When building out a Flow in Microsoft Power Automate, it is important to understand the different types of flows as you may have to determine which flow is best suited for your scenario.

In this post, we will go over the difference between the five flows types and examine what would be the best use for each.

Schedule Flow

Schedule Flow is exactly what it sounds, the flow will run based on the set date and time.

This type of flow is best for when you want to set the flow to run on a specific date and time.

Example:

If you want to create a flow which runs every day at 9:00 AM, this Schedule Flow is perfect for that.

Automated Flow

There is a lot of automated flow triggers but every one of them starts with “When” and the reason for that is because it will only run when the specified condition(s) is met.

An Automated Flow is recommended for when you want a flow to run whenever the specific condition(s) are met, depending on which type of Automated Flow trigger you choose.

Example:

If you want to create a flow to run whenever a user creates a new item on a SharePoint list, you will create an Automated Flow with “When an item is created” trigger and specific which SharePoint list.

Instant Flow

The Instant Flow is perhaps the most popular and commonly used flow type. It is widely used when building Power Apps applications due to most of the time it is required to complete the more complex applications.

Instant Flow is perfect for Power Apps applications and whenever you want the flow to run immediately after an action, given that it is on the list of triggers available for Instant Flow.

Example:

You want to create a Power Apps application to perform a flow action on the back end after the user clicks on a button on the Power Apps application, this is where Power Apps trigger is needed.

UI Flow

UI Flow is quite new to the family of flows. Think of UI Flows is discussed as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), in another word, Macros. How it works is it basically records your actions (Clicks, Keyboard Inputs, etc) for applications and it will play back to users.

Note, there is two different types of UI Flow: Desktop App and Web App. The difference between the two is Desktop app runs on Windows desktop while Web App runs on Microsoft Edge (Chromium and Google Chrome).

This flow type is best for automating repetitive tasks on basic applications.

Example:

You want to automatically open up Chrome browser, Command Prompt window, and Calculator on your desktop, you need to create a Desktop app UI Flow and record your actions (opening Chrome, Command Prompt, and Calculator) and replay it after saving it.

Business Process Flow

The Business Process Flow is also quite new to the flow family. However, it is also quite different from the other flows mentioned as it is used with Microsoft Dynamic 365 to ensure data consistently throughout the whole process.

More details on this and Dynamic 365 coming soon – stay tuned!

This is it! These are the five different Flows for Power Automate. It is quite simple and straight forward, but it can get complicated once you start building more advance flows. Hopefully, this quick summary helped you understand the difference between the Flows!

Posted by: Edward Chen & Noorez Khamis