How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (2022)

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (1)

In Part One of this blog series on ‘How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow’, we discussed a common business scenario where the HR department needs to send out new hire document packages before the new starters the first day of employment. In order to do this, we completed the following tasks in part one:

  • Created a file repository to store documents from different departments in a centralized location
  • Designed a workflow to generate an external link when a new document is uploaded to the library

In Part Two, I’ll show you the step-by-stepinstructions on how to automate this process. We will be designing thefollowing procedure:

  1. The HR team submits a requestform to send out a document package
  2. An automated workflow willgenerate the document set based on the requirements in the request form and
  3. The document set will beautomatically sent to the external user

Creating a document package request form

To design the previously discussed procedure, we’re going to create a SharePoint list with the appropriate columns or form fields. To do this, you must have appropriate rights to create SharePoint lists, if you don’t have this access, then ask your SharePoint administrator to assign you this.

To get started, I’ve created a Document Package Requests list with the columns below:

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (2)

There are two important fields in this list that I want to highlight. The first is a Position field; this field is a choice field with several options. It’s important to note here that the choice options in the Position field should be identical to the available choice options in the Document Type field from the New Hire Document Package library. The main reason for this is when a user submits a document package request form specifying the Position, the workflow will create a set of documents from the New Hire Document Package library according to the request, which is position specific.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (3)

The next important field to elaborate on is Email. We will be utilizing the data in this field to send an email with the document package. Here, I recommend that you set both fields, Position, and Email, as required fields in the form.

Creating a workflow to generate document package

The SharePoint list is ready to acceptrequests from users, and we are ready to build a workflow which looks at theform information submitted and builds a document package from the New Hire Document Package library.

(Video) Create Simple Document Approval Flows using Power Automate & SharePoint

Let’s go back to Microsoft Flow designer and create a new Flow from scratch. I’m going to name my flow Generate Doc Package. If you need a reminder, in Part One of this blog series, I explained how to get to the Microsoft Flow designer and how to create new Flow from scratch. Each Flow should start from a trigger; in this case, the trigger is a new request or New Item in the Document Package Requests SharePoint List. Type the name of the Flow in the Flow name field and search for When Item is created in SharePoint in the Choose your flow’s trigger.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (4)

In When an item is created trigger step, specify the URL and the name of the SharePoint list.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (5)

The next step is to get all the files stored in the New Hire Document Package library. We are going to be using file properties in this solution, not actual files. In Part One, of this blog post, we created a workflow to generate an external shareable link for each file when the file is uploaded or created in the Document library. From all the properties, we will only use two, the name of the file and external link. These two properties will be used to generate human-readable URLs in the email. Add action and search for Get files (properties only).

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (6)

After the step is added, specify site name and document library.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (7)

The Get Files step builds an array with properties values of each file. Something like this:­­

(Video) Creating a Simple Workflow in SharePoint

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (8)

Let’s go back and review the business requirements, the document library contains generic and positions specific documents. The email that we’ll be sending should contain generic information and specific documents in relation to the new hire position. For this purpose, we need to create two separate arrays from the ­­array we built in the Get Files action. Then, add a new step and search forFilter Array. This new step requires a parameter to be passed. What I mean here is, we need to pass an array which needs to be filtered in this step.For input, we are passing the output fromGet filesstep which is stored in the array namedvalue.

For position specific documents, we’ll be filtering the array based on the Document Type value. Basically, bringing all documents where Document Type field (document library) is equal to the Position type field (request form list) in the form submitted.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (9)

In this step, we need to add a second Filter Array, but we’ll have to filter documents differently where Document Type column is equal to General. In this step, we will hardcode the value.

