Excel Online and Microsoft Flow
In today’s post I would like to show you the teamwork between Excel and Microsoft Flow.
Excel, as one of the most used data collection, preparation and presentation tool – is a perfect starting point for “doing more with the data (in your spreadsheet)”. In Summer 2018, the Microsoft Flow and Excel product groups announced the availability of the Flow integration for Excel Online tables. Using that functionality, you can directly start a Microsoft Flow out of your Excel table working with data contained in that file.
Flow functionality is not available out of the box in Excel Online – you need to activate the corresponding add-in first.
Search for the Flow add-in in the Office Store and add it.
If everything works fine, the Add-in is available in the “Data” ribbon afterwards
For todays example I add a simple table into the spreadsheet. Requests can be added to that list and the planned Flow will be an approval workflow to ask for approval.
HINT: you need a table within your spreadsheet to work with Flow integration
Start the Flow creation with the “Flow” action in the menu.
I think I’ve already mentioned it sometimes (or even more often) in my PowerPlatform series – use templates as starting points! 😊 Because, there is a template that should do the things planned (request approval).
Like any other Flow, the required connections are displayed, and you can change them if you want to use another user for example.
Let’s continue and a Flow development pane is opened. The generated Flow already contains two elements – the Excel trigger (for a selected row) plus the Approval start action.
The Excel trigger is pre-filled with the connection to the Excel file PLUS additional information that is needed for the following step – an approver email plus a message that can be entered by the requester.
The Approval action needs some more configuration settings – like the requester and approver information and details about the message the requester entered during the approval request.
The approval action generates an email that is sent to the approver. The request can then be approved or rejected.
What is missing in the generated Flow is the ability to return the approval result back to the user. As the Excel-integrated Flow development pane is not the biggest and brightest one I first save the Flow and then return to the list of flows to open the Flow in the Flow-Web editor.
In the Flow Editor, I added a new Action – a “condition” action that allows me to split the Flow into two separated branches: one for approval, one for rejection. Within those branches I added an email notification action to inform the requester about the result. The resulting Flow looks like:
And now – let’s see it in action:
- Back to the file in Excel Online
- Select one row in the table
In the dialog, start the new Flow. The approver email and the message from the requester is needed.
That’s it for the moment on the requester side. Let’s check emails at the approver inbox.
The approver can approve or reject the request. In my example – rejection!
The information email for the requester looks like this:
And with that – another example of the PowerPlatform in action comes to an end! I hope you liked the example.