Microsoft Flow Tutorial – Instant Vs. Automated Flow

by | Power BI

There are five main types of Microsoft Flow. In this tutorial, we’ll only discuss the difference between the two mostly used workflows – the Instant and Automated flow. We’ll also talk about how we can turn off workflows.

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Microsoft flow

Understanding How Instant Microsoft Flow Works

The first flow in this example is an Instant flow. We need to manually trigger it in order for it to work. As you can see, if we hover over it, it will show a Run button.

Instant Microsoft flow

If we open that first flow, we’ll also see a Run button within the Menu bar. 

Instant Microsoft flow

Understanding How Automated Microsoft Flow Works

The second flow in this example is an Automated flow. There is no Run button when we hover over it. 

Automated Microsoft Flow

Even when we check inside the flow itself, we won’t see any Run button.

Automated Microsoft Flow

This is because this Twitter flow is always on or running. It’s always checking Twitter for a tweet that matches the condition that was set here (to search for the “Power Automate” text).

Automated Microsoft Flow

And because it’s automated, we don’t have to do anything after creating this flow. It’s just always up and running. However, it’s not checking Twitter every single millisecond to see new tweets. This connection is running or checking tweets every five or ten minutes.

Unlike an Instant flow, the Automated flow won’t be as instant as you might think it is.

But how do we manually trigger an automated flow?

Manually Triggering An Automated Flow

Once we’re editing the flow, we can click the Test option to force Power Automate to search Twitter.

Automated Microsoft Flow

Let’s select the “I’ll perform the trigger action” option, then click the Test button.

Power Automate is now checking Twitter to see if there’s a tweet that matches the condition we’ve set from the flow.

For this example, I’ll go to my Twitter account and create a new tweet with the words “Power Automate”. Now, I’ve triggered it from my end because I’ve made a tweet that has the words “Power Automate” in it. This might then take a few minutes. 

Once it shows a note that the flow ran successfully as shown from the image, that means our flow was now triggered by a tweet.

Let’s open the new email that was sent by our automated flow.

We can then see the tweet and the person who tweeted it. 

Let’s try clicking this link.


That link will redirect us to Twitter and show the tweet. Therefore, our flow worked successfully. 


And that’s how an automated Microsoft Flow works. How about turning off our flow?

Turning Off A Flow In Microsoft Power Automate

For the instant flow, we don’t really need to turn it off because it’s being triggered manually. However, it’s important to learn how to turn off an automated flow.

If we leave the automated Twitter flow on for a whole day, it will run almost a hundred times throughout the day.

It will also spam our email with every single tweet that contains the condition we’ve set. 

So, to turn off any flow, just click the flow and click the Turn off option.

After turning it off, the trigger for this flow will be deactivated. If we go back to our flow list, we can see that the icon was grayed out. That means this flow is inactive. 

Of course, we can always click the flow and turn it on. 

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To conclude, we’ve created an automated flow that scans Twitter and sends us relevant tweets based on search terms or conditions we’ve set. We’ve also learned that instant flows won’t work unless they’re manually triggered, and automated flows won’t work instantly unlike instant flows.

Again, it’s very important to turn off your automated flows if you don’t want it to be automatically triggered. For the instant flows or manually-triggered flows, we don’t necessarily need to turn it off. 

All the best,


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author avatar
Henry Habib
Henry Habib is an accomplished Power Platform and Office 365 trainer, with over 100 hours of recorded content and over 30,000 paid students on e-learning platforms.

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