to do before going out of officeOne thing I’d never thought of was making sure all Zaps you don’t need are off before you leave. You don’t want to come back to a bunch of automated Slack messages or to-dos that are no longer relevant, so make sure you turn those puppies off before you head out. Just don’t forget to turn them back on too.What did we miss? Are there any Zaps you rely on for out-of-office time? Let me know in the comments!
How to do a Fuzzy Search in Airtable
Hi there! Tim here from the Zapier Support Team with a workflow idea. Background A common thing to do in Zapier is to search for a row in a spreadsheet based on some value. For example, we could search for a customer by their name or email address. But what if what if our search data is only a fragment of what is stored in our spreadsheet, but we still want to find the row. For example, what if we want to search a set of names but we sometimes we have a full name to search with and sometimes we don’t? What if the capitalization doesn’t perfectly match? We can successfully find the row by doing a “Fuzzy Search”. A Fuzzy Search in this case is where we look for instances where the search term and cell don’t exactly match, but the cell contains the search term. This isn’t supported in the Google Sheets App (we are tracking requests for this feature for Sheets, so let us know via our Support Contact Form if you want that). Google Sheets will only return exact matches for now. I was
How do you use spreadsheets in your Zaps?
Hey there! Janine from the Zapier blog team here with an article to share, and a question for you. Spreadsheets are popular with Zapier users, and for good reason. They’re great for tracking information, organizing different data types, collecting resources, and analyzing progress. (You can be even more creative and use them as to-do lists, a browser homepage, and even for games.)We recently published an article about how to automate spreadsheets with Zapier, so that information automatically flows into or out of your worksheets. But our ideas aren’t always the best ideas, so I wondered how you use spreadsheets with Zapier? What’s the best spreadsheet Zap you’ve got, or is there something you’ve always wanted to make work but haven’t been able to figure out?
Manually approve form submissions with Approval by Zapier
IMPORTANTApproval by Zapier will be discontinued on February 28, 2023. If you’re using Approval by Zapier, you can still create approval steps in your Zaps using Zapier Tables and Zapier Interfaces. Request access to both apps through our Early Access Program. We recently had a Community member with the following question: If you’re in a similar situation, one way to approach this is to create a “person in the loop” step by using Approval by Zapier. What this does is give you (or someone else) an opportunity to review incoming info and decide whether you’d like the Zap to continue or to stop.Demo TimeI’m going to simplify this for demonstration purposes. I realize that in my example, I could just as soon use a filter since I’m only checking to see if a person chose “Yes” as an option. But imagine something more complex in terms of evaluating whether to approve.Trigger: Google Form SubmissionI receive a form submission and want to check whether the person has indicated that they’re inte
Use automation to make money, not just earn it
Hey, folks! Janine from the Zapier blog team here. One of our contributors wrote a piece recently that highlights the value of setting up automated workflows that can do work in the background.Daniel Dainty shared some of the specific ways he uses automation to handle manual tasks like promoting new posts on social media and streamlining work from a virtual receptionist, that helps him stay focused on his most important tasks.Learn about his journey, and how these Zaps help him run his business.Do you have any favorite Zaps that keep your business on track? Share them here, and let us know if you’d like to have your business featured on the blog.
How to get live sample data if your Trigger isn't getting the right valuesvideo
Hey folks, it’s Tim here from Premier Support with another Workflow for you!If you’ve ever been trying to set up a Zap but you weren’t able to get the correct Sample Data pulled into the Trigger, I’ve recorded a 5 minute video to show how to work around this problem. You can watch it here: To summarize the process in the video:Create two Zaps:Zap 1:The Trigger you want to use Webhooks by Zapier: POST ActionZap 2:Webhooks by Zapier Catch Hook TriggerThen:Copy the URL from Zap 2’s Trigger Open the POST Action in Zap 1 Paste the URL from Zap 2’s Trigger into the URL field Set the Payload Type field to Json Turn Zap 1 on Trigger Zap 1 Test Zap 2’s Trigger and you will see your Live Zap Equivalent Sample data pulled in. Build the rest of your Zap in Zap 2.When running Zap 2, Zap 1 must also be turned on.The video ends there, but I wanted to mention one more advanced tip.Once you’re sure you won’t need to edit Zap 2 for a while, you can replace the Catch Hook Trigger in Zap 2 with the Trigge
Automating positivity: Why the Zapier team has a "win" bot
Hi! This is Deb, from the Zapier blog team. We love our jobs a weird amount, but it’s easy to forget to reflect on that—to think about all the awesome stuff that our team accomplished/learned/felt good about in a given week. So my colleague Krystina created a “WinBot”—a Slack bot, powered by Zapier, that automatically encourages us to share our wins at the end of every week. Here’s what it looks like:You can choose your bot icon (ours is my perfect dog WINston), set it to rotate the GIF every week (you can even exclude NSFW options), and have the message say whatever you want (uh, also SFW please). Here’s the Zap Krystina used to set it up.Get weekly reminders in SlackAat Zapier, we’ve been remote for a decade, so we know that building culture on a remote team can be exhausting. But if you let the robots help you—and encourage you to celebrate your wins—it makes it feel much more natural. Yep, the bots make it natural. Who knew.Do you use automation to help build culture on your team?
