“Let Flow handle the boring stuff so you can do the cool stuff,” Tristan Booth says. Tristan, Technical Officer for Audio Visual Services, points out that although Flow might seem like one of the more complicated O365 apps, it’s really “very simple.”

Flow automates the functions of other O365 and third-party apps. To use it, all you have to do is set a trigger and an action. “If this, then that,” Tristan explains. For example, the most popular flow template is if you press a button on your smartphone (the trigger), then Flow will send you a push notification in ten minutes (the action).

These actions can stack like “building blocks,” Tristan says, in an almost infinite combination, taking a simple one-action flow to a complex multi-action flow. “I just started playing with a template for fun,” Tristan says, but then he realised that ” it was actually really helpful and built one from scratch. I pitched it to the managers, and now this is what we’re using.” Tristan and his team use a multi-action flow to help automate the collection and management of the information that is required to approve prototype requests.

First, using Microsoft Forms, the client supplies all the information that Tristan used to gather himself. Once the form is submitted, Flow is triggered. Flow grabs the information provided by the client and sends an email to Tristan and a notification to the Design Review Panel Teams channel to let everyone know there’s a new prototype request.

Then, if Tristan approves the request, Flow sends the information to a spreadsheet so his team can keep track of what they’re working on. Flow also notifies the Design Review Panel again to keep them up to date, and it sends an email to the client to let them know how their request has been approved.

All these actions across a handful of apps used to be manual, but Flow integrates and automates these apps for you. If you’re interested in learning how to use Flow, check out the active online community, guided learning, and pre-made templates. Just open the Flow app from the O365 Home to get started. Discover how much time you can save!

Tips & Tricks

Teams – Want to have a private chat with someone in one of your Teams channels? Instead of switching to chat, typing in their name, and wondering exactly which of the eight ‘John Smith’s you wanted to talk to, you can chat to anyone directly in the hover card that pops up when your cursor passes over their name. Hover cards are a great way to quickly find out who someone is, where they work, how to contact them, and start a chat. Using the hover card means you know you have the right person, and you save a little time!

a screenshot of microsoft teams

Flow – You’ve just made a flow to help manage your emails (congratulations), but how do you test that it works before you start relying on it? Don’t worry, Flow has an inbuilt test function. It even lets you use real data from your Outlook to make sure it’s working just the way you want. Allowing testing with real data lets users build new flows and experiment with confidence. Learn more about this feature here.

Sway – Sick of apps deciding for you what part of the image to crop out? That’s not a problem anymore with Sway’s focus points. You can tell Sway what’s important in an image to make sure it knows what it can crop and what it must leave in. This is very useful for creating Sways that will work across multiple devices with different dimensions. Your presentation will always have all the information it needs. Learn more about this feature here.

Want to be featured in the next Success Story? Discovered a cool O365 tip or trick you want to share in an upcoming newsletter? Email David.Herbert@uts.edu.au or start a chat with Tristan on Teams!

Want more tips and tricks? Check out the newsletter archive here.

Training Sessions

Online Training – There’s plenty of training material available from Microsoft or Lynda.com on how best to use O365 apps. Check out this introductory video on Flow to get started.

Face to Face Training – Prefer face to face training? We run O365 training sessions. If you’re interested in attending a session, please email David.Herbert@uts.edu.au.

What’s New?

Office 365 is constantly being updated with new features to increase its functionality, making it easier to collaborate between apps and between people. Have you heard about this new feature?

If you’ve used Planner within Teams before, you’ll know how well these two apps work together. But did you know that the plans you create within Teams also appear in your Planner hub, and that you can open Teams from Planner?

screenshot of functions from Office365

Now, thanks to a new feature, instead of scrolling through teams channels looking for the right plan, you can find that plan in your Planner hub and open the corresponding Teams from there. This small feature makes it a lot easier to navigate these two apps. Learn more about how Teams and Planner integrate here.

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