< Back to Blog

Zapier Review - What is Zapier & More (The Complete Guide)

Person looking at documents with a web of integration on top

Imagine you asked all 50 of your employees to send you photos of themselves to use in the end of year newsletter. Now every individual emails you their photo attached. This means you have to open 50 different emails and download the attachments.

That's a lot of work, isn't it?

Or maybe not.

Zapier could do all that for you and store the photos in a cloud file that is linked to your Publisher or whatever tool you use to design the newsletters.

Impressive?

That's just the scratch on the surface of what you can achieve. When you learn how to connect the apps you use often, you can automate hundreds of repetitive tasks that your business has to perform. But let’s start from the beginning.

What is Zapier Used for?

Zapier is an online tool that acts as the “hand of the king” (the user is the king). It helps get things done between different apps and saves the user from performing manual tasks such as copying and pasting information or downloading and then uploading from one app to another or saving documents in a particular app. Zapier is used to automate the integration of different apps used by both individual users and businesses.

If you take the above example of 50 employees sending emails to a single recipient, Zapier can be used to connect your email account (Gmail/Outlook) to say Google Photos so that every attached photo is automatically extracted from the email and sent to Photos and a notification is sent to the recipient that the pictures have been sent.

Take your document automation to the next level by connecting Hub to your favorite apps (powered by Zapier). Know about Zapier integration with Windward Hub here.

How Does Zapier Work?

Most people are concerned that they may need to write a few lines of code to automate different actions. However, since Zapier is a no-code tool, there’s no reason to know ones and zeros or hire someone who knows how to code. It works based on triggers and actions. Any ordinary user can set up a trigger and then determine the action.

To understand this better, let us go back to the photos being sent to an email address:

Users can create zaps that determine what automated task will be performed. With the use of simple integration between apps, it can turn the most mundane yet important business tasks into routine automations that get more work done.

How to Use Zapier?

To use Zapier, you need to understand the following terms:

Trigger: This is an event that will set off an action. A user indicates a trigger that is recognized by Zapier as a green light to begin an action.

Action: It is the task performed by Zapier once the trigger occurs. A user defines the action they want to be taken once a trigger occurs.

Zap: A zap is a combination of a trigger and action that create a workflow between two apps for example an email app will be connected to a cloud storage app using a zap.

Filter: A filter is added information that sets conditions for an action to be taken. For example, you do not want every email attachment to be forwarded to Photos so you set a filter that only emails with image attachments should be forwarded to Photos. You can even specify which email addresses will be triggers.

Autoreplay: Sometimes a zap may fail and may need to be replayed. An autoreplay happens when there is a failure to execute a zap (a user can also run this manually).

Now that we have key definitions, we can go on to describe how to use Zapier. Obviously, you need to have signed up for an account and logged into that account. Once that is done, you can follow these steps.

Step 1: Choose a trigger from any of the apps you want to use.

Step 2: Indicate the action you want to be taken once the event is triggered.

Step 3: Run a test zap to see that it is actually working.

And that is how to use Zapier in 3 simple steps. Once you have created a zap, Zapier will do the rest and you can continue doing other business-related tasks.

Windward Hub connects with over 2000+ apps (powered by Zapier) to automate your document-related workflows. Know more about it here.

Zapier Integrations

There are over 2000 Zapier integrations and counting. The tool is designed to give businesses and users the ability to integrate without the need to code. Under normal circumstances, customizing app integration would be a long process involving developers. Now with this web-based tool, you can integrate thousands of apps that you use daily.

Many businesses use apps independently and this means you have to transfer data from one app to another manually. The amount of time spent doing this can add up to significant losses in productivity. By integrating these apps to work as a single process, you ensure continuity and efficiency within your business. Zapier automations are achieved within a few minutes. A salesperson can extract contacts of leads and enter them into an emailing list on MailChimp and then go ahead to send particular information to the leads based on certain triggers.

Zapier Zaps

Zapier zaps depend on a user’s need, you can mix and match the integrations to achieve automation between apps. The platform however has drop downs with suggested triggers and actions that are commonly used. At the same time, you can customize a zap with your desired trigger or action.

Zaps can be a single step or multistep. A single step involves one trigger and one action while multi-step zaps may include a series of actions and will have filters and searches as well. These zaps are available only to paid users.

Zapier Pricing

Zapier pricing includes a choice of free or paid plans. The cost is determined by the range of features and apps a user will have access to. The free version restricts access to premium integrations while paid plans will give you access to integrate premium apps like Salesforce, PayPal, and Shopify among others. These are the plans available:

Free: Is Zapier free? - The answer is Yes and it is a modest plan that can be used to learn more about the platform and how you can use it. With Zapier free plan, the user is limited to 100 tasks per month with restricted app access. You would have to pay for premium services.

Starter: This plan costs $19.99 a month with 750 tasks and a limit of 20 zaps. A user can gain access to 3 premium apps and they can create multi-step zaps. There is the option of an upgrade to 1500 tasks if you pay $39.

Professional: At $49 a month, a user gets unlimited Zaps and 2000 tasks with the option of upgrading to 20,000 tasks at $189 per month.

Team: This plan offers unlimited zaps and 50,000 tasks for $299 per month. It includes features that support collaboration between teams. Upgrading within the Team tier costs $3,499 with the perk of 2 million multi-step Zaps.

Company: This is the top tier at $599 and includes 100,000 tasks and enterprise admin features. You can upgrade at $3,599 to access 2 million tasks. The company plan also entitles the user to training how to get the best of Zapier apps integration.

Zapier Review

The majority of customer Zapier reviews are positive and give support to technical reviews. Most people enjoy the speed at which automation is achieved as well as the consistency in delivery. Key features of this tool include:

Is Zapier Safe?

Since users connect apps with private data through Zapier, it is natural that they would ask if Zapier is safe? Zapier asserts that they use “bank-level encryption” this means every bit of data that is shared between apps is encrypted and there is no reason to worry about the transfer of data and its safety.

However, users need to be sure about the apps they choose to integrate and the safety that those apps provide. If a bank linked customer emails to their social media account, that can create a privacy breach that Zapier would not be responsible for.

Zapier Alternatives

Zapier is not the only bull in the kraal when it comes to workflow automation. Some people may find Zapier alternatives a better fit for their needs when it comes to features and pricing. However, Zapier is one of the most popular and there is a higher chance of finding the app you use integrates with Zapier than some of its competitors or alternatives. Those that compare closely to this tool include:

All in all, Zapier has been tried and tested by many people who find it just what they need to achieve flawless app integration. Businesses and individuals can automate mundane tasks so they can free up time to focus on what matters.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Try Windward Hub with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in a snap. Know more about our zaps and integrations here.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Genesis Abel

Written by:_
Genesis Abel
Windward © 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Contact

Got questions about reporting and document generation? We've got answers—let's connect!
Send a note
messaging, phone, or email contact optionsclose out button