Best answer

How to create a buffer after a trigger in case there are errors?

  • 19 November 2023
  • 7 replies

Userlevel 1

I have a trigger where if an Excel column text is changed to ‘no’, it triggers a zap.


But I want to avoid a situation where if the column is changed by accident, I don’t want it to trigger the zap immediately. I want a 1 minute buffer to allow the user to correct their error and undo the column change.


I know I can add a delay step, but will this cancel the zap or just delay it? What I mean is, if I put a delay step after the trigger, will it just wait a minute and then continue the zap anyway?


If so, how can I create a buffer period in which the zap checks to see if the trigger was an error or not?



Best answer by Troy Tessalone 19 November 2023, 21:18

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7 replies

Userlevel 7
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Good question.

The Zap trigger being used is scheduled meaning it can take from 1-15 minutes to fire depending on your Zapier plan.


Userlevel 1

Thanks @Troy Tessalone. Do you mean that the zap automatically has a buffer?

e.g. If a person accidentally makes a change to the trigger column, and then 10 seconds later, they realise their mistake and change it back, will the zap run after 1-15 minutes? Or is it that the trigger won’t have been registered?

Userlevel 7
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Think of it like this:

Say you are on the Zapier Starter plan.

That has a 15-minute update time for scheduled Zap triggers.

Meaning the Zap checks for new “updated” data every 15 minutes.

Also, depends on how the Zap trigger treats “updated” data.

A field changing from X > Y > X could still be seen as being updated.

You want to put a Filter step as early in the Zap as possible to avoid the Zap from processing even if it triggers, unless conditions are met to continue.

I would remove the Delay step.

When in doubt, test it out.


Userlevel 1

Thanks @Troy Tessalone. Very much appreciate your input. 

I removed the delay.

Is there any way to have it so when a field goes from x > y > x, it’s not seen as updated if done within the first minute?

I want to avoid a situation where someone triggers the zap by mistake and can’t ‘undo’ the email that gets sent.

Userlevel 7
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Is there any way to have it so when a field goes from x > y > x, it’s not seen as updated if done within the first minute?

That depends on the app being used in the trigger and how that app treats “updates”, which you don’t have control over.

That’s the purpose of the Filter as Step 2 in the Zap to make sure the data meets the conditions to continue.

You can add another step to the Zap to update another column to indicate an email has already been sent to reduce the chance of the Zap running more than once.

Also, using spreadsheets in automations can be fragile.

Might be better to explore using a true database app or a CRM app instead that has more controls/features available. (e.g. Airtable)

Regardless, with humans involved in the process there’s a chance they impact the data in a way that then impacts how the configured Zap step logic behaves.

Userlevel 1

Thanks. Your response has helped me think this through. 

If I’m correct, I can get the buffer I want by doing the following:

  • When a column is changed the zap is triggered. 
  • A filter checks that the column says ‘no’
  • A delay step for 1 minute allows the user to undo their marking the column as ‘no’ in case it was a mistake. 
  • A second filter checks that the column still says ‘no’.
  • The zap continues. 

I’ll have to test this, but it sounds like it might be the buffer I’m thinking of. It does an add two additional steps, but it’s good to know it might be possible. 

Userlevel 7
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If you add a Delay, then you’ll need to add a Step to Find the Excel Row again to get the current row data to then check that against the second Filter.