Google Calendar Tips & Tricks

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How to Pull Specific Events When Using the Event Start Trigger

Creating and testing a Zap that uses the "Event Start" trigger can be tricky. When testing this trigger out, you usually get a set default data which sometimes is not what you need in setting up the Zap.

Maybe you're trying to add a Filter to the Zap but the test data isn't helping. Or maybe you need to get Named Variables from the Description of the Google Calendar event, but are unable to map the Action template since the Zap is not getting the specific calendar event description.

Whatever is the case, below are steps on how you can help the system find a specific event for testing:

  1. Create an event in your Google Calendar. Make sure that it's within the "Time before" settings you have. So if your time before settings is 15 minutes before and it's currently 7:20pm then Create an event at 7:30 pm. Make sure to also include data in the description if you need data from this field.

Create Google Calendar Event

  1. Add the title of the Event on the "Search Term" portion of the "Event Start" Trigger.

Add Title to Search term field in Google Calendar Event Start Trigger

  1. Test the Google Calendar event trigger. It should be able to get the recently created event instead of the default "Test Event"

Test Google Calendar

  1. Finish setting up the Filter/Action template using the retrieved data from the test

Map out action template with test data from event start trigger test 1
Map out action template with test data from event start trigger test 2

  1. Before turning On the Zap. Delete the event created in #1 and delete/edit the search term used in #2

Delete Google Calendar event
delete search term in Event start trigger

Use Google Calendar's New Event Start Trigger to Create a Long Delay

There may be situations where you would need to delay an Action from being performed but the timeframe is beyond the 1 month limit of Zapier's Delay app. In cases like this, you can use Google Calendar as a workaround.

The idea here being Google Calendar will act as an intermediary app for scheduling. Since you can create a calendar event anytime in the future (beyond 1 month) using Google Calendar, we're going to leverage this and use the Google Calendar Event Start Trigger to set the date when an action is to be performed.

Photo of Event Start button

To Create this workflow, 2 Zaps would be needed. Below shows how to structure those Zaps

Zap A:

  • Trigger: Set the Trigger App where the data would come from
  • Action: Google Calendar Create Detailed event

Zap B

  • Trigger: Google Calendar New Event Start
  • Action: Set the Action App where you want the data to be sent

To give a more concrete example, let's say you have a Form wherein a person is asked for their desired appointment schedule date. You want to send that person an automated Email reminding of that scheduled appointment one day before the desired date.

Photo showing a date capture field in form

In this scenario, you'll need to create 2 Zaps to create the scheduling workflow.

The first Zap would capture the date entered by the form respondent.

photo of Zap editor showing how to setup the Google calendar create event action

And it would save that date as an event in Google Calendar.

photo of event created in Google Calendar

The second Zap would then be setup to trigger 1 day before an event starts

photo of Zap settings showing event will trigger 1 day before event start

This would then send out the email notification to the user 1 day before their appointment schedule date.

miscEye icon Note

It's possible to send multiple fields to the second Zap using Named Variables. By putting your data as Named Variables in the event description, they'll show up as separate fields for the action(s) in the second Zap.

Filter on Free or Busy events

If an event is Free, a field called Transparency will appear in your data. This field doesn't appear if an event is Busy.

To filter for Free events, add a Filter step with the condition that the Zap will only proceed if the Transparency field exists. To filter for Busy events, add a Filter step with the condition that the Zap will only proceed if the Transparency field does not exist.

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