Note: I call my general documents General, you can tag your documents with a different name but make sure you use exact spelling of the document tag in your filter array action since this is a static value.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (10)

Now we have two arrays built, one containing generic and the other job-specific documents based on the request form. The next step is to build user-friendly URLs. We don’t want to send an email with a bunch of long and not user-friendly URLs. If we just insert Links field data to the email, they will look like below:

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (11)

What we want instead is to have the list of URLs where each URL is in a new line. Something like this:

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (12)
(Video) Managing Policies and Procedures in SharePoint

Since we’re sending an email in HTMLformat, we’ll have to build document links in the format below:

<a href=”URL”> FRIENDLY TEXT </a>

We have both the URL and FRIENDLY TEXT value (which is the name of the file in the document library) in our arrays, now we have to inject an HTML tag to each array item. To do that we are going to be using Data Operations in Microsoft Flow.

To inject the HTML tag to the array item, we need to use Select Operation. The way Select Operation works is it reviews an array and maps change to each item. Later in this article, I’m going to provide you with the correct json code to input. Add a new step here, and search for Select.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (13)

Select requires two values: FROM and MAP. FROM is the array object, we will pass the output from an array that we built when we filtered the document library to contain position specific documents only.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (14)

MAP is going to be a one line json code to insert HTML tag for eachitem in the array. Insert this code to the MAP field of the Select operation step.

“<a href=\”@{item()?[‘Links’]}\”>@{item()?[‘{Name}’]}</a>”

(Video) What is Document Management Software Workflow?

In the json code you can see [Links] and [Name], these are the names of the columns in the SharePoint library that we created in part one of this blog series. Below is graphic which breaks down what the json code is and how we’re injecting HTML to the array values:

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (15)

Next, we need to join the output of Select operation with <br/> which is a new line tag in HTML. Basically, we’re making sure that each link is on a new line.

  • Link 1
  • Link 2
  • Link 3

To join the output of Select operation with a ‘new line’, you need to add a new step, search for join and add that step. Now, select Output from the previous step and type <br/> into the Join with field.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (16)

Then, you need to add similar steps for the generic documents array. Here, you must add another Select and use the output of the filter array step where you filtered based on a General document and join the output of the Select operation step with another <br\> which is a Join step.

The last step is to build an HTML email with the generated content from the previous steps. Add a new step, search for the Send mail action and add it to your flow steps. There are three values which we’ll be passing to the Send email action.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (17)

The body of the email should be HTML formatted and make sure to set the Is Html property of the action to Yes.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (18)

Our workflow design is now complete! Below I have listed all the steps in the workflow and summarized them. I recommend that when creating this workflow that you rename the Actions (steps) because it helps to remember the functionality of each one.

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (19)

We now need to test the workflow, I’m going to submit a form to see if the required documents will be delivered.

(Video) Automate Invoice Processing | Power AUTOMATE Tutorial | Step by step

How to create an intelligent document management process using SharePoint and Flow - Part Two (20)

Great, you can see here that everything has worked as expected.

Conclusion

Based on this example, we can see that automating time-consuming critical business processes utilizing Office 365’s set if tools is a simple task with a lot of benefits. The possibilities with Microsoft’s Power Platform are endless, and more importantly, you don’t need to be a developer to execute this.

FAQs

How do I create a SharePoint flow? ›

Create a flow for a list or library
  1. Navigate to a list or library in Microsoft Lists, SharePoint, or to your OneDrive for work or school. ...
  2. At the top of the list, select Integrate > Power Automate > Create a flow. ...
  3. Select a flow template from the right-hand panel.

What are three types of SharePoint workflows? ›

There are five commonly used Workflows that can be set up within SharePoint: Approval Workflows, Status Workflows, Notification Workflows, Automation Workflows, and Custom Workflows.

What are the document management features of SharePoint? ›

Document management with SharePoint lets users manage common document types, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and create folders to save and manage those documents in customer engagement apps (Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Field Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing, and Dynamics ...

How good is SharePoint as document management system? ›

SharePoint is one of the fastest document management systems available. Once it is successfully implemented, it saves a lot of time for the companies using them. As a Document Management System, it makes it easier to share, manage, change and find documentation.

What is a workflow in SharePoint? ›

SharePoint workflows are pre-programmed mini-applications that streamline and automate a wide variety of business processes. Workflows can range from collecting signatures, feedback, or approvals for a plan or document, to tracking the current status of a routine procedure.

How do I create a workflow in SharePoint online? ›

Browse to a list or library where you want to create SharePoint workflow. Select “Library” tab and click “Workflow Settings” on the ribbon. Then select “Add a workflow” from the dropdown menu. You will be redirected to the SharePoint workflow adjustment page.

How do I run a flow list in SharePoint? ›

Run a flow using the Flow Launch Panel

Back in your SharePoint document library, select a document and click on the Flow menu. Then, choose the newly created flow – “Post a message to Teams for a selected item.” Clicking on the flow, opens the Flow Launch Panel.

What are the 3 basic components of workflow? ›

Every workflow is composed of three common elements: a trigger, the work (or a series of tasks), and the result. Below, we walk through each of these elements to help you understand and recognize them in your own flow.

How do you automate a workflow in SharePoint? ›

7 Ways to Automate Workflows Using SharePoint
  1. Use Alerts in SharePoint to Improve Processes. ...
  2. Use the Content Approval Feature in SharePoint to Improve Workflows. ...
  3. Use Built-In SharePoint Workflows. ...
  4. Build Workflows Using SharePoint Designer. ...
  5. Use Visual Studio to Build Workflows. ...
  6. Use Microsoft Flow to Build Workflows.
7 Aug 2019

How do I manually create a workflow in SharePoint? ›

Manual triggers

Select an item in a list or library that has at least one workflow. Open the Workflows page (ellipsis >More >Workflows), and, under 'Start a New Workflow', click on the workflow you want to start . Create a button that starts the workflow.

How do I organize documents in SharePoint? ›

Drag and drop files into those folders in SharePoint or using File Explorer. Learn to add columns to a library and then sort and filter by those columns to see only the information you need. Learn to create views of items in a library where you sort and filter documents across folders and columns.

How do you create a document in SharePoint? ›

Create a library in SharePoint in Microsoft 365 or SharePoint Server 2019
  1. Go to the team site where you want to create a new document library.
  2. On the menu bar, select New, and then select Document library.
  3. Enter a name for the new library.
  4. Select Create.

Is SharePoint a document management software? ›

Yes, SharePoint is Microsoft's document management system (DMS) in Office 365.

What is an example of a document management system? ›

PDF Readers are the best example of a Document Management System through which you can access the PDF file offline and store it to view and even print and publish it anytime at any place.

What are the stages of the document management system? ›

What Are the Stages of the Document Management Cycle?
  • CREATION. When a document is created, its life cycle begins. ...
  • CLASSIFICATION. After a document has been created, it needs to be properly classified. ...
  • PROPER STORAGE. ...
  • UTILIZATION. ...
  • DESTRUCTION OR ARCHIVAL.

What are the 5 basic filing systems? ›

There are 5 methods of filing:
  • Filing by Subject/Category.
  • Filing in Alphabetical order.
  • Filing by Numbers/Numerical order.
  • Filing by Places/Geographical order.
  • Filing by Dates/Chronological order.

What are the benefits of SharePoint? ›

Microsoft SharePoint Features and Benefits
  • Multi-purpose functionality built in.
  • Centralized administration.
  • Customizable.
  • Document management and collaboration.
  • Site consolidation.
  • Integration with your existing apps.
  • Enhanced security.
  • Ease of use and design assistance.

Can I use SharePoint to store documents? ›

For example, you can use a document library on a site in SharePoint to store all files related to a specific project or a specific client. Adding files or moving files between folders is as easy as dragging and dropping them from one location to another.

Why SharePoint is not a document management system? ›

One of the shortcomings of trying to use SharePoint as a DMS is that it uses metadata to tag files. Metadata is basically a description of a file's properties. Similar to keywords and tags, each file can have several different properties, by which it can be found later.

