Zapier Trigger Visual Builder

Every Zap starts with a trigger, powered by either a webhook subscription that watches for new data as it comes in or a polling GET API call to check for new data periodically.

Triggers are how your app’s users can start automated workflows whenever they add or update something in your app. New emails, messages, blog posts, subscribers, form entries, commits, and much more are the initial data that underpin every Zap.

As triggers only watch for new data and typically need to send no or little data to the app, they’re often quicker to setup than Zapier action steps. Zapier can watch for any new or updated item through your API—or optionally, you can include input fields for users to enter filters, tags, and other details to filter through new data and watch for the items they want.

Note: Triggers are displayed in the order they are added to Zapier integrations, so be sure to add your app’s most important triggers first.

Trigger Types

Zapier only includes one Trigger step, but your app may use triggers in multiple ways. Most Zapier triggers run when new items are added to an app, database, project, or file. Some apps also include update triggers that run whenever an item is updated in the app, which is useful to help users keep data up-to-date across apps using Zapier.

To make a standard trigger, use an API endpoint that lists new items in an array sorted in reverse chronological order. These are typically the most common API endpoints to read data from a platform. If your API lists items in a different order by default but allows for sorting, include an order or sorting field in your API call.

To make an update trigger, use an API endpoint that lists all items, both new and updated, or alternately an endpoint that lists only updated items. Zapier needs a composite id field that changes whenever the item is updated (ideally z.hash('md5', + item.updated_at)), so subsequent updates aren’t be filtered out by Zapier’s deduper. Again, this should return an reverse chronological order array. Be sure to include details in your trigger description that lets users know which updates will run this trigger.

How to Add a New Trigger to a Zapier Integration

1. Configure Trigger Settings

Zapier trigger settings

Start building your trigger by adding details about what this trigger does. You need to add both internal data to identify your trigger, and user facing text to describe the trigger to users.

Add each of the following to your trigger:

  • Key: A unique identifier for this trigger to reference it inside Zapier. Does not need to be the same identifier as used in your API. Not shown to users.
  • Name: A human friendly plain text name for this trigger, typically with a verb such as New or Updated followed by the name of the item this watches for in your app. Shown inside the Zap editor and on Zapier’s app directory marketing pages.
  • Noun: A single noun that describes what this trigger watches for, used by Zapier to auto-generate text in Zaps about your trigger.
  • Description: A plain text sentence that describes what the trigger does and when it should be used. Shown inside the Zap editor and on Zapier’s app directory marketing pages.
  • Visibility Options: An option to select when this trigger will be shown. Important is chosen by default, and will show this trigger inside Zap trigger steps by default. Choose None if you want this trigger hidden by default, useful for rarely used triggers. Or, choose Hidden if this trigger should not be shown to users.

Once the settings are added, click Save and Continue to add the new trigger and save your settings. You can edit the settings any time later with the exception of the create or search option.

2. Build Trigger Input Form (optional)

Zapier Trigger input form

Most triggers need no user configuration. When something new is added to an app, the API pushes the details to Zapier to start the Zap, with no details needed. If your API supports filtering or requires specific details about the project, folder, or other location details for the data, you may need to add an input form where users can add the necessary details.

In the second tab of the visual builder’s trigger settings, add input fields for each data item you need from users for the trigger. Check our Input Designer Guide for complete details on how to create an input form and each of the field types and options available.

Once your form is complete—or if you don’t need to include an input form—click the API Configuration settings tab to set how Zapier will get data from your app and test the trigger.

3. Enter API Configuration

Zapier Polling Trigger Settings

The last part of adding a trigger is setting is API configuration.

Zapier uses either a Polling API call to check periodically for new or updated data, or a REST hook with a subscription URL where Zapier can subscribe to receive new or updated data automatically.

Polling API results are expected to be an array with 0 or more objects that will be passed to Zapier’s deduper. The deduper will return any items that haven’t been received before, and use them to run the subsequent steps in the user’s Zap.

Polling Trigger

Zapier selects a Polling trigger by default, where Zapier will send a GET request to an API endpoint URL to request new data—and in live Zaps, Zapier automatically deduplicates and sorts for the newest data from the API. Live Zaps automatically poll the URL for new data every 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the user’s Zapier plan.

To add a polling trigger, select Polling at the top of the settings page, then enter your API URL in the API Endpoint field. If your API URL requires specific data in the URL, enter the following text in the URL where your API expects that data, replacing key for the input field key with the relevant data from the input form you created before:


Otherwise, Zapier will automatically send any other input field data in the request body with the API call.

