Home ยป What is Microsoft Power Automate Flow? – Beginners Tutorial

What is Microsoft Power Automate Flow? – Beginners Tutorial

What will you learn?

In this Power Automate Beginner tutorial you will learn the basics of Power Automate and its features. And at the end you will learn how to create a basic Power Automat flow.

Who This Tutorial is For?

This tutorial is for absolute beginners who are starting out with Power Automate.
You do not need to have any prior knowledge or experience to get started. Even if you haven’t heard about Power Automate, don’t worry this post is for you as well ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Prerequisites

No prerequisites are needed for this course. Power Automate is fairly simple and easy to learn.

  • Very easy and simple
  • No prior experience is required
  • No knowledge of programming is required

Introduction to Power Automate

What is Power Automate? Microsoft Power Automate is an automation tool which helps to create automation solutions for repetitive tasks such as updating excel sheet or sending reminder emails.
Power Automate is very simple and doesn’t require any coding knowledge or programming experience. You can get create very simple to very complex flows without even writing a single line of code.

Capabilities Of Power Automate

ms power automate logo in tutorial
Power Automate

Power Automate, as the name says, is mainly an automation solution from Microsoft but it is capable of much more than just automation. Power Automate features include, connecting to 3rd party web applications and integration, custom web-API designing and connection, artificial intelligence etc. Moreover with the help of Power Automate desktop, it can connect with legacy applications and interact with them as required. In addition to these features, listed below are the capabilities of Power Automate.

  • Automate business processes
  • Send automatic reminders for past due tasks
  • Move business data between systems on a schedule
  • Connect to almost 300 data sources or any publicly available API
  • You can even automate tasks on your local computer like computing data in Excel.

More information can be found in this Microsoft Power Automate Tutorial Document.


Different types of Power Automate Flow

power automate tutorial types

Power Automate are categorized in three main categories and few sub categories

  • Cloud Flow:
    Cloud flows are one type of flow which allows you to connect to 3rd party API’s, schedule the flow to run at a particular time or event etc.
    Automated Flow
    An automated flow is a kind of flow which runs depending on triggers, such as “after an email has arrived” or “after a file has uploaded”.
    Scheduled Flow
    Scheduled flows are designed to run on particular time or day.
    Instant Flow
    Instant flows are run manually or via another flow or API.
    In this Power Automate Beginners Tutorial we have shown an automated cloud flow example.
  • Business Process Flow:
    Business Process Flows are a special type of flow which consists of several stages and steps. Each stage contains a group of steps. Each step represents a column where data can be entered. Here is a short YouTube video on Business Process Flow.
    Business process flows appear relatively simple compared to other types of processes because they do not provide any conditional business logic or automation beyond providing the streamlined experience for data entry and controlling entry into stages.
  • Desktop Flows:
    Desktop flows are created using Power Automate desktop app. Moreover, using Power Automate for desktop you can automate tasks on the desktop as well as the Web. However the beauty of desktop flows are the ability to automate legacy applications (applications which do not have any API). Power Automate desktop app can record all your action and then repeat them automatically in the same manner when you are not present or away. Making it very powerful robotic process automation tool.

Components of Power Automate

Power Automate flow has two main components.

  • Trigger
  • Action

Every Power Automate flow has at least 1 trigger and 1 or more action blocks.

#. What is Trigger?

The first block of every Power Automate flow is the trigger. A trigger defines how the flow runs or starts.
Depending upon the starting mechanism, flow triggers can be divided in three categories

  • Automated Triggers – Starts the flow after a particular event or incident
  • Scheduled Triggers – Starts the flow at a particular time.
  • Manual Triggers – Manual action required to start the flow.

In the below image, SharePoint (when a file is created ) trigger is used. This is an example of automated trigger, as this trigger will start the flow whenever a new file is created in the SharePoint library.

can;t load power automate tutorial image
The first action is trigger
Rest all are Actions

#. What is an Action

Action is what happens after a particular event.
In power automate, every block after the first block is known as an action block. Every action block is responsible for a particular task such as “updating an item“, “sending an email” or “removing a file” etc.

As shown in the above image, the flow has 4 action blocks(send email, condition, get worksheet and create task).

#. What is a Connector?

