What is Zapier? Here’s what you need to know about the tool that helps automate apps and workflows

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Summary List Placement

On the Zapier website, Zapier describes itself as “the glue that connects thousands of web apps.” At its essence, Zapier is an automation tool that lets you easily create workflows by linking productivity apps and services together with sets of if/then commands. In this way, it’s not unlike IFTTT (If This Then That), a similar tool that links unrelated services together — though Zapier is more focused on business and productivity applications, while IFTTT leans into smart devices and the Internet of Things. 

How Zapier works

You use Zapier’s web interface to create commands called zaps. Each zap is composed of two main parts: a trigger and an action. 

The trigger is the event that kicks off the zap — in programming lingo, you can think of it as the “if this happens…” part of the operation. Zapier works with more than 2,000 apps and services, so there are countless triggers you can base a zap on. 

The action is the event that completes the zap. It’s the “then do this” part of the command and the automation that simplifies your task or workflow. For example, a zap might be written to create an event on a Google Calendar based on every new Trello card that gets added to your board, or a zap might create a to-do list in an app like Todoist based on emails you star or flag in Gmail. 

When a zap runs, it processes a piece of data. Every time that happens, it counts as a task. This is important because Zapier’s pricing tiers are largely based on how many tasks you run each month. 

Zapier isn’t a traditional programming environment and you don’t need to have any knowledge of programming to use Zapier. It’s more like a simplified macro editor, in which the only thing you need to do is specify the trigger and action and fill in the details of exactly how the zap should work. Zaps aren’t difficult to create and they can mostly be made by selecting options from dropdown menus. But Zapier gives you the ability to extensively customize zaps, as well as to create multi-step zaps (if you pay for one of the premium subscriptions levels). 

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How to get started with Zapier

If you don’t yet have a Zapier account, go to Zapier.com and click “Get Started Free.” 

Once you have a Zapier account, you should see the main screen, which is Zapier’s dashboard. This is where you can see your existing zaps, create new ones and work with existing templates. Hover the mouse on the left side of the screen to see options to make a new zap, see your existing zaps, see apps and services you’ve connected to Zapier, and more.  

To make a new zap, move the mouse over the plus button at the top left and click “Make a Zap.”

Follow the instructions to build your zap. Start by choosing the app you want to set as a trigger — for example, if you want to perform an action when you “star” …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Tech

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