Power Automate Desktop Flow – How to start

In this Power Automate tutorial, we will discuss the Power Automate Desktop flow. And also we will discuss the below points:

  • Power Automate Desktop flow
  • Types of Power Automate Desktop Flow
  • When to use Power Automate Desktop Flow
  • Power Automate desktop flow vs cloud flow
  • Power automate desktop flow license
  • Power automate desktop flow download
  • Power automate desktop create flow
  • Explore Power Automate Desktop
  • Power automate desktop flow schedule
  • Power automate desktop flow share
  • Power automate desktop flow shortcut
  • Power automate desktop flow-export

Power automate desktop flow introduction

Microsoft introduced Power Automate for desktop to automate all repetitive desktop processes. Even if you are a single home user, an enterprise customer, or a small business, Power Automate desktop is for all. You can automate simple to complex tasks for your desktop by using the Power Automate desktop.

Power Automate desktop enhances existing robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities to make tasks automatic.

Power Automate desktop is by default installed in Windows 11. Users can use the Power Automate desktop to create flows that will automate repetitive tasks, without even much developer knowledge.

There are more than 400 pre-built actions are available on the Power Automate desktop. It also has a recorder that can capture keyboard and mouse functions.

Not only you can use the existing actions, easily you can record your activity and covert these steps into actions.

For example, you can extract details from an invoice copy and store it inside a SharePoint list.

Read Convert SharePoint document to PDF using Power Automate

When to use Power Automate Desktop Flow

Here we will see when to use Power Automate desktop Flow.

There are lots of prebuilt actions are available in PAD, ideally, we should use Power Automate desktop flow when the actions are not available in Power Automate web.

Here are a few examples, where we can use Power Automate Desktop flow.

  • Read and store excel data to database using Power Automate Desktop flow.
  • Launch different browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox or create and navigate to a new tab, etc.
  • Download any file from the web and strore it in SharePoint
  • Invoke a web service
  • Extract images or text from PDF, Merge PDF files and store in SharePoint document library, etc.

Read Convert SharePoint list item to PDF using Flow or Power Automate

Power Automate desktop flow vs cloud flow

Here we will see the difference between Power Automate desktop flow vs cloud flow.

The difference between Power Automate Desktop Flow vs Power Automate Cloud Flow.

Desktop FlowCloud Flow
The Power Automate Desktop Flow is designed using Power Automate Desktop designer and is designed in the desktopThese are the flows we usually create from the web or cloud (Power Automate portal) (https://flow.microsoft.com) by using various connectors.
It is ideal to use Power Automate Desktop flows when the API is not available. For example, we can save email attachments to the SharePoint document library or OneDrive for business.Whereas Cloud Flows are preferred to be used when APIs are available. This is predefined action and no additional setup is required. For example, SharePoint gets items action, OneDrive files, etc.
We can easily create a custom connector by recording and configuring the user actions in the Power Automate Desktop flow.In Cloud Flows building a custom connector is a little tedious task and requires some programming knowledge.
Power Automate Desktop Flow vs Power Automate Cloud Flow

Read Convert Email to PDF using Microsoft flow or Power Automate

Power automate desktop flow license

Here we will see about the Power Automate desktop Flow license.

Power Automate Desktop- Free version

Microsoft Flow has announced the Power automate desktop version which is free for Windows 10 and 11. Power Automate Desktop with the Free version, has its limitation, some of them are listed below:

  • This Flow cannot interact with the Cloud Flows.
  • Flow cannot have AI builder feature that have OCR, speech recognition,etc.
  • Flow cannot interact with data connectors are talking to Azure SQL.
  • It cannot be shared with others. It is intended for personal use and not for enterprise use, for instance if you have designed a desktop Flow. For instance if you have designed a desktop Flow, that reads the data from excel shared in the network share and builds up a report, and we want our team member take advantage, this is not possible with the free version.

Power Automate Desktop- Attended RPA plan

  • The Power Automate Desktop with Attended RPA plan which is available at $40 per user per month plan.
  • Power Automate Desktop with Attended RPA for per use plan spans legacy and modern application, allowing with individual user to create unlimited flows for API based automation.
  • And also we automate legacy application with desktop flow through Robotic based automation and AI.
  • With this plan in Power Automate the ability for user to run attended Robert Process Automation(RPA) bot on their workstation.
  • The attended RPA includes access to AI builder capacity support of scenarios such as object detection, forms proccessing, prediction, recognisation, and text classification and more.

Power Automate Desktop- Unattended RPA plan

  • The Power Automate desktop with an Unattended RPA add-on plan is available at $150 per bot per month.
  • The Power Automate desktop with an Unattended RPA add-on plan extends desktop based automation by enabling a bot to run autonomously i.e. independent of a user
  • Where as unattended bots can be deployed on a local or remote desktop or other virtualized enviroment.
  • The Power automate per user with attended RPA plans are eligible for base offer for an unattended RPA add-on.
  • The Power Automate unattended RPA add-on is licensed by bot.
  • Concurrent instances of a singular proccess require an additional unattended bot for each instance.
  • As multiple unattended RPA add-ons can be applied against a qualifying base license.

Reference https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/Power-Automate-Desktop/How-does-licensing-work-with-the-Unattended-RPA-Add-On/td-p/792069

Read Move files from OneDrive for Business to SharePoint Online

Power automate desktop flow download

Now we will see how to download and install Power Automate desktop on your Desktop.

  • To install Power Automate Desktop, click on the link here. It will open Power automate in the browser and you will come through below screen.
power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

Then click on Create present in the right pane, and select install in the top left corner then click on install Power Automate Desktop.

Once you click on the icon immediately Power automate starts downloading.

power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

Or else you can download it by clicking on Desktop Flow-> Download app.

power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

After clicking on Desktop Flow, immediately build a desktop Flow window open and then click on the Download app.

power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

Once Power automates desktop is downloaded, click on the .exe file to open the Power Automate desktop. Once the power automate desktop flow is open, click on the Next to install Power Automate Package.

power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

Now install details window will open where you just select according to your requirement, then select the cleck box ‘By selecting install, you agree to Microsoft’s terms of use’ option. Then click on the install icon.

power automate desktop flow save location
power automate desktop flow save location

After that, it will install the packages, then the installed successful window will open. Now Power Automate Desktop is installed, so click on the Launch app icon.

power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

Now Power Automate Desktop Flow will open on the desktop, we can create the Flow by clicking on the New Flow icon.

power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

This is how we install Power Automate Desktop App on the Desktop.

Read Microsoft Flow Example: Copy files from one SharePoint Online account or folder to another

Power automate desktop create flow

Here we will see how to create a Flow in the Power automate Desktop.

Step 1: Open your Power Automate Desktop

We can open the Power bi desktop app directly from Desktop which you have downloaded in the above topic.

Else, we can create a Desktop Flow in the Power Automate portal, so click on My Flows -> Desktop Flows-> Launch App.

Power automate desktop create flow
Power automate desktop create flow

After that, it will open Power Automate Desktop like below:

Power automate desktop create flow
Power automate desktop create flow

Step 2: Create a New Flow

To create a Flow, click on the New Flow icon in the Power Automate Desktop.

Power automate desktop create flow
Power automate desktop create flow

Now To Build or Create a flow provide a Flow name and then click on Create.

Power automate desktop create flow
Power automate desktop create flow

After that under My Flows, you can see Your New Flows created i.e. Operational Flow. By clicking on that you can design your Flow.

Power automate desktop create flow
Power automate desktop create flow

This is how we can create a Flow in Power Automate Desktop.

Read Microsoft flow examples: Save Office 365 email attachments to OneDrive for Business

Explore Power Automate Desktop

Here we will explore the Power Automate Desktop designer contains several elements.

In the above topic, we have created a Flow i.e Operational Flow. While you click on create it will create the Flow and also it will open a window like below, where you can design the Flow.

power automate desktop flow
power automate desktop flow

The designer in the Power Automate desktop contains several elements for us to focus on.

  1. The toolbar: It contains basic operation for use with action i.e. Save, Undo, Copy, Debug and Paste and buttons to start the desktop/web records and control the process implementation(Start/Pause/Stop).
power automate desktop flow license
power automate desktop flow license

2. The Subflows: The Main Flow allows to create subflow in PAD.

power automate desktop flow download
power automate desktop flow download

3. Actions Pane: This pane contains all Power Automate Desktop actions and includes a search bar that helps you find specific actions by matching the action name to the text string.

Explore Power Automate Desktop
Explore Power Automate Desktop

4. Workspace: It contains all actions that are added to the process so far. And Functions are separated into tabs. To add an action to the Workspace, drag and drop the action from the Action pane to the workspace.

Explore Power Automate Desktop
Explore Power Automate Desktop

5. Input/Output variable: It contains all variables that you have created in the process.

Explore Power Automate Desktop
Explore Power Automate Desktop

6. Flow variable: It contains a list of all variables that are used in the process/actions.

Explore Power Automate Desktop
Explore Power Automate Desktop

These are the elements in Power Automate Desktop Design.

Read Power Automate update SharePoint list item

Power automate desktop flow schedule

Here we will see how to schedule Power Automate desktop flow.

As there is no option for scheduling the desktop Flow, so for this we have to use the Scheduled cloud Flow present in the Power Automate cloud.

To connect the Power automate desktop with the Power automate cloud we need to install an on-premises data gateway(Standard mode). Make sure you have installed it on your desktop.

Now we will create a flow in Power Automate Desktop, that will get the temperature of the USA from the google chrome browser, and then it will display the temperature in the Message box.

Then we will schedule the desktop Flow using Power Automate Scheduled cloud Flow.

Steps to create a Power Automate Desktop Flow

Step 1: Create a Flow in PAD

To create a Flow Login to Power Automate Desktop then click on New Flow.

Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Then Provide the Flow name and click on create.

Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Once you click on create, it will open a window where you can design the Flow.

Step 2: Launch the Chrome browser

Now we will open the home page of google in the chrome browser, so for this in the Action pane, expand the Browser Automation. Then drag and drop the Launch new Chrome action to the Workspace.

Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Then Launch new Chrome action window will open. Under Select parameters, provide the Launch mode as Launch New Instance, in Initial URL as https://google.com and Window state as Maximized.

Then it will create a variable for Launch chrome, to edit the variable name double click on it and edit it. then click on Save.

Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Step 2: Focus on the text field in the Chrome browser

To Focus on the Search Field in the chrome browser, for this, we will create an action i.e. Focus on Text Field on the Web page.

So from the Action pane drag and drop the ‘Focus text field on web page‘ action to the Workspace.

Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Then Focus Text Field on a Web page window will open. Under Select parameters, provide the Web browser instance as the above step variable. Then in Ui element Field click on the dropdown and select Add UI element.

  • To add the Ui element open the google home page in Chrome browser. Then click on add UI element.
  • Focus on the Search area and to add press Ctrl+left click like below screenshot. After that you can see the thumbnail in the screen session window. Then click on Done.
Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Once you are done with the Ui element, click on Save.

Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Step 3: Populate the text field on a Web page

Now we will add the text to the Focused text Field i.e USA temperature today. So In the action pane, expand the Browser automation-> Web Form Filling-> then drag and drop the ‘Populate text field on Web page‘ action.

Power automate desktop flow schedule
Power automate desktop flow schedule

Now Populate text field on web page window will open, provide the web browser instance from drop-down i.e variable-Launch Google chrome, Then in Ui element field select the Ui element of Focus text field on the web page.

And in Text Field add the text which you want to search i.e. USA temperature today. Then click on Save.

How to schedule desktop flows
How to schedule desktop flows

Step 4: Press the button on the google search icon

To get the temperature we need to click on the Google search button, to add the action in the Action pane, expand the Browser automation-> Web Form Filling-> and then drag and drop the ‘Press button on Web page‘ action.

How to schedule desktop flows
How to schedule desktop flows

Now press the button on the Web page action, provide the web browser instance and Ui element click on Add Ui element. Then click on done

Schedule desktop flow
Schedule desktop flow

After adding the Ui element click on Save.

How do I schedule a power automated desktop?
How do I schedule a power automated desktop?

Step 5: Get the Temperature from the web page

Now from the result web page i.e. USA temperature web page, we will get the temperature from the web page.

So in the Action pane, expand the Browser automation-> Web data extraction-> and then drag and drop the ‘Get details of element on web page‘ action to the Workspace of PAD.

How do I schedule a power automated desktop?
How do I schedule a power automated desktop?

In the Get details of element on web page window, now, provide the Web browser instance from the dropdown. Then In UI element Field add the Ui element.

How do I schedule a power automated desktop?
How do I schedule a power automated desktop?

Once you add the UI element, it will produce a variable called ‘AttributeValue’ then click on Save.

How do I schedule a power automated desktop?
How do I schedule a power automated desktop?

