100 Flow-jutsu of the FlowNinja


Upon reaching a numerical significant milestone of 100 FlowNinja flow-lifehacks. I wanted to review the full list and provide that list here for your glorious consumption during bedtime reading.

Some of them have additional detailed blog post, some of them have an detailed YouTube video - some of them have additional videos or blog posts from the community that added more details to the picture we are all painting together.

Some lifehacks are no longer needed, as Flow has gained that ability natively. Sometimes a connector has changed. Sometimes, I’ve rolled the feature into Flow Studio.

So this is a curated list of the lifehacks, the Flow-jutsu of the Flow Ninja. With small amounts of commentary like someone scribbling notes next to old hacks recalling the wisdom (or insanity) at the time.

Enjoy. Read a random one.

Let me know if there’s a specific Flow-lifehack that you liked but wanted a video or a full blog post. I can tell the blog rate is less than 10% of the tweetstorms. And there’s very little YouTube content of these as well. Both are situations I’d like to improve.

# Flow-jutsu URL
1. Wait until Fire Changed HTTP+Webhook https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/974544103336587268
SharePoint Technically when we have double triggers this will make more sense. Imagine every wehbook trigger can become an in-flow webhook action.
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/3/design-a-delay-until-sharepoint-file-changed-httpwebhook-for-microsoftflow
2. Convert PDF to DOCX via CloudConvert https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/978567033431375873
3. Path to Flow-zen https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/979391202146398209
4. Change SharePoint Permission via MSGraph https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/981232222886752256
MSGraph Now use Send HTTP To SharePoint
5. Flow to cancel self or other Flows https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/981870155864027136
Custom Connector Feature rolled into Flow Studio
6. Condition on Trigger https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/983303622501974022
Blog Serge Luca https://sergeluca.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/trigger-your-flow-only-when-a-document-is-created-from-a-specific-content-type/
7. Conditional IP Address on Trigger https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/983709086050009088
8. Approval API via custom connection https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/983727787746869249
Custom Connector Feature rolled into Flow Studio
9. Learn Select https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/986078352116076545
10. Two expressions https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/986770637401149441
11. Flow Governance https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/986796382198480899
12. Flow Editor two hacks https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/988957057234567170
13. No hack to celebrate Send HTTP to SharePoint https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/991679434817028097
14. Read Flow Connectors with Flow https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/992087115394514945
15. Meta Flow killing other Flows https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/992742309585301505
Custom Connector Feature rolled into Flow Studio
16. Make document set with slug https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/992767564253089792
17. Make Excel Chart from Graph https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/993483364253425664
18. Batch connector for Teams https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/996415365235159040
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/9/make-a-wishing-wand-why-we-need-a-microsoftflow-custom-connector-for-msgraph-batch
19. Copy DocumentSet files https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/996423332688883713
20. Flow Studio Kunai https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/999337159684325376
Flow Studio Flow Studio marked the beginning of my work to make the hacks I do usable by the power user via an easy to use app. Without Flow Studio - many of my hacks requires a developer to integrate.
21. Flow Studio duplicate https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/999409304384884736
22. Flow Studio Cancel all runs https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/999694426745139200
23. Flow to VSTS https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/999916443385843712
24. Flow Studio tags https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1000397356020350981
25. Save Flow to VSTS https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1000693670285209600
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/5/save-all-your-flows-to-vsts-via-http-rest-in-8-actions
26. Infinite Recursion of Fails https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1000894383099592704
27. Read O365 admin center messages https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1001050653752418305
28. Flow Studio filter by Trigger Type/Kind https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1001485562543394816
29. Multiple SharePoint subscriptions set up https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1002747531506245632
30. Trick the Flow Editor about Update Flow action https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1003621682924273664
31. Calling AzureFunction with webhook https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1003776181420736512
32. Resubmit multi-Flow Runs https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1004365335183540224
33. Send iCal https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1007041490642563074
34. Fast init const https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1007214566076366851
35. Use Flow to Site Design and Site Script https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1007657494099853313
36. World Cup from Flow https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1011173203916382208
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/6/how-to-get-live-fifa-worldcup-results-via-microsoft-flow-into-your-sharepoint-intranet
37. Watch twitter Followers https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1012012172694585349
38. Flow Studio middleware is Flow - github feedback https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1012155223136063488
39. Flow Studio run ID https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1012718772635856897
40. Retrieve 5K+ rows with paging https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1015121443921596416
41. Emojis are valid name https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1017190651245486085
42. RSS ideas https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1018669034571644928
43. Upload binary from PowerApps via Hacked Flow Button https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1022991595015000064
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/7/the-simplest-no-code-solution-to-save-pictures-files-from-powerapps-to-flow
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxJ6z3-qrrA
44. Filter string exercise https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1026440991291523072
45. Filter string Xpath translate() https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1026456982511702016
46. Turn on Forms Split On https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1028565758920421377
47. Coalesce() because expression editor broke https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1028998499818385409
