In this tutorial, we’ll be talking about the Power Automate UI flow. It also has a special purpose just like the business process flow.
A UI flow automates a process that we use on a desktop or on a website that we don’t have a third-party API for.
Importance Of Power Automate UI Flow
UI flows are mainly used to automate repetitive tasks or processes that follow robotic sequential steps in Windows and web applications. It brings Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities to Power Automate.
This type of flow records and plays back user interface actions such as clicks, keyboard input, and many more. One example is the process of selecting the top link on Reddit and schedule to read it every morning.
This is similar to the macro recorder in MS Excel that when activated, it starts to record whatever process we do along with all our inputs and outputs. It can then be replayed as many times as we want.
Prerequisites For Power Automate UI Flow Setup
There are a lot of requirements before we could start making UI flows. All in all, there are 3 main things to do. First, make sure we have the required prerequisites. Second, download Chrome or Edge extensions. And third is to download and install Power Automate Recorder.
The prerequisites on how to set up UI flows are provided in its documentation. To check, go to the Power Automate Documentation. Click the UI flows option. Then, click Set up UI flows. It will then display the requirements and other related information to set up UI flows.
1. Either A Paid Or Trial Power Automate Plan
We don’t need to actually have a trial or a paid Power Automate plan. We just have to sign up using an organizational account just like what we did in this previous tutorial.
2. A Work Or School Account With Administrator Privileges And Power Automate
Again, if we set up Power Automate using an organization’s email address, then that’ll work fine. However, setting up using a personal email won’t work. If we don’t have an organizational email, we can just create a temporary email address via https://tempail.com.
3. Windows 10 Pro, Windows Server 16, Or Windows Server 2019
It’s vital to know the current operating system that runs our machine. To check, click the Start button.
Go to This PC and right-click it. After that, click Properties.
Then, it’ll display the basic information about our computer which includes the Windows operating system we’re running.
However, when setting up UI flows, a Windows 10 Home device won’t work. Unfortunately, that’s the operating system we’ll get by default. So, an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is necessary.
4. Microsoft Edge (version 80 or later) Or Google Chrome
We need either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome browser for the setup. But personally, I’d suggest using Google Chrome.
3. An Environment With A Common Data Service Database
We don’t necessarily need an environment with a Common Data Service database when setting up UI flows. However, there are certain things we’ll do here that might require one later on.
6. A Supported Keyboard
Lastly, we’ll need a supported keyboard to record keystrokes and inputs.
Extensions For Power Automate UI Flow Setup
The next thing we need to run UI flows in Power Automate is the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge extensions. We can add the extensions using either of the two browsers. It really depends on what browser you prefer to use. In this tutorial, we’ll be using Google Chrome to add the needed extensions.
In the Google Chrome search bar, type the word “chrome” followed by a colon (:), 2 forward slashes (//), and the word “extensions”.
Then, we’ll see the list of extensions that are currently added. We’ll need the extensions called Selenium IDE and UI flows in Microsoft Power Automate.
1. Selenium IDE
Selenium IDE allows users to automate any web process. For example, when we click on our website link or even scroll down on a website, all that can be automated using a Selenium Web Driver. So, UI flow uses that technology when doing those things.
To add this extension, go to the Chrome Web Store in our browser.
Type “Selenium IDE” in the Search the store field then click the extension from the shown results.
Finally, click the Add to Chrome button. The one displayed here is the Remove from Chrome button since I’ve already added this before.
2. UI flows in Microsoft Power Automate
The UI flows in Microsoft Power Automate extension allow users to use the browser as a conduit to connect to their desktop.
To add this, simply type a portion of the name of the extension in the Search the store field in the chrome web store.
Then, click the specific extension we’re searching for.
Lastly, click the Add to Chrome button. Since I’ve already added this before, the displayed button is Remove from Chrome instead.
3. Checking The Added Extensions For Power Automate UI Flow
Both of our Extensions will then be seen on our Chrome Extensions page.
Let’s make sure that both of them are enabled by clicking the toggle buttons. It’s also a good idea to basically close and reopen our browser just to make sure they’re still both enabled.
Recorder For Power Automate UI Flow
The last thing we need is the Power Automate Recorder for our desktop. This is software that we can download and install from Microsoft into our computer. Again, this will only work using Windows 10 Pro. If you use Windows 10 Home instead, it will give you a random error and will just stop working.
To install the software, go to the Power Automate Documentation. Click the UI flows option. Then, click Set up UI flows. It will then display the requirements and other related information to set up UI flows.
Scroll down on the documentation page until we see the Install UI flows on your device topic. Then, click the Download the UI flows installer link.
When clicked, it’ll automatically download the executable file for the installer. Just click on it and follow the instructions for downloading.
After downloading, restart the computer. It’s also a good idea to not change the location when saving this file and just use the default settings as you go through the setup.
There’s another one that we need to set up as well—the Gateway. It’s an automation process on your computer that allows permissions to UI flows to log into your desktop when you leave for the day or your desktop sleeps by itself.
But we’ll do that in a separate tutorial. For now, we’ll just cover the basic requirements for setting up Power Automate UI flows.
The Power Automate UI flow allows us to record an action and then repeat that action as many times as we want to build a flow around it. It can automatically open up files, write things down, or even interact with our desktop and third-party applications that don’t have an API.
Keep in mind that we need to have at least the minimum requirements to set up UI flows and maximize the use of this Power Automate feature.
All the best,