How To Master Power Automate Workflows with SharePoint Online

Sousouni Bajis
5 min readSep 21, 2023
This guide aims to walk you through the process of creating a Power Automate workflow integrated with a SharePoint Online document library, step-by-step, enriched with key screenshots to help you along the way.
This guide aims to walk you through the process of creating a Power Automate workflow integrated with a SharePoint Online document library, step-by-step, enriched with key screenshots to help you along the way.

Whether you’re new to the Microsoft ecosystem or a seasoned pro, creating a Power Automate workflow integrated with a SharePoint Online document library can feel challenging. This guide aims to walk you through the process step-by-step, enriched with key screenshots to help you along the way.

Logging In to Power Automate

To kick things off, head over to the Power Automate website and log in with your Microsoft 365 account. If you’re not already a user, signing up is pretty straightforward.

Image1: Sign in using your Microsoft 365 account

Step 1: Navigate to ‘Create’

After logging in, you’ll find yourself on the Power Automate homepage. On the left-hand navigation pane, click the ‘Create’ option to commence your workflow journey.

Image 2: Power Automate Homepage Highlighting 'Create' Option

Step 2: Choose ‘Automated Cloud Flow’

Several flow options will present themselves. For the task at hand, click on ‘Automated Cloud Flow.’

Leveraging Templates: For those new to Power Automate, the plethora of available templates is a hidden treasure. While it’s great to build a workflow from scratch, sometimes a template can provide a good starting point. Many templates offer SharePoint-based triggers and actions, giving you the ability to customize them as needed while saving time.

Image 3: Different Flow Options Highlighting 'Automated Cloud Flow'

Step 3: Set up the Trigger

Up next is the trigger, the event that initiates your workflow. Choose ‘When a file is created in a folder’ and link it to your SharePoint document library.

Mastering Error Handling: Let’s face it; not everything will go as smoothly as we’d like, especially when multiple systems are involved. Power Automate offers features for error handling. Implementing actions like “Configure run after” can make your workflow more robust. With this, you can define what should happen if a previous step fails, succeeds, or is skipped. Think of it as your safety net to ensure data integrity and maintain a seamless process.

Image 4: Configuring Trigger for SharePoint Document Library

Step 4: Connect to SharePoint Online

A prompt will appear asking you to sign in to SharePoint Online. Make sure you’re authorized to access the necessary sites. If you are logged in already you might not see this prompt.

Image 5: Signing into SharePoint

Step 5: Specify SharePoint Site and Folder

Once logged in, select your SharePoint site and the specific folder you wish to monitor. You browse to the Document Library and select the root or a folder. This will be your trigger point.

Optimizing for Mobile: We often focus on workflows from a desktop perspective, but let’s not forget that Power Automate offers a great mobile app. The app can notify you immediately if there’s a hiccup in your workflow, or even if everything runs smoothly. You can approve requests, monitor workflow runs, and get real-time updates right from your phone. This adds an extra layer of agility to your operations.

Image 6: Selecting SharePoint Site and Folder

Step 6: Add New Steps

With the trigger in place, it’s time to define the actions that follow. Click on ‘New Step’ and search for ‘Send an email notification.’

Image 7: Adding a New Step for Email Notification

Step 7: Configure Email Parameters

Now detail who receives the email, the subject line, and the email body’s content.

Flow Maintenance: Workflows aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it deal. As business needs evolve, your workflows should too. Periodic audits of your Power Automate workflows are advisable. Check for any deprecated features, outdated information, or bottlenecks that may have arisen. This will help keep your workflows up-to-date and efficient.

Image 8: Configuring Email Parameters

Step 8: Testing and Debugging

To ensure the workflow is robust, add a test file to your SharePoint folder and check your email. A well-executed workflow will send you a notification.

Workflow Analytics: Data is king, and understanding how your workflows perform is vital for ongoing improvement. Power Automate offers built-in analytics that show you how often your workflows run, what their average duration is, and where they might be failing. This is critical for identifying bottlenecks and improving the overall efficiency of your processes.

Image 9: Testing the workflow before publishing. A well-executed workflow will send you a notification.

With the basics down, your options are infinite. Power Automate can integrate not only with SharePoint but also with various other services, making it versatile for complex, multi-platform workflows. Although it may appear tedious, a comprehensive test phase is crucial, especially for enterprise-level workflows. A rigorous testing phase can help you spot any bottlenecks or latency issues.

Future Insights: Extending the Workflow with Bots

Bots are gaining traction in document management and collaboration. Power Automate offers integration with bots that can sort files, initiate complex workflows, and much more based on the content. Given the sensitive nature of automated workflows in certain industries, Power Automate allows for stringent access controls and audit trails. With consistent advancements in AI and machine learning, workflows are getting smarter, making decision-making more data-driven and our work more efficient.

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide on creating a Power Automate workflow with a SharePoint Online document library. From basics to best practices, we’ve got you covered. Got questions or cool ideas to extend this? Feel free to reach out!

About the Author: Sousouni Bajis is an IT consultant with a focus on Microsoft technologies including SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and Microsoft Azure 365. With a track record in administering and deploying Microsoft 365 tenants, he possesses specialized experience in GCCH and government tenant solutions. Commercial tenants? He finds those more straightforward. For consulting opportunities or to talk shop, use the chat feature on the site or fill out the contact form. Connect with Sousouni on LinkedIn.