How do I get started with Power Automate?

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When I speak at conferences or user groups about Power Automate, one of the questions I get asked the most (aside from how to understand the confusing licensing), is how to get started with Power Automate, or the Power Platform in general. I thought I would write a post on the best ways to get started.

Microsoft Learn

In recent years Microsoft has invested heavily in creating free online training for a great many of their products. And most of that learning can be found on the Microsoft Learn site. The modules are the individual courses and the learning paths group several modules together into a cohesive learning track. For Power Automate, there are a few learning paths that I want to highlight.

Automate a business process using Power Automate

This learning path should be your first stop. It provides a high-level overview of Power Automate and a great walkthrough on getting started with creating your first flow. Altogether it takes roughly 5 hours to go through everything, though only the first 4 modules are the important ones for a beginner. The last 3 modules cover admin, AI Builder, and process advisor, which are more advanced topics that really should be left for later.

Share and collaborate with Power Automate

This learning path covers some important topics after you get your feet wet. These include sharing your flows with others, importing and exporting flows, and other ways to collaborate on creating flows. The learning path length is roughly 3 hours.

Introduction to expressions in Power Automate

After the basics, the one thing you need to know to unlock the power of Power Automate is how to write and use expressions. Sure, you can do a lot with simple configuration of the various actions, but to make good use of your flows, you need to know how to write expressions. It’s pretty easy if you already know how to do some coding, or even how to write formulas in Excel. It’s pretty close to the same thing. This module clocks in at about an hour.

Create apps, copilots, flows, and more with Microsoft Dataverse and Teams

Once you’ve gotten a good handle on creating flows, this learning path expands that knowledge across the entire Power Platform, how you can integrate flows into Power Apps and Dataverse, and how to integrate Copilot into your workflow. This path runs a little over 3 hours.

Get started with Power Automate for desktop

If you need to bring Power Automate to a desktop environment, such as automating an old VB 6 or terminal application, Power Automate for desktop (aka Power Automate RPA or Robotic Process Automation) is a great solution. This learning path helps you get started on automating those legacy desktop apps and your on-prem environment. This introductory course runs for about 90 minutes.

Integrate Power Automate flows and Dataverse

Once you’ve gotten through the basics, this learning path delves deeper into integration with Dataverse and ways you can expand the usefulness of Dataverse by adding Power Automate functionality. The course length is roughly 2 hours.

Use best practices to secure and govern Microsoft Power Platform environments

If part of your responsibilities includes administration of the Power Platform, this learning path is an excellent overview of best practices for implementing and securing your Power Platform environments in your organization. The course length is roughly 7 hours.

Build custom connectors for Microsoft Power Platform

While Power Automate includes connectors for over 1000 different products, part of the power of the platform is that you can create custom connectors to connect Power Automate to just about any API out there. This can be a great way to integrate your flows better into your custom line of business apps. This learning path covers how to create and implement those custom connectors. The total course length is roughly 5 1/2 hours.

Official Documentation

Tutorials and courses are a great start, but sometimes you need the official documentation. All that is in a different section of the Microsoft Learn site and can be found here. This section helps you delve into the weeds of the parts of Power Automate that the various modules don’t cover.

YouTube and Other Videos

There is a lot of great video content out there for learning Power Automate. Here are a few of my favorite channels.

Microsoft Power Automate

The official YouTube channel for PA. Not updated very often, but a few good bytes here.

April Dunnam

April has the best Power Platform channel out there, hands down. One day I aspire to be a tenth as good.

Microsoft Power Platform

Another official channel. Has a few videos the other one does, plus a bunch of videos on the rest of the Power Platform products.

Barret Codes

Yeah, of course, I’ve got to plug myself. Not much here yet, but I’m working on it. Patience! Not a lot of Power Automate content yet, but a bit of this and that.

Blogs

There are a myriad number of blogs out there, including this one. I can’t even begin to list them out. But a quick search will find you a lot to select from.

Templates

One of the great things about Power Automate is that for many of the things you want to accomplish with it, there’s a decent chance there’s already a template in the list to get you started. Go to the templates page and search through the list for something similar to what you’re looking for. And even if it doesn’t fully match what you need, there’s likely to be something there to get you a good head start.

Conclusion

There’s a wide array of resources to help you get started. My personal recommendation is either the Learn site or YouTube, but there’s no shortage of resources to help you out.

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