As part of Microsoft’s push towards cloud and mobile apps, they’ve invested in several cloud-only additions to the old familiar Office apps. One of these is Flow, a trigger-based system for creating automated workflows.
What Does Flow Do?
If you’re the kind of person who reads How-To Geek regularly, you’re probably aware of the drive for personal productivity that’s been raging for pretty much the whole millennium. Flow is Microsoft’s attempt at giving you the kind of automation for notifications, alerts, data gathering, and communication that will help you spend less time on boring but necessary admin work and more time on interesting (and productive) things.
Think of Flow as IFTTT, but with a slant towards the office rather than IoT or hardware.
Flow allows you to create “flows” (short for “workflows”) that are based on trigger events. For example, you could create a flow that would download the responses to a Microsoft Forms questionnaire to Dropbox regularly, or post a message in a Slack channel if a Visual Studio build fails.
Can Anybody Use It?
Anybody can use Flow if they sign up for a free Microsoft account. People with an Office 365 subscription can also use Flow, but they get much the same functionality as people with a free Microsoft account.
Flow also comes with business versions of Office 365 and Dynamics 365, but different subscription levels get different versions of flow that match up with the paid and free accounts. It’s a bit confusing, but you can check out the details on Microsoft’s pricing page.