Identifying Flow Types
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Power Automate is part of the Microsoft Power Platform and is a powerful tool to create automation flows for workflow processes. In this course, we cover the capabilities of the Power Automate service. You will learn how to identify common components such as flow types, connectors, conditions, expressions, and approvals.

You'll also learn how to build basic flows that can be started immediately with a button, based on an automated trigger, or on a set schedule. We'll explore how to update your flows and correct any issues that might interfere with your flow running successfully.

Furthermore, this course will help you in preparing for the Microsoft PL-900 certification for the Power Platform.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the different types of flows
  • Identify and choose the proper type of flow trigger
  • Find and use templates to run or modify a flow
  • Use and change data connectors
  • Be able to describe templates, connectors, loops and conditions, expressions, and approvals

Intended Audience

  • IT professionals who are interested in obtaining the Microsoft PL-900 certification
  • Those tasked with automating tasks from Microsoft 365 applications and external application integration


  • Basic knowledge of the Microsoft 365 applications and a license to create Power Automate Flows (a trial of an Enterprise version would work as a temporary testbed)

In this lecture, we’re going to talk about identifying flow types. In Power Automate we have three types of flows we can use to accomplish our automations. We're going to talk about all three of those as well as discuss the difference between Team flows and My flows. The three flows we will describe are cloud flows, business process or guided flows, and desktop or RPA flows.

Let’s go over to Power Automate to see how these work. So we head into Power Automate and on the left-hand menu, we choose My flows. Cloud Flows. The first of these flows is what we would call event-driven, triggered flows, or you'll see them listed as cloud flows. Within the cloud flows, there are three more types. These types really indicate the type of activation of the cloud flow.

An Automated flow is a flow that is triggered based on some criteria. For instance, if a SharePoint list item is updated the flow will start, or when an email is received, the flow starts.

Instant flows are the type that you can start with a button. This button could be attached to a web page or used within a cell phone Power Automate app. 

Scheduled flows are the type that run based on a specific schedule, like once per day or once a week, they might start up to remind somebody of something or run a process that needs to be done every week.

Desktop or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) flows are now free to Windows 10 users and are automations that you create for your desktop or for using the web. They are created in another interface on your desktop and saved in the cloud. A good example might be starting up your web browser and opening a page of that website to keep up to date on new additions.

I'm gonna go ahead and click on Cloud Fundamentals, which will take us into its properties. And I'm going to edit that, which will launch our application for the Power Automate desktop app.

This is a desktop flow that I created to launch Cloud Academy's site then take me into the learning paths of the cloud fundamentals section. You can automate this by recording your steps and then adding this flow to your startup process. I could also record steps to move larger files like videos and pictures to another hard drive with more room.

Business process or guided flows are made to guide a person through a business process flow. The best examples of these are flows that are used in dynamics 365 sales actions. A phone salesperson may go through a script and a specific task list. A new employee may go through a set of documents that are presented one after another as they fill them out. Most of the integration does happen with Dynamics 365.

You will often hear the terms “team flow” and “my flows”. My flows will show you all of your flows: cloud, desktop, and business process flows. You will notice there's a place that says, “shared with me”. Team flows are what you find under the shared with me menu. Those are flows that you have shared with someone else and, someone else has shared with you, turning them into team flows. So we covered three types of flows: cloud flows, business process or guided flows, desktop or RPA flows. We also talked about the three different types of cloud flows, of automated, instant, and scheduled. Our next lecture will be on using templates.


About the Author

Ron is an experienced professional with in-depth expertise in SharePoint, Power Automate, Power BI, and Microsoft 365. He enjoys involvement in corporate presentations, training, change management, communications, marketing, and facilitation.

Ron brings this experience together to design SharePoint solutions that meet his client’s business, training, and collaboration needs. His skillset includes: Program Management, Change Management, SharePoint Site Administration and Architecture, Project Management, Graphic Design, and Technology Infrastructure Expertise. Ron is an expert skier and speaks Japanese as a second language.