48. Please tell my future self to do timesheets https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1032164950142119936
49. Use Flow to process thumbnails as datauri image https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1034127895415799809
50. Flow O365 Azure Event Grid https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1038389017098637312
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/9/from-office-365-to-event-grid-all-our-events-must-flow
51. Greasemonkey script for Flow Expression Editor https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1041000509677592577
The script required frequent update each time when Flow designer is changed. It is something I chose not to maintain overtime. Instead, I put my work into Flow Studio's UX which I can control 100%
52. Windows Timeline https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1043127835026542592
53. Make new Flows from definition https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1045601880687009792
54. Create SP shortcut links https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1048745194932162560
55. Large datasets in Excel - after this I advice using MSGraph to talk to Excel https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1048780585395613696
56. HTTP is not Request https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1051976806117646336
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/10/microsoft-flow-http-trigger-request-trigger-and-you-probably-dont-want-to-use-it
57. Hiding variables out of sight https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1054538605090095104
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/10/hiding-your-microsoft-flow-valuables-i-mean-variables-out-of-sight
58. Meta designer hack more space https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1055604626530201605
subsequent Flow designer update now uses Monaco editor for Output - Monaco editor does not resize easily when the output panel's height is auto'ed
59. HTML from Markdown https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1056680928880222208
60. Send email with wishing wand https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1058000420872699909
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/11/sending-email-with-inline-images-via-microsoftgraph-and-microsoftflow
61. Make Flow Button optional https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1058035361945837570
this is now native in the Flow button designer
62. Creating HTML format in custom definition https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1063359432115908608
63. Action tracked properties https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1066533813734371328
64. Custom actions idea https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1066868834575953920
65. Setting variable with value of itself https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1067444794471866368
66. Hack Flow Button arg into date https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1068837222743367681
this is now native in the Flow button designer
67. Sort in Flow https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1069950601935507457
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2018/12/how-to-implement-sort-with-microsoft-flow-in-3-actions-within-a-loop
68. EnsureSiteAssetLibrary https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1072632744495247365
69. Split On false https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1072887142018244608
70. Set like status https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1074217196551696384
71. Google sheet to google cal https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1075278120968572928
72. Fast string replacement with 2 select https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1080296618258194433
73. Use Parse JSON to check types https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1083200955074600961
74. Intersection vs filter array https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1083637928876593153
75. Link to current Flow Run https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1087360914406264832
76. MomentJS in Flow https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1090957263492153344
77. For Selected DocumentSet https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1095426221234520064
78. Use ValidateUpdateListItem https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1097445738483576833
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2019/2/flowninja-hack-78-modifying-modified-by-and-modified-time-with-microsoft-flow
79. ExcelRest https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1101635675063967745
80. Stop flow SharePoint self trigger with validateUpdateListItem https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1101689848891494400
81. Battleship Outlook Calendar https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1102532924883103744
82. Group BY CAML https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1103772032150384641
83. Date Projection and let me count the days https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1105392290074288128
84. DecodeUriComponent for new line https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1108481776102440960
85. Black art of calling internal API on swagger https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1109745736541888512
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwJto7zvfyk
86. For Each via CSV https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1110180968285921280
87. Upload File via Unused Outlook connector https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1115336767031468032
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2019/4/flowninja-hack-87-lock-microsoft-flow-powerapps-trigger-to-upload-images-to-sharepoint-with-ease
YouTube Chaks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K78YUppinuQ
88. SharePoint modified only trigger https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1116856001385209856
89. Auto reply in Github when issue is closed https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1119237739969277952
90. Fix parallel blocks via Edit JSON https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1120698508388868096
91. A power user friendly method of connecting hundreds of sites, lists and libraries to a single Flow https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1121055884749053953
92. Geofence pokemon go https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1121775858174160896
93. When connections break - send email https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1125793444700409857
94. At-mentions in Microsoft Teams https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1126745361219899393
95. Fast sync of SharePoint list via batch https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1127240425868107777
96. Excel variable names https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1129715544712597504
Blog http://johnliu.net/blog/2019/5/workarounds-needed-to-use-the-excel-connector-in-microsoft-flow
97. Export Email .eml to SharePoint https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1136501325615620096
Blog https://www.oneplacesolutions.com/news/save-important-emails-to-sharepoint-with-microsoft-flow.html
98. PowerApps Trigger headers https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1138017912222961664
99. Paste snippets from text https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1144055910538465281
100. Thanos Outlook Snap https://twitter.com/johnnliu/status/1145932038941237248

