What is Power Automate or Microsoft Flow

In this Microsoft Flow tutorial, we will discuss what is Power Automate or Microsoft Flow in Office 365. Also, we see discuss the below topics:

  • Types of Microsoft Flows
  • Where can I use Microsoft Flow
  • Licensing for Microsoft Flow
  • Connectors in Power Automate
  • Templates in Power Automate

What is Microsoft Flow for Office 365

What is Power Automate or Microsoft Flow? Microsoft Flow or Power Automate is a service that helps you create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more.

The good part is you can develop a Flow without any developer knowledge.

Microsoft Flow is available with the Office 365 subscription and if you don’t have the Office 365 subscription then you can directly Sign Up to flow.microsoft.com.

Now, Microsoft Flow is also known as Microsoft Power Automate because Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is added to Power Automation. Power Automation turns the manual task into the automated workflows.

What is Power Automate
What is Power Automate

Where can I use Microsoft Flow

Anyone can use Microsoft flow, whether you are a business user or an IT professional, you can create automated processes without a developer’s knowledge.

Not only with SharePoint, in an organization, you can also connect with various other services. Few services are like Facebook, Outlook.com, Twitter, Basecamp, Docusign, Dropbox, Google Drive. Google Sheets, Office 365, OneDrive, Salesforce, Slack, SQL Server, etc. We can connect to these services with the help of various flow connectors.

There are some industries that benefited by Power Automation as listed below:

  • Banking
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare

Licensing for Microsoft Flow

Microsoft flow is the part of Office 365 and it provides 90 days free trial with limited user rights. You can also activate your subscription anytime during your free trial.

People having Microsoft account that ends with email addresses like Outlook.com or gmail.com can only use free plans. You want to take advantage of paid plans by sign in with your work or school account email addresses.

Apart from this Microsoft also provides two flow licensing plans:

1- License by user

In License by user, there are two plans are available

a- Per user plan: In this plan, individual users can create unlimited flows according to there business requirements, and this costs USD 15 per user per month.

b- Per user plan with attended RPA: This plan also allows users to create unlimited flows according to their business requirements it allows them to automate legacy applications through robotic process automation (RPA) and AI.

2- License by flow: This plan is per flow plan. In this flow as an organization you can create $500 for five flows per month.

Flow Licensing
Flow Licensing

If you can check more on Official Microsoft Flow Licensing plans.

Supported Browers and email addresses

Microsoft flows supports email addresses ends with any domain name except .gov and .mil.

Microsoft supports following browers as mentioned below:

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Firefox

Templates in Power Automate

Microsoft flow provides lots of pre-build templates that we can use easily to create flows.

Templates in Microsoft Flow

Now, Here we will see how to create a flow using a template.

How to create a Instant flow

Here you need to provide your Office 365 Outlook and SharePoint credentials, basically, you need to create the connection.

Click on Continue.

Add an item to SharePoint and send an email

In the next screen of Microsoft flow, we need to provide the SharePoint site and list details.

In the “Create item” section, provide Site Address & List Name. Once you put the mouse cursor in the Site Address box, it will autocomplete show you all the site, you have access to.

Choose the SharePoint Online site URL and then it will in the List Name box, choose the list name on which you want the Microsoft flow to be attached to. see the fig below:

In the “Create item” section, some SharePoint list columns are also shown which are created in the SharePoint list. Choose the value from the ‘Available’ and ‘Managers Value’ you want to add in your SharePoint list.

Click on Save >> Test.

Add an item to SharePoint list and send an email

Once you click on Test it will open Test Flow window. Select I’ll perform the trigger action >> Save & Test.

how to create instant flow

Once you click on Save & Test, it will open a Run flow window. Now, provides the details to create a item in SharePoint list and sent it to the selected mail.

  • CreateitemTitle: Give the title of an item that you want to create in your SharePoint List.
  • SendanemailTo: Give the mail to whom you want to send the mail about the item is added in the SharePoint list.

Click on Run flow.

how to create instant flow in MS Flow

Once the Flow ran successfully, you can see the status now becomes as “Your flow ran successfully” like below. All the steps completed successfully will be notified in green tick mark like below:

how to create a template in MS Flow

Now, you can check it from the “My Flows”, Click on My Flows and you can see the flow created like below:

how to create a template in Microsoft Flow

Now, Microsoft flow is ready, you can now test the flow. Open SharePoint Online list and see an item added to the list.

how to create a template in Power Automate

Now, Open Outlook.com and here you can see the mail in the below screenshot.

create a template in Power Automate

Connectors in Power Automate

By using flow connectors we can connect with various services. The services can be an Office 365 services or any other 3rd party services like Google drive, gmail, twitter, facebook etc.

We can also create custom connectors in Power Automate.

SharePoint connector in Power automate supports various flows like triggers and actions.

  • SharePoint Triggers: SharePoint trigger is an event that starts a flow. There are eight SharePoint triggers available in Microsoft flow which are included when a file is created, deleted, or modified.
  • SharePoint Action: SharePoint action is the work that Microsoft flow will perform. There are twenty-nine SharePoint actions available in Microsoft Flow to update and create files.

Microsost connectors are divided into two categories as mentioned below:

  • Standard Connectors: With a valid flow license you can use the standard connectors. Some standard connectors are Outlook, SharePoint, One Drive, Planner, and many more.
  • Premium Connectors: Premium connectors are executed by those with a premium license. Some of the Premium connectors are Ticketing, events, Ventipix Asset, Poka, PDF Blocks, and many more.
Connectors in Microsoft Flow

Types of Microsoft flows

There are five different types of flows that we can create:

  • Automated flows
  • Instant flows
  • Scheduled flows
  • Business process flows
  • UI flows

Automated Flows

Automated flows is triggered by an event. Example, Get a push notification when you get an email from your boss.

Example- When an item in a SharePoint list is modified send an email

In this example, we will see how to create a flow that will trigger an email when someone modifies an item in a SharePoint Online list.

Here, we will use a flow template “When an item in a SharePoint list is modified send an email” to create the flow.

  • To create a Microsoft Flow, First of all, Sign in your Microsoft Office 365 account, then go to “App launcher” and then click on “Power Automate“.
  • Go to the Templates option in the left navigation and search for “When an item in a SharePoint list is modified send an email“.

Click on “When an item in a SharePoint list is modified send an email” template, then you need to provide your Office 365 Outlook, Office 365 Users, and SharePoint credentials, basically, you need to create the connection.

Click on Continue.

Automated flow

In the next screen of Microsoft flow, we need to provide the below details:

  • SharePoint Site Address: It will display all the sites you have access to, select the SharePoint site where your list is presented.
  • SharePoint List Name: It will populate all the lists from the selected SharePoint site, select the list on which you want to attach the flow.
how to create Automated flow

Then click on Create button, the flow will be created. Microsoft will add the default actions for this template and the flow looks like below:

When an item in a SharePoint list is modified send an email in ms flow

Without adding an item to the SharePoint list, you can also Test the flow if it is working or not by clicking on the Test Flow button.

Click on the Test, it will open the Test Flow window. Select I’ll perform the trigger action >> Save & Test >> Run Flow.

Once the Flow ran successfully, you can see the status now becomes as “Your flow ran successfully” like below. All the steps completed successfully will be notified in green tick mark like below:

how to create Automated flow in Microsoft Flow

Now, to test the flow with SharePoint, follow the below steps:

Now, Open SharePoint Online list (the flow you have selected in while creating the automate flow) and modify an item in the list. Click on Save.

create Automated flow in Microsoft Flow

Once you modified an item in your SharePoint list, then the email will go to the person whose email id is configured in the flow.

Automated flow in Microsoft Flow

Instant Flows

An instant flow will trigger on a button click. These are the flows that can trigger manually from any device like Desktop, tablet, or smartphone on a click of a button.

Examples: Get today’s weather forecast for my current location

In this example, we will see how to get today’s weather forecast for my current location by using an instant flow.

Microsoft provides a template get today’s weather forecast for my current location that we can use here.

Instant flow in Microsoft Flow

Here you need to connect with MSN Weather and Notifications, to match your needs.

Click on Create Flow.

Get today's weather forecast for my current location

Once you click on Create Flow, the flow will be created and you can see the flow like below:

Now, In “Condition” section, Expand condition and set the “countryOrRegion is equal to India”.

How to create a Instant flow in Ms Flow

After setting the “countryOrRegion” condition, add Add an action to the “If Yes” condition. Click on Add an action then select Send an email(V2).

Now, In Send an email(V2), provide the below details where you want to see the weather forecast:

  • To: Give the email address where you get the weather forecast update.
  • Subject: Give the subject for your mail.
  • Body: Once you click on the body section, you can select dynamic content from here like in the below screenshot.

Click on Save >> Test.

Once you click on the Test, it will open the Test Flow window. Select I’ll perform the trigger action >> Save & Test >> Run Flow.

How to create a Instant flow in Microsoft Flow

Once the Flow ran successfully, you can see the status now becomes as “Your flow ran successfully” like below. All the steps completed successfully will be notified in green tick mark like below:

How to create a Instant flow in Power Automate

You can check it from the “My Flows”, Click on My Flows and you can see the Instant Flow created like below:

create a Instant flow

Now, if you will open the email and you can see the “Weather Forecast” email sent by the Instant Flow like the below screenshot.

create a Instant flow in Power Automate

Scheduled Flows

The scheduled flows will automatically launched on Monthly, weekly, Day, hour, minute, second or on a custom value.

Examples:

  • Automate team reminders to submit expense reports.
  • Auto-backup data to designated storage on a regular basis.
  • Automate data upload to SharePoint.

Example: Get daily reminders in email

In this example, we will see how to get daily reminders in email by using a schedule flow. We will use here the Get daily reminders in Email flow template.

  • Open https://flow.microsoft.com and log in with your Office 365 account. I am having an Office 365 Enterprise E3 license, so I am signing with that account.
  • Go to the Templates option in the left navigation menu then select “Get daily reminders in Email”.
how to create a Scheduled Flow

Here, you need to create a connection to create the flow.

Click on Continue.

how to create a Scheduled Flow in Power Automate

In the next screen of Microsoft flow, we need to provide the below details:

  • In the “every day” flow action, provide the interval and Frequency.
  • In the “Send email” section, provide the details:
    • To: Provide the emails where you want to send the scheduled mail.
    • Subject: Provide the subject of your mail.
    • Body: Provide the message you want to send to the mail.

Click on Save >> Test.

 Scheduled Flow in Power Automate

Once you click on the Test, it will open the Test Flow window. Select I’ll perform the trigger action >> Save & Test >> Run Flow.

Once the Flow ran successfully, you can see the status now becomes as “Your flow ran successfully” like below. All the steps completed successfully will be notified in green tick mark like below:

Scheduled Flow in Microsoft Flow

Now, you can check it from the “My Flows”, Click on My Flows and you can see the Scheduled flow created like below:

Scheduled Flow

Now, Open Outlook.com and here you can see the email sent by the Scheduled Flow in the below screenshot.

How to create a schedule flow

Business process flows

Business process flows are the flows that will ensure everyone in your organization follows the same steps and enter data consistently. For example, onboarding of a new employee. The same set of steps will be followed every time a new employee will be on board.

Examples:

  • Onboarding and training new employees
  • Nurturing sales leads and closing the loop on opportunities

UI flows

We can create UI flows to automate repetitive tasks in windows and web applications. In case of UI flows, we can play with user interface actions like clicks, keyboard inputs. It brings Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities to flow or the Power Automate.

There are of two different types of apps available for UI Flows:

  • UI flows for Desktop app: UI flows for Desktop app is compatible with Windows 10 machines running 64-bit operating system.
  • UI flows for Web app: UI flows for Web app runs virtually on the latest version of Microsoft Edge (Chromium) and Google Chrome

You may like following Microsoft flow tutorials:

In this Microsoft Flow tutorial, We discussed What is Microsoft Flow for Office 365. Also, We covered below topics as:

  • What is Power Automate or Microsoft flow
  • Types of Microsoft Flows
  • Where can I use Microsoft Flow
  • Licensing for Microsoft Flow
  • Power Automate connectors or flow connectors
  • Microsoft flow Templates or Power Automate templates
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