Welcome to Guided Learning for Microsoft Flow. This self-paced online course explains Microsoft Flow in a sequential way, so you can build your knowledge from the ground up.
Understand Microsoft Flow basics
Welcome to Guided Learning for Microsoft Flow. This self-paced online course explains Microsoft Flow in a sequential way so that you can build your knowledge from the ground up. The course is designed to provide guidance in understandable chunks with lots of visuals and examples, following a logical progression to help you learn principles and details.
In this course, you'll learn about Microsoft Flow and its concepts, see how to build flows, manage them, and administer them in your environment. You'll be presented with information and scenarios for a fictional company called Contoso Flooring, but you'll see how to use the same scenarios in your business or your clients' businesses.
If you're a beginner with Microsoft Flow, this course will get you going. If you already have some experience, this course will tie concepts together and fill in the gaps. This course is a work in progress, so please let us know how we're doing and what other topics you want to see in this course.
What is Microsoft Flow?
Microsoft Flow is an online workflow service that enables you to work smarter and more efficiently by automating workflows across the most common apps and services. For example, you can create a flow that adds a lead to Dynamics 365 and a record in MailChimp whenever someone with more than 100 followers tweets about your company.
When you sign up, you can connect to more than 100 services and manage data in either the cloud or on-premises sources such as SharePoint and SQL Server. The list of applications and services that you can use with Microsoft Flow grows constantly.
What can you do with Microsoft Flow?
You can use Microsoft Flow to automate workflows between your favorite applications and services, synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more.
For example, you can automate these tasks:
- Instantly respond to high-priority notifications or emails.
- Capture, track, and follow up with new sales leads.
- Copy files from one service to another.
- Collect data about your business, and share that information with your team.
- Automate approval workflows.
A common use of Microsoft Flow is to receive notifications. For example, you can instantly receive an email or a push notification on your phone whenever a sales lead is added to Dynamics 365 or Salesforce.
You can also use Microsoft Flow to copy files. For example, you can ensure that any file that's added to Dropbox gets automatically copied to SharePoint where your team can find it.
You can monitor what people are saying about your business by creating a flow that runs whenever someone sends a tweet with a certain hashtag. The flow could put details about that tweet into a SQL Server database, a SharePoint list, or even an Excel file hosted on OneDrive--whichever service works for you. With the data that you collect, you can create actions to connect it to Power BI, spot trends, and ask questions about the data.
And finally, you can automate approval loops for, as an example, vacation requests in a SharePoint list.
For more ideas, browse our list of templates, which help you build flows in just a few steps. For example, you can easily build flows to send yourself weather forecasts, reminders at regular intervals, or phone notifications whenever your manager sends you mail.
Got an idea for a flow that you don't see in the list? Create your own from scratch and, if you want, share it with the community!
Where can I create and administer a flow?
You can create a flow and perform administrative tasks in a browser or on your phone - if you download the mobile app for Microsoft Flow.
You can perform these tasks, among others:
- Turn flows on or off from wherever you are.
- See when a flow has failed.
- Review detailed run-history reports.
- View and filter runs by notification type.
A brief tour of Microsoft Flow
Let's jump into the tool, and we'll show you around. We have tons of information for you to learn about how to use Microsoft Flow.
On the home page, there are menus for:
- My flows, where your flows live.
- Templates, which is a great place to start.
- Approvals, where you can automate and streamline your approval process.
- Connectors (formerly Services), where you can connect from one service to another.
- Learn, where you can gain information that will help you ramp up quickly on Microsoft Flow.
For now, let's focus on Learn, which contains:
- Guided Learning can walk you through using Microsoft Flow, all the way from beginning techniques to advanced scenarios.
- Documentation is where our advanced topics live. If you want to really understand a feature or a function, you can do a deep dive here to figure things out.
- Support is a great landing place to find help.
- Community is a place to plug into and find out how other people use Microsoft Flow.
- Give feedback taps into a community of power users, where you can send comments and questions to developers and other users.
- Blog keeps you up to date on the most recent developments and releases in the Microsoft Flow ecosystem.
