Power Automate for desktop – December 2021 update

We are happy to announce that the December 2021 update of Power Automate for desktop (version 2.15) has been released! You can download the latest release here. New features and updates have been added, as described below.

The web and desktop recorders are now unified

The web recorder and desktop recorder are unified into a single Power Automate for desktop recorder. With the unified recorder, users can record both their web- and desktop-related activities during a single recording session.

Unified recorder

Tenant picker is now supported in the console (Preview)

Users of the Power Automate app may often need to sign in to multiple tenants. With the tenant picker feature within Power Automate for desktop, users will be able to switch between tenants of the same organization or different ones, without taking extra steps through the Power Automate portal.

Tenant picker

Create a copy of a desktop flow through the console

Users will now be able to create a copy of a desktop flow directly from the Power Automate console. To do so, navigate to the desktop app’s console, select the flow that you want to create a copy from and select the option Create a copy on the menu list. After a few moments, the copy of your flow will appear under the My flows tab of the console.

Create a copy of a desktop flow

A new action ‘Recognize entities in text’ is now available

The new action Recognize entities in text receives text expressed in natural language as input and returns a datable containing the recognized entities, such as numbers, dates, measurement units and many more.

Recognize entities in text

Syntax highlighting in scripting actions

This feature brings support for syntax highlighting to all the actions that support script editors. The affected actions are the following:

  • Run VBScript
  • Run Poweshell script
  • Execute SQL statement
  • Run JavaScript
  • Run Python script
  • Run JavaScript function on web page

Syntax highlighting

New functionality to clear last error in action ‘Get last error’

This new parameter in the action Get last error will now allow users to clear the error value stored in memory, after its invocation. If the action is called again, the variable will contain the No error message.

Clear last error

New functionality to capture unexpected errors in action ‘On block error’

Users will be able to handle more errors though the On block error action’s configuration modal. This new addition assists in capturing and handling errors that stem from erroneous logic. For instance, such errors include division by zero or index out of bounds cases when retrieving an item from a list.

Capture unexpected errors

New capability to save an Excel workbook in Binary format

Users will now be able to save their Excel file as Excel Binary Workbook (.xlsb), allowing for more scenario coverage and more elaborate flow creation. This is an enhancement over the Save Excel and Close Excel actions.

Save Excel as xlsb

Window element has been added as parameter in action ‘Send keys’

The Send keys action of Power Automate for desktop is enhanced with the Send keys to parameter, with which users may select the window (or UI element) where the inserted keys will be sent, even if the window is not in the foreground.

Window element in Send keys

The Windows OCR engine is now supported in OCR actions

In addition to Tesseract,  Windows OCR has been added as a new engine type to work with the following OCR related actions:

  • If text on screen (OCR)
  • Wait for text on screen (OCR)
  • Move mouse to text on screen (OCR)
  • Extract text with OCR

Windows OCR is a more efficient and faster engine, including the support of 25 languages. 

Windows OCR engine

As a sidenote, the OCR engine variable option is going to be removed soon, as it is related to the older Create OCR engine actions that have already been deprecated.

Power Automate for desktop availability in Windows 10 store

From this release on, Windows 10 users (minimum version 17763) will be able to download the desktop app from the Microsoft Store.

Hoping that you will find the above updates useful, please feel free to provide your questions and feedback in the Power Automate Community. If you want to learn more about Power Automate Desktop, get started with the below resources: