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Connecting Timely with Zapier
While we may not be quite at the levels of technological advancement that movies and TV promised us in the last few decades, we have come a long way. Things that used to take minutes by hand now take seconds when given to a computer with the right guidelines. Part of the issue, however, is that there are a ton of different solutions for different problems, creating the rolodex of software we use on a daily basis.
Moving data between those different apps and software platforms can certainly be a challenge – which is where Zapier comes in!
What is Zapier?
Zapier is a service that lets you create no-code workflows to automate certain tasks and connect different apps and services together. Each workflow in Zapier, affectionately named a Zap, involves a couple of key components. A Trigger from one tool (the source of the data you want to share automatically) and an Action (or multiple actions) in another app (the receiver of your data). By creating a custom Zap to suit your specific needs, you push or pull data between a connected tool and Timely whenever a specific trigger event is fired.
Creating a Zapier account
Signing up for a Zapier account takes just a few clicks and then you can jump right into creating Zaps. Zaps can be used to import data from other tools to Timely, and export information from Timely to other tools! 📥
Note: If you have a free Zapier account, your Zaps will only run every 15 minutes. If you’re unfamiliar with Zapier, you can read more here about how it works here.
Connecting with Timely
To connect your Timely account with Zapier, follow these steps:
Log in to your Zapier account or create a new account.
Navigate to "My Apps" from the navigation bar.
Click "+ Add connection" and search for "Timely Time Tracking".
Use your credentials to connect your Timely account to Zapier.
Once connected, create your first Zap! Use a pre-made Zap or create your own from scratch!
Creating your first Zap
Let’s go ahead and get started on creating your Zap! Remember, Zaps are workflows - each sequence flows into the next until the sequence of actions has been completed. Your job is to create the logic of the workflow, ultimately moving data how you’d like. The exact steps can vary a bit depending on the apps in question, but here’s a general guide:
Click “+ Create Zap” from the Zapier home screen and search for “Timely Time Tracking” to get started.
Choose App & Event. “Timely Time Tracking” should already be listed as the chosen app, the next step is to choose an event to kick off this Zap. Select an option from the event dropdown and click Continue.
Choose account. Select the Timely account you want to use in the Zap. Unless you’ve connected multiple Timely accounts across different email addresses, you’ll only have one option to select here.
Set up trigger. Select the workspace from the list that will trigger the Zap. You may have different workspaces you’ve created under the same email address in Timely (i.e. one for work and one for personal use).
Test trigger. You’ll want to test the trigger to ensure everything is connected properly. If you receive a positive response you can click “Continue” to proceed, otherwise, you’ll need to look over the previous steps and correct any errors.
Action < app event. Select the recipient tool you’d like to connect by using the search bar and the app’s name.
Choose app & event. From the dropdown, choose the event that you’d like to happen. This is the second stage, so think of this as deciding where you want the data to end up.
Choose account. Select the account for the app in question.
Set up action. This section will be a bit different depending on the receiving app. You’ll need to decide how to map the data to the various fields in this section.
Test action. Test the action and then check your destination app to make sure everything looks as expected.
Click the “Publish” button and turn on the Zap. ⚡️
Note: The instructions here are geared towards exporting data from Timely, but the same general workflow is used when importing as well. You’ll just start off selecting the receiving app and following the steps from there.
Exporting from Timely
You can create Zaps to push the following data from Timely to create records in other tools:
New [or Updated] Project
New [or Updated] Time Entry
New or Updated Person
Importing to Timely
You can create Zaps to pull the following data from other apps and create a record in Timely:
New Time Entry
The steps to import data into Timely are much the same as when building a Zap to export data from Timely, but can vary a bit depending on the app or service.
One thing to remember about pulling data into Timely from other tools – once the Zap is enabled, it will run at certain intervals based on the trigger you select. To keep Timely clean and clear from incomplete entries or projects, we’d recommend creating an approval process or some level of vetting wherein the table or sheet you’re importing from contains the final version of what you want to send to Timely.
In Airtable, for example, you could create two views in one table: one view with your draft projects. and another with approved projects. That way, you can create, edit and finalize any projects before approving them and pushing them to another view that’s connected to your Zap.
Note: If you’re using a tool like Airtable/Google Sheets where you can customize the format of specific columns, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
Columns that house data such as project IDs or hourly rates should be set as numbers
Columns for names of projects should be formatted as single line text
Before connecting a Zap like this, it’s always a good idea to create a sheet or table in your recipient tool that has columns set up in advance.
How does Zapier work?
Zapier connects apps on the backend to automate tasks you might normally do manually. Zapier’s website has a fantastic article that explains the process in depth.
Will I need a paid Zapier account?
That depends on how you or your team use Zapier more broadly. Zapier has different subscription plans to fit different needs, each with their own features and limitations. Zapier does offer a free account which allows for a limited amount of single-step Zaps at 15-minute intervals. You can check out the different plans available here.
What are some popular examples of integrations you can build with Timely and Zapier?
We’ve put together a few example Zaps here that show different workflows with a few of our more popular use cases. You can also find inspiration on Timely’s listing in Zapier.
There are a number of different options available and as we add more triggers and actions, more opportunities will become available to you as well!
How do I know if an app or service is available on Zapier?
As you create your Zap, you’ll be prompted to search for and select the receiving or sending app. If your favorite app isn’t listed in Zapier as an option, or their available actions aren’t quite what you are looking for, we’d encourage you to contact that service directly to pass along that feedback.
What if a specific trigger or action isn’t listed?
Each app or service who works with Zapier builds out the different possible triggers or actions available based on a number of factors. You’ll see the available options as you build out your Zap.
If you can think of additional possibilities you’d like with the Timely app in Zapier, please feel free to drop us a line.
How is Zapier different from the Timely API?
Timely offers a robust API for customers who are interested in building a tailormade integration between Timely and their own app or platform. It’s best suited for very technical users or teams who have access to developers who can build out that integration. This process typically requires investment in technology and engineering resources.
On the other hand, Zapier is designed to be user-friendly and does not require engineering resources to set up – just a good understanding of the process. It can be used to move data between Timely and a number of existing apps and platforms that are already available on Zapier.
More technically, API calls must be programmed and created to retrieve data from Timely, whereas Zapier workflows can run off of specific actions or situations (triggers).