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Overview of Microsoft Flow's New Word Online Connectors

Overview of Microsoft Flow's New Word Online Connectors

In the January 2019 features for Flow, Microsoft announced the new Word Online connectors that give users two new actions.

        1. Populate a Microsoft Word template

        2. Convert a Word document to PDF 

To demonstrate this new functionality, I am going to create a Flow that triggers when an item is created in SharePoint, populates a Word Document template using the item metadata, and saves the document to a document library in SharePoint as both a Word Document and a PDF.

My list item, document library, and word template file will have the following fields:

  • Title
  • Customer
  • Contact
  • Amount
  • State
  • Signed Date

Create a Word Document Template

I have already created the list and document library so we will begin by creating the Word Document template.

Open Word and create all the fields we want to be filled out in the document.

MS Flow connectors

Next, go to the “Developer” tab. If you don’t have the developer tab available, right click on the Home tab and select “Customize the Ribbon”.

Customize word ribbon

From the popup that appears make sure that “Developer” is selected from the list of available tabs and select OK.

We will now add the content controls to the Word document.

For each data field highlight the text you want to use as the content control and select Plain Text as Content Control which is the “Aa” button in the controls section.

MS connectors

The text selected as the content control should now have a box around it when you hover over it.

Text box in ms

Do this for all the fields in the template and save the file as a .docx (NOT a .dotx template file) in SharePoint or OneDrive.

Create a Flow

Next, we will begin creating our Flow.

Begin by setting the trigger for the flow as “When an item is created”.

Set the site address and the name of the list that items are being created to.

Entering site address

Populate the Template

Now we will populate the template we created.

Select “Next step” and enter “word” in the Choose an action search box.

Select “Populate a Microsoft Word template” from the list of actions.

Choose action

Chose the location and document library that the template is saved in. I saved my template in OneDrive so for the location I selected “One Drive For Business”, for Document Library I selected “One Drive” and then select the template created earlier by selecting the folder icon on the right-hand side of the file input and choosing the template file.

You will now see all the content controls you entered in your template file listed.

populate flow template

Next, we will use the dynamic content controls to populate data from our list item into the word template content controls we set up earlier.

Go through and use the dynamic content selector to add list item data into the template for all fields.

populate template 2

Create the File

Now that our template is populated, we are ready to create our file.

Create the next step, enter “create file” in the Chose an action search box, and select the “Create file” SharePoint action.

create file

Enter the site address of the document library you want to save the document in.

For folder path, enter the document library you are saving the file in. You can also select a specific folder within the library.

I prefer to create the file name with dynamic content, so I set it as “Customer Name” Contract.docx.

It is important that you add the file extension within the file name, otherwise you will not be able to open the file.

For File Content select “Microsoft Word Document” from the dynamic content options. This will bring in the content from the populated template in the previous step.

create file 2

Save the Document as PDF

Now if we want to save the document as a PDF instead, we can use the Convert Word Document to PDF action.

To do this add another step, enter “word” in the choose an action search box, and select “Convert Word Document to PDF”.

convert to PDF

Enter the site the library is located on, select the document library, and select “FileLocator” from the Create File step within dynamic content.

One thing to note is that as of March 4, 2019, selecting a file from a SharePoint site does not work correctly. If you run into issues, create the Microsoft Word file from the previous step in One Drive and then select the file from One Drive for the conversion to PDF.

converting word to pdf

Next, we will add another “Create File” step.

The only difference this time is to make sure we put the .pdf extension on the file name and select the “PDF Document” dynamic content for the file content.

create pdf

Test the Flow

Now we’ll test the Flow. Create an item in the list that triggers the flow.

testing MS flow

We can now see that we have both a Word Document and a PDF in our document library.

document library in sp

If we open one of the documents, we can see that the fields we entered on the list item are correctly feeding through to the document.

full documenet

Enter the Document Metadata

Before we finish, we need to enter the document metadata.

Navigate back to the Flow, create a new step, enter “Update File Properties” in the choose an action search box and select the SharePoint “Update File Properties” action.

update file properties

Enter the site address, document library name, and select “ItemId” from the dynamic content selector to select the Id of the document created earlier in the Flow.

update file properties 2

Now enter all the file properties using the dynamic content selector. For this example, we will only add metadata for the PDF document.

update file properties 3

If we run the flow again, we can see that the metadata of the pdf document have correctly populated.

finished document library

Contact us today to get started on your next Microsoft Flow project.

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