Natural Language Automation | Build a Knowledge Base from Email | Zapier Central

Upskill your Automation with Zapier Central

Learn how to create your first Zapier Central automation using natural language. Easy steps to creating a knowledge base from emails.

Teach a back-office AI bot to automate tasks. Zapier has launched Zapier Central - "an experimental AI workspace where you can teach bots to work across 6,000+ apps (Zapier, n.d.)".

automate work flow with Zapier Central

This Article's Use Case:

Upskill your Automations. Start to understand what Zapier Central is and what it can do. Learn by doing. This tutorial shows you how to set up your Zapier Central account and create your first bot.

This bot saves targeted emails to a knowledge base.

What is Zapier Central?


"Work hand in hand with AI bots"
"Zapier Central is an experimental AI workspace where you can teach bots to work across 6,000+ apps (Zapier, n.d.)."

My understanding is Zapier Central puts a natural language AI chat process (similar to ChatGPT) on top of the Zapier automation process.

This is a no-code environment - Zapier Central allows you to build Zapier powered automations without code.

  • Use GPT style natural language;
  • Add a knowledge base;
  • Add actions.

  - The knowledge base is dynamic - updated in real-time.

This is a game changer. Let's get started.

Create your Zapier and Zapier Central Account

To use Zapier Central, I need a Zapier account.

sign up to Zapier
Sign up to Zapier using Google or work email

TIP: Use the Work Email option in order to access Zapier help features.

Add App connections to your Zapier account

Before hopping over to Zapier Central, add some 'App connections' to your Zapier account. You will use these connections to build your bot.

You will add a connection to your:

  • Gmail
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Drive

To add connections, follow the process below:

Add Zapier Apps to your account
1 - click to add Apps (connections to your Apps)
Add Zapier Apps
1 - Click to add Zapier Apps (connections to your apps)
Connected Zapier Apps
1 - Shows the existing connections
2 - Click to add an additional connection
Adding additioal App connections
1 - Search for additional App connections to add

Now that we have Apps connected, we can hop over to Zapier Central.

The Google Sheet

Before you create the bot in Zapier Central, have a Google Sheet available.

Make a note of the name of the Google Sheet.

In your Google Drive, create a new Google Sheet with the following columns:

  1. id
  2. date
  3. subject
  4. body

You are now ready to create your bot.

Creating your bot in Zapier Central  

Follow the process below to log in and start creating your bot:

Zapier Central page
1 - We have already signed up
2 - Click to try Central
Zapier Central login
1 - Continue with Google
2 - Continue with Work Email

The first time you log in to Zapier Central, you see a screen similar to the one below.  

Zapier Central first time login
The screen you see the first time you log in to Zapier Central.

NOTE: The 'Minecraft' type icons above my Avatar on the left, you will not see until you have created your first bot.

  1. Name your bot—'Test Email to Google Sheet';
  2. Describes what Behaviours are and what to do with them. Behaviours include:
    1. Instructions: ChatGPT style;
    2. Triggers: What triggers the Action;
    3. Actions: What the bot will do.
  3. Describes Data Sources;
  4. Start building your 'Save New Email' bot—click 'Create behavior'.

Add your first behaviour

Following from the screen above, you have clicked the 'Create behavior' button.

Follow on below by renaming your behaviour and adding a Trigger:

Rename your bot and create behaviour
1 - Add your Trigger
2 - Rename your bot - 'Check for email'


Add trigger
1 - Add Gmail as your trigger source
Select the New Email trigger
1 - Select the New Email trigger
Add your Gmail and select Inbox
1 - Add your Gmail account;
2 - Select INBOX
Select Inbox
1 - Select INBOX
Add the Trigger
1 - Add the Trigger

Now add your Action

Follow on below to add your Action:

Add the Action
1 - Now add the Action
The action is performed on a Google Sheet
1 - The Action is performed on a Google Sheet
Add a row to the Google Sheet
1 - The Action is to add a row to a Google Sheet

On the following screen, you will:

After clicking 'Google Sheets: Create Spreadsheet Row' do the following:

  1. Set the Google Sheets connection (we set this up when adding connections to your Zapier account);
  2. Set the Google Drive (set up as 1 above);
  3. Set the name of the Google Sheet to use - we created this in the step above (you are shown a list of Google Sheets in your Drive);
  4. Set the Worksheet to use;
  5. You will then see the columns in the Sheet and asked to select a process. For each of these, choose 'Have AI generate a value for this field';
  6. Insert Instructions.

The bot Instructions

I the 'Instructions' window, insert the following:

When a new e-mail arrives in the inbox, check if the email address ['enter search phrase'] exists in the email body. Perform Step by Step the following instructions:

Step 1 If the phrase is present, assign values to the following fields, the value is extracted from the email: clean_date: The send date of the email clean_subject: The Subject of the email clean_body: The Body of the email. Please ensure to strip out all line breaks [\n] and blank lines[\n\n].

Step 2 Trigger your Create Spreadsheet Row Action below, inserting the values from Step 1 as follows:
id into the 'id' column [COL$A] of the ['name_of_google_sheet'] Google Sheet.The value of id is determined from the Trigger data;
clean_date into the 'date' column [COL$B] of the ['name_of_google_sheet'] Google Sheet;
clean_subject into the 'subject' [COL$C] of the ['name_of_google_sheet'] Google Sheet;
clean_body into the 'body' [COL$D] of the ['name_of_google_sheet'] Google Sheet. 

The Instructions explained

Say you are following a creator and have subscribed to their mail list. Let us use   Josh Spector.

You want to build a record of his emails.
Find a phrase in that will be in all emails from Josh.
You will probably be safe using his email address,

So substitute ['enter search phrase'] with ''. Include the single quotes.

The bot then:

  1. Checks if a new email has arrived
  2. If so, performs the Instructions
  3. If the search phrase is present, fires the Action;
  4.  The Action adds a row to the spreadsheet.

Does the bot work?


I have the bot running.

As a variation, save to a new Google Document.

There are questions I will follow up:

Remember, Zapier Central is still experimental.

  • If more that 1 'New Emails' arrive between runs, it seems that only the first email is processed;
  • It seems that only +- 700 words of the email body are processed. If the email is longer, the copy is truncated.

Related articles

The following are of interest:

The Authentic Edge: Navigating your Path to Genuine Content Creation

Beginning to Navigate the "Almost Zone": Exploring Authenticity in AI-Generated Content

Hire Me? Lets talk!

I can help you with your:

  1. AI strategy;
  2. Prompt engineering;
  3. Content creation;
  4. Custom GPTs.

I am available for remote freelance work. Please contact me.


This article is written with the help of the following excellent resources:

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