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Get Started with Autolaunched Flows

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Differentiate the Autolaunched Flow (No Trigger) type from other autolaunched flows.
  • Display the flow trigger on a flow list view.
  • Identify candidates for an Autolaunched flow.
  • Describe ways to run an Autolaunched flow.
Note

This badge is one stop along the way to Flow Builder proficiency. From start to finish, the Build Flows with Flow Builder trail guides you through learning all about Flow Builder. Follow this recommended sequence of badges to build strong process automation skills and become a Flow Builder expert.

Before You Start

This badge assumes that you know how to create a flow with variables, inputs, resources, and elements. If you aren’t familiar with these activities or need a refresher, see the Flow Builder Basics badge and the Data and Actions in Flows badge.

If you’re following the Build Flows with Flow Builder trail, you’re familiar with the New Flow window where you choose a flow type, and you’ve already created several record-triggered flows and a couple of screen flows. This module is about two other flow types: Autolaunched and Schedule-Triggered.

Autolaunched and autolaunched

Have you ever noticed that four of the flow types in the New Flow window are described as autolaunched? In fact, except for the screen flow, they’re all described as autolaunched and running in the background.

The New Flow screen on which four core flows—Record-Triggered Flow, Schedule-Triggered Flow, Platform Event-Triggered Flow, and Autolaunched Flow (No Trigger)—are described as an autolaunched flow that runs in the background.

The term autolaunched—with a lowercase a—indicates that the flow runs on its own, in the background, doing what it does without any input from users. Like a child’s wind-up toy, it needs someone to wind the key and set it down, but after that, it doesn’t need anyone to push it along or give it instructions; it just does what it’s supposed to do until it’s done.

Flo Smith playing with a collection of wind-up toys.

The screen flow is not autolaunched because it requires user interaction.

In this module we focus on two autolaunched flows, but only one has autolaunched in its name: Autolaunched Flow (No Trigger), or Autolaunched flow—with a capital A—for short. The Schedule-Triggered flow is autolaunched, but not Autolaunched.

The Power of Autolaunched Flows

You may be wondering, “What’s so special about an Autolaunched flow?” 

  1. An Autolaunched flow has no trigger defined within the flow. It runs when it’s initiated by something else. You have much more control over when it runs because it’s not limited to a schedule, record change, or platform event.
  2. It runs without any user interaction.

No other flow type is quite like it. A screen flow requires user interaction. The other three autolaunched flows run without any user interaction, but they’re triggered only by a schedule, record change, or platform event. They can’t run subject to a user’s judgment or some Apex code.

Flow type Runs without trigger Runs without user interaction

Screen Flow

Yes

No

Record-Triggered

No

Yes

Schedule-Triggered

No

Yes

Platform Event-Triggered

No

Yes

Autolaunched

Yes

Yes

When you need a flow to run manually or run by something other than a schedule, record change, or platform event, and the flow requires no user interaction, then the Autolaunched flow is your go-to flow.

Running an Autolaunched Flow

It’s great that your Salesforce org can run automation when something happens inside the org, but what if you want it to run after a real-life conversation? Or a physical handshake? Or someone’s judgment call?

Sometimes only a person can decide when it’s appropriate to kick off an automation. To give your users the power to run an automation, you can create an Autolaunched flow and a mechanism to run the flow.

Mechanism Notes

Custom Button

Placed on a page layout. Optionally, set visibility criteria to control when the button is visible and when it’s hidden.

Another Flow

Use a Subflow element in a parent flow to reference and run a child flow (you learned about that in the Flow Builder Logic badge).

Other Automation

Can be Apex code, a Visualforce page, a Flow Orchestration, or an API call from an external system.

Note

It’s also possible to run a flow from an action; actions look and feel just like buttons, so it’s easy to confuse the two methods. However, actions can call only screen flows, so if your flow doesn’t use screens, use an Autolaunched flow and a custom button. Learn more about actions in the Screen Flow Distribution module.

Identifying Autolaunched Flows

So, how do you find your Autolaunched flows? Well, you can start by checking the All Flows list view on the Flows page in Setup. 

The All Flows list view shows flows with their process type: Autolaunched Flow or Screen Flow.

By default, the list view displays each flow’s process type: either Autolaunched Flow or Screen Flow. Except for screen flows, the process type for all flows is shown as Autolaunched Flow. So that’s not enough information to find the Autolaunched flows. 

You need to know what triggers each flow to run, so add the Trigger field to the list view. Together, the process type and trigger differentiate the four types of autolaunched flow.

The All Flows list view. Process Types: Autolaunched and Screen. Triggers: Record—Run Before Save, Record—Run After Save, Platform Event, and Schedule.

If the process type is Autolaunched Flow and the Trigger field is blank, then it’s a true Autolaunched flow. Otherwise, the trigger corresponds to the flow type: Record—Run Before Save and Record—Run After Save are record-triggered flows, Schedule means schedule-triggered, and Platform Event means platform event-triggered.

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