Defining inputs and outputs

In any automation, there will be an input and an output. Before you start automating processes with Power Automate, you need to define what these are.

The following example shows how you can define the inputs and outputs.

In the expense approval scenario, Abhay must take the following steps to reimburse an applicant who submits an expense form:

  1. Abhay receives an approval request for an expense report.

  2. Abhay decides whether to approve or decline the request.

  3. If the request is approved, Abhay sends an email to the employee to let them know.

The following table shows the information required in this scenario.

Information required Input or output? Purpose
Employee's name Input To send an email if the expense is approved
Employee's email Input To send an email if the expense is approved
Employee's employee number Input To search in the employee management system for the banking number.
Approval result Output To send an email if the expense is approved
Approver's name Output To send an email if the expense is approved
Approver's email Output To send an email if the expense is approved
Approval date and time Output To send an email if the expense is approved

This might look overwhelming, but the majority of the inputs can be retrieved automatically. For example, the employee's name and email can be retrieved if the automation is triggered manually by the employee.

Securing inputs and outputs

If you're handling sensitive data such as sign-in IDs, passwords, and banking information, you can use the secure inputs and outputs feature in Power Automate.

Secure inputs and secure outputs settings

By default in Power Automate, you can see inputs and outputs in the run history for a flow. When you enable secure inputs and outputs, you can protect this data when someone tries to look into the inputs and outputs and instead display the message "Content not shown due to security configuration."

Sample run history with secure inputs and outputs enabled