Understanding Approvals
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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)

Welcome to Understanding Approvals. Approval flows are a way to have one or more people approve content, documents, or maybe even calendar items like days off. We can have many cycles of approvals where one person approves one step, then the next person approves the next step and so on. Our ultimate goal is to automate the process of sending emails and documents back and forth and reducing time to results.

One of the Common Starting Points as we learned earlier, is to start with a template. There is a specific category for Approvals so that is where we can find many premade approval flows.

Here are some common components of approval flows. Of course, some trigger that starts the flow when a file is changed, created, or modified. An approval action. Emails to approve and to update the submitter of status. Updates to files like status changes, copy, move, attach can all be part of the approval. You will most likely see some of the other items we have covered like conditions, loops, and expressions. 

The results may look something like this.

This is a flow that looks for a new file to appear in a document library. It then creates an approval for the first person to respond. It gives them information about what they are approving as well as a link to the item so they can review it. Once approved, we copy the file to another library for approved documents and send an email to the originator to let them know that it is being approved.

This is an example of the email received by the approver. It has a button to approve which presents a comment section which could be used in an email. Once submitted, it sends another email with the results.

We could of course, make this much more complicated. Let’s look at an approval for an item created in OneDrive which interacts with email, Teams, and approvals.

It starts with a trigger for a file being created, it creates a share link, then it gets my profile and holds that in memory so I can use it down further in the flow. We then see our approval with all the options filled in. We then see something a little new in a parallel branch which lets two processes happen at the same time. Down the first branch, we find an Apply to Each loop that creates cards for Microsoft Teams. We then wait for the approval to happen.

Notice the condition that we learned about being used to find out if it was approved or rejected. Depending on the approval outcome, the user gets a note in Teams.

Down the other branch is an error action that just looks like an email is being sent. This is really a special item that has been set to run after a failure. When we click on the ellipse’s menu, we can click on Configure Run After to see when the email is actually being sent. The next step just terminates the flow.

A lot of information in this section to digest but I hope you can now see some of the power of Power Automate. Approvals can be very powerful tools in using our time wisely. Try many combinations and see what you can come up with.

Next, we will build some flows and learn about some ways to modify them, start them, and apply data operations to them.

Next Lecture: Building Your Flow.


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.