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Fixing Zapier and Google Sheets Errors

I love connecting my Google Sheets to Zapier to automate my processes, and I genuinely believe it’s one of the most flexible connections that Zapier offers. However, this connection can often cause hiccups that break your processes due to some common mistakes and errors.

Photo by Rubaitul Azad on Unsplash

Because I’ve connected a lot of Google Sheets to Zapier before, I wanted to help if you’re having some of the common errors I have faced. This article will help you identify what error you might be having and how to quickly solve it. It will also tell you what to do and what NOT to do when setting up your Google Sheet to be ready for a Zapier zap.

So let’s get to debugging your Google Sheets to Zapier problem!

Best Practices To Avoid Google Sheets & Zapier Connection Problems

  1. Always EVERY TIME turn off your zap before editing your sheet.
  2. Never EVER delete rows from your Google Sheet.
  3. Never EVER add rows in between your current data rows.
  4. Never EVER put a filter on your data.
  5. ALWAYS put edit warnings on your data sheet. This forces people to always confirm an edit to the sheet before it could mess up your Zapier automation.
Zapier and Google Sheets Errors Galore!

Error #1: Zapier Stopped Adding New Rows to The Google Sheet

How to Diagnose the Problem

First, this probably means that you probably either:

  1. Deleted a Row
  2. Added a column
  3. Deleted a column
  4. Deleting existing rows or columns.
  5. Added rows anywhere other than to the bottom of your sheet.
  6. Resorted your sheet.
  7. Renamed/rearranged columns.
  8. Renamed the sheet.
  9. Filtered the sheet.

You’ll need to do the following for each error type.

How to Fix if you Deleted/added Rows

Turn off the Zap, and then turn it back on again. Simple.

How to Fix if you Changed Columns

Turn off the Zap. Edit your zap to be using the correct and updated columns. Turn it back on again.

How to Fix if You Have a Data Filter

Unfilter your rows. Delete the filter. Turn off your Zap, and then turn it back on again.

Error #2: Google Sheets New Rows Are Not Triggering New Zap Runs

How to Diagnose the Problem

You probably added/deleted a row in your Google Sheet, and that made Zapier unhappy. So fix it!

How to Fix

Turn off the Zap and then turn it back on again. Make sure that in your test that the last row(s) are showing up. This will make sure that they are the most recent ones.

Error #3: Google Sheets is Timing Out and Won’t Write New Data or Rows

How to Diagnose the Problem

You’re probably sending too many new rows to your Google Sheet at the same time. This will cause your Google Sheet to not be able to process all of the rows, and it will time out. If you see that only certain rows of data are getting written to the sheet and the others are failing, this is most likely your issue.

If you’re using a lot of complex formulas that require a lot of processing power (Filters, Vlookups, ImportRange, etc…), then your Google Sheet needs to recalculate things for each new time you’re adding new data to the sheet.

How to Fix if Many Rows Being Written

Set up a delay step in your Zap to delay your task runs by 1 minute each. This will force Zapier to only send data to your Google Sheet once per minute. If you need to send 50 new rows to your sheet at the same time, setting up a delay step with a queue will make it send 1 row at a time over the course of 50 minutes (1 minute per task run).

How to Fix if I’m Using a Lot of Complex Formulas

Method #1: Set up a delay step in your Zap to delay your task runs by 1 minute each. This will force Zapier to only send data to your Google Sheet once per minute. If you need to send 50 new rows to your sheet at the same time, setting up a delay step with a queue will make it send 1 row at a time over the course of 50 minutes (1 minute per task run).

Method #2: Try to use Google Apps Scripts to run your calculations at one time and save the data as values instead of re-running the calculation whenever the sheet is updated. This will allow you to reduce the calculation time between new data being written so that the Zap won’t time out.

Error #4: Zap Won’t Run When I Change a Column Value

How to Diagnose the Problem

First, make sure that the value of your column really IS changing. If it still isn’t triggering your zap when you have that Zapier task type set up as a trigger, then you’ve got a problem.

This could have been caused by you adding rows or deleting columns (the most common error causing things).

How to Fix

Edit your zap’s trigger to make sure your “on change” column is set up to be the correct one. If it is, then turn off your zap and turn it back on again. Run some test cases, and check if the trigger is working again.

Error #5: Zapier Says I Don’t Have Authorization to Edit / Make Google Sheet

How to Diagnose the Problem

Ooops. Someone has been a bad boy and either changed the ownership of the Google Sheet or deleted Zapier’s authorization to your Google Drive / Sheets account.

How to Fix if the Sheet Has New Owner

Make sure that the original account that is connected to the sheet via Zapier still has edit permissions to the Google Sheet. You could also get the sheet’s new owner to add their Google Sheets account into Zapier’s connections list and then reconnect the Zap using their Google Sheets account, but the first way is probably quicker.

How to Fix if the Authorization Expired

Reconnect your Zapier account’s connection to the Google Sheet by updating the connection inside your Connections / My Apps page in Zapier.

Zapier’s Connections / My Apps Page

In short, the most common way to solve Google Sheets and Zapier errors is to turn off your zap and turn it back on again. Other errors such as timing out and more complex issues will really require you to dig into the documentation, read the error types, and reset your zap and Google Sheets structure to reduce the number of errors happening.

It can get tricky, and many times you’re going to need a Zapier Guru that you can hire on Upwork to debug your issues. There are many that you can hire for ~$20/hour, and I would highly recommend that if turning the zap on/off didn’t solve the issue and the error message in your Zap’s step isn’t clearly understandable, get some help.

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