Unable to get a value when looking for "File" in Google Drive

  • 20 August 2022
  • 6 replies

Goal is to copy/paste a Google Sheets file between Google Directories (Action) when a new row is added to a different Google Sheet (Trigger).  So, the Sheets file to be pasted is different than the Sheets file used as the trigger.

However, the very first step in Action, File, does not show file names, it is blank, and the custom drops down files & cells from the trigger file (which might be the source of my problem).  I want a different file, not the trigger file to be copy/pasted. 

I have read the “Common Problems with Google Drive” resource, which suggests that I may have created a Google file that is ‘Not Real’.  Firstly, I have never heard of this term related to anything Google (Docs, Sheets, Drive), and wonder if the creator made this up for benefit of the guidance.  Worse is the very limited guidance on what is and is not a real file?  Not helpful at all.

I have also found a resource which shows a lengthy workaround for creating “custom” Google file names, but my problem precedes this in the Action set up process. 

I sense I am missing some obvious setting, or there exists a limitation with Action files being different than Trigger files.  Could it be that the Sheets file I wish to paste is a File/Make a Copy version an original Sheets file? Further complicating this problem is that I was able to successfully create this very same Zap, and I regrettably deleted it accidentally as I was attempting to modify the pasted file’s name.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you can help me find an answer.


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6 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Hey @TajA Happy to help here! Let’s first make sure we’re on the same page with your Zap setup and from there, we can identify if there is a way to get the field you’re after or if this is actually a feature request for a field not yet available.

Can you help me understand the exact triggers/actions you’re using? It sounds like it might be something like the following but I’m not certain:

  • Trigger: Google Sheets > New Row
  • Action: Google Drive > Find File?
  • Action: ?

Also, when you’re referring to the Sheets file you want to copy/create, the Google App you’re using to do so affects what the action can/cannot find, hence the odd issue on what is a “real” file or not. I realize that might not be the best way to communicate that behavior so if you have any suggestions on how we can word that more clearly once we work through this issue, we’re all ears!

Hello Jesse,

Thank you for your response.  The images below describe the Zap I intend to create, the 2nd image includes a screen capture of the ‘no file listed’ issue.  Upon more noodling on this, I’ll almost bet that I have to create more intermediary steps to search/choose/find a file in a specific Google-Drive Folder. 

  • Trigger: Google Sheets > New Row with entered text “123 Main St”
  • Action: Google Drive > Create a Copy of a Google Sheets File from one Google Drive Folder into another Google Drive Folder
  • Action: Rename the Moved Google Sheets file “123 Main St”

REAL GOOGLE FILES:  My difficulty with the current guidance re to “No Files Showing” relates to how limited it is currently.  The guidance: “The below items aren’t “real file”” points to an image which is very vague, as does “These are considered “real files””.   Also, I imagine there are multiple reasons why a user is unable to get a value for “file” --- and suspect that my problem is an example of something unrelated to this “real/not real” google file phenomenon, but idk.  Perhaps I am not as familiar with Google File Types as I should be.  That is all the insight I have on the issue: it is vague, confusing and unhelpful.







Does my issue relate to this:



Suppose I want this Zap to run manually - whenever I enter a new address.  What “PLAN” do I need to subscribe to - I cant locate the answer. 



I ALMOST have it (new steps added below), however, the Trigger Sheet data is not flowing to the actions. The output is creating filenames from data that no longer exists in the Trigger Sheet?

Have updated & refreshed zap and browser page. 








Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Hi @TajA!

Thanks for giving us an update on where you are with the Zap, it looks like you’re nearly there!

When you say that the data from the sheet that triggers the Zap is not ‘flowing to the actions’ do you mean that the Zap is using the wrong information when it’s turned on? Or is it only when you’re looking at the test data in the Trigger step of the Zap? 

If it’s the second, you can load new test samples in the trigger by clicking on the arrows on the ‘Spreadsheet row’ box in the trigger test, then licking the Load More button:

The Zap will then go back to the sheet to find another row from the Google Sheet. 


In answer to your question:

Suppose I want this Zap to run manually - whenever I enter a new address.

When the Zap is published (and turned on), any time you add a new row to the sheet, the Zap will be triggered and the Zap will run through the action steps. 


It sounds like you’re new to using Zapier, so something to know when you’re using Google Sheets as a trigger for a Zap is that making the following changes to your spreadsheet while the Zap is turned on can cause errors:

  • Deleting existing rows or columns.
  • Adding rows anywhere other than to the bottom of your sheet.
  • Resorting the sheet.
  • Renaming/adding/rearranging columns.
  • Renaming the sheet.
  • Filtering the sheet.

If you need to do any of these things, turn off your Zap then turn it back on when you’re done. Then when you add a new row, it should work as expected. 


I hope that’s all clear, let us know if you have any questions!