Beginner | Flow of the Week: Using Forms with Flow to Automate Onboarding
Hello Flow Community!
I’ve had to onboard many new Flow Community Blog authors since I went through onboarding myself, months ago, here at Microsoft. The process that used to be in place involved me reaching out to potential author contacts via email to ask them if they would like to come to be an author for the Flow Community Blog. Then we would discuss what ways that they were using Flow and what ways they wanted to showcase that within their articles. I was essentially getting the information that I needed from my potential authors one.. question.. at.. a.. time.. This clearly isn’t the most efficient way to gather this information and honestly, this method was error-prone due to having to dig through old emails for information.
I have always been the kind of person to address inefficiency head on, so I decided to come up with a better process for onboarding Flow Community Blog Authors. I was struggling with thinking of a way to get all this information from the potential authors I knew of without having to actually ask them the questions prior to onboarding. I continued with the tedious and monotonous process of asking the potential authors all the necessary questions until I witnessed one of my co-workers, Jon Levesque, deliver a demo during his session at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit in Seattle.
During this session, he displayed an amazing use of Microsoft Form and Flow in a way that I honestly did not know was possible. He had a form with multiple choice answers and he let the audience fill out the form on their mobile phones. He then used Microsoft Flow to take the data from all the multiple-choice questions and turn it into a streaming data set for Power BI and he had all these pretty little pie charts for each of his multiple-choice questions. Then the Flow sent out a simple and sweet thank you email to the person who submitted the form to finish it up!
Needless to say, this is where my inspiration came from! So, let’s jump in!
First, you’ll need to create your Form! Go to https://forms.office.com and sign in! From there, click “New Form”. This will open the Form editor and give you options for a Title, Subtitle, etc. This part of the process is pretty straightforward and easy if you know which questions you’d like to ask. So, for your sake, I won’t go into details about creating forms in this article. Here’s the link to my Form if you’d like to take a look at it for an example, or maybe you’d just like to apply as a Community Blog Author! Anyways, once you’ve created your form and you are happy with the way it looks in “Preview” mode, go to the Flow website and get to the “Create From Blank” page. This is where I’ll start including screenshots!
The first thing we will need is the Microsoft Forms trigger that detects when a new Form has been submitted. You’ll need to make sure you’ve selected the correct form from the drop-down list:
Next, you’ll add an “Apply to Each”:
Your “Output” will be your “List of Response Notifications”:
Click “Add an Action” inside the “Apply to Each” Box:
Search for “Forms” and select the action called “Get Response Details”:
Make sure you select the correct “Form ID” and the “Response ID” will be “List of response notifications”, found when you click “see more”:
Click “Add an Action” inside the “Apply to Each” Box again and select the “Send an Email” Outlook 365 Action:
This is where you open the Dynamic Content panel again and click “See More”. Insert the “Responders’ Email” address and write your thank you email:
This is really an awesome way to use Flow and Forms together to create a seamless experience for whoever is filling out your form. And if I would’ve incorporated some multiple choice questions I could have streamed the data to Power BI for analytics and pie charts but for this purpose, I have only text answers to give the potential author more freedom with their answers. I will show you how Forms automatically arranges the data it receives in an Excel spreadsheet in order for more efficient results review and reporting. This is just some test data that I used to fill out the form:
If you obtained some knowledge or use out of clicking on and reading through this article, please let me know! Also, please come to visit the Microsoft Flow Community Page and see what kind of awesome interaction you can have with some of your fellow Flow users from around the world! The Flow Community is also an amazing place to go and get help with technical questions or roadblocks that you’ve come across on your Microsoft Flow journey. The users of the Flow Community can range from the most beginner cloud-based software users to the very developers that build this kind of awesome stuff for a living. I hope to see you there!
Thanks for reading!
Microsoft Flow Community Manager