[techtalk] Tech-Talk: WEB TOOL - Automate Workflow with Zapier

Darci Hanning darci.hanning at state.or.us
Tue Feb 26 14:12:19 PST 2019

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 This Week's Topic: WEB TOOL
1. VIDEO ... Automate Workflow with Zapier
2. ARTICLE ... Automate Workflow with Zapier
3. COMMUNICATING ... Texting in front of others


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WEB TOOL - Automate Workflow with Zapier

OK, here's the situation. You're hosting a big event next month ... with perhaps a famous author. You get people to sign up through an online form (e.g. Wufoo). You take the names and type them (along with their email addresses) in a Google spreadsheet. As time goes by, you put this information into an email platform (e.g. Outlook or Gmail) so that your assistant can sent periodic updates.

It's got to be a bit tedious, right?

Well, there's a cool platform called Zapier where you can set up a process so that each of the steps you're doing manually, can be automated. You can set it up once -- and forget it!

But first, what is Zapier?

Zapier.com<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001XpM-j25u07GfwN3u4EHbydB55Qi3GZtO6tbwv5Q7SkKN8e02Qt1bmUJboxvBjuCrjs3Q9tijsYcuAvT3QGvFmmxhySXWYbo03sEJr7PYBsOooGzjz38TP4aibFa9uNBntgsMXVlkuGI=&c=TTRjs_8NhuASxIUlvAR53xei5-TDYNEwPIOk3BAVRFTMj_874B05Hw==&ch=SNcxSNaNoPE8yWr3CFicSy-E9m5GvKgKhX4TnK182eWc7KImx2JxZg==> is a platform (a web tool) that integrates more than 1300 apps commonly used in the workplace…so they connect and process your workflow automatically.

You can integrate a wide variety of tools that you use frequently including Google products, email platforms, social media ... even contact management tools.  Here are a few of the more popular.


This web tool uses API's (Application Program Interface) to enable different computer programs and apps to "talk" to each other.

Within Zapier, you create a "Zap" -- which is a connection between apps -- so that when one "thing" happens, it triggers another "thing" to happen in your workflow. You determine a Trigger that creates an Action -- kind of a cause and effect scenario.

Why Zapier?

Zapier is not the only "workflow integration" tool out there, but it clearly (at this point in time) seems to be the most popular because of the: 1) number of tools/apps it will connect, and 2) it's totally free version (up to five apps).

You need to check which integrations and features you want before choosing the best integration tool for you. For instance, if you want to connect to QuickBooks, you'll need to use a different platform such as Dell Boomi or PieSync. Here's a comparison site <http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001XpM-j25u07GfwN3u4EHbydB55Qi3GZtO6tbwv5Q7SkKN8e02Qt1bmUJboxvBjuCrv4gZL911qYyRpRDcId3o5hMnVnGp_R7eGgGZukEcgXFlKzajtstd-E4q994Vv-YaiFbnaAR9hhRqf96TMNo0JGcZuBnEm0d4VIWRnZUU8UJ-ggkzOuaVa8up3gNsBJCQ3hjSaKdEp-497BBDpZPrNk6Lx2pZ1Cbljf5Oi98LFgSzproWloh_3Ebp7dEJQ1QC&c=TTRjs_8NhuASxIUlvAR53xei5-TDYNEwPIOk3BAVRFTMj_874B05Hw==&ch=SNcxSNaNoPE8yWr3CFicSy-E9m5GvKgKhX4TnK182eWc7KImx2JxZg==> for alternatives to Zapier.

Some Sample Zaps

Let's look at examples of Zaps that can automate processes for you in apps that you may use daily in your workplace.

[sample zaps]

In Social Media, you could...

1.  Save your Tweets to a Google spreadsheet or Evernote
2.  Automatically share Instagram photos to your Facebook page
3.  Tweet new blog posts
4.  Share MailChimp campaigns on your LinkedIn profile

With Task Management & Email, you can...

1.  Create Wunderlist tasks for new Office 365 emails in a specific folder
2.  Add Asana tasks from emails in Gmail
3.  Save Gmail attachments to Dropbox or Box.com
4.  Add new Office 365 emails to Evernote Business as notes
5.  Add specific emails to Asana
6.  Create Google Calendar events from Formstack, Wufoo or JotForm submissions

You can connect Customers/Contacts to an Email Newsletter, by adding...

·    New Constant Contact subscribers to a spreadsheet
·    New Wufoo entries to your MailChimp list
·    Stripe customers to an Active Campaign autoresponder.

With Notification connections, you can...

·    Receive email alerts for any Tweet Mention via Gmail
·    Get Slack notifications for Instagram photos and videos with a specific tag
·    Remind Facebook page fans of upcoming Google calendar events.

Don't let these sample Zaps confuse you. When you're in Zapier setting up a Zap, there are pre-set versions of thousands of possibilities that you can select and customize with your own info. It walks you through the set-up with ease.


A Simple Overview: in Zapier

So what does a simple Zaipier process look like? In our original example at the top of the article, here's what you'd see:

1.  An individual signs up for an event through your Wufoo form.
2.  Their name and email instantly drop into your Google spreadsheet.
3.  Your assistant receives an email with a link to the online spreadsheet.

