18 October 2018

Re-use Flow to Merge Forms Data into SharePoint List

Microsoft Flow iconIn a new Tips article, I show how to re-use flows and how to create a flow that merges information from several SharePoint forms lists into one tasks list.

Common use case
Most companies have a department that handles a lot of different tasks for the rest of the organization. In the new Tips article, I have used this common organizational use case to show how a flow can merge data from different forms. I also demonstrate how to re-use a flow by first exporting it and then importing it and create a new flow from it.

My imaginary department manages delivery of flowers, desks or computers. I have built one form to handle all the flower orders, another for the desks and a third for the computers. As always when it comes to forms, there is a list behind it, and each time someone fills out the form, a new list item is created.

Easier ordering and handling
In this case the same people will fulfill all the orders, no matter what is being ordered. Having all data that users enter in the order forms transferred to the same SharePoint tasks list, means that the order handlers do not have to check in three places to find orders that all need to be tracked and managed in the same way.

For the users in the organization, it is easier to have three different order forms. They see one form especially for flowers, with only the relevant columns for flower orders, one for computers and one for desks.

Another benefit of using a flow like this, is that you don't have to create extra columns for all the different order needs. For example, you don't need to create a column in the tasks list to contain the ”Computer Size”. That info is fetched from the form and transferred into the Description of the task that is created.

Data from any online form
As I am a SharePoint nerd, I let my flow send data from order forms in a SharePoint site to a SharePoint tasks list. Similar flows can be used whenever people input data in an online form. It can be requests for a quote or survey results, and the services might be Excel Surveys or Microsoft Forms. Flow also supports multiple third party forms solutions that give input from users.

Export and import
The flow in my tutorial is used for three different forms, and these forms need one flow each. Instead of creating three flows, I only create the first flow from scratch. After testing that flow, I export it to my PC and import it from there as a new flow. Then I only have to change the applicable flow settings to get a second and third flow.

As I have mentioned earlier, I am working with a new book: SharePoint Flows from Scratch. Links to my Flow articles will be included in each chapter, but a book can of course give much more information in a more structured way.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions