Course Introduction and Overview
Components of Power Automate
Building and Managing Flows
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.
- 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
- 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)
This is our lecture on loops and conditions. Loops and conditions are helpful when our process flow is not just one straight line or argument. Loops help us to continue to process things until some condition is met. Conditions help us act on certain criteria or take action on other criteria.
Loops can include counters that help them to start from a position and end when counters reach another position. When each loop happens, counters can be incremented. For example, retweet a message until the Retweet count reaches 10.
Loops can continually run without counters until a condition is met. For example, sending a reminder every day until the status reaches “Approved”. Let’s look at some ways to use conditionals and loops.
Within Power Automate, we will start with a simple flow that emails someone when we have a change to an inventory list item. We add a new action between our list and the email, and we select Control. The loops and conditionals all fall within here. The first one of these we will look at is a Switch Control.
Notice we get three input boxes, a Switch, Case, and Default. In the Switch box we are turning the switch on to watch our status value. When the status equals “Out of Stock”, then the next step runs.
I am going to add an email action and then put it as our next action in the Case. This would send an alert email to someone. If status equals anything else, then it does nothing more.
I’m going to copy our email so we can use it again. Now let’s add a Condition Control in the same place. Notice that we also get three boxes but, in this case, we can do more inputs than a switch which was for a single input. We can still add our status value and what it is equal to, but we could also add multiple other conditions that must be met. When a condition is met, we travel down the Yes side of the condition. If the condition is not met, then we go down the No path. Let’s add our email as an action of the Yes path.
On our No path, we could add another condition control to split the status values even further. For example, let’s add a condition that still sends an email but only if it is not out of stock, and it is not in the status of “Available”. That way, we can send a different email to notify people that stock is low. We could go on doing this until we break down everything we need to accomplish. So, Condition Controls will help us to do multiple conditions.
For the Do Until Control, we can use our same example, but you might see an issue. I would like to send a reminder to order an item when the Status is equal to “Out of Stock”. Let’s put the Do Until into place and select our Status Value equal to Ordered. Now by itself, the do until creates some problems. First, it will continue to send emails or change things until we reach our condition or until it times out. The default time out is set at 1 hour.
You can see that we would have to make some changes, or we would have this running for ever if we don’t be careful. We would most likely want to start with a scheduled cloud flow and run it every day or once a week. Then, we would have a conditional control that would include the Do Until control within it. Then we would not get into a loop that would drive others crazy or time out.
Our next control is the Apply to each. Notice the lighter color of these two controls. That is an indicator that they should be in another control. Apply to Each will apply an action to a group of items. If I wanted to have all items in my inventory that were ordered changed to the status of “Available”, then I would need to do two things. First would be to add a condition control or switch. Since we are only looking for one item, I will use a switch control to look for those items that are equal to the status value of “Received”. Then I embed the Apply to each control to update the status value on just those that say” Received” to the status value of “Available”. It will continue to run until all items that were received are updated.
Loops and conditions can be really helpful in limiting our focus or filtering items that need some action applied. There are many combinations that could be helpful so play with them all to find your happy mix.
Our next lecture is on exploring expressions.
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.