Use the Flow recurrence trigger to run flows only on weekdays

Running a flow on every weekday or certain weekdays

Rather than using Flow’s recurrence trigger with a frequency of “days” combined with switch cases/conditions, you can actually just use the “Week” frequency time unit and select days from a drop-down with no further effort required.

For weekdays, just select Monday-Friday. Or if you just want MWF, you could do that as well.

A techie way to do it

The alternative is to initialize a variable such as

@and(greater(dayOfWeek(utcNow()),0),less(dayOfWeek(utcNow()),7))

with a switch case to determine if today’s date is, in fact, between 0 (Sunday) and 7 (Saturday).

Compare today’s date with holiday calendar

So that being said, the limitation of using the “Week” frequency for weekdays might be if you want to prevent it from running on holidays when nobody is in the office even if it is, in fact, a Monday. In that case, you could add a condition that checks to see if @utcNow() matches items from a SharePoint list (holiday calendar?).

  1. Initialize variable (integer) value 0
  2. Get items from SP list (calendar)
    1. You could add an ODATA filter in the Get items step to only filter to items with Start times greater than today
  3. Apply to each –> IF utcNow()=SP item, THEN increment variable by 1, ELSE nothing
    1. Use the expression builder to formatDateTime both dates to be sure they match when being compared
  4. IF variable is greater than 0, do nothing (don’t run), else run the rest of the Flow

Flow now supports multiple condition controls for advanced if/then scenarios within a single step

Say goodbye to nested if/then statements in Flow taking up fourteen monitor widths. Flow now supports nested if/then statements all in a single, vertical step. For example, the following requires that WeekDayNum is not 0 or 7 AND requires that either Bob or Nate created the item. And I didn’t have to scroll horizontally at all to see it!

The next time you use a condition control, enjoy rethinking how you might structure your various requirements for conditions to be met.

To get started, just add a condition control as you normally would:

  1. Add an action
  2. Condition control

Enjoy!

Use Microsoft Forms and Flow to create Mad Libs

Have a holiday party coming up? Staff meeting you want to spice up? Send a form out to attendees in advance to collect adjectives, nouns and verbs and showcase your favorite completed libs at your meeting. Or just do it for fun – because work should be fun. Go ahead and try my test version to see for yourself!

Make your own (short version)

  1. Create a form at forms.office.com with questions for adjectives, nouns, etc. Be sure to collect email addresses as well so you can send participants the completed mad lib. You can use my template
  2. Create a flow at flow.microsoft.com that pulls responses into an email template. You can import the flow I built

Detailed steps

Create the form to collect words

Go to http://forms.office.com

Create an account if you don’t already have one (it’s free!)

Note: It must be an organizational account – Flow cannot currently connect to “personal” Forms accounts.

Create a new form or use my template (open link and click “Duplicate it” at the top)

Add a title, subtitle/instructions and then any questions/word parts you want. You must include email address as a required field if you intend to email the results to someone.

If you’re giving people multiple mad libs to choose from, you must also require a choice field like in my example.

Create the flow to send completed mad libs

This is the part that takes form submissions and turns them into the actual mad libs. It’s easiest to import the flow I built.

  1. Log into your account at https://flow.microsoft.com
  2. Go to your flows, click Import and upload the zip file you downloaded

Now select your existing connections for Forms and Outlook.

If you don’t already have an Outlook and/or Forms connection, you’ll need to click “Create new” and add them, then come back to connect them in the previous step. You can also modify the Flow to use Gmail or HTML emails instead. If you use HTML emails, however, they’re more likely to go to spam or be blocked since they come from a well-known “marketing” address rather than an individual (yourself).

Once you’ve set your connections, click “Import” (you should no longer see red x’s next to the connections under “Related resources”)

Once imported, click “Open flow”

Check every step, especially the “Forms” step to set the correct Form connection, and correct other fields like “email body” variables as needed.

Note: My Flow template has multiple mad lib options. If you just have one, you don’t need the “switch” at all (which is really just a conditional statement).

When finished, click “Save” in the upper right, go to your flows and make sure it’s “On”.

Finally, copy the “Share” URL from your form and send it to people to complete! Have fun!