Using Google Sheets as a randomizer to spice up your Slack bot
Bots - they repeat themselves repetitively over and overAt Zapier, we use Slack all the time, and there are a ton of “bots” running via Zaps. By their nature, bots can be a bit repetitive, and repetition can lead to people ignoring important messages. But what if the bot had a lot of different variations to keep people on their toes? And what if you could add that variety very simply using a single step? And this doesn’t have to just be Slack - maybe you send regular emails or texts to folks, and you’d like to give those a little bit of variety too!Well, if you know me, you know that I see a problem and I think “Google Sheets can fix this!” It turns out that every problem truly is a nail when Google Sheets is your hammer. Let’s make a table!First, we need to build a sheet with all of our snippets. Feel free to add as many snippets as you want - and in fact, you can add multiple columns if you want to have more than one snippet per message, like so:(view larger)And that’s our table! Sim
You can't automate a binder: Why adopting a new tool can make all the difference
Hi! Deb here, from the Zapier blog. We recently had the managing partner at luxury real estate business Manhattan Miami, Ricardo Mello, write an article about why CRMs are core to any real estate business.How a CRM can revolutionize your real estate businessIt seems like a simple concept—use a tool to make your job easier—but it’s one that’s hard to come around to. No matter your role, it can be exhausting and terrifying to add a new app to your stack. But it’s all about keeping your eye on the prize and coming back to the benefits that will come from it in the long-term (and short-term too, honestly).Ricardo’s CRM automates all the repetitive tasks involved in contact management and even helps him build relationships with his clients. And he uses Zapier to connect it with all the other apps he uses, like automatically creating new contacts whenever someone fills out a lead gen form.As someone who’s been using a combination of sticky notes and Google Sheets as their to-do list for thei
How to Add Location Information (State) to a Facebook Lead Ads Phone Number by Area Code
I recently came across a question from a user who was looking to find the State for a New Facebook Lead by using the area code for the phone number the lead entered.Zapier has great tools already in the product for doing this type of data manipulation and addition. Mostly we would find these tools in our Formatter options.If we were to exclusively use Zapier tools here we could set up a Zap that does the following: Trigger New Facebook Lead Ad Formatter > Numbers > Format Phone Number (put the numbers in the same format) Formatter > Text > Split Text (isolate the area code) Formatter > Utilities > Lookup Table (find the state by matching on the 3 digit Area Code) We can also use a Google Sheet in place of Steps 3 and 4 - and my workflow below will step through how to do that - as well as why I prefer the Sheet for this workflow.Step 1 - Trigger Facebook Lead Ads New LeadThis step is straightforward - the Zap triggers when we get a New Lead from Facebook - and pr
Automate behaviors: Force people to make a copy of your Google files
Hi there! Deb here, from the Zapier blog. We write a lot of Google Sheets tutorials on the blog. Think: pivot tables, conditional formatting, and using Sheets as your to-do list. In each of those cases, we offer our readers a template that they can follow along with. So our readers click the link, make a copy of the template (as we instruct in the article), and use it for themselves.Sometimes.More often than not, though, people click the template link, try to use it, and realize they can’t edit it. So they request edit access. This ends with me getting dozens of edit access requests every day, which of course I can’t grant because then the template itself would change.I even made a Zap to automatically write people back telling them to click “File > Make a copy...”And then, Tyler, hero to Zapier support and my professional workflows, came along with this tip:Automatically copy your shared Google filesYOU CAN FORCE PEOPLE TO COPY YOUR GOOGLE SHEET. This is truly the best tech tip I’v
This just in: Google Sheets is actual magic
Hello! Deb here, from the Zapier blog with some big news: Google Sheets is magic.Zapier Senior Customer Champion Tyler, who you know from his prompt, thorough, and witty replies to your support inquiries, just published an article on the blog about making Google Sheets your browser homepage.Why you should use Google Sheets as your browser homepageThe gist is that Google Sheets can do literally everything your brain could possibly imagine other than give your dog the best belly rub. And honestly, it might even be able to do that.Read the article to see all the bananas things Tyler does with a spreadsheet, but here’s a sneak peek.This is a working clock in Google Sheets. I just...can’t.Imagine combining the power of Google Sheets with the power of automation. Jk you don’t have to imagine—that’s what Zapier’s for. Even if your Google Sheets aren’t quite as luxurious as Tyler’s, you can still create a little magic with automation. Here are a few ideas to get you started:6 ways to automate