How many types of forms can be created in a SharePoint workflow? ›

Three types of forms are used in SharePoint Foundation workflows: Association and Initialization Forms Association and initialization forms are displayed for users to fill out before any workflow is actually started.

How do I create a simple approval workflow in SharePoint? ›

Add an approval action
  1. Select New step.
  2. Type approval into the Choose an action search box.
  3. Select the Start and wait for an approval action.
  4. Configure the Start and wait for an approval card to suit your needs. Note. The Approval type, Title and Assigned To fields are required.
15 Feb 2022

How do I create a SharePoint document approval flow? ›

In the Project Requests list, click or tap Flow, then Create a flow. In the right pane, click or tap Start approval when a new item is added. If you're not already signed in, sign into SharePoint and Outlook, then click or tap Continue. You now see the template for this flow, ready for you to complete.

How do I create a task list in SharePoint? ›

Create a task list in SharePoint in Microsoft 365 or SharePoint 2016 or 2013
  1. From your site's home page, click Settings. and then click Add an app.
  2. Type "Tasks" into the search box and press Enter. ...
  3. Type a name or title for the task and press Create.
  4. SharePoint returns you to the Site contents page.

What is SharePoint workflow Manager? ›

Workflows in SharePoint allow you to model and automate business processes. These business processes can range from simple to complex.

How do I create a SharePoint list in Power Automate? ›

In Power Automate, select the Manually triggered Flow, then click on the Next step. Now click on Save and run the flow, you will get JSON code from the body, which will help later to create a SharePoint list. Now we got the JSON code, it's time to create a new SharePoint list with Parse JSON action.

How do you automate a SharePoint list in power? ›

Re: get items from another sharepoint list using power automate. Use the conditional action to check the field NDC has value or not. If it has the value, then use the get item action and pass in the NDC value in the filter query to the Inventory list to get the field value.

Can I create a form in SharePoint? ›

With the Microsoft Forms web part, you can add a form or form results to your SharePoint in Microsoft 365 page.

What are the four types of workflow? ›

These include sequential workflows, state machine workflows, and rules-driven workflows. A sequential workflow is linear and progressive, like a flow chart. This workflow goes from one task or process to another and does not step back in the sequence.

What 4 things does effective workflow include? ›

4 Tips for Creating an Effective Workflow Model
  • Start By Brainstorming. ...
  • Challenge the Results of Your Brainstorming. ...
  • Determine if Some Processes Can Take Place in Parallel. ...
  • Define Roles and Responsibilities Clearly.
9 Nov 2018

What is workflow example? ›

Here's a simple example of a workflow where multiple people are involved: A freelancer creates an invoice and sends it to their client. The client sends the invoice to their finance department. The finance department approves the invoice and processes the payment.

What is the automate function in SharePoint? ›

Automate's pre-built SharePoint actions and drag-and-drop interface automate the management and administration of SharePoint users, sites, libraries, workflows, and lists. Automate provides the capability to automate all SharePoint business and IT processes on a single platform.

How do you test workflow functionality in SharePoint? ›

To test the SharePoint workflow template

Choose the F5 key to build and run the solution. The SharePoint site appears. In the navigation pane in SharePoint, choose the Shared Documents link. In the Shared Documents page, choose the Documents link on the Library Tools tab, and then choose the Upload Document button.

What do you mean by workflow? ›

Workflow is the series of activities that are necessary to complete a task. Each step in a workflow has a specific step before it and a specific step after it, with the exception of the first and last steps. In a linear workflow, an outside event usually initiates the first step.

What is a workflow document? ›

Workflow documentation is the process of storing, tracking, and editing business documents that shape your workflow. In other words, workflow documentation outlines your business processes and workflows.

How do I create a workflow in Microsoft Office? ›

Create an automated workflow for Microsoft Forms
  1. Go to Microsoft Power Automate, select. ...
  2. Under Flow name, give your flow a name or one will be generated for you.
  3. In the search box under Choose your flow's trigger, type forms.
  4. In the search results, select When a new response is submitted, and then select Create.

