How to send a reminder using Microsoft Power Automate

Don’t forget important meetings or tasks – send yourself an email reminder with Microsoft Power Automate.

Guilherand-Granges, France - November 13, 2020. Notebook with Microsoft Power Automate logo.  Streamline repetitive tasks and paperless processes.
Image: PhotoGranary/Adobe Stock

Most of us can’t remember every time-sensitive task, so we use alarms to remind us of deadlines. For example, you can send a monthly sales report to your boss once a month using a flow. To make sure you refresh the report before it’s sent, you can use a Microsoft Power Automate flow that sends you a reminder before the flow sends the report.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use Microsoft’s Power Automate to create a flow that sends a scheduled email reminder. You can send the reminder to yourself, a colleague, or both. We just create the memory flow.

You need Microsoft 365, which includes Power Automate and OneDrive for Business. You can send the email to your preferred customer; I use Outlook 365. If you don’t have Outlook 365, you can purchase a usage-based subscription to Power Automate.

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What are flows in Microsoft Power Automate?

Flows are the building blocks for automating workflows in Power Automate. You use flows to streamline and automate repetitive tasks. Power Automate rarely requires code – on-the-job training with Flows can quickly convert anyone into a regular user.

Start thinking about which actions in the process are manual. You can even draw a simple flow with pen and paper to get the creative juices flowing. Note what you need: Do you need a specific file? Do you need to involve other colleagues? Once you’ve looked through the task step-by-step, look in Power Automate for existing templates that just need a little tweaking.

In our case, we don’t need anything other than our organizational email address. So let’s get to the flow.

How to create a scheduled flow in Power Automate

You may initially think email flow is appropriate, but at the heart of this task is a planned flow. Power Automate has several scheduled template flows, but we’re building these from scratch so you can learn more about flows.

Sign in to Power Automate using OneDrive or your Microsoft account.

In the left pane, click Create and in the Start from blank section, double-click Planned cloud flow (Figure A).

Figure A

In Power Automate, select a scheduled cloud flow.

In the dialog that appears, name the flow, set the date and time, and set a repeat interval (Figure B). The Send Report Reminder flow sends an email reminder every month starting August 2 at 10:00 AM.

Figure B

In Power Automate, set the flow name, date, time, and interval.

You can edit the flow by clicking Recurrence in the console. Click on additional options (Figure C) to set time zones and other advanced options. I won’t complicate the example by specifying additional repeat options, but feel free to look around before proceeding. If you want to continue, click Next step.

Figure C

You can review the schedule settings in Power Automate’s advanced options.

The next step offers so many options that it is best to filter them. In this case, click the Office 365 Outlook option (Figure D) as this is the software we use to send the email; If you’re using Mail, click Mail instead – the instructions don’t change. Power Automate only updates triggers and actions to those available for Outlook.

Figure D

In Power Automate, select Outlook to send the email.

We don’t need a trigger because we set a timeline for the action. On the Action tab, click Send Email (Figure E). Enter your organizational email address in the To control. Power Automate has autofill properties, so it should suggest the correct contact (you) after typing just a few characters. Click Show advanced options to access all fields.

Figure E

Choose the Send Email action.

Use Figure F As a guide, set the appropriate settings:

  • to
  • theme
  • Body
  • From (send as)

Figure F

In this Power Automate screen there are only four settings to be made.

This is such a simple process that we don’t need most of the settings. If you’re sending the email to someone else, you might want to send a copy to yourself so you know the flow worked as expected. At this point you’re done, so click Save.

How to test a flow in Power Automate

You should always test a flow in Power Automate, even if you’re sure it will work. After saving, click Test in the top right. Although this is a scheduled event, Power Automate lets you test it right away. After clicking Test, click Manual and then click Test (Figure G). In the next step, click Run Flow.

Figure G

Test a flow in Power Automate.

As you can see in it Figure Hthe flow was successful.

Figure H

A flow in Power Automate was successful.

Open Outlook (or Mail) to prove the flow’s success by finding the email sent to you – you can see mine in it Figure I. Click My Flows to access the flow at any time.

Figure I

The test Power Automate flow sent the email to my organizational email address.

This Microsoft Power Automate flow is simple, but it has the potential to save you a lot of frustration when you forget to update that sales report for your boss.

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