27 August 2018

Flow Alerts With Links To SharePoint Items

Microsoft Flow icon In an earlier blog post, I announced a new Tips article about links in workflow generated e-mail notifications. Now I have created a similar links article for Flow.

Flows versus workflows
Microsoft Flow is a cloud based service, part of Office 365, so currently it cannot be used with SharePoint on-premises. Workflows, on the other hand, are created in SharePoint Designer and can be used with all SharePoint editions.

Enter in e-mail body
In the demo below, I create a flow that sends an e-mail notification when a new document is created in a SharePoint Online library. I paste links to one specific document in various modes into the e-mail body, and then I replace the specific parts of the link code with dynamic fields that can be selected in the flow editor. This way, the links will always point to the new document.

You may of course also write in the links and directly click on the dynamic fields you need, to insert them in their proper places in the link code. I had some trouble getting them in the right place with my method!

Beware of name changes
If you are using a link with the dynamic field "File name with extension", which I do in one of the links, you should be aware that the link will stop working if the filename is changed after the notification e-mail has been sent. Name changes of documents are especially common when users create new documents directly in the SharePoint document library. That document will automatically be named as "Document", "Presentation" and so on, depending on file type.

Hopefully users have learned to rename the document into something more descriptive, but if they are allowed to create new documents and not just upload them, the flow must be given a delay before it runs. That way users will have time to re-name their documents.

I hope my two tips about links in workflow or flow generated e-mails have been useful! People might forget or ignore notifications without links, but if they can interact with a new document by just clicking on a link, there is a much better chance that it is actually read.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

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