March 13, 2021

Introducing Sortd Automations and Zapier Integration

Sortd has recently released a new Automations feature, along with Zapier integration. Find out what these powerful tools can do to help streamline your workflow and enhance the value you can get from using Sortd.

What are Automations?

Well, Sortd's automations provide simple and powerful features to customise your team workflows, without manual intervention by allowing you to create rules that will cause Sortd to automate repetitive tasks or actions. Okay, that was a mouthful, simply put automations allow you to do something like “if this activity happens then perform that action”. Simple, huh!

So what can automations do, well, how about:

  • Automatically move items from your Inbox onto any shared task board and list, or
  • Automatically create tasks, or
  • Automatically assign tasks to a team member

Okay, so what is Zapier integration? Well, Sortd Automations only allow you to create rules where both the initiating activity and the consequent action are inside Sortd, but what happens if you want an activity external to Sortd to trigger an action inside Sortd, or vice versa, where an activity inside Sortd should trigger an external action, well, thats where Zapier comes in. Zapier allows you to create rules like “if this activity happens in ‘My 3rd Party App’ then perform that action inside Sortd”, or conversely “if this activity happens in Sortd then perform that action in ‘My 3rd Party App’”. Obviously for this to happen, both Sortd and your “My 3rd Party App” need to be integrated into the Zapier platform, but as Zapier has integrations into thousands of Apps, I am confident you should be able to do a great many interesting and useful things!

Okay, so this all sounds cool, but can you do whatever you want? Unfortunately no, in both the case of Sortd Automations and Zapier we have defined certain types of activities that can be triggered on, and actions that can be, well, actioned (duh!), but as you will see, even within these limitations you can achieve quite a few interesting things. Of course, this is also only our initial release and we hope to expand on Sortd’s capabilities over time, so feel free to contact us and let us know what super cool Automation we should implement (that will benefit all Sortd users).

Okay, so enough talk, let's see how it’s done!

One thing that Sortd cannot currently do is create periodic recurring tasks, so here I am going to show you how to create a Task in Sortd that reappears every week and gets assigned to you or another team member. We will use both Zapier and Sortd Automations to achieve this!

Starting with Zapier, first you need to go to Zapier, and create an account if you do not already have one. You can do this with your Google Account so this part is easy!

In the world of Zapier, rules that connect Apps together are called ‘Zaps’ and while Zapier is a paid for service, they very kindly let us create 5 Zaps that run up to 100 times per month for free (100 Tasks). 

Once you have logged in, start by clicking on the “Make a Zap” button, and you will see a screen similar to that displayed below.

First give your Zap a name, I’m going to choose “Zapier Weekly Task”, and instead of linking a 3rd Party app to Sortd what we are going to do is use the Zapier Schedule functionality, so click the Schedule button, once you have given your Zap a name.

You will be presented with a screen like the following:

Next, choose “Every Week” as the Trigger Event and click Continue.

We now need to set up the Trigger by choosing the “Day of the Week” and “Time of Day”. I’m going to choose Wednesday and 9am. Monday has enough trouble of its own, and earlier in the day I am probably still dealing with unexpected events so planning something at that time is not good for me! 

Click Continue. Then Click “Test Trigger” and Continue again. Nothing terribly useful happens here, though if we were connecting a 3rd party App we would need to pay more attention.

Now that we have completed setting up the Trigger, we can start on the Action. You should see a screen similar to that shown below.

We’re going to start by selecting Sortd as our App we want to integrate with, so type Sortd in the search box, and select the Sortd app (currently in Beta).

You should see a screen like this:

Next, choose the Action Event, in this case “Create Task”.

Once you have done that you will be asked to link your Zapier Account to your Sortd Account. Select “choose an account”, followed by “Connect New Account”.

Zapier will open a popup window where you will need to complete your Sortd<-->Zapier integration which is done by using Sortd API keys. If you have not already done so, you will need to create an API key inside Sortd that can be used to link to Zapier.

From within your Sortd account, open the Sortd Settings (small cog on bottom left) and select the API tab. Type ‘Zapier’ into the field that says “new API key” and click “Generate”. Sortd will create you a new API Key and API Secret. Clicking "Show" will allow you to copy the API Secret.

Now return to Zapier and complete the form using the API Key and Secret you just generated. Use the same name for your API key and use the email address of the Sortd account that you are linking to. Click “Yes, Continue”.

If all goes to plan you should now be able to configure the Create Task action inside Sortd that you want to occur when the weekly Schedule event is triggered by Zapier. Here choose your Team, Board and List from the drop downs provided.

For the Task Title I recommend typing something meaningful so you know what the Task is about, and then using the available fields in the Zapier drop down to add extra information. I recommend adding the “Pretty Date” so that you know which date this recurring task is for. The "Task Title" field will become the title of your task inside Sortd.

Once you have added the Task Title you can add a Task Description, I have left the Deadline blank as that adds complexity in terms of date formatting and is beyond the scope of this simple blog post.

Click Test & Continue.

Returning to Sortd, you should now see a Task in the Board and List that you chose. This is a task Zapier created as a test task, and is not based on the date and time of the trigger you created earlier. You can safely delete it. If you do not immediately see the task, and Zapier says it was successful, try refreshing Sortd.

If you are happy, enable the Zap, and hopefully the next week you will receive your recurring task in your Sortd board!

Wow, that was a lot of steps, but thankfully they were all quite easy!

Hopefully that should give you a taste of what is possible with Sortd and Zapier Integration. In the next article I will demonstrate how to automatically assign this recurring Task to myself.

Ha, I know I tricked you into believing that I would show you now, but patience is a virtue and I will create part two soon. In the meantime, see if you can figure it out by yourself. Hint, Try, clicking on Automations in Sortd, and selecting “When a new Task is created” as the Trigger event.

So, this was an example of how you could use Zapier to add a Task to Sortd, but you can also get data from Sortd and push it into other Apps. In that case instead of using the Zapier scheduler as a Trigger you need to set up Sortd as the Trigger as shown in the screen below. Then simply follow the steps we followed in this exercise but choose some other App to complete the Action.

Thats, all folks, till part two arrives.

Written by
Bradley Greathead