Never forget an important event ever again
There are countless ways to be reminded of important holidays, observances, birthdays, etc. You could use a calendar, assuming you’ve got all of those events added already (but that’s kind of a pain). You could ask your digital assistant of choice to remind you. You could use a good ol’ fashioned paper calendar.Here’s a pretty simple way to receive notifications X number of days before that event takes place.HOT TIP: At the bottom of this post I’ve shared a link to the Airtable base (that you can copy) and a link to some Shared Zaps. That way you can get a head start!The Trigger (what kicks off the Zap)Here we’re going to use Airtable (you could hack your way through it with Google Sheets) because of how flexible it is. The Views feature is what allows us to have a list of events and then to trigger our Zap 2 days before the important date.I’ve got the entire year in my table, and it looks like this: By creating a View in Airtable that has this filter… ...it then allows me to use this
How to use Zapier with RSS feeds
Hey, folks! Janine here from the blog team. We’ve been looking at RSS automation lately, and there are some cool things we’ve put together. If you use RSS feeds (or if you want to but don’t know where to start), I recommend any of these articles. How to use RSS feeds to boost your productivityThis piece is great for someone who’s just starting with RSS feeds. It explains what they are and how they’re used, and shares some examples of how to add Zapier to make RSS feeds even more useful.4 popular ways to use RSS by ZapierThis article focuses on the RSS by Zapier app, and the main ways people use it to automate their work: posting to social media, creating email or team chat alerts for sites that are important to you, adding items to a spreadsheet, and to simplify calendar sharing.Turn any website into an email newsletterIf you’d rather get notifications in your inbox, check out this piece that shares all the ways you can use Zapier to create your own email newsletter. You can pull items
Get Slack notifications when an important email arrives in Gmail
Hi everyone! Clint here again with another Workflow Wednesday.I don’t know about you, but this is what my personal Gmail inbox looks like:I apologize to the inbox zero people for the sudden rise in blood pressureI’m not the most organized person in the world, it turns out. So, it helps to have some extra tools to catch things that I might not catch, even with my highly-tuned system of “reading the subjects of emails, sometimes.”That’s why I set up a Zap that sends me a message in Slack every time I get an email from Jira! I work on a few projects and, from time-to-time, I’ve missed an email letting me know there’s an update. Now, it’s much harder for me to miss since I have a bot gently nudging me about it as soon as it happens.It’s a pretty simple Zap, but not one that would have occurred to me personally! One of my colleagues suggested it, and it’s been tremendously useful. Here’s the setup:Trigger: New Email Matching Search in GmailThis is a simple trigger: when a new email comes in
Human error is a thing: Start automating data collection
Hi! Deb, from the Zapier blog, here with a very unexciting confession: at least once a day, I copy/paste the wrong thing. It’s generally harmless (a link to the wrong doc) and sometimes embarrassing (a text from my mom), but it’s never disastrous.But if you’re working with data, a wrong copy/paste can be disastrous. One wrong number (even if it’s close) can snowball into all the wrong numbers and, before you know it, all your books are off.Alex Kulbei, the co-founder of Probe, a product that helps companies automate monthly business reviews, recently wrote a piece for our blog about data collection: How to get started with data collection and analytics at your business. And one of his tips? Automate. It removes the possibility human error while also eliminating lots of repetitive work. Here are some tips.Collecting complex data? Here's how to automate it with ZapierHave you made any disastrous copy/paste errors? Or just embarrassing ones? Let me know in the comments, if only to help me
Using Zapier to automate a customized apparel store
Hey, folks! Janine here from the Zapier blog team. We recently published this very cool story about how Zapier customer Jeffrey Sun uses autoamtion to run a customized apparel store. I love hearing about the unique Zaps people set up, and Jeffrey’s is amazing. Using automation, he’s able to generate unique chess-themed apparel, featuring individually generated images of whatever chess position someone requests. Check it out!What Zaps are critical to how your business operates? Do you have a favorite workflow that keeps things going? If so, we’d love to hear about it.
Creating a lookup table with Google Sheets
Hello there, Sam from Zapier Support here with a handy workflow idea for you!IntroIn support we sometimes come across apps that require values to be supplied in a certain format that the trigger app doesn’t provide. And when they don’t receive values in the correct format it can cause unwanted errors.In the following example we’ve got client details added via Google Form that need to be added into Wave. The problem is that the country part of their address is specified in full and Wave doesn’t read countries like that; it’s expecting to see a country code instead:You could use a Formatter (Text > Lookup Table) step to convert the country name into the relevant country code. But you can’t make that same lookup table instantly available for other Zaps to use. It’s possible to copy the Zap and tweak the other steps but what if 3 weeks later you spot a typo in the lookup table?Yep, that’s right. You’d have to go into each of the Zap copies and fix the typo in each one. And life is way t
How to make the most of your customer reviews
Hi there! This is Deb from the Zapier blog. We’ve been having small business owners share their stories and tips, and one that stood out to me recently was this piece by Matthew Meier.Customer reviews: The most important small business marketing strategyMatthew runs a small tour company out of Las Vegas, and they use customer reviews as the center of their marketing strategy. I’d never really thought of it as a marketing tool before, but MaxTour leans into customer reviews in a massively strategic way. If you try out any of their tips for increasing the quantity (and quality!) of your reviews, you’ll want to be able to wrangle them all. So here are some tips we put together for automating the process.4 ways to automatically gather and track customer reviewsDo you have any creative ways to get customers to leave reviews? Let me know in the comments!
Why you shouldn't be embarrassed about using Google Forms
Hi! Deb here, from the Zapier blog. I use Google Forms exclusively when I create forms. At first, I felt a little embarrassed. I chose it because it’s so easy to use—but there are so many other form apps to choose from, and in comparison, Google Forms seems a little...amateur. But when you stop judging the book by its (very purple) cover, you can see that Google Forms is super powerful.Our staff writer Justin just wrote a piece on all the different things Google Forms can do, and how you can customize it for whatever you need.6 Google Forms settings you should know aboutThe bonus is that, when you automate it, you’re automating from a spreadsheet (where your form answers are stored), which gives you so much more control. Send form answers to Trello, Slack, or Mailchimp, or even create Google Calendar events based on responses. I have almost a dozen active Google Forms, and they’re all automated to send the information where I need it.What form app do you use? And with so many options,
I was afraid of email parsing. Then I tried it.
Hi! It’s Deb from the Zapier blog, here to talk about how I overcame my severe parserphobia (fear of using email parsing tools). I was a little skeptical about robots reading my emails, but the real fear was just that I would spend hours trying to set it up only for it not to work. That’s hours I could have spent watching back episodes of Survivor (or working or whatever).Anyway, I finally decided to try it. And without going into detail about how many times I swore at the computer, I set up an automation to pull invoicing details from my email into the spreadsheet where I monitor my budget—and I did it in 15 minutes. 15 minutes! Over the past week-ish since I made the Zap, I’ve absolutely already saved at least that much time not having to open multiple documents and copy and paste and all that jazz.So here I am telling you: try an email parser. It won’t bite.Our staff writer Justin did loads of research and put together a list of the best email parsers. Yes, Email Parser by Zapier ma
Create Weekly or Monthly Recurring Trello Cards with Google Sheets
Hey - Jared back again with another workflow idea for you!I use Trello to manage most of my tasks.There are a lot of tasks I want to run on a recurring basis (every week or month).For example - maybe I want a Trello card to run a full backup of my computer on a monthly basis.I could build a Zap for each Task using Schedule by Zapier - but that would create a lot of Zaps to manage - since each Task would need it’s own Zap.Plus I want to be able to add and delete tasks from this list easily.Google Sheets will enable me create tasks as a row on a Spreadsheet - but how do I get them to run automatically each Week or Month?Make Your Sheet.Step 1 is to make our Google Sheet.I’ve shared a template here you can use to get started. :)Just choose File > Make a Copy - and it will create a copy you can alter for your own Zap.You’ll notice the regular fields you’d expect here when creating a Trello Card like Title, Description, Due Date, Time.I’ll talk about the Trigger Date and Due Date in a bi
How to Update the Google Sheets Recalculation Setting
Do you use formulas in your Google Sheets like =today()?Google Sheets formulas like NOW, TODAY, RAND, and RANDBETWEEN - will often only update when the Spreadsheet is opened or updated.This can cause issues with Zaps if we expect those dates to be updated automatically to trigger Zaps.In the Sheet itself - we can adjust how often Google updates the values for those formulas.Go to File > Spreadsheet Settings. In the screen that pops up - click on the Calculation tab and change the setting for Recalculation to be either “On change and every minute” or “On change and every hour” - then click Save. With the every minute setting - Google will update the calculations for formulas like today() every minute. Every hour would do the same thing on an hourly basis.This will enable Zaps that use those formula columns to trigger (or find records) without the spreadsheet needing to be opened to update the value.
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