Microsoft Flow: Create a Workflow Using a Template


In today’s Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to sign up for Microsoft Flow and set up a simple workflow using one of the many available templates.

Microsoft Flow allows users to automate workflows without understanding how to work with the publicly available APIs that developers use to create complex solutions using multiple services and apps from different vendors. Flow contains a wide range of templates for automating workflows, or you can create and share your own.

A workflow might automatically post photos you upload to Instagram to your Twitter feed, or post status updates on multiple social networks simultaneously. Or productivity solutions might include automatically creating a Wunderlist task from emails labelled important, or synchronizing files from one cloud storage provider to another. For more information on Flow, see What is Microsoft Flow? on the Petri IT Knowledgebase.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to post tweets that match a hashtag to Slack. To complete this demo, you’ll need a Microsoft account, a Twitter account and a project configured in Slack. See What is Slack and Is It Better Than Email? on Petri for more details on Slack.

Create a Flow using a Template

Before you can use Flow, you’ll need to sign up with a Microsoft account. If you already have a Microsoft account and have previously registered for Flow, you can click Sign in on the Flow webpage here. If you haven’t signed up before, click Sign up free and provide your Microsoft account username and password.

  • On the Flow webpage, click Browse in the options at the top of the browser window.
  • Scroll down the list of available templates and click Post to Slack if a new tweet matches with hashtag.
  • On the template screen, read the template description and then click Use this template.

Choose a Flow template (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

Choose a Flow template (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

  • On the To use this template screen, click Sign in to the right of Twitter. A dialog box will appear where you will need to enter your Twitter username and password. Click Authorize app to give Flow permission to use your Twitter account.
  • A green tick should appear below Twitter on the To use this template screen to indicate that Flow has been able to connect to Twitter successfully.
  • Repeat the authorization process for Slack by clicking Sign in.
  • You’ll be prompted to enter your Slack project URL in a pop-up dialog. Click to Continue.
  • Now sign in to Slack by entering your email and password for the project.
  • You’ll be shown the permissions that Slack will assign to Flow. Click Authorize to complete the process.
  • A green tick should appear below Slack to indicate that Flow has been able to connect.
  • Click Continue.
  • Flow will now let you customize the workflow. In the first box, you can specify the Twitter hashtag you’d like to match. In the example, I’m going to type #windows10 into the When a new tweet appears box.
Customize the Flow (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Customize the Flow (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
  • Now all I need to do is choose which Slack channel to post. I already have a channel in my Slack project called twitter, so I’ll type that into the Post Message box.
  • I’ll leave the default format of the Slack message as Tweet text + Tweeted by, although it’s possible to customize the contents and format of the message.
  • You can also add extra steps to the Flow or configure advanced options.
  • To complete the process, click Create flow (or Update flow if you are editing the flow) at the top of the browser window.
  • You should see a message saying that ‘Your flow as created’. Click Done.
Tweets posted as messages in Slack (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Tweets posted as messages in Slack (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

Because the #windows10 hashtag is commonly used on Twitter, you should see messages posted to your chosen Slack channel almost instantly. To turn off the Flow, click My flows and disable the Flow using the toggle switch.