Automating Your Workflow with Zapier: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published Jan 31, 2017Last updated Feb 16, 2017
Automating Your Workflow with Zapier: A Step-by-Step Guide

Zapier: Introduction

Web apps are tools that allow you to collaborate, manage, and automate your business processes. Most of these tools include functions that are quite comprehensive; however, most of them do not communicate with one another. Zapier allows your apps to work together.

Zapier is a task automation tool that allows business apps to communicate with one another. It is very business oriented. It allows us to take repeating tasks across different applications and automate them. It can help save an enormous amount of time.

For example, many of us use email to create appointments within our calendar. That’s an example of integration that helps increase productivity. What Zappier strives to do is to implement that sort of integration to create automated processes between all our apps — business, social, and customer service applications. How does this work in Zapier? Essentially, Zapier creates triggers in one application that will cause actions in another.

zapier dashboard 2.png

Steps to Create a ZAP:

With Zapier, you can create unique one-to-one integrations, also known as ZAPs, for many applications. Through this function, you can integrate different apps without writing code, hiring a developer, or waiting for a developer to do the integration.

Some of the examples include:

  • Sending forms from Wufoo to Salesforces,
  • Turning emails to notes in Evernote,
  • Pushing customer tickets from to hipchat,
  • Adding paypal customers emails to a mailchimp list,
  • Creating trello cards from an email,

To integrate different apps, all you have to do is to create a Zap for each of these integrations and your ZAPs will automatically handle the technical work. These ZAPs will make sure the required data (be it document, form, email, contacts, or file) are available in the required formata and are passed onto another application for ZAPs to work seamlessly.

In this article, I will show you how to create a zap that sends an email every time you update your repository on bitbucket. I created a TestRepo in bitbucket and I want to receive an email message whenever someone from my team pushes the code. In other words, for zap to work properly, I should receive an update in email everytime this happens.

zapier dashboard.png

Once you log into, this is what your dashboard looks like. You can easily pick the applications you use for your day-to-day activities and see what you can do with them.

In order to create a Zap, you need to click the Make a Zap button on the navigation bar.

1. Create A Trigger:

choose a trigger.png

As required by my usecase, I choose “bitbucket” as the triggering application in zapier dashboard. The following is how the next screen looks like. It asks me to “choose a trigger” for bitbucket. I choose “New Changeset,” which keeps track of any new commits made to a repository.

select bitbucket trigger.png

Once I click on Save & continue, Zapier asks me to add my bitbucket account and provide it with the relevant permissions.

select bitbucket account.png

Once that is done, you will be asked to select an owner from your bitbucket account and the relevant repository you want to keep track of.

select bitbucket changeset.png

Zapier would then verify that the owner you selected from the dropdown actually matches the selected repository. If yes, then it will show you a “Test Successful” message; otherwise, it would ask you to recheck whether the repository actually has the owner you selected.

test trigger bitbucket.png

Once you've successfully completed the above steps, you are finished with the Trigger part of your Zap creation process.

2. Create an Action:

Next, you must define the ACTION that happens when respective trigger is "pulled" on bitbucket (our chosen application). The following screenshot shows the ACTION adding stage of Zap creation:

choose an action app - zapier.png

First, you must select where the action would occur (relevant application) once it's been triggered. I selected the Gmail application because I want to receive an email notification when someone pushes changes to my TestRepo. Select send email as an action in next screen.

select gmail action.png

Next, you need to authorize the chosen app, i.e. Gmail, by adding your login account and giving it permission to send emails from your Gmail account.

selecy your gmail account _.png

Once authorized, the Gmail application will ask for relevant fields to be auto-filled in order to generate emails when triggers occur.

setup gmail email 1.png

edit template.png

test gmail -2.png

Once all the fields are filled and you've completed the ACTION phase, it will proceed to test whether the ACTION has been successfully added.

The last testing step completes the ACTION part of your Zap creation.

test gmail.png

3.Test Your ZAP:

The next step is to turn the Zap ON.

ready to run your zap ?.png

Once the Zap is ON, you must test the Zap.

awesome , your zap is working.png

If you have successfully created the Zap, it should show up in your Zapier dashboard.

zap appears in dashboard.png

Let's test the Zap out. First, you must make the commits to your repository “TestRepo” (which was defined in the trigger) — as soon as you make a commit, you should see an automated email in your designated email inbox.

bitbucket new commit.png

Voila! Here's the email:

email arrives in inbox.png


Zapier helps save a lot of time and money, which otherwise would have been spent on automating mundane business processes. Furerthermore, it does it in just a few clicks. Making a Zap is so easy and accessible — anyone can do it without having any technical knowledge about coding. All you have to do is specify certain triggers within an application, which you are already using, and then specify an Action that takes place automatically when respective trigger is triggered.

I hope you found this tutorial useful — start automating your tasks in just a few clicks!

If you want to learn more about Zapier, we recently hosted Bryan Helmig, Co-founder and CTO of Zapier, for a live Q&A!

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