- Pricing can help you choose the right plan for you or your business.
On the Templates page, you can have a look at some of the most popular templates, which should give you great ideas for flows you want to try.
Now that you've gotten a taste of what Microsoft Flow is and what it can do, let's take a look at what makes a flow.
Create a flow from a template
Welcome back to Guided Learning for Microsoft Flow. In this lesson, you will see more of the Microsoft Flow environment, and you can build your first flow.
Getting started with Microsoft Flow is easy, as there are a huge number of templates to choose from, which will help you connect the services you are already using in more meaningful ways.
Microsoft Flow templates
Take a look at the Microsoft Flow website, and open the Templates menu. As you scroll through the list, you see that Microsoft Flow allows you to connect to many services.
Choose a template
Searching for attachments through email can be time consuming, and this flow saves time by storing all your email attachments into a folder in your OneDrive.
Select the Save Office 365 email attachments to OneDrive for Business template.
Create and administer a flow
This is one of our one click templates, where you only answer relevant questions necessary to build the flow.
On the template graphic, there is a description of what the template does and needs to succeed.
You are asked to provide credentials for the Office 365 Outlook and SharePoint services. If you use both services regularly, you will already be signed into them.
Select Create Flow.
Then you'll see the results.
Flow has created a folder on your OneDrive, where it will now automatically place every attachment that gets emailed to your work email.
Open My Flows.
Select the flow you just made to see how it works.
You see a green check mark, indicating that the flow succeeded. Select Succeeded to see the run history and the results.
All parts of the flow were successful.
Important concepts in Microsoft Flow
Some things to know about when building flows. Every flow has two key parts: a trigger, and one or more actions.
You can think of the trigger as the starting action for the flow, which can be things like On new Email that you have here or, when a new item is added, if you happened to be using SharePoint. It can also be a fixed schedule, if you use a trigger called Recurrence, which you'll learn about later.
Actions are the activities you want to happen when a trigger is invoked. For example, Create file will recreate the file in OneDrive.
Other actions could be, send an email, post a Tweet, start an approval, or many others. These will all come into play later, as you build your own flows from scratch.
The next lesson will look at the Microsoft Flow Mobile app and its capabilities.
Use the Microsoft Flow mobile app
In this lesson, we'll be covering the Microsoft Flow mobile app and its capabilities. From the mobile app, you can access these features: Activity Feed, Browsing, Buttons, and Managing Flows.
First, you’ll need to download and install the Microsoft Flow app from your app store.
Once it's installed, open it and sign in. When you open the app, you land on the Activity Feed.
The Activity Feed is the spot to see what’s happening with your flows, while you are on the go and may not have access to your computer for a full experience.
For instance, if you select any of these flows, you can get a closer look at that flow's last activity, whether it succeeded or failed to run, and if it failed, which step it failed on.
As you can see, this flow succeeded in both steps. From here, go ahead and select the Buttons icon.
How flows are started
Buttons are flows that are started with a manual action. For example, you could create a button like Send a "Working from home today" email to your manager. You could use this one if you live far away and on days when the traffic is a mess!
Use the Browse button to check out templates for more button flows to add to your collection.
To see how that works, we'll use the Send myself a reminder in 10 minutes button flow.
Select Buttons, then Browse templates.
Select the reminder button flow.
Tap Use this template.
The flow is saved.
Tap Buttons to see the new flow.
Go ahead and tap it, and in 10 minutes, you'll get a reminder.
It's simple to add additional buttons to your collection.
Modify or delete a flow
If you decide that you want to modify or delete one of your flows, it's easy.
Tap the Flows button, which is essentially the mobile management area for your flows.
Now, tap one of your flows.
You can see that there are a few options:
To enable or disable the flow, tap the Enable flow toggle switch.
You can always edit the flow, in case you want to make it useful to yourself again.
And you can see the run history of the flow, to get an idea of its successful and unsuccessful runs.
You can also delete the flow by tapping the Delete flow button.
Here, you see the flow has been deleted.
The next lesson covers how to create a button flow for a team.
You've completed the Get started section of Microsoft Flow Guided Learning.