Another important component of Power Automate is connector.
Connector allows you to connect to a particular service or application from your Power Automate flow. Power Automate connectors belongs to main categories, normal or premium. However Power Automate has more than 275 types of connectors to connect to different services such as Google drive, SQL, Mailchimp, Twitter etc.

can;t load image flow connector

Benefits of Power Automate

The main benefit of using Power Automate is reduced repetitive manual work. This also means reduced labor cost, which in turn increases company profit.

The beautiful thing about using Power Automate is that Power Automate do not require any prior programming experience and any business person can create it. Also there is no need to host the applications or buy any additional license as it comes with Microsoft O365 Power Platform suit. Thus it reduces production and maintenance cost.

Licensing: Is Power Automate Free?

Unfortunately, Power Automate does not come with a free license or subscription. If you are working in an organization then you can check with your IT to verify if you have a Power Automate license. And if you are learning or using power automate as an individual then you can use Power Automate free license for 30days. Use this link to know more about power automate pricing.

However, you can use Power Automate free for 30 days, check this Microsoft Power Automate page for more information

How To Access Power Automate?

You can access it in two ways,

  1. Using this link: https://flow.microsoft.com/
  2. Or by navigating inside your all apps page in https://office.com.
office.com

Tutorial

Create Your First Power Automate Flow

I hope now you have little bit understanding of Power Automate and its features. So, now let me show you how to create a flow quickly.
In this example tutorial of Power Automate, I will create a flow which will save all your email attachments to OneDrive. This flow is available as a prebuilt template in flow website. The beautiful thing is, similar to this template, Power Automate has many many such templates which you can use directly and create flow very quickly.

Flow Creation Process

  1. First navigate to Power Automate page as mentioned above (or use this link: https://flow.microsoft.com)
  2. Next, we need to add data connection to OneDrive and Outlook.
  3. For adding outlook from the left side menu choose Data > Connection > +New connection and search for “outlook” as shown in the below image then click the “+” button for Outlook for Office 365.
power automate tutorial create new connection newbietechie
add new connection in power automate
  1. Similarly do the same steps and add data connection for OneDrive as well. After adding both of them, you should see both outlook and OneDrive under connections page as below.
power automate data connection verify tutorial
verify connection
  1. Next, navigate to template tab and search for office 365 outlook and choose the template as shown below. If prompted, click continue.
power automate tutorial office 365 outlook template
create from template
  1. After creating the default flow configuration should look like below.
newbietechie power automate tutorial
power automate tutorial
  1. Now modify the default configuration as below
modified settings power automate flow

That’s it, if you have saved it, your flow is now ready to be tested. Follow the below process to test your cloud flow.

Test the Power Automate cloud flow

Now to test the flow, open your outlook web app or desktop app and send yourself an email with attachment. After sending wait for few minutes ( the free plan can take up to 5 minutes to trigger the flow).
After waiting for few minutes, if you navigate to “my flows” page and open the newly created flow then, you should see as below. This page shows you various information regarding your power automate flow including previous run results.

power automate tutorial - flow run newbietechie
Power Automate flow details page

If you now navigate to your OneDrive page, you should see the attachment file there. As you can see in the below image file names are same in both OneDrive and Outlook

power automate tutorial file created successfully
Flow run verification

Congrats you have successfully competed the Power Automate beginners tutorial and also created your first flow.

As you saw it is very simple to create a power automate flow because of the templates. You can search and find, there are hundreds of ready templates available which you can use for your daily repetitive tasks.

Next Steps

Thank you for checking this Power Automate tutorial, I hope you you now have a pretty good understanding about Power Automate and its features.

Can't load

Workflow Automation With Power Automate

Power Automate, part of Power Platform family of products is a workflow engine that can be used to automate common business processes or repetative tasks. Power Automate(formerly known as Microsoft Flow) is web based tool.

For further studies, please check our other Power Automate and PowerApps tutorials using the below links.
https://newbietechie.com/how-to-create-flow-from-custom-template-power-automate-beginners/

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About Ramiz

Ramiz is a professional working in an MNC as a business and technology consultant for quite a few years now. Ramiz is proficient in various Microsoft tools and technologies. He is a tech enthusiast and an active blogger. Ramiz spends his free time playing games or watching movies. He writes blogs to share his knowledge with the world and to make it a better place to live.