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Here's how to create a flow from scratch

  Microsoft Flow Logo

Microsoft Flow is a trigger based system for creating automated workflows. There are many templates available, but if they do not fit the bill for you this is how you create a brand new Flow from the beginning.

You need a free or paid plan to use Flow, so go ahead and sign up if you don't already have it. Go to the Office 365 app launcher (the nine points in the top left corner) and click Flow to start it.

 O365 app launcher and Flow tile

Step one: Create a new feed

The front page hits you right into the templates, but we should create a feed from the beginning, so click on "My feeds" in menu on the left.

 Page menu showing ]

If you have never created a flow before this page becomes empty, otherwise it will contain the feeds you previously created. Click New> Create from Blank to start a new feed from the beginning.

 The new> Create from empty option "width =" 426 "height =" 201 "src =" / pagespeed_static / 1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif "onload =" this.onerror = null; pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon (this);

You get the opportunity to start from a popular trigger

 Create from an empty button

Step two: Select a trigger

At this time you are "You must select a trigger for to kick off your flow You can search for a particular service or select one from the list Click on the down arrow below the two lines of icons to see all available services.

 The trigger increase and expand options

We'll set up a simple flow that sends an email when any file in a specific folder in OneDrive has changed. This is useful if you've shared a folder with someone and you want to know when they change something in the folder To set this flow, we need to select a trigger action, which is a OneDrive movie modification, starting with the OneDrive service.

 OneDrive icon

Make sure you has clicked on the right OneDrive is "OneDrive" (included in free and personalized Office 365 subscriptions) and "OneDrive for Business" (included in business plans). When you click on the OneDrive service, you must log in to Office 365 again to make sure it is still you. After logging in, a list of OneDrive triggers is displayed. We are looking for "When a file is modified", which is at the bottom.

Click "When a file is modified" to open the options for this trigger. The only thing that is required is to select the folder containing the files you want to monitor, then click on the folder icon.

 Folder bar with folder icon selected

A dialog box shows OneDrive file structure, starting with "Root." You can select this if you want to be notified when a file in OneDrive has changed, or you can click the arrow next to Root to browse the OneDrive folder structure and select the folder you want to monitor

 OneDrive Root folder and scroll folder arrow

We have selected our folder / How-To Geek folder.

Step three: Select an action to perform

It is the Trigger sorted, so now we have to select an action to be performed. Click "New Step" to open the options again.

 New Step button

We want to send an email when an article in the How-To Geek folder changes, so we need to choose the Outlook.com service. There are many services to choose from (and annoying they are not in alphabetical order) so insert "Outlook" as the filter term and select the Outlook.com service.

 Search for Outlook and select Outlook .com

Select "Send an Email" action.


This gives the option "Send an email".

Add the email address to which you want to send the email message to "To" field. When you click in the "Subject" box, you will notice that a "Dynamic Content" panel is displayed to This allows you to add a subject line to the email based on the file that has been modified. We want the subject line to say that "[file name] has changed," was "[file name]" replaced with the name of the file. do this, click "File name" in the "Dynamic content" panel.

 The file name

appears in the "Subject" box. Add to the text "has been changed" (do not forget to insert spaces before the word "has".

 Field Subject with dynamic content and text

We want to make it easy to find the file as well, so in the "Body" line you go to the panel "Dynamic content "again and click" File path "to add it to the body. The flow is clear now, so click on S

 The body field with dynamic content and the Save button

Step four: Test the flow

The next step is to test the flow. Click on the test option in the upper right corner.

 Test option

In the "Test flow" panel that slides out, click "I'll perform the trigger action" and click "Save and test."

 Test flow options and Save buttons "width =" 329 "height =" 243 "src =" / pagespeed_static / 1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif "onload =" pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon this); "onerror =" this.onerror = null; pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon (this);

Now leave the tab with your flow open, go to the folder you are monitoring in OneDrive and make a change to a file (you can do it in OneDrive web app or OneDrive on your computer). Save the change and go back to the tab where the flow is open. You will see a message saying that the flow has expired.

When you check your email, you will see that an email has been sent to you, with the subject line showing the file name

 The successful mail alert

This is a simple flow, but you can add multiple triggers and actions over a large number of services, and use variables, establish approval criteria, road data to specific security groups in Office 365, and much, much more. Microsoft adds new features regularly, and many of these features are aimed at business users (and only available on business plans), many of which are also available and useful to the home user.

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