InfoPath alternatives for form designing SharePoint

Microsoft Flow Step by Step Tutorial with Examples

Shares

Tags: Microsoft flow, microsoft flow examples, microsoft flow tutorial, microsoft flow guide, What is microsoft flow, microsoft flow examples, how to use microsoft flow, microsoft flow training, microsoft flow templates, create flow sharepoint list, create flow in sharepoint

In this Microsoft flow tutorial, I am going to explain what is Microsoft flow, what we can do using Microsoft flow? how can we use Microsoft flow? how can we create flow in SharePoint list? Will Microsoft flow will replace SharePoint designer workflow? and a few more Microsoft Flow examples.

What is Microsft Flow?

In your organizations, Are you are using SharePoint designer or any 3rd party tool to create workflows to automate your business process? Time has come to go bigger and broader, to use Microsoft Flow. Microsoft Flow is a service which will help you to create automated workflows for your business needs. Microsoft Flow will help you to communicate with various apps and services. The good part is you can develop Microsoft Flow without developer knowledge.

If you are a business analyst or a manager basically not a SharePoint developer, to make some automated task you had to wait for your developer to create a workflow using SharePoint designer. But by using Microsoft Flow, you do not need to wait for a developer, you can create Microsoft flow because it has a very simple graphical user interface.




If a question coming to your mind “What is Microsoft flow?”, here is a definition, According to Microsoft “Microsoft Flow is a service that helps you create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more”.

How to Access Microsoft Flow?

There are various ways we can access Microsoft Flow.

1st Approach to access Microsoft Flow:

We can access Microsoft Flow from the Official Microsoft Flow site. Just sign up or sign in to Flow.Microsoft.com. You can sign up with a Microsoft account from the home page and start using Flow.

Microsoft Flow

How to access Microsoft flow?

You can Sign in with a Microsoft account or also you can Sign up free using any Microsoft account and you can get a free plan for Microsoft Flow.

Note: Microsoft Flow is not available for users with .gov or .mil email addresses at this time.

If you have an Office 365 account, you can sign in with that account to Microsoft Flow.

2nd Approach to access Microsoft Flow:

Microsoft Flow comes as a part of Office 365 service. So if you have an Office 365 subscription, then you can use Microsoft Flow with the same subscription. Because Microsoft Flow comes as a part of service in most of the Office 365 subscriptions.

Login to Portal.Office.com and then from the App Launcher you can access Microsoft Flow.

Microsoft flow

Access Microsoft Flow

3rd Approach to access Microsoft Flow:

Microsoft Flow is tightly integrated with SharePoint Online. In each SharePoint online list or document library, you can see a button to access Microsoft Flow from which you can create Microsoft Flow for list or document library.



Note: Microsoft Flow options will appear only in Modern SharePoint Online lists or Libraries.

Microsoft flow sharepoint online

Microsoft flow SharePoint online

You can create a flow from SharePoint online list or document library directly.

Will Microsoft Flow is a replacement for SharePoint Designer 2013?

Almost every organizations use SharePoint designer 2013 for workflow development for SharePoint Online, SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint 2016. And there are no new versions of SharePoint Designer for SharePoint Online or SharePoint 2016. Microsoft also invested heavily in Microsoft Flow and integrated with Office 365. So now a question comes, Is Microsoft Flow is the replacement of SharePoint designer 2013? The answer is Yes, Microsoft Flow can be the replacement of SharePoint designer 2013. Lots of Organizations are already using Microsoft Flow. Since it is already integrated with Office 365, organizations who already moved to Office 365, started using Microsoft Flow over SharePoint designer 2013.

Advantages of Microsoft Flow Over SharePoint Designer 2013

Microsoft Flow has lots of advantages over SharePoint Designer.

You can develop simple to complex workflows using SharePoint designer 2013 but you need developer knowledge to develop workflows using SharePoint designer 2013 for list or libraries.

Lots of workflow actions presented in SharePoint designer but all the actions are specific to SharePoint only. You need development knowledge to communicate various services from SharePoint designer. But using Micrsoft Flow we can very easily communicate to various services.



But on the other hand, Microsoft Flow is not particular to SharePoint, you will be connected to various services like Twitter, Dropbox, OneDrive, Facebook, Slack, Instagram etc. You do not need any developer knowledge to create any flow, power users or even end users can easily create Microsoft Flow easily. Microsoft Flow is tightly integrated to SharePoint Online but it is not only used for SharePoint.

Various Microsoft Flow Templates

Microsoft provides lots of Microsoft Flow templates, which you can use to create a flow from the templates.

Check out Microsoft Flow Templates.

microsoft flow templates

microsoft flow templates

You can create a flow from these Microsoft flow templates.

Microsoft Flow Services and Microsoft Flow Connectors

By using Microsoft Flow, you will be able to connect with 251 services. Few popular services are like SharePoint, Twitter, Dropbox, Outlook.com, Yammer, Excel, OneDrive, Salesforce, Buffer, Disqus, DB2, Docparser, Freshdesk, Freshservice, GitHub, Gmail, Google Drive, GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting, LinkedIn, JIRA, LiveChat, MailChimp, Metatask, Medium, PoliteMail, ServiceNow, Youtube, Yammer etc.

You can check out all popular Microsoft Flow Connectors.

Microsoft flow connectors

Microsoft flow connectors

There are few connectors which are available in the licensed versions of Microsoft Flow.

Microsoft Flow Mobile App:

Another good feature of Microsoft flow is that you can access Microsoft Flow App from Mobile Phone. You can create and access Microsoft flows from iOS, Android and Windows apps.