The Flow Studio journey and July price increase


I wanted to write an update about Flow Studio, my personal journey so far as a single founder, and announce that there will be a price increase at the end of July.


There will be an increase of Flow Studio subscription price to US$200/year after July. All existing subscriptions will be honoured and maintained at existing prices - so this month is the best time to come onboard and support my work Flow Studio.

If you are using Flow Studio - but don’t see enough value to subscribe. That’s fine - Flow Studio is a freemium product and there will always be a free tier. But I think it’d be alright to ask from time to time that you tell me what would be something that may entice you to change your mind? I am highly motivated to solve your needs and … make you a subscriber. :-)

Journey - what does Flow Studio do?

A year ago, friends ask me: John why do you write Flow Studio, what pain are you trying to solve? I said - I have more than 50 Flows. The response I got was weird looks - well John that’s just you, I wouldn’t build a product based on that.

Fast forward to today - hundreds of people have more than 50 Flows. Some people have more than me. If you support a service account that is a co-owner to many people’s Flows: that account has access to hundreds of Flows.

Consider IT that needs to support Thousands of Flows - what tools do they have?

The problem was never “if” the problem was always “when”. The reality is actually “too soon”

Flow Studio started with simply “Flow inventory management” being able to rapidly find, sort, filter and group with #hashtags our Flows in multiple ever-increasing environments.

We read pages of runs for each Flow - so we can answer questions such as “what has been running most recently” and “which Flows has been failing”. These are powerful features that are not available in the Flow maker portal.

We support bulk operations - multi-select runs and cancel. Multi-select flows and disable. Multi-select approvals and reject.

We added Edit JSON so power users has a quick way to dive into the core definition of a Flow and tweak that. You can do find and replace. Search for URLs or just move blocks around.

We added Contextual Runs - so makers can quickly make sense of a sea of runs and find the error they are looking for.

We added Sparklines so makers can get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on.

Admin view lets an user with environment administrator permission to see all the Flows made by people in that environment - invaluable for IT admins wanting a better overview of Flows in their environment. This is also an excellent view for a Service Account with P2 to be used as the owner of Team Flows.

Major Feature: Migrate

The most latest and significant feature is Migrate. We now support copying, updating and migrating a maker’s Flow(s) across different SharePoint sites and Flow environments. This is a one-to-many support that is not going to be available in the Flow maker portal, and something really necessary for SharePoint and Teams professionals. This allows a maker to create one flow, and copy it across one, twenty, fifty sites. We help makers keep them all up to date.

This is the main feature that we are raising the price of Flow Studio on. So if this is something you think you’ll need for half the price - get in now!


I’ve been a consultant for twenty years - and it’s really a dream to be able to take something I do for one customer and take it into a product.

It is also so much hard work - the main struggle is that the feedback loop for a startup is somewhat delayed and at times completely missing. Unlike a coding challenge - there’s no immediate “problem, debug, fix, done”. A business makes a decision and there’s really no idea if that’s the right decision. And there’s no way to find out for months, if ever, that a decision is right or wrong.

The opportunity costs of each decision, what should I be doing instead, what can I do in parallel. All the community work I still love to do so much, but now I wonder if I’m sabotaging my own startup while being distracted.

Distracted. Scary word. Extremely scary for a founder.

Anyway, I keep my sights on the goal. I’m certain the future of automation within Office 365 and across Microsoft is Microsoft Flow. With that in mind - there is no way a tool like Flow Studio isn’t valuable to a maker, and Flow governance isn’t valuable to a business. I intend to make my way towards that goal. I’m hoping you are all behind me, or alongside me, or cheering for me.

Let me know if you want a demo happy to visit in person or remote.

July Price Increase

Flow Studio Pro subscription is currently priced at US$10 per month or US$100 per year. There are two pricing updates that will go live at the end of July:

The price will increase to US$20 per month or US$200 per year. We believe the added value to Flow Studio over the year has dramatically increased its value. We also believe that as more and more makers are using Microsoft Flow - a solution like Flow Studio to help manage, migrate and rapidly troubleshoot Flows is necessary for the maker.

Australian businesses will be charged at AU$300 - this includes the currency conversion rate as well as inclusive GST, an Australian Tax Invoice will be issued. As an Australian I’m aware that we often feel we pay more than usual US prices, I hope we’d find it fair after conversion including GST.

The price increases are something we intend to do over time. As we keep adding features, we will consider raising the prices to match the value. But this is something we do when the value position of Flow Studio is so significant we actually consider the final price still a bargain for makers. Our promise to existing customers is that Flow Studio subscriptions will remain at the price that you signed up for, as a thank you over a much longer period of support from you. Thank you.

Special Offer: Collab365 Microsoft Flow Virtual Summit

I partner’ed up with the folks at Collab365 - running the Microsoft Flow Virtual Summit next week to offer a special Flow Studio deal for All Access Pass members.


Collab365: Microsoft Flow Virtual Summit is free if you can tune in during the live broadcast of the sessions. If you want to watch the recordings afterwards, you need to purchase an All Access Pass.

The All Access Pass also unlocks a serious bundle of discounts for many affiliated products and services. For Flow Studio - you will get $20 off the first year.

It means if you subscribe to Flow Studio (yearly) before end of July through this offer, you will pay $80 for the first year, and $100/year for subsequent years.

I’ll write more in the next blog post about how this would work.


I have a need of something from all of you.

If you have used one of my Flow tips - then I would like you to try https://flowstudio.app - I seriously ask every Flow maker to try this tool and tell me what they’d like to see.

If you aren’t a subscriber, but would consider yourself my customer, friend or supporter - I’m always in need of founder and product feedback, I feel with you, I can indulge myself and directly ask for your feedback.

Please don’t feel pressured into subscribing if you don’t see the value clearly for you. Your feedback on what would make the product valuable to you is equally if not important than subscribing when you don’t feel like you need it.

Let me know in many ways:

I thank you sincerely for reading this whole post all the way through here. I know raising price is tricky, I want to do it for the right reasons, and explain why I’m doing it. Anyway, you have one month!

Getting started, a roadmap and mastery of Microsoft Flow


In the last few years, Microsoft Flow has taken off like a storm. It is one of the most versatile product, but also quite tricky to completely cover because Flow can be many things. 

  • It is workflow

  • It is automation

  • It is serverless middleware

  • It can be a messaging orchestrator

  • It can be integration service

Microsoft Flow is a product that everyone, from Power Users to IT Pros to Developers need to understand and utilize in our toolbelt.

Two years ago, I remember excitedly telling everyone I meet about Flow - a year later, the same people that thought I was way over the top is excitedly telling me they have also discovered what I meant and caught the same fever.

On Learning - a Roadmap to Mastery

When learning Flow - there are milestones that we go through. Consider our own experiences and where we are, the next step isn’t very far away.

  1. Get started - read the templates and see what’s available

  2. Understand the triggers and actions

    Understand how to chain them - how each output work, and how the properties are filtered by type

  3. Understand how to read each action’s output - knowing what the output looks like helps with understanding if we need to write expressions later.
    Compose and Test - with previous run are our best friends. They tell us what’s going on in the values of our steps, and is our source of debugging if things has gone wrong.

  4. Understand logic constructs - for each, conditions, variables

  5. Understand how to chain beyond the basics - expressions

  6. At this point we should start to go looking for advanced trouble:
    peek code, static output, parallelism, fan-out / fan-in, timeout / retry policy, pagination, asynchronous webhook callback, run-after configurations, HTTP Request and Response.

  7. Patterns emerge - approval timeout escalation, state machines, sending pictures from PowerApps to SharePoint, bulk copying data across CDS and Excel, anything-governance with Flow.
    Built on the smaller pieces that we mastered along the way, but combined in an elegant way.

  8. Wrap custom APIs for others to use:
    schema, authentication schemes and custom connections

  9. *
    Anyone claiming to have the perfect roadmap can only show us the way for where this person has been.
    If you know what’s next - let us know in the comments.

Remember each success brings us closer to the next milestone. These steps aren’t completely sequential - but knowing how to read an action’s output will help with writing expressions.


In the upcoming Digital Workplace Conference Australia, I’ll be giving an advanced introduction to Microsoft Flow - with a twist.

This session is an introduction to Microsoft Flow – but I will go far deeper – and will show the many different “kinds” of Flow apps that we can build.  Each one hopefully a spark in our imagination.

We will cover some deeper technical sides of Flow. What does it look like under the hood. When do we need to learn advanced expressions and why are they necessary.

When we don’t have an action, we make our own actions. When we don’t have a trigger, we make our own triggers. From patterns, to expressions to insane tricks.

Me, you, we!

The 1 hour will never be enough to answer everything and go deep enough to satisfy everyone.

Please please please come talk to me and ask me your Flow questions directly - where you are, if you have an error with your Flow. I’m here to help.


Ultimately, we discover that the true joy of Flow is not merely creating a business workflow. It is a bit more low level. It is low-code execution, they run and do whenever and whatever we want them to do.

The joy I think is being able to imagine them, build them step by step, each step closer to our goals, and when our Flow finally succeeds, our wishes are fulfilled.

Release of Flow Studio: Deploy & future Price Increase

We have released Flow Studio v0.1.91 “Flow Studio: Deploy”

This is a super productive feature that we’ve been working on for a while.

You can think of it as “Flow Migrate Wizard”.

There’s a YouTube video showing the feature.

How Does it work?

  • Select one or more of your existing Flows

  • Enter a new name, or select an existing Flow to overwrite

  • Configure text, URL or variable replacements if you need to create variations

  • Run deploy Plan

What are the use cases?

  • Bulk create Flows from a template

  • Keeping child copies of a Flow updated from a master version

  • (Future) Migrate Flows between environments

  • (Future) Migrate Flows between user accounts

  • (Future) Migrate Flows into Solutions

Future Price Increase

Flow Studio currently is US$100 per year or US$10 per month. When Flow Studio: Deploy goes live (we are hoping in two or week’s time), we will be raising the price of Flow Studio to US$200 per year (or US$20 per month).

As a thank you to current subscribers - existing customers before the price increase will remain under current price.

So yes - if you have been thinking about purchasing Flow Studio in the past but needed a nudge, we are adding a great Deploy feature to go with that nudge.

We believe your time building Flows and keeping them up to date is far worth the price increase we are adding to the product.

As always. We couldn’t have done this without our fans.

Thank you for your support. Let us know what features you need.

Join us for a free full day Sydney Microsoft App in a Day - June 7


Join Microsoft MVPs John Liu and Paul Culmsee - two of Australia’s Power Platform MVPs in Microsoft’s App in a Day event on June 7 right here in Sydney. I’m running this in June with Paul’s Seven Sigma solutions.

Register today for an all-day interactive training to learn how to create custom business applications without writing code, leveraging the Microsoft Power Platform technologies - PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.

App in a Day is designed to accelerate your PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and CDS for Applications experience with a comprehensive training in a single day led by certified Microsoft Partners.

Bring your Windows-based notebook and we will supply the rest, including lunch! *

The training provides practical hands-on experience with Seven Sigma who specializes in creating PowerApps solutions in a full-day of instructor lead app creation workshop.

You will learn how to build custom apps that run on mobile devices, and share them inside your organization securely.

Space is very limited and there’s only two weeks to go - so you need to quickly talk to your colleagues and book at this link.