How do you manage office workflows? ›

13 Ways to Improve Your Office Workflow
  1. Clearly communicate tasks and processes. Communication is key for any business to run smoothly. ...
  2. Separate duties. ...
  3. Encourage employees to take breaks. ...
  4. Conduct frequent training. ...
  5. Remove all unnecessary stress. ...
  6. Do not multitask. ...
  7. Get organized. ...
  8. Use collaboration tools.

Does SharePoint have a document management system? ›

Yes, SharePoint is Microsoft's document management system (DMS) in Office 365.

Why SharePoint is not a document management system? ›

One of the shortcomings of trying to use SharePoint as a DMS is that it uses metadata to tag files. Metadata is basically a description of a file's properties. Similar to keywords and tags, each file can have several different properties, by which it can be found later.

How do I organize documents in SharePoint? ›

Drag and drop files into those folders in SharePoint or using File Explorer. Learn to add columns to a library and then sort and filter by those columns to see only the information you need. Learn to create views of items in a library where you sort and filter documents across folders and columns.

How do you create a document repository in SharePoint? ›

Create a library in SharePoint in Microsoft 365 or SharePoint Server 2019
  1. Go to the team site where you want to create a new document library.
  2. On the menu bar, select New, and then select Document library.
  3. Enter a name for the new library.
  4. Select Create.

Why do we use SharePoint? ›

Organizations use Microsoft SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox. Want to learn more?

Can I use SharePoint to store documents? ›

For example, you can use a document library on a site in SharePoint to store all files related to a specific project or a specific client. Adding files or moving files between folders is as easy as dragging and dropping them from one location to another.

What is meant by document management system? ›

Document management is a system or process used to capture, track and store electronic documents such as PDFs, word processing files and digital images of paper-based content.

What kind of platform is SharePoint? ›

Microsoft SharePoint is a browser-based collaboration and document management platform from Microsoft - Wikipedia. Microsoft's content management system. It allows groups to set up a centralized, password-protected space for document sharing.

What should you not use SharePoint for? ›

10 Reasons Not To Use Folders in SharePoint
  • 1 Cost. There are so many things that SharePoint can do beyond file storage. ...
  • 2 Poor Usability. ...
  • 3 Document Visibility. ...
  • 4 Document Duplication Woes. ...
  • 5 Data Integrity. ...
  • 6 URL Issues. ...
  • 7 Navigation. ...
  • 8 Can't Sort or Filter.
13 Oct 2017

Does Microsoft have a document management system? ›

Does Microsoft have a Document Management System? Yes, it does. Microsoft Office 365 provides various software solutions including SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics and OneDrive for document management.

How do I manage folders in SharePoint? ›

How to Create a Folder in SharePoint Online - Beginner Tutorial - YouTube

What is a SharePoint document set? ›

A Document Set is a group of related documents that you can manage as a single entity. You can create a Document Set in a single step, and then define its characteristics and metadata.

How do you use SharePoint files? ›

Open an Office file
  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Open.
  3. Under Favorites, click SharePoint Sites.
  4. Click the SharePoint site where your file is located, and then click Open. ...
  5. Click the name of the library that contains the file, such as Shared Documents, and then click Open.

Videos

1. Modern Document Management with Microsoft SharePoint
(ramsac)
2. Power Platform Series - Demonstration of a Contract Management Solution (Power Apps & AI Builder)
(Cloud Lunch and Learn)
3. 3 2 Global Business and Collaboration
(Marmelo Abante Official)
4. Your new 24/7 digital employee! Save time and work smarter with next-level document management
(DocuWare)
5. Episode #198 - Inviting Guest Users in SharePoint Online via Power Automate
(PiaSys Tech Bites)
6. SharePoint + AI Builder | Let's Integrate - Episode 1 with Paul Solimon
(Jeevarajan Kumar)

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