Step 6: Close the chrome browser

To close the chrome browser, in the Action pane, expand the Browser Automation-> then drag and drop the ‘Close Web Browser‘ action.

 schedule a power automated desktop
schedule a power automated desktop

In Close Web browser action provide the Web browser instance from the drop-down. Then click on Save

 schedule a power automated desktop
schedule a power automated desktop

Step 7: Display the temperature in the message box

To display the temperature, from the Action pane, expand the Message boxes-> then drag and the ‘Display message‘ action to the Workspace.

 schedule a power automated desktop
schedule a power automated desktop

Then in the display message action, provide the Message box title and then provide a message to display. Click on Save.

 schedule a power automated desktop
schedule a power automated desktop

Now our Desktop Flow is ready, you can see the whole Flow.

 schedule a power automated desktop
schedule a power automated desktop

Once the desktop Flow is ready, we can schedule the flow in the Power Automate cloud.

Now log in to the Power Automate cloud with the same credential as PAD.

Then click on Create icon and select Scheduled Cloud Flow every day at 10 AM. Then click on Create

schedule a power automated desktop
schedule a power automated desktop

Now click on the Next step and select the Run a flow built with Power Automate For Desktop. Then provide the Desktop Flow and Run Mode select the Attended from the dropdown.

power automate desktop flow schedule
power automate desktop flow schedule

Now click on Save and Run the Flow Manually. You can see Flow ran successfully

power automate desktop flow schedule
power automate desktop flow schedule

You can see the current temperature of the USA in the Message box.

power automate desktop flow schedule
power automate desktop flow schedule

This is how we will schedule Power Automate Desktop Flow.

Read Trigger Conditions in Power Automate

Power automate desktop flow share

Here we will see how to share flow created in Power Automate Desktop.

While sharing the desktop flow we use the two permission level, these are

  • Co-owner: This access level will give full permission to the Power Automate Desktop Flow. So, they can edit, delete, and share the flow.
  • User: This access level has only permission to use that desktop flow in a cloud Flow. That user cannot edit, rename, delete or Share person as possible with the access.

Now let’s follow the below steps to share the Power Automate Desktop Flow.

  • To share the Flow login to Power Automate cloud.
  • Then click on My Flows.
  • Next select the Desktop Flow Tab.
  • Now you can see the list of Flow you have created in the Power Automate Desktop.
  • From this select the Flow you want to share. Then click on Share icon.
Power automate desktop flow share
Power automate desktop flow share
  • Then Share Your Flow window will open, add the user whom you want to share the flow, then under Give access select user or co-owner. Click on Share.
Power automate desktop flow share
Power automate desktop flow share

Then click on Desktop Flow, under the ‘Shared with‘ section you can see the user name whom u have shared the flow.

Power automate desktop flow share
Power automate desktop flow share

This is how to share Power Automate desktop Flow.

Read Power automate approval reminder

Power automate desktop flow shortcut

Here we will discuss how to create a keyboard shortcut to trigger Power Automate desktop Flow.

Unfortunately, there is no shortcut, we can only trigger a desktop flow from a cloud Flow.

As Power Automate Desktop Does not have any local trigger to start the flow. So, we need at least the local script, which is triggered by the shortcut, and which triggers a cloud flow by request to start the desktop flow through the gateway.

Power automate desktop flow-export

Here we will see how to export Power Automate desktop Flow.

As there is no option to export power Automate desktop Flow, So we can do it manually by following the below steps for exporting.

  • Open Your desktop Flow in the edit mode.
  • Then select all(Ctrl+A) actions.
  • Copy(ctrl+C) all the action.
  • Then open a text file in desktop.
  • And paste(ctrl+V) in the text file,
  • You will get code in text document like below.
power automate desktop flow export
power automate desktop flow export
  • Then click on Save and share the text file.

Now to import the desktop flow, follow the below steps:

  • Open the text File, select all and copy them.
  • Then In PAD, create a new Flow.
  • Then Paste them in the Workspace.

This is how to export Power Automate Desktop Flow.

You may like the following Power Automate tutorials:

In this Power Automate tutorial, we learned about Power Automate Desktop Flow. And also we discuss the below points:

  • Power Automate the Desktop flow
  • Types of Power Automate Desktop FLow
  • When to use Power Automate Desktop Flow
  • Power Automate desktop flow vs cloud flow
  • Power automate desktop flow license
  • Power automate desktop flow download
  • Power automate desktop create flow
  • Explore Power Automate Desktop
  • Power automate desktop flow schedule
  • Power automate desktop flow share
  • Power automate desktop flow shortcut
  • Power automate desktop flow-export
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