Microsoft flow mobile app

Microsoft flow mobile app

Let us start: Create our first Microsoft Flow

We got an idea about Microsoft Flow, now we will see how we can create our first Microsoft Flow.

Open https://flow.microsoft.com and log in with your Office 365 account. I am having Office 365 Enterprise E3 license, so I am signing with that account.

how to use microsoft flow

Create Microsoft flow

We will use a Microsft flow template to start. Go to the “Start with a template” section and choose a template from there. There are lots of Microsoft Flow templates are available. Here we will use the “Start approval when a new item is added” flow template.


Start approval when a new item is added

Start approval when a new item is added

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

Start approval when a new item is added Microsoft flow

Start approval when a new item is added Microsoft flow

Click on Continue.

The next screen of Microsoft flow is very important, here we have to do all the settings. First, we need to provide the SharePoint site and list details.

In the “When a new item is created” section, provide Site Address & List Name. Once you put mouse cursor in the Site Address box, it will autocomplete show you all the site, you have access to. Choose the 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 fig below:


Microsoft flow how to use start approval when a new item is added template

Microsoft flow how to use start approval when a new item is added template

Sometimes, you can get some error like this: Could not retrieve values. Error from token exchange: Runtime call was blocked because connection has error status: Enabled. Error, and sharepointonline is in the block list..

Microsft Flow Error

Microsoft flow error could not retrieve values. Error from token exchange: Runtime call was blocked because connection has error status

The error basically occurs if the connection is not proper. So click on the […] and click on “+Add new connection” just to create a new connection. Once the new connection made successfully, you will not receive the error.

how to use microsoft flow

how to use Microsoft flow

Now in the “Start an approval” section, we need to provide user to whom the approval will be assigned.

Assigned to field, you can give email id directly or you can give dynamic content. In the SharePoint online list, we have a people picker column as “TrainerName” column, we want the approval to be assigned to the TrainerName. Click on “Add dynamic content” link which will open the “Add dynamic content from the apps and connectors used in this flow.” box. There choose “TrainerName Email” option like below:

microsoft flow examples

microsoft flow examples

Then you can see the Condition which will execute based on the Approval. Our condition here is if Approval Response is equal to Approve then left condition will execute that is “If yes” and if the Response is Rejected, then the right condition will execute that is “If no“.

You can also clock on the “Inform item creator off approval” section, and you can add/change the email template.

microsoft flow tutorial

microsoft flow tutorial

Save Microsoft Flow

The above steps finish the configuration of the flow, go down and Save Microsoft Flow. Once Microsft Flow saved, you can check it from the “My Flows”, Click on My Flows and you can see the flow created like below:

microsoft flow guide

microsoft flow guide

Test Microsoft Flow (Start approval when a new item is added)

Now our Microsoft flow example is ready, we can not test the flow. Open the SharePoint Online List and add an item to the list.

microsoft flow templates

microsoft flow templates

Now, go back again to “My Flows”, Select the Microsoft Flow and click on (…) and then click on “See analytics” like below:

create flow sharepoint list

create flow SharePoint list

Otherwise, you can also click on “Start approval when a new item is added” which will open the details page. Here you can see about the Microsoft Flow, RUN HISTORY, CONNECTIONS and OWNERS like below:

Create Microsoft flow SharePoint Online

Create Microsoft flow SharePoint Online

To see the status of the workflow which is running. Click on Running.

Create flow sharepoint

Create flow SharePoint

Once you will click on the Running link, you will be able to see the details of the flow. The beauty is that it will display, active until the steps the flow runs and greyed out the steps which are pending. See the fig below:

Create Microsoft flow SharePoint online list

Check Microsoft flow status

Microsoft Flow Approval

Now as an approver, you will receive an email and from the email, you can approve or reject the item from the Email itself.

Microsoft Flow approval email

Microsoft Flow approval email

To approve or reject the approvals, click on Approve or Reject button. You can directly approve or reject from the Email itself.



Microsoft flow

Microsoft flow

Once the approval is complete, the submitter will receive an email that his request has been approved like below:

Microsoft Flow Step by Step Tutorial with Examples

Microsoft Flow Step by Step Tutorial with Examples

Similarly, if the approver rejects it item, the submitter will receive a similar email like above.

The approver also can see that the item is approved in the Email like below:

Microsoft flow step by step tutorial

Microsoft flow step by step tutorial

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:

microsoft flow examples

Microsoft flow examples and running status

In My Flows the workflow status will also be shown as Succeeded like below:

What is microsoft flow

Microsoft Flow status and What is Microsoft flow?

Need any Microsoft Flow Consulting or Microsoft Flow training?

As you know lots of organization using Office 365 started using Microsoft Flow for business automation process instead of the SharePoint designer workflow.


TSInfo Technologies, one of the leading SharePoint development company India providing consulting and training on Microsoft Flow. If you have such kind of requirements contact us and discuss with Microsoft MVPs and experienced professionals.

Conclusion

Here in this Microsoft flow tutorial, we discussed, what is Microsoft flow? how to use Microsoft flow? a Microsoft flow example, how to use Microsoft flow template “Start approval when a new item is added” and also if you have any Microsoft flow consulting or Microsoft flow training requirements, do contact us now.

FREE EBOOK  Master in SharePoint Online Office 365

Enter Email to download your FREE SharePoint Online PDF Ebook


You May Also like the Following SharePoint Tutorials:


About the Author Bijay Kumar

I am Bijay from Odisha, India. Currently working in my own venture TSInfo Technologies in Bangalore, India. I am Microsoft Office Servers and Services (SharePoint) MVP (5 times). I works in SharePoint 2016/2013/2010, SharePoint Online Office 365 etc. Check out My MVP Profile.. I also run popular SharePoint web site EnjoySharePoint.com

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: