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|Power Automate now has a Copilot to help you
|Power Automate now includes Copilot, Microsoft's AI tool to help you generate flows and actions. But is this a good thing?
Power Automate has a new designer which includes access to the Copilot AI assistant:
The new Copilot assistant in Power Automate.
You can click on the Copilot button in the toolbar shown in this diagram to toggle the visiblity of this sidebar on or off, but like many wizards in Microsoft applications it seems to keep reappearing even when suppressed!
So I thought I'd put Copilot to the test! I've included a case study below, with my thoughts and recommendations at the bottom of this page.
I want to send the contents of a SharePoint list to myself as an HTML table, so I typed in this enquiry:
I've tried to be specific!
After less than 5 seconds, Power Automate produced this:
Power Automate has added the correct 3 actions.
However unless you already know Power Automate, the results are going to confuse you:
This is the flow generated - understandably, it's not perfect ... yet.
Here are the things I needed to change to get this working:
Add a trigger
I added a manual action trigger, to give my flow a way to start
I specified the SharePoint site and list from which I wanted to get my data
I typed in the email address to which I wanted to send my results
With these changes, my email worked - sort of:
My email contains all of the columns in the SharePoint list.
What I would now like to do is to pick out the columns I want, so I tried getting Copilot to help me:
This was my second attempt at this (the first time Copilot said it couldn't understand my question).
Copilot now adds an intermediate step to select only certain columns:
The revised flow.
However, this gives a syntax error:
You will need to remove the @ sign at the start - but how on earth would you know that?
When you solve this, the Table action below it generates an error, which you would then have to solve. This would be made harder for you by the fact that Copilot has changed the name of this action from its original HTML table, disguising what it's actually doing.
My early impression is that Copilot - like every other Microsoft wizard I've ever used - resembles an unreliable taxi driver.
You say you want to go from A to B.
The taxi driver takes you on an unusual route which you wouldn't have chosen yourself if you knew the area) and leaves you near B, but with no way of knowing how to complete your journey.
The above example is typical of two or three I've tried: Copilot will generate actions for you, but by the time you've added the parameters and sorted out the action names, it would probably have been quicker to do things yourself (and you'd certainly have learned more in the process).
Some other pages relevant to the above blog include:
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