If you plan to use this trigger to power dropdown menus in other Zap steps (such as to find users, projects, folders, and other app data often used to create new items), and if your API call can paginate data, check the Support Paging box (see more details on pagination below).

If your API requires any additional data, you can add them from the Show Options button. Or, if needed, click the Switch to Code Mode to write a custom API call in JavaScript code. The first time you switch to Code Mode, Zapier will translate the settings in the form to code so you can start with the basics already configured. If you switch back to form mode, though, Zapier will not transfer any changes from the code mode to the form.

Once you’ve added your trigger settings, be sure to click the Save API Request & Continue button to save the settings you’ve added.

Rest Hook Trigger

Zapier Rest Hook Settings

Alternately, if your app supports REST Hooks—or webhook subscriptions that can be manipulated through a REST API—select REST Hook for your trigger. More detail on REST Hooks is here, but please note that the Zapier implementation does not support Identity Confirmation. This will let your trigger run in near realtime with your app pushing data to Zapier, running Zaps as soon as new data comes into your app instead of waiting for Zapier to fetch new data from your API.

With a REST Hook trigger, you need to add a Subscribe and Unsubscribe URL that Zapier can use to set up and remove the hook subscription.

In addition to the subscribe and unsubscribe URLs, it’s helpful to add a Perform List URL where Zapier should check for recent items. This will be used to fetch data when users are testing the Zap, so that they don’t need to fire off a hook during testing.

Rest Hook Perform

Finally, you can customize the code to evaluate the data your app’s webhooks pass to Zapier. By default, Zapier includes return [bundle.cleanedRequest]; to return the object from your previous step. If your data needs to be transformed, or includes multiple objects, add custom code to parse the response data in bundle.cleanedRequest within the Perform and turn it into an array of objects, such as this example code.

Both the Perform and Perform List methods should return arrays. The object(s) within the arrays should have the same data structure, so that live data will behave as expected based on the test data the user maps. See Sample Data in the FAQ for more details on this.

Once you’ve added your trigger settings, be sure to click the Save API Request & Continue button to save the settings you’ve added.

→ Learn more about how Zapier REST Hooks work in our FAQ

Test Trigger API Calls

Test Zapier Trigger

Once you’ve finished adding your polling or rest hook trigger settings, it’s time to make sure everything you’ve built so far works and fetches the correct data from Zapier. In the Test Your API Request section, you should see the app account you added when testing your authentication. If not, add an app account first.

Then if you added an input form for your Trigger, add data for each of those fields. Be sure to use real data that will work in your app, as Zapier will use it in an API call to your app to fetch live data from your authenticated app account.

Click Test Your Result, and if your trigger is set up correctly, you’ll see a green checkmark and a Request Successful message in the top right.

Zapier Trigger Test Results

Zapier will show the raw, JSON formatted response from your API in the Response tab with every output field your app sends to Zapier. You can see the data Zapier sent to your API in the Bundle tab, or the raw HTTP request in the HTTP tab.

Define Sample Data and Output Fields

Adding Sample Data to Zapier integration Sample Data gives Zapier example data if users don’t test the trigger or action. Output Fields give your API data user-friendly names in subsequent Zap steps.

The last step in creating a new Trigger for a Zapier integration is to Define your Output. Here, Zapier asks both for Sample Data and Output Fields. Both will help improve the Zapier experience for your users, and Sample Data is especially important for Triggers.

Sample Data in a Zap Step

Sample Data is the default data Zapier shows users when building a Zap using this trigger. In the Zap Editor, Zapier will ask to test the Zap step after users set it up. With Triggers, Zapier will try to fetch recently added or updated items during the test.

If users are in a hurry, though, they can skip the testing step. Zapier will then show the sample data instead. Or, if the connected account doesn’t have any data for this item yet, Zapier will default to showing the sample data instead of showing an error that no items are available.

Note that regardless of how many items are retrieved when testing, the Zap Editor will only show up to three samples during the initial test. If new items are later added, those can be pulled in using “Load More”, but older items will not be used.

In the Sample Data box, either click the Use Response from Test Data button to import the fields your app sent to Zapier in the previous test, or add your own JSON-formatted fields. Only keep the most important fields, and make sure the data you include with those fields is non-private, non-identifiable testing data that can be shared publicly.

Then click Generate Output Field Definitions, and Zapier will build a table of your fields under Output Fields. Add a user-friendly name for each field and select the field type. Click Save Output & Finish to finish the final part of your trigger.