Using YouTube with Microsoft Flow

Exploring Microsoft Flow, I noticed you can connect to YouTube. So, naturally, I had to try it out.

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Use Microsoft Flow to get the number of items in a SharePoint list or library

Sometimes you need the number of items in a list or library for reporting, notifications, or just curiosity. The following details three methods you can use to get the count of items for different purposes.

  1. Use Microsoft Flow to get the number of items and use in various ways
  2. Add “count” to the top of a classic view SharePoint list for all to see
  3. Quickly find “count” just for your information in site contents or list settings

(Video at bottom of first section)

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Microsoft Flow vs SharePoint Designer (SPD) Approvals

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Perhaps one of the most useful automated processes out there is the ability to do approval processes. We fortunately have two tools on-prem or online that allows us to perform this action. Microsoft Flow offers some incredible connectivity between services (like approve a Tweet and post it, approve something from Google Docs and have it moved to SharePoint, etc.), but the approval process itself is very simple at this point and doesn’t offer some of the more robust features and customization options we get in SharePoint Designer 2013 approval processes.

I also will use both tools in the same business process occasionally, because they both have unique strengths.

But which do you use for approvals?

The quick answer to the question is: Use Flow for simple approvals, or approvals that involve multiple sites or external services. Use SPD for more complicated processes and customization options for approvals that involve a single site.

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Use Microsoft Flow to create a “today” column for use in SharePoint list calculations

Note: I previously shared how to do this in SharePoint Designer. The following method utilizing Flow is better, and does not use loops/pauses.

It’s well-known that SharePoint calculated columns don’t permit [Today] to be used as a formula for a calculated date column. And the “default to today’s date” setting only works upon creation, and doesn’t update daily. But we can create a standard date column and have Microsoft Flow automatically update it daily for us, therefore allowing us to effortlessly perform calculations against today’s date such as:

  • Age =(TodayDate-Birthday)/365
  • Years of Service =(TodayDate-StartDate)/365
  • Days Past Due =(TodayDate-DueDate)
  • Weeks until summer break =(SummerStart-TodayDate)/7

Here’s how to create your own, always accurate/updated, today column (see bottom of post for video):

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Generate and send reports, files or lists regularly with Microsoft Flow’s “recurrence” trigger

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Automatically create and send reports, files and lists on a regular schedule using Microsoft Flow’s recurrence trigger. Whether hourly, daily, weekly or monthly you can deliver the most current and relevant data from SharePoint or OneDrive to interested parties via email without lifting a finger. Combine this with calculated columns in SharePoint and conditions for some awesome possibilities:

Alerts Calendar Relevance Routine
Report costs or expenditures above a certain amount Current month’s birthdays and/or workiversaries to your secretary Send expenses per department or individual to that department or individual Budget and salary or payroll figures weekly
Notify when an open ticket is idle for a week or incomplete Upcoming events per location Share evaluation status with supervisors for just their employees Recently closed deals and contracts
Survey responses or reviews under 3 stars Upcoming deadlines per department Client info and updates to proper salespeople based on location or product Distribute new hires’ contact/location info to the organization in weekly batches

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How to change Microsoft Flow’s default limit of 100 items for “Get Items” and “Get Rows” actions

100itemlimit

The first time I created a flow for a list with over 100 items, I noticed an “Apply to Each” block stopping at 100 items. It’s a simple fix:

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How to make a Microsoft Flow mobile button to be emailed Microsoft Forms or SharePoint data as Excel link or attachment

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Microsoft Flow mobile buttons are magical. One touch on your mobile device, and gears start turning to retrieve and deliver the data you need when and how you need it. Recently, I set out to deliver all Microsoft Forms responses to a recipient on-demand as an excel file using a Microsoft Flow mobile button they could press whenever they wanted the results. I also created a button someone could use to be sent all the birthdays coming up in the next week for our organization whenever they need it. You can adjust the following steps to fit your situation and tools, but the following outlines two ideas:

  • Sending someone all responses to a Microsoft Forms survey whenever they press the button (Take a snapshot in time of responses, or pull up-to-the-minute feedback into your meeting)
  • Sending someone SharePoint list items in an excel sheet that match a certain criteria (Projects ending in the next two weeks)

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