Formatted data is incorrect in later Zap steps

If you're using a Formatter step in your Zap but the newly formatted data is not coming through correctly in a later step, this guide will walk you through some troubleshooting steps.

1. Map the output from your Formatter step instead of the original value

The first thing to check is that you’re mapping the formatted output of the formatter step in the action template, rather than the original data.

actionEdit icon Example

In this example, we’re making a Zap that sends us a text message every time a new event is added to Google Calendar. We want the event to be formatted like “January 4 2019” rather than “2019-01-04”, so we add a Formatter step. In order to use the formatted value in the text message, we need to replace the original Google Calendar output with the output from the Formatter step.

2. Check that your Formatter step is working correctly.

If you’re already mapping the output of the Formatter step, make sure that the Formatter is working correctly by checking the result of the Test this step.

The output of a Formatter shows up on this screen next to Output.

3. For dates: set the From format and timezone fields

If you’re trying to format a date and the Formatter output is wrong, try setting the From format field and time zone fields in your Zap:

actionEdit icon Example

For example, if the data is coming in as 04-01-2019 but coming out as April 4, 2019 when we want it to be January 4, 2019, we’d need to specify that the From format is DD-MM-YYYY.

Zapier can usually automatically identify the format of an incoming date in order to convert it. But sometimes it cannot, which can result in the output being wrong. Defining the formats the original data is in and specifying time zones can help.

4. For Extract Pattern: Set a capture group

If you’re using the Extract Pattern transformation, but you’re not getting any text output, try including a capture group with your regex. Zapier will only output text if there is a capture group included here.

actionEdit icon Example

If we’re searching for the text "three" within "one two three four", we need to put "three" in parentheses.

5. How Formatter handles blank or invalid values

Formatter's handling of blank and invalid values varies by the type of Action being used. Here is a summary of the behavior you can expect:

Text Transforms:

  • Blank values return blank ('')
  • For transforms that involve parsing/extracting text, when it fails, returns blank

Number Transforms:

  • Formatting (Number, Currency, Phone Number)
    • Blank values return blank ('')
    • When formatting fails to produce a sensible value, will return the input unaltered (so "N/A" stays "N/A")
  • Operations (i.e. add)
    • Skip non-numerical inputs and return the result of performing the operation on numerical inputs
    • If all inputs are blank, will return 0
  • Spreadsheet Formula that fail to run correctly result in an error

Date/Time Transforms:

  • Blank values return blank ('')
  • When a valid date cannot be parsed from the input, returns "now", the moment in time the Zap is executing

If your formatted data is still incorrect after taking these steps, contact Zapier support for further assistance.

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