Power Automate gives citizen developers an easy way to automate workflows between apps and services. However, there are times when you need to write or know a little more about the flows you are working with.
- What if you inherit a flow from someone who has left the organisation and need to know quickly what it is doing?
- What if you need to document your complex flow and store the description in a team repository as part of your definition of done?
- What if you want to showcase how a particular flow works to help your team built a great template library that you can use over and again?
Exporting the flow as JSON and interpreting before documenting the output into a Word Document or Wiki is a great way to create additional documentation, transparency or just information about your flows. Until the advent of AI, delivering this last part wasn't all that easy.
Now with a clicks and the use of a Free AI tool called Claude.ai it is a synch.
Here are the steps
Step 1: Make sure your Power Automate flow is in a solution.
Everything is easier when your flow is inside a solution. Solutions are just containers for your Power Platform items to make them easy to organise, move and port to other environments or tenants. Read our blog post here about creating solutions.
Step 2: Export your Power Automate flow as a solution.
Go to the Solution tab in Power Automate now your flow is inside one, click Export, and download the unmanaged solution containing your flow.
Step 3: Locate the workflow JSON file.
You'll now have a .zip file you can download.
Open up the zip file and locate the Workflows folder. In there will be a file which describes your flow using JSON format.
Step 4: Navigate to Claude.ai
Sign in - its free, just use an email account you can access to get the temporary authentication code.
You have a few options from here. For each of them, you are going to need a prompt. Prompt engineering is now becoming an important skill so it's worth experimenting and reading around this topic to get the outputs you really want with the least effort. However, with that said, you dont have to be perfect. Just be as specific as you can about defining your needs.
Here's a prompt example I use for this purpose:
Turn the following JSON into plain english documentation about the power automate flow. create seperate sections for the trigger, the actions (detail each but dont use the names of any items it references) and also the connections
I then paste the JSON from the file above. I use visual studio code to open up my JSON files and then CTRL+A to select all the text. Finally CTRL+C then CTRL+V into the prompt box to copy the text. Hit enter.
You can equally use the "attach file" option in the window above to locate the JSON file and then use the same sort of prompt - only refer to the file you just uploaded. Example: A prompt would begin "Turn the attached JSON into plain english ..."
Why Not Have A Go?
Claude (or Anthropic as it is branded on the site) may be using your data for its own learning so be prepared to know that your flow details will have gone to the hive mind. Assuming this is ok, there isnt a paywall to navigate and the output is pretty decent! Simply copy and paste now into your preferred format and you are done.
A word of caution, it is a free to use too in this sense so there will be limits and boundaries to how much you can use the service. For occasional documentation tasks though. It is worth experimenting.
If you see a message like this, more often than not, revisiting a little later will have you finished on task in no time.