Microsoft Flow – Deploying flows to all your project sites, or maybe not!

In the past a common challenge has been to deploy SharePoint Designer or Nintex workflows to document libraries in all of your project sites. The deployment can take a long time. When you want to make a small update to all projects sites as you discovered an issue with your workflow you migth have to wait a while before the fixes have been deployed.

And even though Microsoft Flow doesn’t deploy into your SharePoint sites. You will find that with Flow your flows need to be connected your lists and libraries when you want to make your flows available on all of your libraries.

When these flows are  flows that you manually trigger then you actually don’t have to create multiple copies of your flow.Manually Trigger Flows

With column formatting you can create a link to a flow. This can give you a link in your lists that will look something like this:

All you need to do is configure your column with some json as shown below:

"$schema": "",
"elmType": "span",
"style": {
"color": "#0078d7"
"children": [
"elmType": "span",
"attributes": {
"iconName": "Flow"
"elmType": "button",
"style": {
"border": "none",
"background-color": "transparent",
"color": "#0078d7",
"cursor": "pointer"
"txtContent": "Send to Manager",
"customRowAction": {
"action": "executeFlow",
"actionParams": "{\"id\": \"183bedd4-6f2b-4264-855c-9dc7617b4dbe\"}"

Now imagine that you have 1000 project sites and all of these project sites have some lists and libraries that have workflows (Also include Nintex workflows here!) or Flows that start manually from a menu.

To deploy these kind of Flows to all the sites, could quite quickly give you a management headache as you will need 1000 Flows. One connected to each library.

With the column formatting option however you can have a single instance of a Flow being called from all Flows. Ok, that is easy isn’t it?

Well trouble is starting here.

When you run start the flows from the column formatting provided link your flow will start (if you are an owner of the flow that is). However the authentication doesn’t seem to give you all permissions that you would like. I found that when you call your flow and try to run any action within SharePoint you get all sorts of error message.

The only way to make this work however is to use two flows.

The first Manually started flow will start with a Manual trigger:

The second flow starts when a HTTP request is received.

And now we can do things to SharePoint without any failure.

This will help a lot.

We only need to have one copy of the flows. There is hardly any deployment needed. Just the column formatting needs to be deployed. Once you’ve deployed the column formatting you can update your flows in a single place.




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