You can now make a new Zap using your trigger to test out the trigger live inside Zapier.

How to Reorder Triggers in a Zapier Integration

Triggers in Zapier

When users select your app as the trigger step in a Zap, they’ll see the triggers marked as Important by default, with every other integration hidden under the show less common options menu.

Triggers are originally listed in the order you add them to your integration. As people use your integration, Zapier will show your integration’s most popular triggers first, automatically reordering them based on popularity. You cannot set a trigger to always be in a specific order in your integration’s trigger list.

Trigger visibility

You can however change a trigger’s importance and thus choose whether it’s shown by default or not at any time. Open the trigger in Zapier visual builder, scroll to the bottom of the page to the Visibility Options menu. Select Important to have the trigger show by default, None to have the trigger in the show less common options menu, and Hidden if you want to keep users from being able to use this trigger (often used if the trigger is only used to power dynamic fields).

How to Remove Triggers From a Zapier Integration

Delete Trigger from Zapier Integration

If your app no longer supports a trigger, or you wish to fully rebuild one, you can remove it from Zapier anytime. To delete a trigger from an integration, open the Triggers tab in Zapier visual builder, click the gear icon beside the trigger you wish to remove, select Delete, and confirm you wish to remove the trigger.

You cannot restore deleted triggers, so make sure you select the correct triggers for deletion.

Note: Only remove triggers from pre-release integrations, or from new versions that will later be rolled out to users. Never remove a trigger from a live, public integration version.

How to Use Pagination

Zapier triggers by default fetch new or recently updated data to start Zaps, and only need to find the most recently added item. Triggers can also be embedded in Zapier action drop-down menus, though, and there they need to find all possible items to populate the menu.

Instead of a single item, these triggers’ API calls for dynamic menus will often find dozens or hundreds of items. Many APIs let you split the results into pages, much like pages of search results or blog entries. The first API call will return the first set of results—often 20 to 100. If you want additional entries, you can make a new API call requesting page 2 and get the next set of results, iterating through the pages until the API has sent every possible option.

Zapier drop-down Example drop-down menu in the Zap editor, with an option to load more choices via pagination

To enable pagination, check the Support Paging checkbox in the API settings when building a Zapier trigger. That enables Zapier’s value which tracks which page Zapier has loaded, along with a Check Ap‌p & reload to bring in new choices option in the user-facing Zapier editor’s dropdown menus.

Include pagination value in Zapier API call In Zapier visual editor, include the value to request the correct page of results

You then need to include that in your API call to let Zapier dynamically fetch the correct page, as Zapier doesn’t include it automatically. First check the Support Paging box. Then click your API endpoint’s Show Options button, and add a new URL Param for your API’s paging option (or optionally add it to your HTTP Headers if your API expects the paging value there). Use the page request field name from your API on the left, and {{}} on the right to have Zapier pull in the correct page value.

Zapier pagination code mode Zapier’s code mode lets you customize the API calls and bundle response parsing

Zapier’s value uses zero-based numbering. The first time Zapier fetches data from your API, it uses a page value of 0, followed by 1 the second time, and so on. If your API expects the first API call to request page 1, with 2 for the second page and so on, you’ll need to customize your API call in Zapier’s code editor.

The easiest way to do that is to first set your API call in the form mode, then click the Switch to Code Mode toggle. Zapier will convert your form values to code, and if your API works correctly aside from pagination, the defaults in code mode will work. All you need to do is edit your pagination code. If you need non-zero-based numbering, the following code for your pagination header should work (substituting the correct term your API uses for pagination):

'page': + 1,

Zapier max entries loaded

To test your paginating trigger, first build a Zapier Action that uses this trigger in a dynamic dropdown. Then make a new Zap in the user-facing Zap editor that uses your action with the dropdown. Click the dropdown, scroll to the end, and click the Check App & bring in more choices button. Repeat until it loads the last options, which will show a result similar to the one above.

Check headers In the Zapier trigger test tool’s HTTP logs, you can see the headers and params that Zapier sends to your app

If you see a Sorry, no more choices option when there should be more options available from your account, go back and check your trigger settings to ensure Zapier is passing the correct details to your app. Test the trigger, and check the HTTP tap for details about the request Zapier sent your app. Zapier should show a page=0 value (or the correct term for pages in your API) under the Request Params header by default, or a page=1` if you’re customizing the page request to start at 1.

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