Long before Microsoft Windows 10, power users have been taking advantage of operating system scripting languages to run repetitive tasks. With the necessary knowhow, a little planning, and some mild coding, a user could automate mundane tasks and free their time for more important endeavors.
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Scripting languages still exist, of course, but modern systems have taken a step forward and made automation even simpler. For users of Windows 10 or Office 365, simple automation can best be achieved with an online workflow service known as Microsoft Power Automate.
This how-to tutorial shows you how to create and run an automated notification task using Microsoft Power Automate.
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Create simple notifications with Microsoft Power Automate
For the record, Power Automate is the rebranded name for Microsoft Flow. Power Automate works in the same fashion as Flow and even uses the same website. You will need a Microsoft Account or an Office 365 subscription to log in to the website.
When you log in, you will see an extensive list of templates you can use to automate common tasks involving Windows 10 and Office 365 applications and features, as shown in Figure A.
As an example, we will create an automated notification to alert us with an email when a certain item is available on Amazon. However, with modifications specific to the website you are working with, this method can be applied to any item.
Click the Create item in the left-hand navigation bar to begin. From the Start from Blank section, shown in Figure B, click the Scheduled Flow icon.
On the next screen, shown in Figure C, give your notification applet a descriptive name and begin to fill out the parameters of your automated process. Our example will run every 30 minutes starting at 5 p.m. Click the Create button when you are ready to move on.
On the next screen, click the New Step button to reveal the configuration screen shown in Figure D. As you can see, there are dozens of potential actions available. In most cases, the easiest way to find what you are looking for is to search for it.
We’ll search for HTTP and then click the HTTP button. Click the first icon in the HTTP list to reveal the automation scripting entry page for our notification. We will use the Get function to retrieve a specific URL, as shown in Figure E. Click Save when this is complete.
Click New Step and add a Condition as shown in Figure F. Click on the Choose a Value box and click on the Body icon. Pick the value that you would like to track, which will likely be different for each website. For our example, we are tracking the “Currently unavailable.” indicator. (Drop the quotes but keep the period.)
If the body contains the phrase “Currently unavailable,” we don’t want our Power Automate script to do anything. However, if that phrase is missing, we want Power Automate to let us know via email. Click the “If no” box and then search for Notifications. Select Send Me an Email Notification from the list, as shown in Figure G. Add your desired subject and body text.
When you have completed your notification configuration, click the Save button at the top of the screen.
Many possibilities in Microsoft Power Automate
As you can see, Microsoft Power Automate offers dozens of opportunities for automation. If you have a repetitive task that involves Windows 10 or Office 365, you may want to take a few minutes to create an automated routine using Power Automate.