How Do You Set Up a Zap?

First, of course you need to sign up for an account at https://zapier.com<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001XpM-j25u07GfwN3u4EHbydB55Qi3GZtO6tbwv5Q7SkKN8e02Qt1bmUJboxvBjuCrjs3Q9tijsYcuAvT3QGvFmmxhySXWYbo03sEJr7PYBsOooGzjz38TP4aibFa9uNBntgsMXVlkuGI=&c=TTRjs_8NhuASxIUlvAR53xei5-TDYNEwPIOk3BAVRFTMj_874B05Hw==&ch=SNcxSNaNoPE8yWr3CFicSy-E9m5GvKgKhX4TnK182eWc7KImx2JxZg==>. There is a free level that lets you get started with some basic Zaps. Like other web tools, there are upgraded levels that offer premium features based on your needs.

After your account is set up, start at the Explore page and just follow the prompts to make a Zap.

In our example below, the object of the Zap is to send an email to a specified contact person when entries are made in a Google Sheet. Here's the process in the overview screen of the new Zap.

1.  Pick the first app (the Trigger) by typing in the first few letters of its name. In the example below, we chose Google Sheets.
2.  Choose the second app (the Action). We selected Gmail.
3.  Under "When this happens…" select from the drop-down list the Trigger action. We chose "New Spreadsheet Row."
4.  Under "…then do this" select from the drop-down the Action that will happen. For this Zap, it is to Send an Email.
5.  Click the orange "Make a Zap" button.

TIP: Don't worry about the details, they come in the next step.

[Zap steps]

Customize Your New Zap

Now that you have selected what type of Zap you want to make and determined the connected apps, in the next steps you will:

1.  Name your Zap
2.  Choose, Configure and Test the Trigger
3.  Select an Action, Enter the Action's Details and Test the Action
4.  Activate the Zap

[name your zap]

1. Name Your Zap

At the top left of the page, add a name for your Zap. The notes field is optional.

2. Choose, Configure and Test the Trigger

The first step is to identify the Trigger -- the "thing" that happens to start the workflow. Be prepared to follow the instructions on how to connect the chosen app with Zapier. For instance, if it's a Google account (Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, etc…) you just need to be signed into the account and it will detect the connection. However, each app is different, and you may need to add a username and password or follow other integration instructions.

Next, follow the prompt to verify the connection. If everything is linked correctly, you'll get the green "Success!" button.


Trigger - Edit Options

Depending on what trigger you are setting up, the steps will vary. In this example, under Edit Option, we are selecting the specific Spreadsheet and Worksheet where entries are being made.

Since Google Sheets is connected to Zapeir, in the drop-down menu under Spreadsheet (and Worksheet) we just had to select which one we wanted to use from the pre-populated list.

[edit trigger]

Test the Trigger

And finally, it will prompt you to test the Trigger. When you click the Test option, depending on your app, a sample of data will be pulled in for you to review.
(In the example below, we can see the data in Row 6 of our spreadsheet -- and verify that it is correct.)

IMPORTANT: You need to have some test data in whatever platform you're using for this testing process.


3. Select an Action, Enter the Details and Test the Action

Select an Action

Now we're going to the Action step – what we want to happen. In this example, we want an email to be sent.

We see that Gmail is selected as we indicated we wanted to use this app in the last step.
From the list of possible Actions, we selected Send Email. TIP: If your action is not listed you can use the search box at the top to look at possibilities.

[send email]

You will again be prompted to connect the account to Zapier. Save and Continue.

Enter the Action's Details

Finally, you'll select what you want to happen when there is a Trigger activity. In this example, we are choosing to have an email sent to a specific person. You can choose to include in your email: a Cc or Bcc email, the email from name, the subject, the message body and even an attachment.


Test the Action

The last (optional) step is for Zapier to test the process. Press the blue Test button to validate your Zap. You'll receive a message if there is an error and prompts on how to fix it. Or, if everything checks out okay, you'll see a message like this:


4. Activate the Zap

To turn your Zap on, in the upper right of the Zap screen move the Off button to On. Or you can activate it in the main Dashboard.

At any time you can return to a prior step in your Zap to edit it, or access it from the Dashboard.


Communication: Mobile
Texting in front of others

I had a good friend visiting me for a few days, by herself, without the family. It was a girls outing.

Several times during each day, she would initiate a text to her adult daughter, husband or sister. ... right in front of me. None of these communications were a response to something she received. She was just sharing with them. (Yes, of course she called home at other times when she was in her room, to touch base, stay connected.)

So my question to you is ... how do you feel about people texting to other folks when they are in the middle of doing something with you?

Is this something we need to accept?

It's so easy now to reach out and bring your circle of friends and family close to you using text ... regardless of where you are and what you are doing (in a restaurant, visiting with a friend, in a movie).

I had mixed thoughts about this method of communicating - should I be glad that it was inclusive or offended because she wanted to reach out to someone else while I was there?

I thought I'd ask you ... our readers. It could be a good discussion: What are your thoughts on the protocol of texting? (Log into this article; leave a comment.)


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