1. Overview of Power Automate


Power Automate is a tool that can be used to automate tasks through Robotic Process Automation (RPA). In this lesson, we’ll introduce the Power Automate products, and how they automate business processes.

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  1. Lesson Goal (00:12)

    The goal of this lesson is to learn what Power Automate is and what it does.

  2. Automating Processes (00:18)

    Power Automate is a tool using Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, to automate processes. In Power Automate, a flow is a process that is automated, and actions are the individual tasks that make up the flow. A flow runs by executing a number of actions in a sequence.

    The advantage of using Power Automate as an RPA solution is that it does not require advanced technical knowledge. Instead, flows can be developed by building a series of actions in an intuitive drag-and-drop environment.

    Not all tasks are suited to automation. You can learn about what kind of tasks are suited to automation in our Introduction to RPA course.

  3. Power Automate Products (02:02)

    Power Automate contains an online product, known as Power Automate, and a desktop application, known as Power Automate Desktop. Both products allow you to develop flows from scratch by combining actions, while the online product also provides tools like templates that can help you create flows quickly.

    This introductory course focuses on creating flows using the online Power Automate product, and other courses focus on Power Automate Desktop. The basic flow creation process is the same across both products, so you’ll still be able to follow all the courses even if you only use Power Automate Desktop.

  4. Course Overview (03:20)

    This course will cover the following topics:

    • Power Automate interface
    • Creating flows from templates
    • Creating a flow from scratch
    • Managing and sharing flows


Welcome to our introductory course on Power Automate, Microsoft's tool for automating business processes.

In this first lesson, we'll learn what Power Automate is and what it does.

Power Automate is a tool that uses robotic process automation or RPA to automatically complete business processes.

We simply need to specify, how the process should be completed and Power Automate will replicate it whenever we need it to.

Processes are generally composed of multiple actions.

For example, let's say we want to send an email containing some relevant information from a spreadsheet.

To complete this process, we would need to find and open the right spreadsheet, find the information of interest, copy that information into an email and send the email.

In Power Automate, we use the term flow to refer to the entire business process, while the individual steps are called actions.

By building up a series of actions, we can develop a flow that Power Automate can then complete much more quickly than any human could.

Unlike older automation solutions, we don't need advanced technical knowledge or coding skills to create these flows.

Power Automate provides a simple drag and drop interface that we can use to easily create flows.

Almost any business activity can theoretically be automated, however, it doesn't make sense to automate certain processes. Tasks suited to automation are generally rules-based, repetitive and frequently needed. To learn more about tasks that are suited to automation, you can watch our course on RPA Fundamentals.

As with many other Microsoft products, Power Automate provides an online service and a desktop product. The online cloud-based service, is just called Power Automate.

It allows you to develop flows using pre-created templates or build flows from scratch by combining different actions. It also allows you to manage and share your flows as well as the data connections required to run them. The desktop product is known as Power Automate Desktop. This can be downloaded onto your computer for free.

It allows you to create more advanced flows from scratch. These flows are built using a wide variety of possible actions that incorporate almost anything you might do with a computer. In this course, we'll learn how to create flows in the online service.

Because the online service provides tools like templates, it's easier to use it to quickly create flows and introduce the ideas behind automating tasks.

In other courses, we'll learn how to develop more advanced and detailed flows that incorporate desktop applications, using Power Automate Desktop.

The principles of flows and automation are the same across both products. So don't worry if you only use one of the two products in your work as you'll still be able to follow all the courses. Let's now consider what we're going to cover in the rest of this course. We'll start by looking at the user interface for the Power Automate online product.

We'll then build several flows using templates, allowing us to see just how quickly flows can be built. After that, we'll learn how to build a flow from scratch by putting actions together. Finally, we'll learn how to monitor our flows in Power Automate and how to share and collaborate with other people in our company.

We'll get started in the next lesson by learning about the Power Automate Interface.