Microsoft announces Team flows preview, adds Gmail support to Flow

Microsoft Flow has been gaining momentum since its beta, thanks to its ability to automate a big range of tasks. Recently, Microsoft added support for physical buttons to trigger events in its tool for workflow automation.

Now, the company has announced a big Microsoft Flow update which introduces new actions, new services, as well as support for Computer Vision APIs.

The Computer Vision APIs allow users to create flows which extract rich information from images to categorize and process visual data.

To get started, users will have to get an API from Cognitive Services. Users should make sure they select Computer Vision and they may need to verify their email.

After users get a Key, they should:

  • Copy the Key to their clipboard
  • Create a flow and select one action
  • When asked to provide the Key, paste it under ACCOUNT KEY

The Computer Vision APIs have several useful functions, including:

  • Describe Image – generates a description of an image in human readable language with complete sentences
  • Tag Image – generates a list of words, or tags, that are relevant to the content of the supplied image
  • Generate Thumbnail – get a thumbnail image with the user-specified width and height
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – detects text in an image and extracts the recognized characters into text you can use in other steps

Organizing and reading with services

Microsoft Flow supports a wide range of services to which users can connect using Microsoft’s automation tool. For example, Flow supports OneDrive, appFigures, and Asana.

The latest update to Microsoft Flow brings support for the following three services:

  • 10 to 8 Scheduling: A powerful appointment management, communications & online booking system.
  • Act!: It helps individuals, small businesses, and sales teams organize prospect and customer details in one place.
  • Inoreader: A content reader built for power users. Use Inoreader to subscribe to feeds, read articles or catalogue them for viewing later.

All three services are available to all users. Some services in Microsoft Flow are only available to owners of Flow Plan 1 or Flow Plan 2, and are called Premium Services.

Create HTLM Tables and more

When you create a flow with Microsoft Flow, there are several actions that you can add to your flow, such as the Office 365 Outlook – Send an email action.

Thanks to the latest update, users can use the following three new actions in Microsoft Flow:

  • Create HTML Table: This action is particularly useful when users want to send emails that contain a full list of all the items from a previous step (subtask). With the new action, users can now get a table in their email with the list of all those subtasks.
  • Create CSV Table: This action is useful when users want to save the contents to a file. These new actions that interact with lists now make it much easier to run flows on a schedule. Users can have a flow that will run once a week, and save all of the items in a SharePoint list to a CSV file for archiving.
  • Join action: This action helps users join several URLs together with an HTML tag like <br> and get simple lists with several, joint URLs.

To learn more about the new features in Microsoft Flow, check Microsoft’s blog post. If you want to get started with Microsoft Flow, check the company’s video list below: