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5 best and 5 worst things about Power Automate Desktop
Part two of a four-part series of blogs

To help understand what software can do, it can be useful to look at its strengths and weaknesses - which is what this blog aims to do for Power Automate Desktop!

  1. 5 best and 5 worst things about Power Automate Desktop
  2. 5 best things about Power Automate Desktop (this blog)
  3. 5 worst things about Power Automate Desktop
  4. Overall recommendation

Posted by Andy Brown on 29 March 2022

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5 best things about Power Automate Desktop

Here's my very personal take on the 5 things I live most about working with Power Automate Desktop (PAD).

1 - It can do anything

It's scary what Power Automate can do! To give you a flavour, here's a small selection of the actions a PAD flow can run:

Power Automate Desktop actions

Some actions, to give you an idea of what's possible.

A good summary would be: if Windows can do it, so can Power Automate Desktop!  Of course, with power comes responsibility ...

2 - It's easy to use

Writing programs couldn't be easier than this, surely?  If you want to display a message box, for example, just search for the action:

Searching for actions

You can search for any action that you want to perform.

 

You can then just drag this into your flow:

Adding an action

You can even just double-click on an action to add it.

It's then easy to fill in the parameters for whatever action you've chosen:

Parameters for action

For a message box, for example, you just give your dialog box a title and say what the message should contain.

 

When you save your action, you can see it in your flow:

Summary of action

For each action you can see a description of what it does.

A caveat: when all is said and done you are writing a computer program containing if conditions, loops and error-handling, so you'll still need a logical mind.

3 - Flows are easy to read

Not only is it easy to write programs, it's also easy to read them, as this example shows:

Example of reading flow

You can read down any flow to get a good idea of what it's doing (this is particularly true if you add comments, as here).

4 - The structure of actions is excellent

How do you begin to automate everything that Windows dows?  In Microsoft's case, they have divided all of the possible actions into categories:

The action categories

The division of actions has been really well executed.

 

With each category, the actions are similarly well-thought-out:

Browser automation

The browser automation category of actions is one of the longest. To make the actions more readable they've been divided into sensible categories.

 

5 - The browser and UI automation actions are impressively ambitious

How can you automate the process of filling in a web form?  With difficulty - and Microsoft should be commended for even trying to do this:

Google search box

The UI element for the Google search box on my computer at the time of writing. How can you even begin to remember a selection like this?

It's impressive that Microsoft have been ambitious enough to try automating the process of filling in a web form: whether it's properly achievable is another question.

Those are my 5 favourite things about Power Automate; what are the 5 things I like least?

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