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Can we PLEASE change {{zap_meta_human_now}} to something... anything else!?


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I always forget what the wording is... honestly that help page must have some obscene amount of daily views 😅

How about {{time_now}} ?


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Best answer by PaulKortman 7 November 2019, 15:34

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I cannot second this more... it's so annoying!! (and yes I just recently committed it to memory after searching for it weekly for months)


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Hey @AndrewJDavison_Luhhu and @PaulKortman I can totally see how this would be frustrating! I have submitted a feature request on behalf of the both of you. Should this surface to the top as a pressing issue, our product team will tackle it and update this thread. 🙂

Thanks for surfacing this! Also, if you have any other feature requests, the best place to send them for now would be to contact@zapier.com so our team can get these logged and communicated to the right reamright away.


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Thanks @jesse - this was more of a lighthearted rant, but it would be cool to see it change.

Any idea why it was setup like this in the first place? Then obscure wording of it makes me think there is some technical reason/limitation?


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I put this question to the team and yes, it's a technical reason!

The double curly brackets are used to denote field names (as you may have come across if you've manually entered a field name), so the zap_meta_ prefix is used to tell the system that the next bit of text isn't referring to a field, but a command to fetch another piece of information (eg the time).

I agree that it would be nice to make them more user-friendly and I've added it as a feature request.

In the meantime, I use a text expander for this so I only have to type 'mhn' and the whole thing unfolds without a second thought!


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@Danvers - That makes a lot of sense.

Perhaps I'm being dumb here... but what's this text expander you speak of?


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text expander is an app that allows you to set up shortcuts for text replacements. So think of replies you typically send, like "thanks for your email, I'm digging into this and will be back with an answer tomorrow" for an example, instead of typing that out every time you could set up a shortcut in text expander, I would use "thanks-tomorrow" and boom text expander recognizes your keyboard input and replaces the words thanks-tomorrow with the phrase above.


It's 100% custom, and I use a competitor typeit4me, but now that text expander has an ios app I might switch... I originally chose typeit4me because it synced my expansions across devices... but its less feature rich than text expander... so I should probably switch.

funny how I hadn't thought of putting {{zap_meta_human_now}} into my shortcuts... doing that now. Thanks @Danvers for the tip.



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@AndrewJDavison_Luhhu Personally, I use Alfred because it does a whole host of things and the text expander is just one of them, but there's other apps like Text Expander. The basic premise is the same - you can build your own library of text shortcuts to use in any app/anywhere you type.

You can use them for single words, whole paragraphs or even to correct your common mis-types. For example when I type 'myemail', Alfred will switch that text out for my full email address, which is a real time-save when you have a double-barrelled surname  😝


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Hahaha @AndrewJDavison_Luhhu — I wrote a blog post about this the first time I found it because I knew I'd never remember the syntax. 😁


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@PaulKortman How have I missed this all my life. It's a game changer!


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Text Expander is cool stuff — I just met some of their people at WordCamp US in St. Louis. Really great folks!


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Well @Danvers - Alfred just has a new customer thanks to you!


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@AndrewJDavison_Luhhu ha ha, I hope you enjoy it! I use the Workflows tool for quite a few things too - it's handy for automating tasks on my macbook.

🤔 Maybe that's a future post idea 😜


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@Danvers - if Zapier ever went away, you can always count on a future an an Albert Certified Expert 😎


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I'll second @PaulKortman with typeit4me. "znow" = {{zap_meta_human_now}} was one of my first shortcuts 🙂